So….which part of the title to deal with first? I’ll go for the “hot date.” No, it’s not about a great night out with a handsome guy (sigh …just messin’ with you). No….all my hot dates are of the Medjool variety. I love these guys….sweet, sticky, and according to this article they are often referred to as “the king of dates.” I love ‘em in desserts (especially date squares) or just to snack on, but last week I thought I’d try something new…dates on pizza! Sounds weird, but don’t stop reading….they made an AWESOME pizza!
So, to start….basic crust (same old, same old…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). The dates had been in the pantry for some time, so I revived them by soaking in boiling water (that’s what made these dates so HOT) for a few minutes (this is a great trick that works with any dried fruit that’s a little past its prime). I caramelized a small onion in half a tsp of olive oil, and added some balsamic vinegar right at the end (I’m liking this trick lately to rev up the flavour of caramelized onions, particularly if I’m not using much oil….it adds a great sweetness and depth of flavour).
My pizza sauce was a sweet one…apple butter base, a touch of BBQ sauce, and a tad of my favourite balsamic mustard. Continuing on the sweet toppings theme I added part of an apple, thinly sliced, and the two dates, which I chopped finely after soaking. I piled on the caramelized onion and an ounce of crumbled goat cheese. I topped it all with a sprinkling of ground black pepper, baked until everything melted together and enjoyed! Mmmm..best date I’ve ever had! Well, I guess since I used 2 dates on the pizza…I was on a double date?!? If Friday night is your pizza night and you’ve got some dates in your cupboard, why not give this a try this week?
The side dish you see is a unique creation I made…sautéed part of an onion, the rest of the apple from my pizza, some chopped cabbage and brussels sprouts…after cooking in oil for a few minutes, I added some chicken broth, Dijon mustard, a splash of vinegar, caraway seed and salt and pepper and let it simmer. After tasting, I determined it needed a little sweetness, so I added a dab of apple butter and a pinch of sweetener. At first, I didn’t love this, but it grew on me the more I ate….not my favourite side dish ever, but a good flavour combo.
Now onto the second part of my title…it’s been a while since I’ve told you about my love for hula hooping. I’ve kept it up, going to my one class a week, and have even purchased one of Judy’s hoops to practise at home. The home practise hasn’t been totally consistent, but I feel like some is better than none, right? After over 4 months, I’m noticing some small but definite changes in my body. There’s a bit more definition in my waistline (both my mom and sister agree )….nothing huge…but at least a little trimmer. I wish it would work my lower abs a little bit more (no matter how hard I work, the good ol’ muffin top will ALWAYS be my trouble spot…sigh). I definitely don’t have ANY natural curves, I’m as straight as they come, so I’m happy with anything that gives me a bit of a waistline.
And, two more things that made me smile happened on Tuesday when I was at the gym for hooping. Before class, I was working out with a personal trainer, and she was talking about exercises for me to do and working with another client, and she used the words: “she wasn’t as advanced as you.”….me…advanced at working out? Why thank you very much! As the former “fat kid in gym class,” I will take any exercise-related compliment, even if it isn’t totally direct! Secondly, during class, I was having a lot of negative thoughts/sort of a “fat” day (the hoop can make your shirt ride up/pants ride down, putting the spotlight on any belly fat you’d rather not have. Then after class, my friend told me she could tell I’d been running a lot lately. I asked her what she meant, and she said I looked a bit skinnier….score! I will take compliments like that any day, but on a “fat” day, they are especially welcome. Don’t you love timing like that?
What was the latest compliment that made you smile…unexpected or not? Happy Friday everyone (that makes me smile any time).