Baked Pumpkin Mac ‘N Cheese


If I want to rate a successful recipe, I need only see how the Teen reacts to it. He had two helpings, ate all the leftovers and has bugged me since making it – that I need to make it again. And that he liked the pumpkin flavor. Today’s recipe comes from a new cookbook, Eat Skinny, Be Skinny: 100 Wholesome and Delicious Recipes Under 300 Calories, which came out in April of this year. The premise of the book is 100 recipes with every serving being under 300 calories.


Warming, comfort food. Delicious. The original recipe I doubled (the Teen can eat 8 ounces pasta if left alone….), I left the panko crumbs off the top and used whole milk instead of a mixture of milks called for. Not huge changes, just personal preferences.

Baked Pumpkin Mac ‘N Cheese (As adapted from paged 222-223)


  • 16 ounces small pasta shapes
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces lower fat cream cheese
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt, to taste, if desired
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, divided
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese


Lightly oil a 9×13″ glass baking dish. Preheat oven to 350°.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, cook pasta as directed on package, taking off a minute early, drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over medium. Melt butter, whisk in flour, letting cook for a few minutes. Slowly whisk in milk, till smooth, then add in cream cheese and pumpkin puree, whisking in. Let cook, stirring often, until it starts to bubble and is thickened. Stir in cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and 1½ tsp of the pumpkin pie spice, whisking until melted. Take off the heat, season to taste with pepper and salt.

Pour sauce over hot pasta, toss to coat. Spread in prepared pan. Toss Parmesan cheese with remaining pie spice, sprinkle over the pasta. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Serves 4 to 8, depending on appetite.

FTC Disclosure: We received an advance copy for review.

Fruit and Oats Breakfast Pudding

The elegant A Taste of Washington: Favorite Recipes from the Evergreen State is the perfect book to have on a counter or coffee table – it will be sure to have friends and family looking through it. Although they might then demand you get cooking and make them the luscious dishes inside. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing – there are so many calling to me to try. And in a few weeks I am going to authoress Michele Morris book signing at the IFBC conference in Seattle to get my copy signed!


With 120 recipes, all photographed, from an eclectic set of chefs, restaurants, B&B’s and more – from all over Washington State, if you travel, you may well have experienced a few of these lovely places.

While there were so many choices, honestly I was attracted to the rustic and simple Fruit and Oats Breakfast Pudding on page 13. The recipe is for 2 servings, I doubled it so Kirk and I would have 2 breakfasts to enjoy. It called for almond milk, I swapped in coconut milk beverage so Alistaire could enjoy as well.


Fruit and Oats Breakfast Pudding (As adapted from page 13)


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats (gluten-free if needed)
  • 8 tsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup diced apples (2 small apples, peeled and cored)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk beverage
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp Earth Balance Buttery stick (or butter, for non-vegan)


Preheat the oven to 350°, lightly oil 4 10-ounce oven safe ramekins. Place on a baking sheet.

Combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon salt, apple and cranberries in a small bowl, mix well. Divide between ramekins.

Stir coconut milk and vanilla together, divided between the ramekins, pouring over the oats. Top each ramekin with a teaspoon each of the Buttery Stick, broken up.

Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm, or chill for later breakfasts. Reheat for 1-2 minutes in the microwave.

Serves 4.

FTC Disclosure: We received an advance copy for review.

Americana Pasta Salad from Mayim’s Vegan Table

After reading Mayim’s Vegan Table: More than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours, what settled in most about Mayim’s new cookbook is that she cooks for her kids.


That though can lead some readers to not be happy with the book, I would suppose. It isn’t gourmet meals, but chances are your kids will like. It is close enough to “comfort food” for happiness. I decided to try the pasta salad, and switched in whole grain pasta (whole wheat with oatmeal fiber) to add in a bit more “oomph”. I liked the salad – it reminded me of Hawaiian pasta salad. And if you haven’t tried it before, look for a container of Just Mayo next time you are shopping. It is hands down the best mayo I have ever had. It doesn’t taste fake. It is delicious, egg free and has a short ingredient list – with perfect smooth texture.


Americana Pasta Salad (Adapted from page 94)


Creamy Dressing –

  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp prepared mustard
  • Sea salt & ground black pepper

Salad –

  • 2 cups cooked pasta, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup celery, chopped
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • ½ cup green peas, thawed


In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, and mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine pasta, celery, onion, and peas. Pour dressing over, stir gently to coat. Store in refrigerator tightly sealed, stir before serving.

Serves 4 to 5, as a side dish.


2 cups cooked macaroni (whole grain) was about 4 ounces dry weight.

FTC Disclosure: We received and advance copy for potential review.

Bruschetta from Mason Jar Salads and More

In late August, the tomato plants in our garden are literally dropping ripe fruit. I have so many tomatoes, I can barely keep up with them.


That isn’t a bad thing though, because I love little more than sitting on the deck, nibbling on bruschetta, made with tomatoes & basil, fresh from the garden.


And while reading through a copy of the recently released cookbook, Mason Jar Salads and More: 50 Layered Lunches to Grab and Go, I saw a simple recipe for Bruschetta. While designed for an easy to take lunch/snack, it also works great at home.


The recipes are designed to be tucked into jars, sealed, and grabbed for on the go. Be it at work, school, on the road or even for lunch as you walk upstairs. There is a mix of cold and hot meals, with so much to choose from – and vegetables are the star.




  • 5 vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 8 large basil leaves, julienne-cut into strips
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • Fine sea salt


Core the tomatoes and dice. Mix tomatoes together with garlic, basil, olive oil and pepper and salt to taste. Chill for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to come together, then transfer to half-pint mason jars, and seal, storing in refrigerator.


While bruschetta is normally used as a topping on toasted bread slices, honestly it goes on top of so much wonderfully. Boring veggie burger? Smother it. Leftover rice or pasta? A big dollop on top. Spoon on top of cucumber slices. Use as a dip with tortilla or pita chips. Or eat it with a spoon like I do….

FTC Disclosure: We received an advance copy of the book for potential review.

Coconut Cream Pie

I had been waiting for Camilla Saulsbury’s latest cookbook to come out. A cookbook just on this? Yes. The Complete Coconut Cookbook: 200 Gluten-free, Grain-free and Nut-free Vegan Recipes Using Coconut Flour, Oil, Sugar and More.


An entire book of recipes that my youngest son can eat?  Pretty much. Gluten-free, Grain-free, Nut-free and Vegan. It is plant-based diet heaven in this massive cookbook. I did slightly cheat though – I used a favorite frozen pie shell, instead of using the Coconut Flour Pie Crust recipe on page 284 – I am not comfortable using pysllium husks as an ingredient, for Alistaire yet, so I went with a crust I knew he could have.


Coconut Cream Pie (From page 286)


  • 1 prepared pie shell, cooled
  • ½ cup Coconut Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Potato Starch
  • 2¾ cups canned coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Whipped coconut cream or whipped cream
  • Toasted coconut flakes, if desired


To prepare pie shell, follow package directions for baking, set aside to cool.

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, stir together coconut sugar, potato starch, coconut milk and coconut oil. Cook, until the mixture just begins to bubble. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until mixture is thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in salt and vanilla.

Pour filling into prepared pie crust. (The recipe calls for plastic wrap on top, to prevent pudding skin. Since I like pudding skin, I didn’t do this step.) Place in refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours. Top with whipped cream, if desired, and toasted coconut.

Eat pie within 2 days.

Notes: This recipe takes about 1½ cans coconut milk. While the recipe called for full fat, I used Trader Joe’s Lite Coconut Milk and found the flavor/texture to be great. Do not though use coconut milk beverage, it will be too thin and not creamy enough. Be sure to read canned coconut milk carefully, many brands have stabilizers and preservatives added now. These are not needed, and more so, if you want to make whipped coconut cream, it won’t work unless you use unadulterated milk.

FTC Disclosure: We received a review copy. 

Single Serving Petite Pea Soup

Camilla V. Saulsbury is one of my favorite cookbook authors, and 250 Best Meals in a Mug: Delicious Homemade Microwave Meals in Minutes is a fun book to wander through.


All one needs is a microwave and a large microwave safe mug – and an appetite. This is the cookbook for solo eaters, dorm livers, travelers living in hotel rooms and anyone craving a quick meal – that is real food! Camilla lays it out in an easy to follow method.


My choice was this incredibly pretty green soup. Green peas are a great source of protein and somehow, this summer, I have been awarded basil plants that are healthy by the gardening gods. If you love basil, you will want to have this soup every day. It was tasty cold even! The recipe does need a blender, so you can smooth soup.

Single Serving Petite Pea Soup


  • ¾ cup frozen petite peas, thawed
  • ¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup vegetable broth (or chicken if non-vegan)
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • Ground black pepper


In a blender, combine peas, basil and broth, puree until smooth.

Transfer puree to mug. Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes (checking at 1) or until heated through. Stir in lemon juice and season to taste with pepper.

Serves 1.

PS: A bowl also works well for heating the soup in. It is also delicious served over a bed of rice, as a sauce.

FTC Disclosure: We received a review copy of the book.

Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches: Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Sandwiches

Awhile back I had received a review copy of Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches: Cool Recipes for Delicious Dairy-Free Ice Creams and Cookies, but only got around to reading it recently. The heat wave we had of late convinced me to haul my ice cream machine back out!


The authoress, Kris Holecheck Peters, wrote another of my favorite books, Vegan Desserts in Jars: Adorably Delicious Pies, Cakes, Puddings, and Much More. If you remember my review of it, I really love her style of recipes. And oh, why did I wait? The cookies are fab-u-lous, the ice creams are thick and creamy! And even if it is summer, the thought of warm spicy cinnamon and pumpkin ice cream was soooo good. I couldn’t keep the kids out of them!

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Sandwiches


Snickerdoodle Cookies


  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1¾ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ cup non-dairy margarine (such as Earth Balance Buttery stick), at room temperature
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut milk beverage (see notes below)
  • 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 375°, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together 1½ cups of the sugar and margarine. Add the vanilla and coconut milk, and mix until well combined (I used a hand mixer). Add dry ingredients to the wet in batches and mix until smooth.

Note: I found I needed 5 Tablespoons milk for the dough. Use what it takes, until your dough just comes together.

Make balls with a 1 Tablespoon Scoop/Disher, put on a plate. Shake remaining granulated sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Roll each ball in the sugar to coat, place 12 per cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until cookies are cracked on top and look done. Let cool, then transfer to a cooling rack. Once cool, store in a sealed, airtight container.

Makes about 34 cookies.


Pumpkin Coconut Ice Cream


  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can full fat coconut milk
  • ¾ cup coconut milk beverage
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin puree
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and both coconut milks, whisking. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, whisking often. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg, whisk in. Lower heat to medium-low, and cook for 5 minutes, whisking often. Take off heat, whisk in vanilla.

Transfer to a heat safe bowl, let chill in refrigerator (I let mine sit overnight). Whisk again, to combine. Pour into ice cream machine, follow machine’s directions for freezing (my machine takes 30 minutes). Transfer to a freezer safe container, freeze for at least 2 hours before making sandwiches.

Makes about 1 quart.

To Make The Sandwiches:

Pull out the ice cream and let soften for a few minutes. Scoop up a generous amount, about 1/3 cup and place on top of one cookie, set another cookie on top and press down gently. Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap or parchment paper, and freeze.

Let sit for a few minutes on the counter before serving.

Makes 16 sandwiches.

FTC Disclaimer: We received a review copy.

Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal & 2 Free Days For Oats Gone Wild

Thursday & Friday, June 12 & 13th, the Kindle version of Oats Gone Wild will be free for download on Amazon!


It is 75+ recipes for plant-based oatmeal, half which are stove top and half are baked oatmeal. Baked oatmeal is great for summer. Make a big batch and eat all week – and only heat up your kitchen once. The recipe below is one my favorites from the book, as it makes individual bowls. Easy serving!


Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal (Page 83)


  • 1½ cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 Tbsp dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp finely sliced honey almonds (see below)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 4-ounce jars stage 2 baby bananas, preferably organic, or ¾ cup mashed ripe bananas
  • ¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage
  • ¼ cup raw almond butter
  • ¼ cup raw honey, raw agave or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt


Preheat oven to 375° and place 4 oven-safe dishes or ramekins on a baking sheet (or use a muffin tin if you have none). Light oil dishes.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk the wet in a medium bowl, add to dry and stir. Let sit for 5 minutes, then divide between the dishes.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Serve warm or refrigerate for later. Reheat for a minute in the microwave.

Serves 4.

Go. Get Your Copy of Oats Gone Wild! And if you love it, remember it is in old-school paper as well. And share this post so everyone can enjoy a copy!

Book Review: 3 New Takes on Asian Cookery


The Everything Stir-Fry Cookbook: The Everything Series are solid cookbooks – minimalist, with no photos, but thick with recipes. I often use them for inspiration – to get my mind wandering. Stir-fry’s are easy, fast and fun for dinner.


The Everything Thai Cookbook: And…here is another one. Thai food is something I love but with Alistaire’s allergies, has become something I can’t have very often (just too high risk of peanuts and allergies in the food). With a guide, I can recreate dishes but use sunflowers and sesame instead. I worked for a Thai importer for a few years, and developed a real love of spicy meals 😉 And don’t forget, many Thai meals are naturally gluten-free as well!


Banh Mi: 75 Banh Mi Recipes for Authentic and Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches: Bahn Mi should be everywhere! That weirdly comforting blend of French and Vietnamese foods makes a sandwich unlike anything else. Here in the PNW, finding a good Vietnamese joint is easy, for the rest of the States? Probably not so much. Learn how to make these crunchy and delicious sandwiches, springrolls, Vietnamese Coffee and so much more as well.

FTC Disclaimer: We received advance copies.

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Chili

It has been a very busy month, with a lot of work for me to get through. Which has led me to using my slow cooker (Crock-Pot SCV401TR 4-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Red) more in the past few weeks than I think it has in its whole time of being in my house….


Flipping through The Healthy Slow Cooker: 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness, I went through the Vegetarian Mains section and decided to try out Judith’s Vegetable Chili, on page 251. I doubled the beans and served it over spaghetti (kinda Cincinnati style…OK, maybe not). Your pasta can be gluten-free or regular. It would also be great over baked potatoes!


Slow-Cooker Vegetable Chili (As adapted from page 251)


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp cracker black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 15 ounce cans pinto beans, drained
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups corn kernels (if frozen, thaw first)
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 Jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • Sour cream & grated cheese, if desired.


In a skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onions, celery and carrots, cook for about 7 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, peppercorns and cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, with juice, and bring to a boil.

Transfer to the stoneware crock. Stir in beans. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours.

Stir chili powder into lemon juice, then into chili. Add in corn, bell peppers and jalapeño and stir well. Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes, until peppers are tender.

Top chili with sour cream and chili, if desired. For a carb boost, serve over hot pasta (I cooked up a pound of gluten-free spaghetti).

With pasta it serves 6 to 8.


For more spice, leave in some, or all of the jalapeño seeds.

FTC Disclaimer: We received a review copy of the book.

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