Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Sweet vs. Savory Debate

Thanks for your comments on my sweet potato and avocado salad. It seems like a lot of us like that creamy combination! But really, how could you go wrong with two super delicious foods? 

Speaking of which, I love so many different kinds of food that sometimes I find it hard to choose what to make for my meals. With the requirement that breakfast be filling (oatmeal. end of story.) and lunch be something simple + quick to pack for school (but not lacking in taste!), dinner seems to be the only time when my culinary creativity can finally be let free. My well-stocked pantry (vegan essentials and such) and currently overflowing refrigerator gives my creativity many possibilities. Sometimes, its almost too many ;). 

Okay, not really. It only makes cooking + eating all the more fun. But decision making? Now that is another story! With so many delicious ideas running through my head, it can be overwhelming to decide on just one. My solution? Narrow down your options and make both. Of course, this works especially well when their preparation is similar and easy to boot. 

Hellooooo duo of sweet + savory roasted veggies and quinoa! Chop veggies, divide and season separately, and roast while cooking quinoa on the stove top; could it really be that easy? It makes for an interesting meal with lots of flavors. Not to mention it is a time saver because it is so simple and you can do other things while the meal cooks itself. On a busy night, nothing sounds better than that. 

Sweet and Savory Roasted Vegetables (serves 1) with Fluffy Quinoa (serves 1 + leftovers):

Sweet Roasted (Root) Vegetables Ingredients: 
  • 1 carrot 
  • 1/2 large parsnip or 1 small parsnip
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup, or to taste (see notes) 
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • water

Savory Roasted Vegetables Ingredients: 
  • 1/2 zucchini 
  • 1/2 cup green beans
  • 1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 leek
  • 2 cloves garlic (or more, if you adore garlic, like me)
  • 1 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (or Tamari or soy sauce), + more if desired
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • water

Quinoa Ingredients: 
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed with cold water and drained
  • 3/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 400*F. 

Chop carrot and parsnip into thick chunks, about 3/4inch. Place in a small casserole dish and toss with maple syrup, cinnamon, and ground ginger. Add a bit of water to the bottom of the dish.

Chop zucchini into very thick chunks, about 1inch. Place in a casserole dish with green beans, sliced mushrooms, leek, and garlic. Toss with Braggs (tamari, soy sauce, etc.) and any additional seasonings, if you would like. Add a bit of water to the bottom of the dish.

Place both casserole dishes in the oven for about 1 hour, or until the vegetables are tender. Make sure to check them periodically to add more water if it has cooked off (see notes). 

When the vegetables are almost done, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Once it is boiling, add the quinoa. Cover and turn the heat to low. Cook for about 12 minutes. Turn the heat off and let sit for 5 minutes. DO NOT remove the lid (see notes).

Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven. Place the quinoa in the middle of a plate, putting the sweet vegetables on one side and the savory on the other. Dig in! 

  • Please adjust the maple syrup to your taste. I generally do not like sweetened things so obviously 1/2 tsp is enough. However, for normal tastes, I would probably recommend about 1/2 TBS-1TBS or so. 
  • As with my slow-roasted kabocha squash, I use water in the roasting process. I use it mostly because I like the sweet flavor that roasting imparts to food, but I also enjoy a moister vegetable. By using water, I am able to get the best of steaming and roasting in one. You may also omit the water completely and instead use more oil (I did not list oil because it is really dependent on your preferences, but I use a little, too), taking care that your vegetables do not burn. Using coconut milk for the sweet vegetables and vegetable broth for the savory vegetables would add extra flavor to the "steam-roasting" method. It is really up to you! 
  • I will admit that I have had very bad quinoa experiences in the past. While I love the power-packed grain, cooking it can be difficult. To achieve a fluffy quinoa, make sure to add enough water, but not too much. I would tell you exactly how much that is, but unfortunately, it depends upon the amount you are making, the pan and burner you are using, etc. However, I can give you this one tip that has really helped me: keep the lid on! Quinoa cooks mostly with steam, so keeping it in produces a much fluffier texture (as opposed to crunchy and dry or mushy). Also, take care to fluff with a fork instead of a damaging spoon or spatula. The more you experiment, the easier it will get. :)
  • Since the veggies serve one and the quinoa makes leftovers, it is a great meal that can be used the next day in a completely different way. I chose to make a delicious salad using 1/2 cup leftover quinoa, kabocha squash I roasted while doing my veggies for dinner (using my slow-roasting method), and a few steamed and a few roasted brussels sprouts over a bed of spinach. I also topped it with a little bit of creamy zucchini dressing that I made earlier in the week. It definitely made my day. 

As for dinner, well, I especially loved having savory on one side, 

and sweet on the other. Dilemma solved! 

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with ideas when making a meal? What is your solution? 

Have a lovely day! 


Monday, October 25, 2010

Sweet Potato and Avocado Salad with Creamy Zucchini Dressing

Hey there :). How was your weekend?

Mine was absolutely fabulous. I spent a lot of quality time with my grandmother (her birthday was last week), which always seems to put me in a good mood. I feel that the older I get, the more we seem to have in common and are able to share with each other. She is both my grandmother and best friend!

Since we decided to hang out together yesterday evening, I did not have my usual time of prepping lunches for the week. Accordingly, I decided to go the simple route. That coupled with the fact that the organic spinach in the fridge was mocking me, I decided to make a salad. It was especially appropriate because I seem to only crave veggies as of late. Go figure.

I looked to my #1 veggie guru, Gena of Choosing Raw. I will admit that just a year ago, I could not even fathom why Gena could eat a meal of just veggies and love it. Oh boy, was I wrong! With my incessant veggie cravings that just seem to get stronger and stronger, I have struggled with how to make a meal that incorporated my cravings while also keeping me nutritionally balanced and feeling full.

Luckily, Gena did a wonderful post on how to create a meal-sized salad a little while back (click here to read it). By the time I finished rereading it, I was almost drooling. I knew I needed to make one pronto.

Enter today's (power)packed lunch.

Truth be told, I hate salad dressing. Or should I say hated---past tense. Slippery, slimy, and soggy salad never sounded good to me. Yuck. But another excuse to use veggies and tie flavors together? Now that is a salad dressing I can stand behind. Slather it on a mix of spinach, slow-roasted sweet potato, and creamy avocado and you have yourself a recipe for success!

Sweet Potato and Avocado Salad with Creamy Zucchini Dressing 
inspired by Gena

Salad Ingredients (serves 1): 

  • 1 sweet potato, slow-roasted (see below) 
  • 1/4-1/2 avocado
  • spinach
Dressing Ingredients (serves 4): 
  • 1 small zucchini (about 1 1/4 cup chopped zucchini or 180g) 
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about the juice from 1 large lemon
  • 2 TBS nutritional yeast 
  • 1/2 - 1 packet stevia 
  • 1 1/2 TBS Braggs Liquid Aminos or tamari 
  • 1 1/2 TBS ground flax seed 
  •  1/4 cup water (plus more to thin) 
  • 1/4 tsp coriander 


  1. To slow-roast the sweet potato: Preheat the oven to 400*F. Meanwhile, thourghly clean the sweet potato and prick it all over with a fork. Wet a piece of paper towel with water and squeeze out the excess. Wrap the cleaned sweet potato in the damped paper towel. Microwave for 2 minutes. Remove sweet potato from microwave and discard the paper towel. Place the sweet potato in tin foil, crinkling the tin foil around the edges, exposing only a little of the top. Put it in the oven for 1 hour, checking it half-way through cooking to check doneness and rotate the sweet potato in its tin foil blanket. Remove from oven and let cool. 
  2. To make the dressing: Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add extra water to thin the dressing, if necessary. 
  3. To assemble the salad: Make a large bed of spinach for your salad to sit on. Chop the cooled sweet potato and the avocado into pieces. Place them on top of the spinach. Spoon a generous amount of dressing over the salad. Mix and enjoy!


  • Choose your sweet potato wisely! Look for a meal-sized tater rather than a little one. Power to the veggies! 
  • If you do not have time to roast a sweet potato, you could steam it or simply microwave it fully. I happen to like the microwave + oven method because it makes the insides extra creamy. Honestly, it is so worth it because it is like eating mashed sweet potatoes straight out of the skin. Yummm...
  • Make sure to use a nicely ripe avocado for maximum creaminess. 
  • While the dressing recipe makes a lot (about 1 1/4 cup + 2 TBS), I estimate it to be about four servings. It is pretty thick and creamy, so trust me, you will want a lot (I used about 5 TBS worth).
I loved how perfect this salad was to pack for lunch. I simply put the sweet potato and spinach in a container, 

the dressing in an old jar,

and wraped up the avocado in a little press and seal. 

The little red lunch bag just sealed the deal.

Are you a salad lover? What is your favorite combination to make a meal-sized salad? 

Have a lovely day! 


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Slowing Down

Fall always seems to bring change. School starts and the leaves transform colors as the relaxation of summer almost abruptly vanishes. We seem to get caught up in our busy lives without regard for the beauty right in front of us. Whistling wind, falling leaves, and the crunch of a fresh apple become simply apart of the background. 

My school during fall

I know that lately I have been guilty of getting caught up in the commotion, but that does not mean that I always have to be. Today I took some time with my grandmother to truly appreciate the wonders of fall. We admired the bounty of vegetables at the Farmer's Market and shared a glass of freshly pressed apple cider at the cider mill. We each told stories, reminiscing about the past and just simply enjoying the present. Our wonderful day together came as a reminder of the importance of slowing down and just smelling the flowers crisp fall air. Being able to spend time with loved ones, chat with passionate famers, and observe natural beauty is a true blessing. This is what fall, and the holiday season, truly means to me.

How do you slow down? What is your favorite thing to do during the fall?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ice Cream Sundaes for Breafast... on a Wednesday!

Happy Humpday everyone! How's your week been so far? 

The great time I had with my grandmother last weekend has definitely kept me going. A little rest and relaxation really can do the body good. (I could still use more sleep, but that is another story...)

...Especially if it includes one heck of a cauliflower. I wish you could see how big this was; it was about double the size of my head and weighed a few pounds. The bounty of fall is surely upon us!

The end of the first quarter in school is swiftly approaching for me,---eek---so while I am busy now, a little reprieve might be in my future. But all work and no play is just not fun. Everyday, it is our job to find those little things that really make our heart sing. It may be cozying up with a good book or even just giving a hug to someone you can tell needs a little love. It is the thought, not the time, that counts!

How do you play? 

I find the most freedom on my yoga mat and in the kitchen. Actually, today's creation is thanks to that. It seems that we are always waiting for something, most notably Friday and the start of the weekend. I try to remind myself to live in the moment, and today I did just that. Today might be just another Wednesday, but why should that mean it cannot be special? Heck, every day should be a cause for celebration. Maybe even with an ice cream sundae...

...for breakfast!

Breakfast Chocolate Wednesdae 

Oatmeal Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 TBS ground flax seeds (optional)
  • sweetener, vanilla extract, or other flavorings (optional)
Protein Hot Fudge Sauce:
  • 1 TBS hemp protein powder (or protein powder of choice) 
  • 1/2 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • liquid stevia or other sweetener, to taste
  • 2 TBS water or non-dairy milk, divided 
  • toppings (ex. raspberries, chocolate chips, sprinkles, shredded coconut, etc.) 

To make the oatmeal "ice cream" base: prepare the oatmeal according to your your preference. (I add 1 TBS ground flax seed while cooking the oatmeal to make it fluffy and creamy. Please note: adding flax seed will require more liquid to be added as well. Sweetener, vanilla extract, or your favorite flavoring can also be used in order to recreate your favorite ice cream flavor.) Remove from heat and place in a bowl.

To make the hot chocolate fudge sauce: mix the protein powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, stevia (or other sweetener), and 1 TBS water in a bowl. Slowly add the other TBS of water, adjusting the consistency to your liking. Taste and add more sweetener, if necessary. (Optional: warm sauce in the microwave for a few seconds.) Pour over hot oatmeal. (If you used flax seed, it will stay on top instead of sinking. Either way, it is delicious!) Sprinkle on your favorite toppings and devour! 

I love that I can enjoy my healthy take on an ice cream sundae on a chilly day, for breakfast, no less! Sometimes its just nice to have a hot breakfast to warm you up from the inside out. Now if only I could figure out how to make banana soft serve appropriate for colder days... hmmm... 

Anything can be special with just a little imagination, even breakfast on a Wednesday. And there are so many options, too! You could experiment with different oatmeal flavor bases and play with your toppings as much as you want. The options for topping your breakfast oatmeal hot fudge sundae are really limitless. I toped mine with ground flax seed "sprinkles" and raspberries, but you could go a more traditional route by using sprinkles, chocolate chips, or shredded coconut. Maybe even a dollop of cashew cream or nut butter? Go crazy! 

And the fun does not even have to stop there! I love using this fudge sauce for dipping apples or drizzling over strawberries. All you have to do is adjust the liquid. To make it more dip-able, simply add more liquid until you reach a viscous sauce.

Actually, you could make it more like a piece of fudge, as well, by using less water. Yumm, I love me some chocolate!

The hemp protein is also such a welcomed bonus. I do not usually use protein powder since I prefer to get my protein from whole sources (and would rather just eat the food), but it is really nice to have a way to use it when I want. To be quite honest, this grew out of an experiment that started with me finding my mom's neglected, never-opened Bob's Red Mill Hemp Protein Powder in my cupboard.

Hemp has so many nutritional benefits that I figured, why not? (I also have a hard time throwing food out, but again, that is another story...) I am always up for trying something intriguing :). Hemp is usually touted as tasting too "green." However, I think that is exactly what I liked about it. I did not feel the need to cover it up and actually ended up using very little sweetener. (Accordingly, please adjust the recipe to your protein powder's sweetness and your taste.)

I guess it just goes to show that playing around is really important. Not only does it give us an outlet, but it can lead to amazing (and even extremely delicious!) things.

Do you use protein powder often? What is the best thing you recently created by "play" (it does not necessarily have to be food)? 

Have a lovely Wednesdae! ;)


P.S. Did you notice I went through a whole post without mentioning winter squash? (Unless you count that, of course.) My love for it is running stronger still, but I figured I would give you a little break. Are you still loving squash or a little tired out? It seems like the blogosphere is pretty divided.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Wrap it Up

Hi Lovebugs!

How was your Sweetest Day? I am never sure how I feel about it; is it a "Hallmark Holiday" or just another cute opportunity to show love? Sweetest Day or not, I am all about spreading the love, so I suppose one more day devoted to that is just fine with me. However, I should admit that I did not even know Sweetest Day was today until my mom casually mentioned why she picked up a special treat for her husband. Good thing I spent the day with the ones I loved.

Oh yeah, and I might have also baked them vegan cranberry orange scones...

Speaking of how I "celebrated," today was filled with quality grandmother time centered around something we both love: food. How, you ask? Enter the Farmer's Market:

Yes, I really did buy a GIANT stalk of brussels sprouts. And in case you were wondering, I fully intend on eating them all... very, very soon.

For $3, instead of $6 at the store, and about a plastic-grocery-bag-ful of sprouts, it was a total steal. Credit for this one goes to my grandmother. She introduced me to brussels sprouts and we have shared a love of them every since. Not to mention, my love of food probably would not be so passionate if it were not for her nurturing my love of baking and cooking from a very young age.

Spending the day with her was so fun and refreshing; she is really trying to teach me to take time for myself and I definitely feel better already! I got to enjoy being with my amazing grandmother at one of my favorite places, and even enjoy this:

I would say it was one winner of a day.

Roasted Kabocha, Broccoli and Chickpea Wrap


  • 1/2 roasted kabocha squash 
  • 1 cup steamed or roasted broccoli
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas 
  • 1 brown rice tortilla 

1. Roast kabocha squash. (My caramelized, slow-roasting method is to come!)
2. Roast or steam broccoli until very tender (almost falling apart).
2. Roughly mash chickpeas. 
3. Warm brown rice tortilla in the microwave for ~20 seconds or until pliable, making it easier to form a wrap. 
4. Mash roasted kabocha until it is smooth, adding water to thin if necessary for a pureed consistency. (I did not have to do this because my slow-roasting method produces a silky consistency.) 
5. Spread mashed kabocha on the brown rice tortilla. Top with broccoli and slightly mashed chickpeas. 
6. Wrap it up! (Or alternatively, eat it open-face like a pizza.) 

I cannot even tell you how much I swooned over this. The sweet and creamy kabocha was absolutely perfect with the soft broccoli and textured chickpeas. I think it really all has to do with preparing the ingredients the  right way (and with love, of course!) Fresh foods take on so much flavor when they are handled with care. The proof is in the taste! 

Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. 

What is one thing that you like to eat au natural? 

Have a lovely day!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Quick Food

Heya, chickadees! Thanks so much for your feedback on yesterday's post about my stressful junior year. The consensus seems to be that while school does not get any easier, we seem to learn how to balance everything better and put things in perspective as time goes on. Maybe I need to turn "later" into "now" and just relax a bit. Good thing cooking is like therapy for me!

However, when I am in a rush, sometimes nothing beats quick, whole-some food. Today I am so excited to share with you the meal that made my crazy week so much easier.

No, not that. But America is known for being a fast food nation. McDonald's, Burger King, Arby's, Sonic...---you name it, we have it! These names are not typically known for being the picture of good health, but they are sure are one thing: fast. Conversely, healthy eating is usually associated with being long and laborious. Well I am here to show you that healthy eating can be quick and delicious.

Now that's more like it!

Naturally the first component of quick food is the amount of time it takes to prepare. The nice thing about this meal is that you can make things ahead or just pop them in the oven while you shower, work, etc.

Baking a winter squash or a few sweet potato ahead of time is totally encouraged. However, if you are unable to do so, popping the sweet potato in the microwave for about 2 minutes before placing it in the oven really speeds things up. Just make sure to prick it with a fork all over so it can release moisture.

Now for the protein. My time-saver came with a little help from the awesome people at Tofu Xpress. (Thanks, Richard!) They sent me one to try out a little while back and I have been a convert ever since.

While I was at yoga, I placed a block of tofu in my Tofu Xpress and put it in the refrigerator. This product is seriously the time-saver of all time-savers. Whether you put the tofu in for hours or just for a few minutes, it does its job, and it does it like better than I ever could. The fact that the creators of Tofu Xpress even found a way to press tofu without making a mess is a miracle.

If you have ever tried to press your own tofu (or ate it without pressing for lack of time or knowing how---ick!), you know that it is a complete pain. Soggy paper towels and puddles of tofu water everywhere does not equal a good time. Just skip the confusion and let the Tofu Express do all the work; we are going for quick here, remember?

[Please note: I honestly would not be telling you about this if I did not believe in the product. I think it is so important that bloggers be truthful. After all, I want to know someone's completely unbiased opinion so I am able to make more informed decisions. Actually, I would have bought this anyway because of all the great things I have heard of it. I may even buy one for my grandmother who is tofu-curious.]

When I got home, my tofu had released more water than I knew possible. The amazing thing is that I have tried using it with different amounts of time and it never fails. Sure, it gets SUPER pressed if I leave it in longer, but no matter, it comes out better than I could do with any length of time.

So once your tofu is pressed, you can crisp it in the oven or on the stove. My method of choice differs depending on what I am making, but lately I have really been loving the stove. This is especially helpful if your sweet potato/winter squash is already cooked because then you do not even have to wait for the oven.

Simply heat a greased pan (with either cooking spray or oil of your choice) on medium-high heat and place cubes of tofu on until they are golden, turning to achieve desired effect. I cut my tofu into little cubes for maximum crisp, and crispy it was! I sprinkled a little smoked paprika on top and made smears of spicy mustard for dipping. Quick and simple.

I always like to serve some fresh veggies with my meal as well. I steamed a mix of my favorites one night and made kale chips the other. Frozen veggies are always good to have on hand for even more ease.

Well there you have it: a quick meal that is both satisfying and delicious. I liked it so much I made variations of it 3 days in a row. It left me feeling satisfied and energized, perfect for studying.

What is your favorite go-to meal or quick food?

Have a lovely day!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

No Joke

Dear friends, junior year of high school is no. joke. To those of you that have already survived it and moved onto bigger and better things, does it get any easier? :-/

But I will be serious now: how do you all handle a heavy work load and lots of stress?

I will be the first to admit that I can work myself a bit too hard. Sure, I have 2 AP classes, 1 honors class, and 2 others that might as well be one of the two, but losing sleep every night just to try to achieve perfection is just not healthy. Silly, Mandiee, perfection is unattainable! In the end I just want to know I tried my hardest and enjoyed it (or at least tried). That is all that really matters, right?

As all things, though, I think these challenging periods come in a wave. I am definitely looking forward to this Wednesday when things should start to look up. In the meantime, though, I have been in need of a little comfort food.

But where do I turn? If you guessed winter squash, you would be correct. While my school work wave should be washed back to sea soon, the squash tide is still going strong. And what is more comforting than some warm pumpkin cornbread with almond milk and coconut butter?

Don't tell me that doesn't look good.

I love the little hint of pumpkin against the soft cornbread. If you are looking for a dense bread, this definitely is not it. However, its crumbly and moist nature make it the perfect delicate delight. I think it is wonderful as shown above, but I cannot help thinking it would be absolutely perfect crumbled into this chili for a Thanksgiving treat. (Speaking of which, I may or may not be making that chili tonight...)

Vegan Pumpkin Cornbread
Makes eight pieces (and can easily be cut in half for smaller servings)


  • 1 flax egg (1 TBS ground flax seed + 3 TBS water)
  • 3 cups almond milk (divided)
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 TBS maple syrup (=1.5tsp) 
  • 2 cups cornmeal (medium grind preferred)
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin


1. Preheat the oven to 350*F. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray or melt desired amount of coconut oil for greasing.

2. Heat water and add to flax seed. Mix with a fork and let sit until it becomes gelatinous.

3. Combine the "flax egg," 2 cups almond milk, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and maple syrup in a mixing bowl.

4. Carefully stir in the cornmeal.

5. Add the pureed pumpkin and remaining almond milk, starting with 1/2 cup and thinning as necessary. 

6. Pour batter into the greased baking pan and bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden (I like to use a toothpick to test for doneness, especially because this cornbread is very moist.)

7. Remove from oven and wait until it is cool to take the cornbread out of the pan. It is delicate (and delicious, as is evident from that little nibble)!

Enjoy with a dollup of pumpkin.. 

...and a kiss of coconut butter.

*Wednesday's Note: I had standardized testing today so if all goes well, I will probably be back tomorrow with another post. I specifically want to show you my go-to meal of busy week and the product that made it all the easier. Stay tuned! 

Have a lovely day! 


P.S. I would love to give a little shout-out to my grandmother. She has been the absolute sweetest in helping me with my crazy week. Through thick and thin, I know I can count on her for a hug and a smile. Grandmothers always know how to make things better. I love you, Nan!

Is there anyone you would like to thank for all the do for you just simply by being themselves? 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Squash Rehab

Heya :)!

I am glad to hear you are all enjoying fall food just as much as I am. While there are so many great ones to choose from, it seems that winter squash is the unanimous winner. It definitely ranks number one in my book!

I usually hesitate to throw around words such as "best" or "favorite" since I love so many different kinds of food, but squash is my exception (and, uhem, a certain muffin). Hands down, winter squash is my favorite food. Now I know that is a pretty bold statement, but you are just going to have to trust me on this one. My squash consumption is out of control! My step dad even joked that he would have to send me to "squash rehab." But what can I say, when cravings hit, you just have to roll with them, orange hands and all.

Seeing Libby's pumpkin around the blog world spurred some curiosity. For the longest time, I was convinced that I was allergic to pumpkin because pumpkin pie always left me feeling woosey and lightheaded. Turns out it was probably just all that heavy cream and sugar. Finally able to enjoy the pumpkin I feared for so long, I finally gave in and tried Libby's for myself.

I deemed it delicious, but not quite as good as buttercup or kabocha. That being said, I should admit that I could not stop eating it. Spoonful after spoonful, the can seemed to disappear. What can I say, I may be a squash snob, but I love it all just the same. Before I demolished the whole thing, I decided to make some fall-inspired soft serve.

Spiced Pumpkin Soft Serve
adapted from Oh She Glows

  • 1 frozen banana (cut into chunks prior to freezing) 
  • 3 TBS pureed pumpkin 
  • 1 TBS almond milk 
  • 1/2 tsp molasses (for a little added nutritional punch)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice


Combine all ingredients in a food processor until fluffy and creamy. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!

It was like eating chilly pumpkin pie in a bowl. Except this time, it was minus the headache. Thank you, Libby's, for showing me the goodness of what I have been missing!  

While this was pretty tasty, it barely put a dent in my squash cravings. Remember what I said about squash rehab? Well, maybe J was not joking after all. ;)

And so the return of the buttercup began...

I have no shame in admitting the fact that this meal was all about the squash. With simple baked tempeh, steamed veggies (broccoli, zucchini, and brussels sprouts), the buttercup easily took center stage.

That is, until this showed up...

What can I say? Kabocha will always reign supreme. Always. I have had such a hard time finding them that I almost forgot how superior they really are. When slow-roasted, kabochas are super sweet and smooth as buttah. You can even see the natural sweet juices that started to collect as it baked!

The tell-tale sign of a kabocha is a smooth button bottom, rather than the traditional buttercup cap. HEAB did a great post on differentiating them here if you are curious or in search of a kabocha of your very own. Trust me, you will never go back.

Especially if you bring coconut butter to the mix. Oh my...

I have no words.

One of my yoga teachers told me that because of my personality and energy (according to Ayurveda), winter squash is one of the best things for me to eat, especially because it is soothing in high-stress times (like now... Hello, junior year!) Well I clearly have no problem with that!

And lucky for me, squash is also quite the nutritional power house. According to The World's Healthiest Foods, it "an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene); a very good source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese; and even a good source of folate, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin B6, niacin-vitamin B3 and pantohenic acid." Wowza, talk about a long list of goodness!

It is even found to have anti-cancer effects and protect against diabetic heart disease. Seriously, is there anything it cannot do?! 

On that note, I will leave you all so you can find some winter squash for yourself (preferably buttercup or kabocha if you have not tried it yet.) Squash may be a strange craving, but I cannot say I am complaining. If given a choice of one food to eat for the rest of my life, there would be no question as to what it would be.

How have you indulged in your cravings lately (food or otherwise)? And if you had to choose one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

Have a lovely day!