Archive for January, 2010

Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce

I really planned not to eat any dinner tonight.  My friends and I met for lunch and I ate plenty between appetizers and my meal.  However, I still need food for the week thanks to my crazy work schedule.  I made this recipe with dairy products about a month ago and decided that I would much prefer it with no animal product.  With little effort I transformed it into a vegan dinner.  It can easily be made gluten free with the use of rice pasta or steamed shaved zucchini which I find a wonderful substitute for pasta.


1 butternut squash

1 lb of pasta, I used vermicelli

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large or 2 small shallots diced

3/4 cup soy milk plain or vanilla work fine

1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Pepper, basil and nutmeg to taste


Half squash and remove seeds, place flesh down in a baking dish and fill with 1/2 inch of water

Bake at 350 until soft, 30-45 minutes

Cook pasta according to directions and drain reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water

Spoon squash into food processor or blender and add lemon juice, pasta water plus 1/4 cup of walnuts, blend until smooth

Heat oil in a dutch oven and saute shallots until translucent then add squash mixture

Add soy milk to squash mixture and blend well

Toss finished sauce with the pasta and top with remaining walnuts when serving


Mushroom Ravioli with Balsamic Reduction Glaze

My original plan for Sunday evening was to have dinner at a local pizzeria.  After spending a day switching my kids bedrooms I looked a wreck and was too tired to fix myself up.  I think a day of dusting, vacuuming, washing bedding and moving furniture will wear anyone out.  At about 5:30pm I looked in the fridge hoping for something more inspired than grilled cheese and found a package of Buitoni Wild Mushroom Agnolotti Ravioli I had recently bought.  I decided to try a balsamic reduction to go with it and found it to be surprisingly easy and tasty.  A good combination!  When making a reduction one is supposed to use a high quality vinegar.  As usual, I did not follow that rule.  I had Publix Balsamic Vinegar and that’s what I used.  It came out fine, but I’m certain it would improve with a higher quality product.  Last, there was a little leftover reduction which I refrigerated in an airtight container and will use as a salad dressing later this week!


1 9 oz package Buitoni Wild Mushroom Agnolotti Ravioli (found in refrigerator section of grocery store)

1 cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup finely chopped walnuts

A few turns of McCormick Italian Herb Seasoning Grinder

Fresh ground pepper to taste

1 pinch sugar (optional)


Cook pasta according to package directions

Pour vinegar into a sauce pan and bring to a boil stirring regularly

Continue at a light boil until reduced to a syrup like consistency, add sugar if desired

Continue stirring

Add seasoning and olive oil and reduce heat to low setting for a few minutes

Toss the pasta with the vinegar reduction

Once plated sprinkle with chopped walnuts and serve

Baked Apples and Fruit

I woke up wanting something sweet and yummy that would make my house smell wonderful.   Since I’m trying to behave myself dietary wise I decided against baking cookies.  There were a half dozen fuji apples sitting on the counter so decided to take a few and turn them into a treat.  This is not a super sweet recipe but still tastes great!  If you want to add sweetness warm up a serving and place them over some vanilla ice cream.  It’s delicious!


4 large apples, I used Fuji

1/4 cup dried apricots julienned

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Use an apple slicer to cut apples into 8 equal slices, then half each slice.  Take a large bowl and fill with cold water and lemon juice, add apples slices while working.  Once all fruit is prepared drain the apples.  Add the fruit and all other ingredients.  Bake covered for 30 minutes until the apples are a soft texture.  Turn off oven and let apples sit in warm oven for 15 additional minutes.  Refrigerate once cooled.  Serve either warm or cool.

Lentil Barley Soup

I actually made this recipe about a week ago when it was quite cold in Florida.  I was looking for a recipe that would warm us up while being hearty and filling.  I ended up taking a few components from several different recipes and created my own.  It came out very well and will absolutely be making it again in the future.

Lentil Barley Soup


1 medium sized onion diced

2 large or 4 small carrots sliced ½ inch thick

2 celery stalks diced

1 cup lentils

¾ cup quick barley

2 14 oz cans vegetable broth

2 14 oz cans filled with water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon tumeric

½ teaspoon sage

Salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in a stock pot and saute vegetables until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes

Add the water and broth and let simmer

Once broth is simmering add the lentils and barley and cook on a medium low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally

After 15 minutes add seasoning and stir

Once the lentils and barley are tender add more seasoning for personal preference

Vegan Rice Pudding

I’ve been trying to make a good vegan rice pudding recipe for a long time now.  They all seem to come out too watery, too thick, or the rice simply never cooks properly.  Today I played around a bit and created my own recipe that seems to be just the right consistency and tastes great!  I believe the secret is to cook it with the lid slightly ajar, not completely on or off the pan.  I used ingredients that were in my house, nothing fancy and all together it took about 30 minutes.


1 cup white or basmati rice (I used white)

1 16 oz can light coconut milk

2 cups vanilla soymilk

4 oz either maple butter or maple syrup

½ cup raisins or cranberries (or try a mixture)

¼ teaspoon cardamom

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Combine milks and rice in a saucepan and bring to a light boil, stirring often.  Lower the heat to either medium low or low so that it is lightly bubbling and place the lid so that it is not completely covering the pan.  Continue stirring frequently for about 20-25 minutes until the rice is well cooked and there is a creamy texture.  Cook a little longer for a thicker consistency if desired.  Once at desired consistency add the maple butter/syrup and cranberries stirring well.  Then add the vanilla and spices and turn the burner off. Let cool for awhile on the stovetop before refrigerating.

Vegan Buffalo Wing Chili

I woke up this morning to it being 28 degrees outside and only 60 degrees inside my house.  In Florida that is considered quite cold.  It was also a problem because my thermostat was set to 68 and my heater obviously not working.  After bundling up I decided that this would be a great day to make some chili.  Nothing warms you up better than some spicy food.  In the meantime a repair guy came and and fixed the unit so we have warm food to go with our warm house.  All is good.


1 package of Gardien Buffalo Wings defrosted and diced into ¼” pieces

1 28 oz can tomato sauce

1 28 oz can Bush’s Pinto Beans in Chili Sauce

1 28 oz can Black Beans rinsed

2 cups cooked brown or white rice

1 onion chopped

2 cloves of garlic chopped

½ to 1 whole jalapeno finely chopped (depending on personal taste)

A few shakes of Tabasco Chipolte flavor

Pepper, Chili powder to personal taste

Vegetable or Canola oil just a few teaspoons

Optional grated cheddar or vegan cheese to top


In a large pan saute the onion and jalapeno in oil on medium high heat

Add the chopped Buffalo Wings once onions are translucent

Saute 2 minutes and add the garlic, saute 1 more minute

Lower heat to medium and add sauce and beans, stir well

Stir in rice using as much as needed to make a thick hearty chili

Let simmer for about 20-30 minutes adding the Chipolte Sauce

Season to your own taste

RVing vegetarians

I have been actively looking for posts from vegetarians who enjoy the RV lifestyle.   They seem to be few and far between.  My husband and I have a long term plan to spend a year or more living out of an RV and I would love some input from people.  This is brand new to us and we plan to start slowly.  This summer we’d like to find an RV to rent that’s already set up at a campground in Tennessee or Georgia.  We want to be near the mountains for sure.  As much as I love to cook I also love to eat out which can be problematic for vegetarians.  Cooking in the confined space of an RV looks like it could also be a challenge.  If anyone out there has any suggestions or input I would really like to hear from you.

Thanks, Lin