Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese

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Modified from Shape.com
Serves 6.

Calories   Carbs   Fat   Protein   Sodium   Sugar
409          78        3      13           392         10

Ingredients:

  • 2 bags frozen butternut squash
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pound small elbow macaroni or mini shells
  • 2 tablespoons Daiya Cheddar
  • 3/4 cup panko
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large saucepan, add butternut squash, garlic, thyme, almond milk, and stock. Cook until squash is fork-tender. Remove thyme sprig. Place mixture in a food processor or blender, and puree until velvety smooth.
2. Meanwhile, cook macaroni until al dente (semifirm). Drain and rinse with cool water. Spread out macaroni on a lightly greased 13-by-9-inch pan. Pour squash puree over noodles. Cover with foil, place in oven, and bake for approximately 45 minutes. While casserole bakes, combine all ingredients for breadcrumb topping.
3. Remove pan from oven and evenly spread breadcrumb topping and Gruyere over top. Transfer to broiler and broil for 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly.

Fall Almond Cookies

Annnd I’m back after unannounced summer break. Have you ever just wanted to cut out all distractions and soak up the last bits of summer, and then your computer dies, and then your camera dies, and then your computer dies again? That happens to people right =).

These cookies remind me of running cross country in the fall and sitting in the back of the bus going to away meets. See, H and I would always make cookies for the team when we were traveling. We’d meet at her house the afternoon before the big day, after an easy or no practice and bake up a storm. One time while gathering all of the ingredients she took out the almond extract instead of vanilla. I was shocked and a little taken back.
me: “Almond instead of vanilla?”
H: “Yup, my mom and I do this sometimes for a different flavor. It’s nice trust me.”
me: “But that’s not what the directions say.”
H: “Haha, you don’t always have to follow the directions word for word Jo.”
A wise one that H.
Adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TB almond milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 TB almond milk

In a large bowl or standing mixer beat butter, sugar, and baking powder until fluffy. Add in the egg, almond milk, and almond extract and beat until well combined. Beat in as much flour as you can. (At this point I started a raise an eyebrow… as much as I could? What about the rest?) The original recipe said after you couldn’t beat anymore, to just stir the rest in. The dough was looking a little dry so I added a little more milk and continued to use my mixer haha. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375. Divide the dough in half so you can work in batches. Sprinkle a large cutting board with a little bit of flour. Take the first half of the dough leaving the second in the fridge, roll out the dough until it’s about 1/8 in thick. Using your favorite fall cookie cutters cut the dough in shapes! Carefully place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 7-8 minutes. Place the unused dough back in the fridge and repeat with the second half.

When cookies are done transfer to a wire sheet and let cool. Perfect time for the icing. In a bowl whisk together powdered sugar, almond extract, and the almond milk. Once the cookies have cooled completely, brush with icing and sprinkle festively!

Mini Bacon and Asparagus Quiches

Processed food is a funny thing. Crescent Rolls. Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts. Duncan Hines Classic Vanilla Frosting. All things you’d think I’d be allergic to but contain 0% dairy. Praise the food Gods.

The crescent rolls come in particularly handy when making mini quiches. Pie crusts are usually safe as well, but why cut something into 12 pieces when it’s already been done for you? I’d been craving quiche lately after seeing L make one. I took some inspiration from the “I LOVE BACON!” book’s Bacon, Asparagus, and Gruyere Quiche. The bacon book’s recipe used a lot of heavy cream and whole milk though. While I can find those soy substitutes, I was looking for something lighter and found a little inspiration from Eatingwell.com too!
Yields 12 mini quiches.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans crescent rolls
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup almond milk + 1 TB lemon juice (substitute buttermilk!)
  • 8 slices turkey bacon
  • 6 asparagus spears cooked (I used frozen and thawed… you know… lazy), chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups daiya cheddar style shreds
  • celtic sea salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease a muffin pan liberally with cooking spray. Line muffin cups with crescent rolls, cutting dough to fill in holes when necessary.
On medium heat, fry up bacon in a large skillet. Crumble or chop bacon into bite-sized pieces.
Whisk together eggs, egg whites, and milk in a small bowl. Sprinkle bacon, asparagus, and cheese into individual cups. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the cups.
Bake mini quiches until the tops are light brown about 25 minutes.
Hopefully the quiches won’t stick too much, use a knife to loosen if needed.
Savor bacon, cheesy, buttery goodness with a little less guilt =).

Cookies n Mint Marble Frappe


The other day H’s status was “mint oreo frappe”.

That sounded heavenly on a really hot day.

It was all I could think about… until now =)

Serves 2.
Ingredients:

Melt the remainder of the chocolate bar in a small glass. Place the frozen desert, milk, and the 5 whole cookies in a blender. Pulse until desert and milk are combined and cookies are in pieces. Drip the melted chocolate along the inner walls of the glasses you’re using. Pour frappe into glasses. Top with Rice Whip and sprinkle on the crushed cookies. Garnish with reserved chocolate and mint leaves.

Funfetti Cupcakes from Scratch

Mmmm Funfetti. The most universally loved cake there is. If you look at the ingredients, it’s just vanilla cake with sprinkles. But we all know it’s so much more than that.

It’s all I ever wanted as a kid.

From ’91… there’s sprinkles underneath I promise you…

To ’06… Mom was angling to “order” me a graduation cake… that wasn’t happening… funfetti… please and thank you.
(don’t know if you noticed, but the picture of the baby has now changed… that’s D$… c’mon Mom 😉

To now. My close friend C and I joked that it would be our wedding cake when the time came for each of us. She went with something else. I’m holding out hope for me =)

Adapted from How Sweet It Is.
Yields 12 cupcakes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Earth Balance Buttery Stick
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup colored sprinkles

Frosting:

  • 1 Earth Balance Buttery Stick
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 1/2 cups confectionary sugar
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
  • 1 TB – 1/4 cup of almond milk, depending
  • 3 TB colored sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Alternate adding in the dry ingredients and milk then beat until completely mixed. Stir in the colored sprinkles.

Fill the cups about 2/3 and bake 20-25 minutes. The time will vary depending on oven temperatures.

Now for the good stuff! Beat butter and shortening together until fluffy. Add in the sugar, vanilla, and a little bit of the milk continuing to beat until well combined.

Add in additional milk to taste. I ended up adding the whole 1/4 then regretted it a little bit because the frosting was a tad too liquidy. It ended up hardening and was fine, but I still wish I put in a little less. Stir in the remaining sprinkles.

Raspberry, Banana, and Nut Smoothie

It’s official, I’m jumping on the smoothie bandwagon for the summer. It’s a balmy 81 degrees in Boston today, though my apartment feels a bit warmer. As the weather heats up nothing in my apartment seems appealing. Even less so if it means turning the oven on!
I really like smoothies because in addition to cooling you down… all the ingredients are blended together… which means your body doesn’t have to do much work to break them down… which means you’ll stay even cooler 😉 A smoothie is perfect any time of the day too. I eat them for breakfast or as a pre/post gym snack. I have a few up my sleeve that I want to share, but this one seemed perfect for the weekend!
Adapted from: Real Simple
Serves 3.

  • 2 1/4 cups almond milk
  • 2 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 3 bananas
  • 3 TB peanut butter
  • 3 TB agave nectar
  • 3 TB flax seed oil
Combine milk and raspberries in a blender and blend until most of the raspberries are broken down. Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

Carrot Ginger Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting And Candied Carrot Sprinkles

My co-worker/friend/honorary big brother T’s birthday was the other day. Perfect opportunity to try out a new cupcake recipe! T is a person who is super supportive and always in my corner no matter what. While we were out at the bar (fact: I have no shame bringing the cupcake hotel out to bars) a randomer offered to pay me for one of my cupcakes! It was my first sale as a baker, and T was more excited about it than me I think haha. He exclaimed “Now you’re a professional! Woohoo!!”  Gotta have people like that in your life =)
Adapted from: Cupcake Bakeshop
Yields: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 lb carrots, grated
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 TB lemon juice
    (the almond milk+lemon juice is a non-dairy substitution for buttermilk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 TB finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger (purchased at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s only has it seasonally)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Frosting:

  • 1/8 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
  • 1/8 cup shorting
  • 1 container Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese Plain
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • splash of almond milk

Candied Carrots:

  • 2 peeled carrots
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2-4 TB sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine carrots, eggs, almond milk, lemon juice, vanilla, sugar, vegetable oil, fresh ginger, and candied ginger. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Fold flour mixture and pecans into the wet mixture. Fill cups 2/3’s full and bake 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

While the cupcakes are cooling you can make the frosting! Cream together butter, shortening, and cream cheese until fluffy. Add in vanilla, sugar, and milk and beat until well combined. Add additional milk as needed or until desired consistency is reached.

To candy the carrots, bring water and sugar to a boil in a small sauce pan. Reduce heat to low, add in carrots and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Pour carrots into a fine strainer and let completely cool. I ended up leaving mine out overnight. The end result wasn’t sweet enough for me so I started sprinkling on sugar until I thought they looked coated.

Pipe the frosting in a swirl pattern using a medium circular tip. Then sprinkle on candied carrots!