Creamy spaghetti squash

I needed a quick and easy dinner last night so I cooked some delicious Spaghetti squash in a creamy sauce.

1 medium spaghetti squash
Cut into half, cleaned out, salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Place into a pressure cooker for 18 minutes or roast in the over at 375 for 45 minutes. Ounce slightly cooled shred the squash with two forks by lightly pulling and scrapping the squash.

1 avocado
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbs harissa
1 1/2 tsp habanero strawberry jelly
(Substitute a lil honey or any sweetener you want)
1/2 tbs minced garlic
1 tsp parsley
1 1/2 tbs pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp sriracha
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

Blend everything except olive oil until creamy. While blending on low drizzle in olive oil until combined.

2 tbs coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the coconut oil. When melted add the squash. Sauté for 5 minutes then add the avocado cream sauce and coat the squash. Add almond milk until slightly thinned out or desired consistency. Continue to sauté 5-10 minutes or until desired softness.




I’ve been working hard… and will be making a come back soon!

Well looks like I jumped ship! I left my career of interpreting and returned full time to food service! I have a new job and am taking new classes. I recently bought my first house and am just getting settled. I have so many things to be thankful for this holiday season. Most importantly I’m ready for life to settle down a bit and I can’t wait to get back to blogging! I have been hard at work this past year and am excited to share it.
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Artichoke Spinach Dip Bowls



This recipe makes a beautiful artichoke bowl that holds spinach and artichoke dip.


Castroville, California is known as the “artichoke center of the world” because it produces most of the artichokes in the United States. Castroville hosts an artichoke festival every year.


The artichoke leaves make good “chips” for the dip! Try filling these artichoke bowls with other dips or fillings. The dip alone is great. You can make it by using the recipe for the dip and cutting the topping recipe to make ¼. Place dip in glass baking dish, top with breadcrumb mixture and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.


Serves 12

Serving Size ½ artichoke and dip
6 medium-large globe artichokes
1 lemon

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
8 ounces sour cream
1 cup of shredded Italian cheese blend
2 (14oz) can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
4 cups of chopped, fresh spinach
2 scallions, chopped
½ teaspoon cayenne
¾ teaspoon black pepper
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon powder garlic
½ lemon, juiced

Topping (optional)
2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons dried parsley
4 tablespoons olive oil
additional olive oil for drizzling

Dairy Free/Vegan version of this recipe
For the Filling Substitute- (following the above recipe)
vegan sour cream
vegan cream cheese
vegan mayonnaise
omit the shredded cheese OR
substitute shredded vegan mozzarella

Clean and Prep the Artichokes– Cut off stems so they sit flat. Cut ½ inch off the tops (discard). Rub lemon on artichoke to coat the cuts because artichokes oxidize like apples. Using scissors clip the tops, or pointed part, off each of the leaves (discard). Rinse in water while pulling the leaves slightly apart and opening up the artichoke.

Steaming the Artichokes- Inset a steam tray into a large pot. Fill the pot with enough water to slightly cover the steamer and bring to a slight boil. Place artichokes in pot and steam for 10-15 minutes. Remove and turn them upside down to drain.

Making the Dip– Using beaters, a processor, or wooden spoon. Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, cayenne, pepper, salt, garlic powder, and lemon juice. After well combined, fold in the shredded cheese, chopped artichokes and spinach.

Removing the Choke
– *SEE NOTE* Once the artichokes have cooled. Using your hands open up the center of the artichoke. You will see smaller pointer leaves which will need to be removed. This is the “choke”. You can feel it because it is sharp and hairy. Using a spoon scrape out the choke. If it is difficult, use a knife to score around the edges then continue to scrap and pull. Be careful not to go through the heart into the bottom because the dip will leak through.

Filling the Artichokes-
Spoon the dip into the artichoke. Each artichoke should hold ¾-1 cup dip.

Topping- (optional) Mix the breadcrumbs, parsley and olive oil together. Sprinkle on top of each artichoke. Using your fingers, slightly open the top leaves and stuff some of the topping mixture into them. Do this for the first few rows of leaves. Lightly drizzle olive oil all over the artichokes.

Steaming the Artichokes– Place the artichokes in a deep baking dish. Try to keep them slightly compacted together. This will help them hold together. Add water to cover the bottom 1/4 inch. Cover with foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Then remove the foil and continue baking, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove and serve with chips or veggies. The artichoke leaves make a great “chip” for this dip!


NOTE: The points can be very sharp! Be careful!

Use caution if letting children assist with this part! 






Breadcrumb Stuffed Artichokes

Stuffed artichokes are a family favorite. One can find them at most family gatherings.
Everyone in the family has their own techniques.
My recipe uses almonds and salt in place of the grated parmesan cheese.
Steaming the artichokes makes them tender and the breadcrumbs moist.

Artichokes are said to be one of the oldest foods . Greek mythology tells a story of Cynara.
A woman who upset Zeus and he turned her into an artichoke.
Also, in the 16th Century the artichoke was considered an aphrodisiac. It was denied to women and reserved for men.

When buying artichokes look for ones that are dark green and heavy in weight. The leaves should be tight and squeak when rubbed against each other. Store in an airtight bag with a sprinkle of water in the refrigerator.



Servings 6
Serving size ½ artichoke

3 globe artichokes
2 cups (8oz) plain breadcrumbs
½ cup very finely chopped almonds + 1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
additional olive oil for drizzling

Clean and Prep the Artichokes– *SEE NOTE* Cut off stems so they sit flat. Cut ½ inch off the tops (discard). Rub lemon on artichokes to coat the cuts because artichokes oxidize like apples. Using scissors clip the tops, or pointed part, off each of the leaves (discard). Rinse in water while pulling the leaves slightly apart and opening up the artichoke. Lay upside down in a colander to drain and slightly dry.

Breadcrumb Mixture: Mix together the breadcrumbs, chopped almonds, parsley, and garlic powder.

Stuffing the Artichokes: Pull back an artichoke leaf and spoon in approximately ½ tablespoon of breadcrumb mixture down into the leaf. Do this for all the leaves. I find it is easiest to use a rounded teaspoon or ½ tablespoon measuring utensil. Using one hand, I push the leaf back from the artichoke then use the back rounded part of the tool to assist with holding the leave open while I dump in the breadcrumb mixture. 

Steaming the Artichokes: Place the artichokes on a steamer in a large pot. Lightly packing the artichokes together will help support them. Pour enough water into the pot to reach the steaming tray (if you do not have a steamer, place artichokes directly in the pot and pour enough water to cover 1 inch of the bottom of the artichoke). Drizzle olive oil over the breadcrumbs and artichokes. Cover. Bring to a light boil over medium-high and steam for 55 minutes-1 hour 10 minutes or until the leaves pull off easily, the breadcrumbs are moist, and the artichoke meat tender. Keep an eye on the water level in the pot. If it gets too low add more to prevent the water from completely evaporating. When they are tender, remove them and enjoy!

NOTE: The points can be very sharp! Be careful! Use caution if letting children assist with this part! OPTIONAL: Soaking the artichokes in cold water for 5-10 minutes, after they are trimmed, will help loosen them up and make them easier to stuff.

Eating an artichoke can be confusing to people who are not familiar with this unique vegetable. To enjoy the leaves, use your teeth to scrap the meat off the skin of the leaves. Then discard the leaves. The tip of the leaves, where the points are located, tend to be thick with little meat. The bottom to the leaves, closer to the choke (center) typically are tender and have more meat. The heart of the artichoke is delicious and popular. After the choke is removed and the meat is scraped off the leaves, you will find the heart beneath where the choke was located. Cleaning and eating an artichoke takes some work and might take getting use to but it is worth it. Think of it like the crab legs of vegetables. Takes work to prep and eat them but worth the effort!





Homemade Pasta and Ravioli




The ravioli is a super kid friendly dough because it’s not very sticky and easy to use. Have fun creating shapes and filling with different goodies!


1 cup semolina flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 tablespoon flax seed, ground + 2 tablespoons hot water (mixed together)

7 tablespoons water

4 tablespoon oil


In a food processor pulse together the flours and flaxseed mixture. Slowly feed in the oil and water. Turn out onto a smooth service and knead the dough for 5 minutes. Place in a warm bowl with a warm towel on top OR wrap in plastic wrap and let sit 15-20 minutes.

Roll dough with a rolling pin then feed through a pasta press or roll to desired thickness and slice with a knife into whatever shape you want.

When I make ravioli or am making large batches of pasta that will take time to complete, I take what I need and leave the rest wrapped or in the bowl with a towel on top until ready to use. I also keep the towel warm.When making the dough and shapes, it is fun to play, use your hands, get the kids involved, make shapes… just have fun 🙂 We like using different dough presses too.

I really like this pasta baked. Put sauce on the bottom, lay ravioli on top, top with more sauce and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. YUM!

Below is a delicious pumpkin ravioli with a vegan pumpkin cream sauce! DELICIOUS! Will post recipe soon.




Limon-Ginger Press

limonpressThis is a light flavorful drink perfect for summertime. Lemon pairs well with ginger and basil so you can not go wrong with this take on a vodka press.  

A vodka press usually is a mix of club soda or tonic and lemon-lime soda.  


Serves 1

1 ½ ounces limoncello liquor
1 ½ ounces ginger vodka
2 ounces club soda or tonic
2 ounces gingerale
fresh lemon, sliced
fresh ginger, peeled and sliced fresh basil


Use a paring knife to remove the peel, or outer layer, from the ginger. Also, remove any seeds that are in the lemon slices.

In a martini shaker, muddle together the lemon, ginger, and basil with a splash of soda water. If you do not have a muddling stick, a wooden spoon works great!

Add the limoncello and vodka. Next add a few ice cubes and cover. Then shake, shake, shake.

Strain mixture into a glass, over ice. Add the club soda and gingerale. Garnish with a lemon slice.

Stir and enjoy!

NOTE: To lower the sweetness and calories use only club soda and omit the gingerale.


3 or 6 Layer Chocolate Italian Cake


choc layer cake1 

This 3 layer cake is cholesterol free and loaded with protein, fiber, and omega 3s. This is my rendition of a family favorite and you will never believe what is in it! 

choc layer cake2

The pictures are the 6 layer version of this cake and with a vanilla and cocoa nib whipped topping. The recipe calls for cocoa whipped topping, it is DELICIOUS! I added a cashew cream layer in the cake, which this recipe does not call for. That is my favorite thing about layer cakes YOU CAN GET AS CREATIVE AS YOU WANT! Have fun, experiment, and explore! 

SHOPPING LIST 4 cups whole wheat pastry flour 1 ½ tablespoons baking soda 1 ½ teaspoon salt 10 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa 1 ½ cup raw sugar 1 cup safflower oil 1 orange 9 ounces tofu, organic 4 tablespoons vanilla extract 9 tablespoons agave nectar 2 (14oz) cans coconut milk ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa nibs 1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar 1 large avocado ¼ cup +3 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk OR drained coconut milk (from the coconut milk cans already on list, SEE NOTE)

Preheat oven 350 degrees.


4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 ½ tablespoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 ½ cups raw sugar
1 cup safflower oil
2 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 cups cold water

Chocolate Pudding
1 large avocado, pit removed

2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoons vanilla
3 ½ tablespoons agave nectar
¼ cup unsweetened
vanilla almond milk
zest of ¼ an orange
juice of ¼ an orange 

Cannoli “Ricotta”
9 ounces tofu, organic non-gmo

2 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tablespoons agave nectar
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
zest of ½ an orange
juice of ½ an orange

¼ cup cocoa nibs, ground

Whipped Topping
2 (14 oz) cans coconut milk, chilled overnight in refrigerator
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
¼ cup agave nectar
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
zest of ¼ orange

Cake- In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Add the sugar, oil, vinegar, vanilla, and cold water. Mix until combined and pour into three greased 9 inch round baking pans. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and set on cooling rack for 10 minutes, then turn cake out onto the cooling rack until completely cool.

Chocolate Pudding- Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender for 3-4 minutes until mixture is smooth and creamy. Taste to see if you want to add more agave. Cannoli “Ricotta”- In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients. Blend for 3-4 minutes until mixture is smooth and creamy with little bites of cocoa nibs. Taste to see if you want to add more agave.

Whipped Topping- Remove coconut milk cans from refrigerator. Turn them upside down and remove bottom. Pour out the liquid on top until you are left with only the chilled solidified part in the can. Scoop into a chilled bowl and begin whisking until a nice whipped topping is achieved. This will take a few minutes. Add the cocoa powder, agave, vanilla, and orange zest and continue whisking until well combined. Once finished, leave in refrigerator until ready to use.

Assembly- Start with a layer of cake and spread an even layer of chocolate pudding on it. Top with another layer of cake and spread an even layer of cannoli “Ricotta” on top. Top with the final layer of cake. Spread your whipped topping over the top and sides of the cake. Chill for 1 hour before serving. ALWAYS STORE IN FRIDGE.


  • You can use the drained, unused portion, of the canned coconut milk in place of the unsweetened almond milk. Adds more calories and fat but works great in the recipe.

  • If you do not have enough cake pans, cook the layers separately (2-3 times depending on how many pans you have) making sure to wipe out and grease the pan for each new layer

  • This recipe can be turned into a 6 layer cake by pouring cake batter in 2 cake pans and baking for 18-20 minutes. Doubling the pudding and ricotta recipes. After the cakes cool, place in freezer for 2 ½ -3 hours. Using a serrated knife, slice each cake horizontally into three even layers.

“Green Lasagna” Kale, Spinach, Butternut Squash

green lasagna1

Now-a-days green is in! Green veggies are nutrient dense and people are finding new ways to blend them into their diet. This “Green Lasagna” is a delicious way to get your vitamins and minerals because it is loaded with vitamins A, C, and B6. This dish is fun for Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day.

green lasagna

The lasagnas pictured used alternate layers of zucchini noodles and whole wheat noodles. The recipe below is for all whole wheat noodles. 


1 pound Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles
1 (2 ¾ pound) Butternut Squash
OR 4 cups frozen
10 cups Spinach
4 cups Kale
10 ½ tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
extra for drizzling
1 small Onion
1 can (14oz) Tomato Sauce
1 tablespoon Raw Sugar or Light Agave Nectar

1 tablespoon Garlic, chopped
¾ cup Fresh Basil
¼ tsp Nutmeg, ground
9 ounces extra firm organic tofu
½ teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons pine nuts

¼ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon dried parsley
salt and black pepper to taste


1 pound whole wheat lasagna noodles
4 cups finely chopped fresh spinach
4 cups fresh, hard stems removed and leaves finely
chopped, kale

Spinach Squash Sugo (sauce)
4 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 small onion, diced
1 can (14-15oz) tomato sauce
1 cup OR ½ can (emptied tomato sauce) water
1 tablespoon raw sugar OR agave nectar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ cup fresh basil
6 cups fresh spinach
½ butternut squash OR 2 cups frozen cubes
salt, divided

Squash Puree
½ butternut squash OR 2 cups frozen
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt

Pesto “Ricotta”
9 ounces extra firm tofu, ORGANIC non-gmo
3 tablespoon pine nuts
4 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup fresh basil
¾ cup of Spinach Squash Sugo (sauce)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
salt and black pepper


¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tablespoons parsley
1 ½ tablespoon olive oil

TO SAVE TIME- It is convenient to have the squash roasted and tofu drained. Any steps before assembly can be done ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to assemble lasagna. The recipe including assembly can be completed and refrigerated for up to one week before baking.

Sauce- In a pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil then add the onion and garlic. Saute until the onions for 3-5 minutes and are transparent. Next, add tomato sauce, water, sugar, pinch of salt and basil. Let sauce simmer, covered, for 25-45 minutes.Preparing Tofu-While squash is baking, drain your tofu. If you do not have a tofu press you can place a towel in a dish and line the top with paper towels. Put your tofu on the paper towel and cover with additional paper towels then place something heavy, like a heavy bowl or pan, on top. This will help express the liquid. Do this for an hour OR leave in refrigerator overnight.Roasting Squash- SKIP THIS STEP IF USING FROZEN SQUASH. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds, similar to how you would clean out a pumpkin. Put on a baking pan and rub with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top then place into oven uncovered for 45min-1 hour or until a fork can be easily inserted. When butternut squash is finished roasting, remove from oven to start cooling. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees.

In a food processor or blender, scoop out the flesh of ½ the roasted butternut squash (2 cups frozen). Add the spinach, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Blend until well combined. If it is too thick add a tablespoon of water or olive oil. Finally, add to the pot with the tomato sauce.

Pesto “Ricotta”- Toast pine nuts in a skillet over low-medium heat, stirring frequently, until they start to turn a golden brown. Then, in a food processor or blender combine tofu, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and basil until mixture is smooth and resembles ricotta. Mix in ¾ cup of spinach squash sugo.

Squash Puree- Scoop out the flesh of the remaining ½ butternut squash (2 cups of frozen squash). In a food processor or blender combine squash, nutmeg, and pinch of salt. Blend until it becomes a puree. May wish to add a slight drizzle of olive oil.*If squash is still hot for this step and you are using a blender, place kitchen towel over blender and hold down the lid*

Topping- Stir together breadcrumbs, parsley, and olive oil. The breadcrumbs should be moist. If they seem too dry, add some more olive oil.

Noodles- Bring 8-10 cups of water to a boil. To season the noodles you need to add 1-2 tablespoons of salt to the water. Cook the lasagna noodles in batches, so you can work as you go. Start with 3-4 noodles. Cook them 2 minutes less than the box recommends. When they are finished, remove from water and place on a plate. Start assembling lasagna and cook more noodles as you need them.


Grease a 9×13 glass baking dish or lasagna pan with cooking spray or oil. Cover the bottom of the dish with sauce then add a layer of noodles. Spread some “ricotta” mixture on the noodles then top with a thin layer of sauce. Next add a mixed layer of spinach and kale. When the next group of noodles is ready to go (slightly cooled on the plate) spread some butternut squash puree on top of them. Then lay them puree side down onto the spinach and kale. Then you repeat the whole process starting with the “ricotta”.

Think of it like a triple-decker sandwich, the middle slice of bread needs “spread” on both sides to help hold everything together. In this case the noodle is the bread and the squash goes on the bottom and the “ricotta” on top.
There will be 5 layers of noodles and 4 layers of filling. After layering is complete, spread a final layer of sauce on the top. If you have remaining sauce, you can add more to the sides or save for serving.

Finally, sprinkle the breadcrumb topping over and lightly pat it down.
Cover with foil. Vent foil by using a fork to poke a few holes or a knife to make a few slits. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove foil and return to oven and bake additional 15 minutes. This will allow the topping to get golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit 15-30 minutes before serving. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

green lasagna3

green lasagna2

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars


pumpkin cheesecake

pumpkin cheesecake3

Pumpkin Cheesecake


1 cup pureed pumpkin

2 1/2 -3/4 cups Soaked Cashews

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon Agave Nectar

1/4 cup liquid & 3 tablespoons solid coconut milk

2 tablespoons coconut oil

pinch nutmeg

1 teaspoon clove

1 teaspoon cinnamon


1/2 cup almond flour

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup coconut oil, liquid

8 softened dates

1/4 cup pecans, whole or chopped


1 can coconut milk, whole fat

3 tablespoons agave

1/2 tablespoons vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Soak cashews overnight in fridge overnight with 10 cups water or boil for 1 hour.
Soak dates in hot water for 10 minutes.
The coconut milk should be chilled overnight or placed in the freezer 3 hours before making the topping.
Chill the bowl and whisk, for making the topping, by placing the tools in the freezer for 1 hour before making the whipped topping.
Turn the chilled can of coconut milk upside down and remove the bottom of the can. Pour out the liquid and scrap the solidified portion into the chilled bowl. Place back into the freezer until ready to make.

Crust- In a food processor pulse together almond flour, coconut flakes, and pecans until everything is chopped and combined. Add the coconut oil and dates. Process until the dates are chopped and everything is blended together. Press this mixture into a greased 8 inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Filling- In a food processor or blender, blend cashews until they are like play-dough. Then add the rest of the filling ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and add more agave if you would like it sweeter. Pour this mixture over the crust.

Topping- Vigorously whisk together all ingredients until the consistency becomes like whipped cream.

Place in freezer for 3-4 hours then move to the fridge 1-2 hours before serving.

pumpkin cheesecake2


No bean veggie burger



burger 3

Blake wanted to grill out and so I knew I needed to throw together some veggie burgers. These burgers were a big hit and they were the product of a near empty pantry and a little creativity. I like a challenge 🙂 Derek said these were better than “Amy’s” which I take as a huge compliment because that’s his favorite brand.


Veggie Burgers, Makes 5 Burgers

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

1 cup cooked brown rice

4 roasted peppers, chopped
(can roast extra peppers for topping the burger)

3 green onion, chopped

1/2 cup spinach, chopped

1/4 cup wheat gluten

1/4 cup not instant oats, ground

2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pepper

2 teaspoons parsley

1 teaspoon dill

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs

ROASTING THE PEPPERS- Place peppers on spray or drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Split open and remove seeds. Remove any skins that easily peel off.

MAKING THE PATTIES- Mix all ingredients, EXCEPT BREADCRUMBS, in a bowl until well combined. *If you feel like it throw in some liquid aminos, bbq, or mustard for some added flavor* Divide mixture into 5 parts. Form each part into a burger by pressing tightly together to form a ball then shaping into a burger. If mixture begins to stick to your hands, rinse hands before moving onto the next burger.

Place breadcrumbs onto a plate and place one burger into the breadcrumbs. Flip and coat other side with breadcrumbs, roll the sides in the breadcrumbs. Pat together again reinforcing the burger shape and repeat process of coating with breadcrumbs again. Do this for each burger. Place in fridge until ready to grill.

Grill until golden brown on outside and warm on inside. Depends on your grill but with our little charcoal one, we placed the burgers on the outside of the grill and cooked about 10 minutes each side.


burger 2