Roasted Delicata Squash

These are cheap and plentiful at the farmer's markets- delicata squash!!

I love that their skin is thin and delicate, it means it is easier to cut than normal winter squash (like butternut) and the skin is edible like zucchini.

Once roasted, these are quite snackable. I've even stuck the leftovers in a bag in the fridge and found myself voraciously nibbling on the cold roasted squash. 

I cut of the stem top and a little bit of the end. Slice down the center. Scoop out and discard the seeds with a spoon. Then slice into 1/2 inch half moons.  Toss with a little olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt.

Roast on a rimmed cookie sheet at 350 F for 20-40 minutes, turning over once, or as long as it takes to become golden.

DIY Rice Milk

Backstory: we had been buying Costco's Kirkland rice milk for some time.  I hate using a cart in that store, and prefer to zip around and between the crowds cartless. So more than once I've carried a heavy multi-pack box of rice milk through the store and out to my car on my shoulder. While it's a great workout (and you get lots of intrigued looks) it's not that fun. And then when I thought about all the trash from throwing out those cartons each week... I realized I should get on the "make your own" bandwagon.

I consulted several sites for recipes and have experimented.  Below is my preferred method for making our weekly stash. We've been free of the store bought rice milk for at least a couple months now and loving it.  Mostly we use the rice milk on home made granola for breakfasts.   It's a little too thin for coffee (I prefer almond mylk for my coffee!) but it's perfect for heavy nut-laden stuff like granola or as a substitute for milk in baking recipes.

Ingredients: all of the ingredients can be easily and cheaply bought at Costco: maple syrup, vanilla extract, Himalayan pink salt and a big bag of white rice.  I've been moving towards buying the raw ingredients at stores and trying not to purchase variations of the same ingredient (buy rice instead of rice and rice milk; buy almonds instead of almond meal, sliced almonds etc.).

Containers: I use half gallon glass canning jars, with wide mouth plastic lids.  Pictured above is our rice milk and kombucha (both home made) in two jars, which fit perfectly in our fridge door shelf.

Want to do something easier? Check out my shortcut version here.

Toast 2 cups of white rice in a wide dry skillet over high heat for 2-4 minutes, shaking every minute (don't let it burn).  It should smell more like rice, but not be burnt.  Catch it before it turns tan. It will shift from translucent to more opaque white.

Soak the toasted rice overnight in the fridge in several cups of water.  What I do is pour the hot toasted rice into the half gallon glass jar (using a canning funnel makes it easier), then pour in 4-6 cups of cold filtered water.  This makes the jar about 2/3 full.  You can soak it at room temp if you like, but I like it soaked in the fridge so it is chilled for morning breakfast.

Blend the rice and soaking liquid until smooth. I use a vitamix blender, but once the rice is soft from soaking I bet other blenders will work fine.

Strain the liquid into a large bowl.  I made a bag using washed thin white fabric sewn into a large bag with rounded edges, using a french seam.  Alternatively you can use a very fine metal sieve or buy a "nut milk bag" on the internet.  When using the bag, I pour from the vitamix in to the bag over the bowl, twist the top of the bag a little and then squeeze the bag to get the liquid out- it takes a couple minutes so be patient.  When the stuff in the bag is pretty dry, discard the rice solids (I compost mine).

Season the finished liquid with 1/4 - 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt. Alternatively, if you are a fan of liquid stevia you could try using that instead of the maple syrup.

Pour the liquid into a half gallon clean glass jar (I just rinse out the soaking jar).  Add 1-2 cups more cold filtered water until the half gallon jar is nearly full.

Store in the fridge. It seems to last 4-5 days. You'll know when it goes bad as it starts to smell and taste sour tasting.

It will separate so when ready to use, stir it (I use a long cooking chopstick to get the goo dislodged from the bottom of the jar; then re-screw the lid on and shake).

Cauliflower Pizza Dough (Gluten free)

 I followed this recipe from green kitchen stories. I love how the resulting pizza didn't have any wheat and was made of real nutrient dense food like eggs, almonds and cauliflower.  And it's a great way to use up the cauliflower! Of course it's not quite like real pizza but I think it could be a stand in for when I want a real-food version. 

I use my home canned tomato sauce and then topped with Kerrygold cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes and basil.

The pizza itself stuck pretty badly to the baking sheet- next time I would try parchment paper.

Since I ground my own almonds, the dough was a little too wet, so I added approx 1/4 C coconut flour to get it to stick together. Next time I'll try to use real almond flour from the store (not ground in the food processor).  Coconut flour is super absorbent, so if you ever have this issue of too-wet try out coconut flour!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Made these vegan chocolate chip cookies from Kathy's blog that I adore!

Since I didn't have spelt flour, it was all whole wheat flour.   Instead of chocolate chips, used a chocolate bar cut into chunks.  Refrigerating the dough is critical for getting the right shape.

Next time I'd make the dough ahead and freeze it, to give it more time chilling. 

The finished cookies were delicious out of the freezer, so you can make them without feeling like you have to eat the whole pan.

Alterations to original recipe: Reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup.  Use 1/4 C chocolate chips.


Panzanella (Tomato Bread Salad)

 I have shied away from panzenella because I figure if I'm going to eat a ton of bread why not eat pizza instead of salad. But I was wrong. This is much easier and faster than pizza but hits the pizza craving. As long as you use olive oil it's vegan too!


Dice dark brown bread into bite sizes.  It's ok to use old stale bread.  Chop 2-3 cloves garlic. Saute the bread and garlic along with sea salt in some olive oil in a heavy cast iron pan, until toasty but not burnt.

Meanwhile, dice several tomatoes and chiffonade cut several leaves basil.

Toss the hot bread chunks with tomatoes and basil.  Season with salt, pepper, white wine vinegar and good quality olive oil. Eat hot or cold.

Coconut Squash Soup (BPA-free)

Saw this in a cookbook but didn't want to use canned coconut milk because of the BPA in can linings. And the canned stuff is expensive, compared to having a stock of shredded dried coconut in the house. This is a good light but satisfying vegan soup.

Roast 1 quartered and seeded butternut squash (or substitute dense delicious squash like delicata or kabocha; watery types would not do well here).  It takes about 1 hour at 350 F.  When it is cooled, peel and chop into bite size pieces.

Saute 1 diced red onion along with 3 cloves diced garlic, and 1/2 tsp salt in approx 1 TB oil until starting to brown. Add 1-2 TB grated ginger (I use a microplane) and a couple cups hot water. Stir to combine. Bring up to heat and simmer until soft.

Puree part of the soup in the blender along with 1/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut and a small piece of jalapeno pepper or chiles (try to get a yellow orange or red colored chile as green might look a little ugly in the yellow soup). Add back to the pot with rest of soup.

Season with salt and lime juice from 1/2 to 1 lime to taste.

Optional garnish with cilantro.  Optional: feel free to add spices like cinnamon and nutmeg

Spinach Leek Brown Rice

This is kind of a rice pilaf and can go either Indian or Middle Eastern depending on the spices you add. It's a great way to use up leeks (especially while they are cheap this time of year!!) and gets some more veggies and color into your rice.

Clean and slice thinly 1 leek into thin rings.
Peel and mince 3 cloves garlic.
Clean and finely chop several cups of spinach. I use the food processor for this. This should yield about 1 C chopped spinach.
Get electric kettle heating water in it for later.

In a hot pan, add 1 TB olive oil and coat bottom of pan.
Add the leek and garlic, add some salt, and stir.  Cook until softened and starting to brown.
Add 1 C brown rice and stir.  Cook to toast the rice, approx 60 seconds.

Now add a few cups hot water and the chopped spinach, stir.

Cover and turn to low.  Cook until the rice is done (could be 20-40 minutes depending on the type of rice and heat).  You may need to add more water, so check it every so often. Season with salt as needed.

Almost-vegan Spaghetti alla Vodka (vodka tomato pasta sauce)

This is a delicious "creamy" vodka pasta sauce without cream (it uses almonds).  It would have been vegan except for my love of parmesan.  I think this would be fancy enough for guests (although you'd have to plan the timing since it should be served hot).

Serves 2, scale up as needed

Boil salted water for pasta
Dice 1 small yellow/white onion
Chop 3-4 cloves garlic
Chop 3 large tomatoes (or several smaller ones)

Heat a pan over high heat. Add 1 TB olive oil and swirl to coat the pan.  Saute onion and garlic with some sea salt.

Add and cook for 30-60 seconds:
several sprigs oregano (torn off woody stems)
2 sprigs thyme
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
crushed black pepper

Deglaze pan with 1/4 C vodka.

Now add the chopped tomatoes, stir to combine. Bring up to heat with lid on.  Once the tomatoes are mushy, blend most of the sauce in a blender along with 1/4 C raw almonds until smooth. Add the mixture back to the pan.

Continue cooking now without the lid to help evaporate the extra liquid.

Boil the pasta. Once cooked, strain the pasta.

Add 4-8 chiffonade-cut basil leaves to the sauce and stir. Take off heat. Add more salt if needed.

Put servings of cooked pasta in bowls.  Pour sauce over the top.  Optional add cheese or vegan-cheese.

Enjoy hot.