Sunday, October 30, 2011

Light Pumpkin Pie Custard

Pumpkin pie minus the guilt! This recipe makes the house smell amazing, but may try your patience as you wait for it to finish baking and then cool. It mixes up quickly though, so make it, pop it in the oven and go watch your favorite tv show. A great way to use up some extra pumpkin from another recipe too. This is another recipe adapted from

Light Pumpkin Pie Custard
makes 2 large ramekins or 4 small


  • 1/2 cup original almond milk (or you can use skim milk)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 1/2 egg whites
  • 2 1/2 TB sugar
  • heaping tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • maple syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 325F. 
  2. For large ramekins, pour 1 TB maple syrup into bottom of each and swirl to coat. For small ramekins, use 1/2 TB each.
  3. Whisk together egg, egg whites and sugar. Add pumpkin, vanilla, salt and spices. Gently whisk in milk. Pour equally into ramekins.
  4. Place ramekins into a baking dish (I used a glass pyrex 13x9 pan) and fill with boiling water until 1/4 of the side of the ramekins are covered.
  5. Bake for 60-70 minutes (for large ramekins) or 45-55 minutes (for small ramekins). They are done when the middle of the custard is set and does not wiggle when lightly tapped. Let cool completely, cover and store in refrigerator (that is if any actually make it to the refrigerator!). We enjoyed them while still warm, but they'd be just as yummy cold I'm sure!

Healthy Carrot Pumpkin Whole Wheat Muffins

These were so delicious, I just may need to make another batch today! On Monday I received a jumbo muffin pan that I had ordered on Amazon, and decided this was the recipe I'd try. So glad I did! There's something about jumbo size muffins that just taste better than the little ones to me - more moist perhaps? And they look like they were bought at some fancy bakery (only mine are healthier!).  Anyway, I may only make jumbo muffins from now on. This recipe is adapted from one found at They were perfect for breakfast, afternoon snack or dessert (plus they look so pretty, I surprised my yoga teacher with one.)

Healthy Carrot Pumpkin Whole Wheat Muffins
makes 6 large or 10-12 regular sized muffins


  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg, cloves & ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup carrots, grated
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup sugar (I used turbinado sugar, which is a raw sugar, fewer calories, less processed, more moist, and adds a molasses-like taste similar to brown sugar. It can be substituted for white sugar in many recipes.)
  • 3 TB canola oil (next time I'm going to substitute 2 TB applesauce and 1 TB canola oil)
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs (next time I may use 1 egg and 2 egg whites instead)
  1. Whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.
  2. In another bowl combine the carrots, raisins and walnuts.
  3. Using a mixer, combine the pumpkin, canola oil and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth.
  4. Reduce speed and slowly add in the flour mixture, only until dry ingredients disappear.
  5. Gently stir in carrot, walnut and raisin mixture.
  6. Divide into lightly greased muffin tin.
  7. Bake at 375 for 28-32 minutes (for jumbo muffins), or 22-25 minutes (for regular size muffins).

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Mushrooms

Would you believe I'd never even had split pea soup when I decided to try making this recipe? Last year I had bought some yellow split peas for another recipe I had that I never ended up making. So when I ran across this recipe I decided it was time to try them. I loved this soup (and so did a woman I work with who I shared it with!). I definitely want to make this again soon! This recipe was from

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Mushrooms


  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 TB canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1 cup kale, chopped and steamed
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. In a medium sauce pan, bring split peas, water, bay leaves and paprika to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 1 hour, until peas break apart.
  2. About 30 minutes after you get the peas on the stove, chop the veggies. Then, in a large sauce pan, heat oil and saute onion over medium low until translucent, 10-15 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and saute until tender. Turn to low.
  3. Remove split peas from heat, discard bay leaves and place peas in Vitamix or food processor. Puree on high speed until smooth. (I added about 1 cup of the stock to the Vitamix to help it along.)
  4. Combine peas, stock, kale and salt into the onion and mushroom mixture. Heat and serve.

Caramel Apple Bars

One of my favorite blogs I read daily is She has great healthy recipes and discussion about food, but she also makes no excuses for loving and making sinful desserts! I had a bunch of apples in the fridge and ran across this recipe and knew I had to make it. Apples, caramel and chocolate all together? some of my favorite things. It is delicious! I made them and after eating 3 bars, decided I had to freeze them or else! I did share with some neighbors first too :) Here's my version adapted to what I put in mine.

Caramel Apple Bars


  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (or blend 1 apple in Vitamix, which is what I did with her suggestion)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups whole rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 TB cinnamon
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
  • 1 cup apples, diced and peeled
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce (ice cream topping caramel sauce works! I used Sanders')
  1. Combine applesauce, peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl. Add oats, sugars, cinnamon and vanilla and stir. Fold in diced apples, white chocolate chips, raisins and walnuts. 
  2. Spread batter (very moist) into a foil lined and sprayed 8x8 or 9x9 pan.
  3. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. The bars may still look a little underdone but they will set up as they cool. They'll be bubbling rapidly. Let bubbling stop (about 5 min) and then carefully drizzle caramel sauce over top. Allow to cool completely before slicing. You might even put in freezer for 15-30 minutes to speed it along. Slice into bars. Store extras in fridge or freezer in airtight container. I divided layers with wax paper as the caramel sauce stays soft.

Barley, Kale & Butternut Squash Soup

I made several great recipes this month and have been slacking in posting them on my blog. I know I'll want to have them handy to make again, so watch for several posted today! This recipe was adapted from one at

Barley, Kale & Butternut Squash Soup
10 servings

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, green parts discarded, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced>
  • 2 cups butternut squash, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup barley
  • 10 cups chicken or vegetable stock, plus additional stock as necessary>
  • 1 – 14 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
  • 1  2-inch chunk of rind of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups shredded kale leaves (from one bunch)
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese
  1. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. 
  2. Add leek, garlic, onion and celery. Sauté 2 minutes. 
  3. Add butternut squash and barley. Sauté one minute. 
  4. Add chicken or vegetable stock, tomatoes, cheese rind, bay leafs, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer until squash is tender and barley is cooked, about 30 minutes. (Add more stock to desired consistency if soup is too thick.) Taste for seasoning. 
  5. Stir in kale leaves; simmer until kale brights in color and just wilts, about one minute. Ladle into bowls and grate cheese over the soup. Serve immediately.
This recipe also froze well!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Feels like FOREVER!

Thad comes home today! I feel like it has been forever that we've been apart. First two weeks in California, home one day, and then gone 8 days to Austin for Level 1 Baptiste Yoga teacher training. This last week has been very difficult for me, more than I anticipated. We are used to spending a lot of time together, and even when he's gone for work, we talk or email pretty frequently. While at training I talked to him for literally 2 or 3 minutes every afternoon and that was it. I tried to stay busy but still found myself with my cell phone glued to my side from 3pm on! In some ways it was exciting to have that anticipation and excitement to see his name come up on caller ID - like that feeling you have when you're just starting to date.

I also think it's been difficult for me because I feel like I'm missing out on sharing something so big with him. We've been married 10 years and together almost 13 now and have gone through so much - always together - whether it's something exciting and positive or sad, or stressful - life changing events we've shared. I really believe that our experiences in life are what shapes us and makes us who we are. So, a lot of anticipation today about seeing him again and hearing all about the experience in the hopes of sharing it in some small way.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Become the Message

We have to become the message and then we beam light and joy, people are attracted to it like a moth to the flame. - paraphrased from Tom Shadyac, Director of "I Am".

This really stuck with me – we must act in line with what we believe in and open our true selves to others to make a difference. What we do reflects who we are and what we stand for. Something to remember in everything we do, every day.

After watching a Q&A with him, I really want to see this film – it’s out on video in Dec/Jan – it’s a documentary where he asks reknowned thinkers and doers “What’s wrong with our world and what can we do about it" – with a focus on what we can do to make it better.

He goes on to say, “You cannot believe what is waiting for you, if you walk into your passion, your truth, deeper and truer and more authentic”. So profound and inspiring!

Harvest Ragout

This recipe came together based on what I had in the fridge and what sounded good together to me. Figured I’d better write it down after I just devoured a bowlful!

Harvest Ragout

serves 3-4


  • 1 cup butternut squash cubes – 1/2inch
  • 1 cup turnip cubes – 1/2 inch
  • 1-2 cups baby portabella mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 2 stalks curly kale shredded
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 oz can tomatoes (I used whole and chopped them)
  • 1/2-1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil


  1. Toss squash, mushrooms and turnips with 1/2 TB olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat 1/2 TB olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Saute onions until transparent. Add in garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  3. Add in tomatoes, vegetable broth, thyme, cayenne pepper and kale. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Reduce to simmer and allow kale to wilt, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Stir in cannellini beans, mushrooms, turnips and squash. Combine well. Add in cooked quinoa. Combine. Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Embracing Change, Again!

Over the past couple years I’ve had to learn to embrace change, accept it and whatever new path came along with it. I actually feel a sense of freedom in knowing that I can and have done this. I won’t say I don’t have some anxiety from all the uncertainty we’ve lived with, but letting myself let go has made a huge difference for me. And more change is afoot .  . .

After several months of wondering if Thad’s employer was going to follow through with a promotion and relocation for him, he decided to stop waiting around and put some feelers out outside the company. And so last Thursday was his last day! Next Monday he starts a new job with another company that will allow him to telecommute! I think he is going to be happier (and that makes me happy!). It also means that we will stay in Michigan for the near future at least. Many of our friends were thrilled to hear this news!

With this decision also came the opportunity for Thad to pursue a dream. As I type he is in Austin, TX with Baron Baptiste for Level 1 yoga Teacher Training bootcamp! I am so incredibly proud of him and excited for him. And missing him terribly too! I know this will be a life changing experience for him and a part of me is sad that I am not there to share it with him. I look forward to hearing all about it in detail when he gets back.

I know this is not the end of big changes in store for us, but I do feel it is a positive step forward and hope for more good things to be coming our way!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

I’m on my own this week with Thad in California for work and find it very different to cook without him here to share it. I had some pumpkin left over from the pumpkin bread I made last night so decided to whip up some pancakes this morning. The good news is that with Thad not here I have a few saved and get to have them for breakfast again tomorrow! I really love pumpkin and all the spices in these pancakes are delicious.

This recipe is adapted from a squash pancake recipe found on the blog.


Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes
serves 2


  • 1/2 cup plus 2 TB whole wheat flour (I actually mixed some whole wheat flour with a bit of leftover buckwheat flour I had from another recipe)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used coconut milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TB melted butter
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree


  1. In a large bowl mix together dry ingredients.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the egg, melted butter, milk and squash. Mix well.
  3. Add wet to dry and fold together til just combined. Let batter rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Heat skillet to medium, spray with cooking spray. Measure out batter with a 1/4 cup measuring cup, spread with back of spoon. Flip when pancakes have bubbles.
  5. Serve with maple syrup, banana and walnuts.

Vinegary Coleslaw

Last week I made a batch of black bean burgers to enjoy throughout the week for lunch. I’m always looking for something different to go with them on the side and happened across this coleslaw recipe. No mayo, not creamy, and full of flavor. Armed with a head of cabbage and a couple carrots from the local farmstand I made up a batch. Definitely will make again! This recipe is from Eating Well.


Vinegary Coleslaw
serves 2


  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • pinch of celery seed
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 cup slivered red onion


Whisk vinegar, oil, sugar, mustard, celery seed and salt in a medium bowl. Add cabbage, carrot and onion and toss to coat.


per 1 cup serving: 101 calories, 7g fat, 1g protein, 2g fiber, 138mg sodium, 248mg potassium

Zucchini Basil Soup

3 sad looking zucchini stared up at me when I opened the fridge this morning to figure out what to make for lunch. They had to be used today! I’ve been very much in a soup mood, so I went searching for some zucchini soup recipes. Found a few and came up with my own. I was a little nervous, but thrilled it turned out so yummy. It made two generous servings for lunch.

Zucchini Basil Soup
  • 3 medium zucchini, chopped (about 1 1/4lb)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/3 cup basil, chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used coconut milk)
  • salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
  1. In a heavy saucepan heat oil over med-low. Saute onion until translucent, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add chopped zucchini, garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaf, thyme. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add wine and lemon juice, cover the pot and cook for 5 more minutes.
  4. Add vegetable broth, salt and pepper to taste and simmer partially covered until tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove thyme stems. Pour soup into blender along with chopped basil and add milk slowly. Puree and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve immediately.