Vegan Pepperoni Mac and Cheese


I don’t often eat vegan, but when I do I’m usually very happy with that decision. My brain and my body feel good. But once in awhile I have to eat something that satisfies that craving for comfort food. I admit, I feel less guilty for eating such a comforting dish when its vegan. Does that make me a terrible person?

Oh, so you’re one of THOSE foodies.

I tried some new products today.


  1. Go Veggie! Mozzarella Flavor Shreds
  2. Yves Veggie Pepperoni

Let’s start with the mozzarella cheese shreds. The flavor was surprisingly good and the “cheese” melts like normal cheese! I was able to create a successful cheese sauce with this. Highly recommended. I’ll buy this again. I’m especially excited to try to make a vegan pizza with these shreds. Gonna shred on some shreds, yo.

What am I talking about?

On to the co-star of the show: The pepperoni. By itself, the flavor of this pepperoni is not my favorite. I realize this is fake meat, but I was hoping this would taste a little closer to pepperoni. But who eats pepperoni by itself? When you use this in combination with the Go Veggie! cheese, brown rice pasta, and sauce, it’s pretty darn good! Each bite of this dish had a great cheesy, mouth feel. Plus you got a nice bit of spice from the pepperoni.


This is something I will definitely make again and again.

…and again.

Vegan Pepperoni Mac and Cheese

Yields: 6-8 servings


  • 1 pound brown rice macaroni
  • 3 Tablespoon vegan butter spread
  • 4 Tablespoon plain flour
  • 2 1/2 cups soy or plain almond milk
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup grated vegan cheese (I used mozzarella but I like a blend of mozz and cheddar)
  • 1/4 cup vegan pepperoni, chopped
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Boil the macaroni according to the package instructions while you make the sauce.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium pan over medium low heat. Add the flour and whisk, constantly stirring for 1-2 minutes. Your roux should resemble a thick paste. Add the milk in 1/2 cup increments, whisking well after each addition to form a thick but smooth sauce. Add the nutritional yeast, garlic, onion, mustard, paprika, tomato paste, and vegan cheese and whisk until everything is melted together and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more milk if the sauce becomes too thick.
  3. Drain the pasta and return it to its pot. Add the cheese sauce to the pasta. Fold the sauce into the pasta until each piece is coated and then fold in the pepperoni. Serve hot.

This recipe was inspired by Floral Frosting.


Healthier Monster Cookies


I have a confession to make. I don’t really like baking. I know, I know. Here I am with a food blog and I really can’t say with confidence that I enjoy baking. The main reason being that the act of baking is so precise. I like to add dashes of this and that into whatever I am making. With baking, I don’t know what to add if something is too dry, or if my cookies are too flat after they’ve baked, or what is okay to change in a recipe and what isn’t.

It’s just never been my thing. I will bake from time to time but I have to follow a recipe with exact precision, which, drives me crazy.

When it comes to healthier baking, like this recipe for Monster Cookies that I found online, it’s almost cheating. I mean, I bake casseroles, and roast chickens, and this, seems close to that somehow.

Allow me to explain.


The reason this recipe feels like I’m cheating the Baking Gods is because there is so much oatmeal, peanut butter, etc. that you actually shape the cookies with your hands and cook them in the oven until they aren’t raw anymore. There’s very little science involved. I can do that! Correction: I did that!

These cookies are chewy, peanutty, oatmealy, chocolately… and almost guilt-free! Definitely better for you than most cookies anyway. Why? Because the fat in these cookies comes mostly from the peanut butter. Take a guess as to how much butter is in this batter. Come on… guess.

A single tablespoon! Not one stick, like many other cookie recipes, but ONE TABLESPOON! So go ahead, indulge. Enjoy for breakfast. Eat three of these in one sitting. Because honey, in my book, these are pretty darn good for you!


To me these cookies could be cousins with a granola bar or oat bar. There’s enough sweetness that this could be a dessert but its not overpowering and could be eaten as a breakfast on the go too. I added M&Ms and Pecans to mine but customize these and make them your own. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

I did not create this recipe. This recipe was written by Amy’s Healthy Baking.

Healthier Monster Cookies


  • 1 cup instant oats (or oatmeal that has been pulsed in a food processor 5-6 times)
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 large egg white, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk or almond milk
  • 2 Tablespoon mini M&M candies, divided
  • 2 Tablespoon mini chocolate chips, divided
  • 2 Tablespoon chopped pecans (optional)


  1. Whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg white, and vanilla. Mix in the peanut butter until smooth. Stir in the brown sugar and milk. Mix completely. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in all of the pecans, most of the M&Ms, and most of the chocolate chips. Chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  3. Drop the cookie dough into 15 rounded scoops onto the prepared sheet and flatten to the desired thickness and width. Cookies will not spread. Gently press the remaining M&Ms and chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies. Bake at 325°F for 10-13 minutes. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Keep in a sealed container.

I did not create this recipe. This recipe was written by Amy’s Healthy Baking.

What You Need To Prepare For A Blizzard

Winter storm Jonas is on its way! Here’s what you need to survive.

A good book (or two).


Board games.


Your favorite crock pot recipes. Here are mine.


Jugs of water (mostly for you but also for your goat if you have one).


All in all, it’s a snow day/weekend. Enjoy it!

snow, snowshoe, profile, winter

Be safe!

Why I Love Brown Rice Pasta (And You Should, Too!)


Before I start confession my love for brown rice pasta, let me first admit something. I try my best to live a healthier lifestyle, so transitioning to brown rice pasta seemed natural to me. However, I do not like all healthy pastas. I will never get used to the taste of whole wheat pasta and quinoa pasta doesn’t have the same texture that I expect when I eat an al dente noodle. But brown rice pasta has changed my opinion about healthier pastas.

I first tried brown rice pasta over a year ago. Sodium-Free, Wheat-Free, Cholesterol-Free, Gluten-Free… sounds terrible doesn’t it? I was hesitant but my curiosity still got the best of me. I was completely surprised! I couldn’t believe how much this stuff tasted like normal pasta! Plus, it had the same CHEW as regular flour pasta. The best part? You can eat your fill, go back for seconds (or thirds), and feel way less guilty than if you had done that with normal pasta.


BRP also wins my vote when it comes to ingredients. I’m a strong advocate for being able to pronounce everything on the package of whatever I’m about to eat. Most brands of brown rice pasta have two ingredients listed on the package: brown rice and water. Amazing!

The only caveat I have is that you have to be careful not to overcook this pasta. Check the pasta multiple times when the cooking time is almost up. When it is ready, strain into a colander and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process. Reheat the pasta by adding it directly into your pasta sauce and tossing everything together.

If you are afraid to try one many pasta inventions that are being created these days, trust me when I say that brown rice pasta is worth a try.

Try brown rice pasta with my Mouth-Watering Marinara Sauce.

Questions about brown rice pasta or anything else? Ask me!

Crock Pot Applesauce


It’s apple season! There are bushels of apples on every corner at farmer stands. You can also pick your own at local orchards. As a senior in high school, my friends and I would leave the campus at lunch and go apple picking at least once or twice every fall. Apple picking is definitely a tradition I missed while I lived in Colorado. Bring on the apple harvest!


This is my favorite applesauce recipe. It’s so easy and simple. You can jar your homemade applesauce or this will keep in the fridge for five days or in the freezer for 3 months.

I usually leave my applesauce a bit chunky, but you can also blend this if you want a smoother applesauce.


And of course, I eat mine with grilled cheese. It’s weird but delicious. Weirdly delicious! This started when I was a kid. I would order grilled cheese and applesauce whenever my family brought me out to any restaurant and dip my sandwich into the applesauce. It’s something I’ve done every since. Try it, you might like it!


At the very least, make this crock pot applesauce. It’s so easy and so yummy!

Crock Pot Applesauce

Rating: 51

Yields: 5-6 cups


  • 4 lbs tart apples, cored and sliced thin (I used honey crisp but I have also used granny smith)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar + more to taste
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. Mix apples with cinnamon and sugar and put into crock pot.
  2. Pour water and lemon juice over apples. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours, stirring once or twice throughout the cooking process.
  3. Taste and add more sugar if necessary.
  4. Enjoy as-is or blend in a food processor. This will keep in the fridge for five days or in the freezer for 3 months.

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms {Vegetarian}


Sadly, I think my photography skills are getting worse. I don’t have my food photo area set up anymore after I’ve moved. I’m still in a temporary living situation so that wont change anytime soon. Plus, I have a tendency to want to inhale anything I spend hours cooking, so by the time I get to the photo session I get impatient, snap a few shots, and satisfy my primal urges.


Besides the high contrast photos, life has been good. I’ve been participating in a 31 Days of Horror (movie) Challenge. So far I’ve been able to watch 9 movies in 11 days. I have a little catching up to do, but I did discover a new favorite series, Dead Snow. Bask in its glory.

If you’re a fan of Evil Dead or Dead Alive, you need to watch Dead Snow and Dead Snow 2! So many fun references, great humor, and even better Nazi zombie gore scenes. Foodie McBooty gives these two thumbs up!


Okay, back to the food. Every fall pumpkin and squash everything seems to appear everywhere (lattes, shakes, spaghetti, ravioli) come out of the woodwork (along with all of the creepy crawlies), and I love it!! I’m definitely one of those people who takes full advantage while she can. My apologies to anybody around me who has to deal with my (slight) addiction, but if I see a pumpkin or squash related item on a menu, I’m most likely ordering it.

This is a recipe I’ve made before but haven’t posted until today. I added mushrooms to my lasagna this time because I picked some up at the farmer’s market last weekend. I have to warn you now, as this lasagna bakes in the oven you might go a little crazy. The smell of warm butternut squash, garlicky spinach, and bubbling, browning cheese might drive you nuts. Or at least, it drives me nutty, which is why by the time I pull this out of the oven, I can’t take any decent pictures. Everything goes dark and before I know it, I’ve eaten half of the pan of lasagna and I have crummy pictures on my camera.

I regret nothing.

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms {Vegetarian}

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yields: 8 servings


    Butternut Squash Filling:
  • 2 cups butternut squash puree (1 medium cooked squash or frozen works in a bind)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk (more, if needed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 ground nutmeg
  • Spinach Filling:
  • 1 pound spinach, washed and stems trimmed
  • 6-ounces of your favorite mushroom, washed and diced (I used oyster, but white or cremini would work great too)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • Other Ingredients:
  • 10 oz lasagna noodles, cooked or oven-ready
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Italian seasoning


    Prepare the Butternut Squash Filling
  1. Cut the end of the butternut squash off, cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place squash in a microwave safe container and add 2 teaspoons of water. Cover and microwave 6 minutes on high (you can also roast your squash in the oven if you have the time). Scoop out the cooked squash and place in a food processor. Add the thyme, ricotta cheese, milk, salt and nutmeg and blend until smooth. Add more milk if the mixture is too thick.
  2. For the Spinach Filling
  3. Heat olive oil in a medium-size pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms, toss, and season with salt and pepper. You may need to add more olive oil as mushrooms tend to absorb a lot of liquid. Cook until the mushrooms are browned or cook down a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and toss until wilty, 1-2 minutes. Lastly, add the minced garlic and stir almost continuously until fragrant. Put the mixture into a medium bowl and add the ricotta and mozzarella cheese while the mixture is still hot. Set aside.
  4. Assemble the Lasagna
  5. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 11 inches x 8.5 inches x 3 inches dish with butter or non-stick spray.
  6. Spread about a 1/3 of the butternut squash filling on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle lightly with mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked or oven-ready lasagna noodles, being careful not to overlap them.
  7. Spread half of the spinach mixture over the noodles. Top lightly with mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked noodles.
  8. Spread another layer (1/3) of butternut squash mixture, then sprinkle lightly with Mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked noodles.
  9. Spread the remaining half of spinach filling over the noodles. Top lightly with Mozzarella cheese. Top with the final layer of cooked noodles.
  10. Spread the last layer (1/3) of butternut squash filling over this final layer of noodles, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese (should be about 1/2 cup of mozzarella). Generously sprinkle the cheese with Italian seasoning.
  11. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the top is golden and bubbly.