Pumpkin Spice Creamer

Okay, I know that fall hasn't "officially" started, but c'mon, school's started back up, the local pools are closed, and it's starting to cool down. I don't know about you, but to me, that means fall is upon us. And if I'm being completely honest, I break out my fall decor the moment it hits September. The Mr. always looks at me like I'm nuts but to me, September is the start of fall, regardless of the day. Plus, I miss the seasons! I've lived in an area where it's sunny and warm all year round for over 5 years now. So, sue me if I break out my metal pumpkin decor, my artificial maple leaf branches, and start putting pumpkin in everything.

 Which leads me to this beauty. With the temperatures no longer in the "I'm melting" range, I find myself drinking more coffee and less tea. I love creamers but I hate the ingredients in them. I mean, have you ever read the back of those suckers? Vegetable oil... in my coffee?! No, no thank you. So, I've been trying fancier (and more expensive) creamers that are all natural. However, they have a TON of sugar in them. Which is probably why it tastes oh so good. I also wasn't a huge fan that it was dairy milk since I'm slightly allergic to dairy and try to limit it when I can so that I can enjoy cheese when I want to.  ;) So, I found some non-dairy creamer that was made with almond  and coconut milk. Well, let's just say that was not the route to go. It left this weird aftertaste in my mouth and I wound up dumping the rest of it, and my cup of coffee, down the drain. So, needless to say, I'm in the market for a good creamer that's natural, non-dairy, and delicious. Thankfully this one foots the bill.

Now I know everyone goes nuts over fancy pumpkin lattes from a particular coffee shop. I know I've had to have one at some point but it doesn't stand out to me. So, I cannot in good conscious say this is just as good as that since I don't have anything to compare it to. What I can say is that it tastes like I blended a piece of pumpkin pie in my coffee. You can smell the spices the moment you pick up your cup, and you can not only taste the spices in the coffee but you can taste the pumpkin, too. Plus, the pumpkin adds a bit of creaminess that my usual coffee lacks. I honestly can't believe it's taken me this long to make my own creamer. It's so easy to make. I just put it all in my small personal blender, blended it up, poured what I wanted in my cup, and then put the rest in a mason jar for later. Seriously, put down that gross coffee creamer and start making your own!

  • 1/4 cup pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used cashew milk but any milk works)
  • 2 tsp. sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  1. Add all the ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Transfer the creamer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Shake before using.

Gnocchi, white bean, and sun-dried tomato skillet

Sorry for the lull in posts. We recently moved and I was a little busy packing up the house and moving. I still tried to make new dishes throughout the process so that I would have something to share when we got settled into our new place. This is a recipe that I found online. It's easy, quick to make, and doesn't take much prep work.

I love gnocchi. I used to make my own a lot but, well, when you're in the process of moving, the last thing you have time and energy for is making things from scratch. This recipe is pretty much the easiest recipe I've ever done. I used a can of beans, Julienne sun-dried tomatoes, and even used packaged frozen spinach. The only thing I really did was slice mushrooms and then cook everything. I will admit that I did forget a lot of ingredients when making this though. I blame the move. You will see in the pictures that they are not all the same. I was picking at the dinner as it was cooking (I found out that sauteed gnocchi with a little salt and pepper is DELICIOUS!) and I think, to me, it tasted great, and then I plated it. It wasn't until a few bites in that I realized it was missing the beans. Then I saw the package of sundried tomatoes sitting on the counter and quickly added those too. So, I suppose if you don't have everything on hand and still want to make this, you can. I think as long as you have the gnocchi, you will be good.  ;)

Aside from forgetting to add all the ingredients to the dish on the first go, this was a no-brainer. There's no fancy cooking involved and it was hearty and delicious, which was exactly what we needed after a day of extreme packing. The only downside to this dish is that it's not that great warmed up the next day. I mean, when you first make it, the gnocchi is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. However, once it's sat in the refrigerator, it looses that crispiness. So, it wasn't that it tasted bad the next day, it just didn't have the same texture it did when it was fresh. I still enjoyed the leftovers but missed the crispiness of the gnocchi.

recipe adapted from Sweet Peas and Saffron

18 oz packaged gnocchi
1-2 tablespoons olive oil salt and pepper
¼-1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
4 cups loosely packed spinach [I used 1 (10 oz) packed of frozen spinach, thawed]
1 (15 oz) can white beans, drained and rinsed
 Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat. 
  2. Add the gnocchi and separate them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes, or until golden and slightly crispy. 
  3.  Remove from pan. 
  4. Add the mushrooms, and cook for 3 or so minutes until soft (add additional olive oil if needed). Return the gnocchi to the pan and add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and white beans. Stir until spinach is wilted and everything is heated through. 
  5. Add additional salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. 
  6. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

BBQ Pulled Sweet Potato Sandwiches

I need to be honest here. I cannot believe that I'm still a vegetarian. I've always wanted to try it since I was a little girl but could never manage to actually do it. I just loved my meat too much... I just didn't like thinking about the animals themselves. So, I'm shocked that after 2 years, I've stuck with it. It hasn't been easy though. There have been a few times where I've gone to parties, events, even restaurants, and my choice of a meal is pretty much carrots and ranch dressing. It made me very aware of the fact that we focus a lot on meat. That also includes myself as well. I have thrown parties and events where the only non-meat item was the dip, potato salad, and the dessert. Now, it seems like I can't even eat a deviled egg without there being bacon in it. And boy, let me tell you, when the warmer weather starts kicking in I miss a good BBQ. I'm sorry but tofu dogs and bean burgers just don't compare to good ol BBQ. Which is why I just about peed my pants in excitement when I made this recipe and realized that it was almost as good as a pulled pork sandwich. I mean, it's missing that greasy pork quality but then again... it's missing that greasy pork quality. Which, I'm sorry to say, is not exactly a bad thing.


This is a super easy recipe to make. The most difficult part was grating the sweet potato. For some reason, the grater and I just don't get along and I always end up fighting with it... and losing. Which is why I usually enlist the help of the Mr. when it comes time to grate anything. Aside from my struggles with the grater, this was almost as easy as making pulled... which is usually just a -plop-everything-into-the-crockpot sort of thing. I'm really happy with this recipe. It will definitely be my go-to for this summer.

 recipe adapted from Yup... It's Vegan
  • 1 medium-large sweet potato (about 2.5 cups grated)
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 c. BBQ sauce of choice
  • buns
  • coleslaw
  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet. When hot, add the grated sweet potato and quickly stir to distribute the oil. Sprinkle with salt.
  2. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring and flipping the sweet potato several times.
  3. Once the sweet potato is starting to dry out and is browned in several places, add the BBQ sauce and stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sweet potato is cooked to your preference.
  4. Serve a big scoop of the BBQ pulled sweet potato on a toasted bun with coleslaw.

Falafel Bowl

I love falafels! I remember the first time my friend Brooke made them for me. Man, I was pretty skeptical. I mean, she poured this green powder stuff out of a box, mixed it into a dough, rolled it into balls, cooked them, and then tried to feed it to me. I must say though, the flavor was amazing and I have been a fan of those green balls wrapped in pita ever since. However, between the bread and the frying, they aren't that great for you or your figure. I've made falafels before and have just baked them but they can be a bit time consuming to make from scratch. So needless to say, when I saw this deconstructed version, I was all over it. After all, the less work I have to do in the kitchen, the happier I am.

Now the original recipe says to make a pretty bowl by sectioning off all the ingredients in the bowl. I have to admit, I don't understand that method. While it is pretty for pictures, it will cause a mess when you try to mix it all together. So, mine looks a bit different from the original since I made mine into a more manageable salad style than the nicer looking version. I made about 3 cups of cooked quinoa since I wanted leftovers. There is no right or wrong way to do this. It's pretty much a recipe where you add however much you want of each ingredient. As you see in the pictures, each bowl was different depending on what the person wanted in their falafel bowl. 

recipes adapted from VeganYackAttack & Guy Fieri

  • Falafel Roasted Chickpeas (recipe below)
  • Cooked Quinoa
  • Lettuce, shredded
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Hummus
  • Yogurt sauce (recipe below)
  • Hot sauce

    • 3 cups chickpeas
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • ½ cup red onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1½ teaspoons cumin
    • 1 teaspoon coriander
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • Pinch of cayenne
    • Pinch of cardamom
    • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
    • 1 cup plain yogurt
    • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
    • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro leaves
    • 2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • Kosher salt, as needed

    Roasted Chickpeas
    1. Pre-heat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. Rinse and drain the chickpeas and place them in a large bowl.
    3. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne and cardamom to the bowl and toss until all the chickpeas have been evenly coated.
    4. Turn the chickpeas out onto the prepared baking sheet and spread them out into one even layer.
    5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring once halfway between roasting.
    6. Allow to cool slightly and toss with the fresh parsley.
    Yogurt Sauce
    1. Mix the yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, cilantro, parsley and cumin together in a small bowl. Add salt to taste. Chill until ready to use.
    Bowl Assembly
    1. To assemble the bowl, add some of the quinoa, then add a handful of shredded lettuce, then the chickpeas, some cucumber and tomato, and a dollop of hummus. Drizzle the whole bowl in yogurt sauce and add some hot sauce if desired.

    Four Cheese Drunken Sun-Dried Tomato and Spinach Pasta Bake

    This is one of my new favorite dishes. Not only because it's delicious but you just mix everything together, lay it in a casserole dish, and bake it. That's it! It's got so much flavor and depth to it that you would think you spent more time in the kitchen. It's perfect for the weeknights where you get home late and just don't want to cook anything. It's great for those times when you are having guests over and don't want to spend all your time in the kitchen cooking. It's great when you're just being lazy. I just love this recipe.

    I did make a couple of changes from the original recipe. I was unable to find burrata cheese. So, I bought fresh mozzarella and sliced that up instead. Don't get the pre-grated or dry mozzarella cheese. Trust me on this. You will want that wet round ball of cheesy goodness for this. It just melts and tastes so much better than the dry stuff. I was also unable to find fontina and asiago cheese. Let's just say my grocery store doesn't know how to order stock... it's always out of things. Anyways, since I couldn't find those, I did end up buying a bag of mixed pre-grated cheese that had the blend of cheeses I needed. Then I just added in a touch more of fresh parmesan. In the end, the dish was still amazing and is definitely something that I will be making on a regular basis.

    recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest

    • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
    • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
    • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, oil drained but reserved
    • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
    • 1 Tbsp dried basil
    • 2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, or to taste
    • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    • 1 cup red wine
    • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
    • 8 ounces fontina cheese, cubed
    • 1 1/2 cups asiago cheese, grated
    • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese*, grated
    • 8 ounces burrata cheese
    • fresh basil or parsley, chopped for garnish

    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
    2. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Add the whole can of san marzan tomatoes, crushing the whole tomatoes with your hand. Add the tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes + about 2 tablespoons of the oil left in the jar, thawed spinach, garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, wine and 1 1/2 cups water. Give everything a good stir to combine and then add the dry pasta, fontina cheese, asiago cheese and parmesan cheese, toss everything to evenly coat. Push down gently on the pasta to get most of it under sauce.
    3. Tightly cover the baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes. Uncover and break the burrata cheese over top of the pasta. Bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and garnish with parsley and or basil. Cut and serve.
    *be sure the parmasen cheese doesn't have animal rennet in it