Monday, October 29, 2012

Stormy Smoothies

To satisfy both our cravings for fruits nd something to drink we decided to make some stormy day smoothies!

Stormy Smoothies (A Sara the Vegan Mom original)


1 banana (cut or broken into thirds)
1 large mango (cubed)
6 strawberries
1/2 cup mango nectar


Combine banana, mango,strawberries and mango nectar in a blender.

Blend until smooth.

Chill in freezer for approximately 15 minutes, then serve.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gotta have those fruits

The importance of eating fruits on a daily basis is not lost on me and the rest of my family. Little Aiden seem to go through a withdrawal process if he has not had at least one type of fruit in a day, and Adrian can’t seem to function in school without his morning smoothies.

Little Aiden wanted some strawberry yesterday and I just could get them, so we picked up some grapes instead. The grapes seem to satisfy the immediate fruit craving but not his desire for the strawberries. He just kept asking for them… so I gave in today and bought those expensive   red, vitamin C filled goodness!
Fruits are a goldmine of vitamins, minerals and fiber and are ideal snack foods. Since they are in their natural form it is easy for the body to process and absorb the vitamins and minerals found in them.
These are just a few that we try to include on a weekly basis. Of course we love the adventure of trying unusual fruits too.

Apples have lots of fiber, vitamins A, C, E and folate.  Apples reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. They also help with heart disease, weight loss and controlling cholesterol.

Bananas are good source of fiber, potassium, vitamins A, C, B6, E and folate. Unripe or green bananas are used in cooking.

Cherries contain anthocyanins that reduce pain and inflammation.

Eaten either dried or fresh, figs contain vitamin A, C, folate and niacin.

Kiwi is a rich source of vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex, calcium, iron and folic acid. The skin is a good source of flavonoid antioxidants.

Limes or lemons are loaded with vitamins A, C and folate. The juice of lime is good for detoxification and has antioxidant properties.

Oranges contain vitamin C, flavonoids, and are rich in sodium when ripened in sunshine.

Plum are high in carbohydrates, low in fat and calories, and are an excellent source of vitamin A, C, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, fiber . They are cholesterol free.

Papayas are rich in vitamins A, B, C, and D, calcium, phosphorous and iron. It is high in digestive properties and has stimulating effect on the stomach which aide in digestion.

Pear contains potassium and riboflavin, fibers. It is excellent for skin

Strawberry is one of the richest sources of Vitamin C and fiber. It has high content of sodium and iron. It helps in whitening of the teeth and is used to relieve rheumatism.

Watermelon contains minerals, vitamins and sugar with useful amount of fiber and iron.

There are many more fruits on our plate each week but here’s to getting you started… have fun with it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup

What to do when everyone seem to be under the weather? Make some chicken noodle soup of course! I found this great recipe on  Vegetarian Times and the kiddies seem to love it.  This is what we had yesterday because our sensitive tummies seem to crave something light.

 Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves 4 (makes 4 cups)

30 minutes or fewer

Although it's quick and easy to make, this soup has a classic taste—like it was simmered for hours—that'll cure any workday blahs. Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is available in the bulk bins or in bags (such as Bob's Red Mill brand) at health food stores. If the soup gets too thick upon standing, thin it out with a little extra broth.

4 cups no-chicken broth (such as Imagine Foods)
½ cup baby carrots, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
1 stalk celery, chopped (about ½ cup)
½ tsp. granulated onion
3 oz. dry fettuccine, broken into 2-inch pieces (about ½ cup)
2 ½ Tbs. plain TVP bits
2 green onions, thinly sliced (about ⅓ cup)
1 Tbs. minced fresh parsley

1. Combine broth, carrots, celery and onion in large saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, and stir in fettuccine. Simmer, partially covered, 15 minutes. Stir in TVP and green onions.

2. Cook 5 minutes more, or until vegetables and noodles are tender. Remove from heat, stir in parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

I hope this helps someone with some tummy troubles or just a rainy day blues.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Japanese Seaweed and Squash Soup

Little Aiden  and Adrian demanded soup again, so I decided I would whip something up, quick! I thought about a way to make this soup, and make it fast… little boys have no patience.

Here it is… Japanese seaweed and squash soup a Sara the Vegan Mom original


½ acorn squash (cubed}
½ medium butternut squash (cubed)
1 chayote (cubed)
2 medium sweet potatoes (cubed)
2 large carrots (cross sectioned)
2 ears of corn cut in quarters
Japanese seaweed (use liberally)
Pimento seeds (about 8)
Salt free vegetable broth (approximately two 16 oz. boxes)
Grace Jamaican vegetable soup mix


Bring vegetable broth to a boil over medium heat in a medium size soup pot...

Add acorn squash, butternut squash, chayote, sweet potato, carrots and corn to the vegetable broth.

Cook for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, and then add the seaweed.

Simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

Add the Grace Jamaican vegetable soup mix and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

Serve immediately… for the little ones, let stand for 10 minutes.


It was delicious!

Friday, October 19, 2012


Lately, I have been struggling with where to go with this blog… in blog life I am a relative newbie, and therefore was a bit reassured when two wonderful women… experience bloggers and writers (Baxtron Life and City Corporate to Suburb Mama ), told me to do whatever I want with my blog, it’s mine… so I guess I will.

Today, let talk about AVOCADO!

The avocado (Persea gratissima or P. americana) gets its name from the Latin American Nahuatl word ahuacatl meaning "testicle," a reference to the shape of the fruit. It was discovered in Mexico approximately 291 B.C. The more easily-pronounced name of avocado was created by Sir Henry Sloane in 1669. The word itself first appeared in American print in 1697.

Early Spanish explorers discovered the Aztecs enjoying avocados, but it was long considered a tasteless food.  It was the Spanish explorers who brought the avocado to the English.
Avocado is widely considered a vegetable, since it is commonly used in salads. However, it is actually a fruit that tastes like a vegetable, and most markets display it with other typical fruits.

Eating nutrient dense foods is one of the healthiest ways to eat.  Nutrient density is a measure of the amount of nutrients a food contains in comparison to the number of calories. Avocados are naturally nutrient dense containing the following key nutrients:

There are 13 vitamins that the body absolutely needs: vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate). Avocados naturally contain many of these vitamins.

MONOUNSATURATED FATS – Helps to lower blood cholesterol if used in place of saturated fats.

VITAMIN K – Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in blood clotting. It is known as the clotting vitamin, because without it blood would not clot. Some studies indicate that it helps in maintaining strong bones in the elderly.

FOLATE – Promotes healthy cell and tissue development.  This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy.  Folate is also essential for metabolism of homocysteine and helps maintain normal levels of this amino acid.

POTASSIUM – In the body, potassium is classified as an electrolyte.  Potassium is a very important mineral to the human body.  It has various roles in metabolism and body functions and is essential for the proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs:  It assists in the regulation of the acid-base balance; assists in protein synthesis from amino acids and in carbohydrate metabolism; and, it is necessary for the building of muscle and for normal body growth.

VITAMIN E – A fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant that protects the body tissue from damage caused by unstable substances called free radicals.  Free radicals can harm cells, tissues, and organs. Vitamin E is important in the formation of red blood cells and helps the body use vitamin K.  At lower levels, vitamin E may help protect the heart.  Vitamin E also plays a role in healthy skin and hair.

LUTEIN -- A carotenoid (a natural pigment) that may be associated with a lower risk of eye diseases. Lutein is an important antioxidant that may help your eyes stay healthy while maintaining the health of your skin. It provides nutritional support to your eyes and skin and has been linked to promoting healthy eyes through reducing the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults 65 years of age and older.

MAGNESIUM –An essential mineral for human nutrition.  Magnesium in the body serves several important functions:  Contraction and relaxation of muscles; Function of certain enzymes in the body; Production and transport of energy; and Production of Protein.

VITAMIN C –A water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for normal growth and development.  Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants.  Antioxidants are nutrients that block some of the damage caused by free radicals, which are by-products that result when our bodies transform food into energy. Vitamin C is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body.  It is necessary to form collagen, an important protein used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.

VITAMIN B6 –A water-soluble vitamin.  Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water.  The body cannot store them.  That means you need a continuous supply of such vitamins in your diet.  Vitamin B6 helps the immune system produce antibodies.  Antibodies are needed to fight many diseases.  Vitamin B6 helps maintain normal nerve function and form red blood cells.  The body uses it to help break down proteins.  The more protein you eat, the more vitamin B6 you need.

So at the suggestion of my Grandma (Mammy) I decided to create something fun for Little Aiden to eat while he’s sick with a cold. Let’s see how it goes…

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The many faces of QUINOA

As vegan, I am always trying to find quick, easy and healthy way to feed my children and Quinoa is one of those ways. I just don't know what took me so long to blog about one of my favorite super foods.

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) has been cultivated in South American Andes since at least 3,000 B.C. and has been a staple food for millions of natives. It is said that the ancient Incas called quinoa the "mother grain" and revered it as sacred.  “Each year at planting time it was traditional for the Inca leader to plant the first quinoa seed using a solid gold shovel”. Quinoa was used to sustain Incan armies, which frequently marched for many days eating a mixture of quinoa and fat, known as "war balls."

Quinoa grains range in color from ivory to pinks, brown to reds, or almost black depending on the variety. There are over 120 different species, but only three main varieties are cultivated and used today: The white or sweet variety (a very pale seed), red quinoa (dark red variety) and black quinoa.

Quinoa is NOT a Grain!

Very often quinoa referred to as a “super grain” the fact is that quinoa really is not a grain at all!  It is an ancient seed that is in the same family as spinach (Chenopodiaceae).  If you were to classify quinoa correctly, the proper term would be a “pseudo cereal” or “pseudo grain”.

Quinoa is one of the best plant based protein sources you can find out there!

Quinoa is unique for a vegetarian protein in that it contains eight essential amino acids our bodies need for tissue development and growth.  These are substances that we must get from food, because we cannot produce them on our own. Quinoa is a complete protein source which delivers our bodies an almost perfect cocktail of amino acids. Quinoa's protein is exceptionally high in lysine, methionine and cysteine amino acids typically low in other grains. It is a good complement for legumes, which are often low in methionine and cysteine.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has compared the nutritional profile and protein quality of quinoa to that dried whole milk. Quinoa is rich in calcium… similar to that in dairy based milk, so the he obvious benefit of quinoa over milk is that it provides your body with fiber and is cholesterol free.

Not only is it nutrient-packed, quinoa is also gluten-free and wheat-free, making it very attractive to people who are gluten intolerant or who have wheat allergies.  Quinoa flour can be used in gluten free baking, and is a great way to add extra nutrition to baked goods. Quinoa pasta is a great alternative for those looking to make gluten free pasta dishes.

Quinoa is a great way for those who struggle with anemia to get some extra iron.  Quinoa is a great source of iron, manganese, potassium, riboflavin, copper, phosphorous, tryptophan, B vitamins, B6, niacin and thiamine.

The vegetable protein found in quinoa is much easier to digest than meat protein and the slow releasing carbohydrates help maintain blood sugar levels and keep you fuller longer. Quinoa is free of cholesterol and Trans fats making it a great part of a heart healthy diet.

“Quinoa & Migraines
… I read Jillian Michaels The Master Your Metabolism Cookbook.  She discusses quinoa nutritional facts and I was surprised to learn that quinoa may actually help people fight migraines.  This is because the magnesium in quinoa works to relax your blood vessels.  This prevents constriction and dilation that comes along with migraines.  Studies have shown that when you increase the amount of magnesium that you consume that the frequency in which you experience migraines will go down.  The riboflavin in quinoa may also help migraine sufferers.    Energy production in cells relies on riboflavin.  Research has shown us that it may improve the energy metabolism in the brain and decrease the frequency of migraine attacks. …” (Cooking Quinoa)

  Black Quinoa

Red Quinoa

White Quinoa

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Let's make Silly Stir Fry

Today, we decided to use all the fresh veggies left over from our “Squashy” soup. So here it is:

Silly Stir-fry! (Sara the Vegan Mom original)


1 green zucchini, sliced cross section-style
1 yellow zucchini, sliced cross section-style
1 small bunch oyster mushroom
1 medium sweet red pepper, cubed
4 medium size carrots, sliced in strips
½ cauliflower head
Taco seasoning
Coconut oil


Heat coconut oil in a large wok.

Toss in oyster mushroom, de-petal, and stir.

Add green and yellow zucchini, carrot, watercress and stir for approximately one minute.

Add cauliflower and stir for thirty seconds.

Season to taste with taco seasoning.

Serve over brown rice.

There you have it… our silly stir fry!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Let's take a detour with ALOE

Ok, so here I am totally in a Fall mood, but I had to detour just a bit and talk about ALOE…

In addition to being an attractive tropical plant, aloe (also known as aloe vera) is a potent topical medicine. As of 2010, it is also the most commonly used plant for medicinal purposes in the United States. It can be readily grown in warmer climates, including the southern U.S., and its medicinal gel can be extracted and processed with simple tools.


Aloe vera is native to northern Africa and flourishes in similar climates throughout the world. It is commercially grown in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the southern United States and in Africa. Although it cannot withstand cold weather for long, it can nevertheless survive in cities with gentle winters.


Above ground, the aloe vera plant has three main parts. The exterior is a tough rind that protects it from insects and larger herbivores. Immediately beneath the rind is sap, known as aloe latex. It's bitter taste and laxative properties are a further defense. Beneath the sap, however, is the pulp of the aloe plant, which when pulverized produces aloe vera gel.

Medicinal Uses

Aloe vera gel is a potent topical medicine. It soothes burns while also promoting the growth of new skin. It can also ease the pain of certain skin diseases such as herpes. It has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Meanwhile, aloe latex can be ingested to induce bowel movement. Side effects include cramping, which make aloe latex less-than-ideal for ingestion.

Active Components

Although aloe vera gel is primarily made of water, it has two active ingredients which account for its healing properties. The first are glycoproteins, which alleviate pain and inflammation. The second are polysaccharides, which promote the growth of new skin.

Available Forms:

You can get aloe by simply breaking off leaves of the plant (which can be grown as a houseplant), but it is also available commercially in ointments, creams, and lotions. Aloe gel is often included in cosmetic and over the counter skin care products as well. You can purchase aloe in the form of capsules, tablets, juice, gel, ointment, cream, and lotion.


The use of herbs is a time honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider. Aloe gel is considered safe when applied to the surface of the skin, but should not be applied to open or deep wounds. In rare cases, it may cause an allergic reaction, mainly a skin rash. If you develop a rash, stop using the gel. Taking aloe latex orally may cause severe intestinal cramps or diarrhea and is not recommended. Pregnant women should never take aloe latex because it may cause uterine contractions and trigger miscarriage. Nursing mothers should not take aloe latex either because the effects and safety for infants and children are not known.

Possible Interactions: If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use aloe vera without first talking to your doctor. Do not take aloe for 2 weeks prior to any surgical procedure as it may cause increased bleeding during surgery.
Medications for diabetes: The combination of aloe vera and glyburide, a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes, may help control blood sugar and triglyceride (fat) levels in the blood. People with diabetes who use aloe either alone or in combination with other medications must be monitored closely by their doctor to make sure blood sugar levels don't fall too low (a condition called hypoglycemia).
Digoxin and diuretics:  Because taking oral aloe can decrease levels of potassium in the body, aloe latex should not be used by people taking diuretics (water pills) or digoxin (a medication used to treat irregular heart rhythms and congestive heart failure). These drugs also lower potassium levels in the body, so a combination of aloe and digoxin or diuretics could cause potassium levels to fall too low.

As a child I shudder at the thought of my grandmother using aloe to create a drink and would wait anxiously until she leave the room so that I could hurriedly pour it out the window. Now, as an adult who can respect and appreciate the benefits of aloe, I am grateful that my eldest, Adrian show none of my reluctance when presented with a drink with aloe in it.

We are big fans of one particular brand...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Childhood Challenges

Our Halloween tradition has always been to have an all out dress up-trick or treat- come back home-sort and eat our candy haul-kinda Halloween. This year, however seem to be the year we will have to skip all of that and plan our own non-scary Halloween party at home.
 Little Aiden is  experiencing  a Monster phase and seem to be afraid of most of the Halloween costumes he comes across. He sees monsters everywhere, even at home... on the couch... next to the closet door... or anywhere there are shadows. How do I deal with this? I try my utmost to reassure him, we create "Monsters safety boots", "Monster Away Spray" and a "Safety Blanket". All of these combined, seem to work while he is awake... but what happens when he is asleep?

I have been diligent in my purview... my sphere of influence, regarding Little Aiden's visual and auditory exposure. I hope I can find a positive way to turn his Monster phobia around and have a fantastic Halloween.

Any other suggestion?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Random Sweetness

I found a journal I gave to my eldest son, Adrian, when he was about 10 years old and right in the front cover I found a poem he wrote about me, but never showed to me...

Here it is:

I dedicate this poem to my Mom, and everything she has done for me. Stay sweet and beautiful MOM.

by Adrian Hopper

My Mom
full of courage
full of love!
Boy, I love her so... so very much.

A serious Buddhist
... and man she's a serious reader.
she likes science more than maths
I love you... BEAUTIFUL!

(Adrian's journal )

Monday, October 8, 2012

Another chilly Fall day...

Today's special... Soup! With special appearance by... Oyster Mushroom!

As Fall arrives, mushrooms lovers everywhere seek out the robust oyster mushrooms that grow on trees in the wild. Shortly after the first rains of the season, the snow-gray petal-like beginnings of P. ostreatus can be found. The taupe cap is a delicate scallop shaped, occasionally, tan caps will be found, and some of these can spread out to 18 inches in diameter, with thick, meaty flesh.
Fresh oyster mushrooms can now be found in supermarkets and farmer's markets. Cultivated oyster mushrooms are not only sweet tasting but versatile, because they can be used as a subtle flavoring agent in many ways. A spectrum of colored oyster mushroom has appeared in the marketplace… Gray, blue, yellow, pink, and white caps will please the eye as well as the palate.
Oyster mushrooms are used in stir-fried dishes, since the cap is thin and cooks quickly. If you prepare a dish that requires a long cooking time, add these mushrooms at the last stage of cooking.
Oyster mushrooms dehydrate rapidly. When used dry, they can be added to a dish without rehydration. Asian stores now offer them in bulk and in packages, fresh or dried.

I can't wait to enjoy this

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Another rainy Autumn day...

We just had to take advantage of the dreary day and make some comfort food... well, maybe it's a treat.

CASHEW APPLE CRISP! It's a Sara the Vegan Mom original! Enjoy!

Cashew Apple Crisp

¼ lb. raw cashews, lightly crushed
6-8 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
Vegan butter/margarine, softened
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup wheat flour
¼ cup oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
A dash of nutmeg


Preheat oven to 375o F

Combine cashews, sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir together until evenly mixed.

Add vegan butter/margarine to the mixture above and mix thoroughly with a fork or strong whisk.

Set aside

Place apples in an ungreased pan and spread them out.

Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the apples

Bake at  375o F for 20-30 minutes until apples are tender and the topping is golden brown.

Serve warm.

Friday, October 5, 2012

It's the final installment of the Squash and Gourds series!

Here we are the final installment of Squash and Gourds. Squash types beginning with S to Z include spaghetti squash, yellow squash (yellow zucchini) and zucchini; as well as more exotic squash types such as sweet dumpling squash and turban squash. I've also included a general overview of summer squash versus winter squash.

Silk Melon Squash (See Chinese Okra)

Spaghetti Squash or Vegetable Spaghetti

This watermelon-shaped squash is known for flesh that separates into long, blond, spaghetti-like strands as it cooks; it can be used in any recipe that regular spaghetti would be used in. The strands can be used in salads, casseroles or on a plate with sauce. The spaghetti squash has a mellow-taste with a slight crispness not found in pasta. The more yellow the rind, the riper the squash (See also Orangetti Squash).

Available year-round, but best early fall through winter.

Summer Squash

Summer squash is a category of thin-skinned squash; the skin is edible and bruises easily. The flesh is moister, due to higher water content, than winter squash. Examples include zucchini and the crookneck squash. They have a relatively short shelf-life: two weeks in the refrigerator. Different varieties of summer squash are found in yellow, green and white.

Sweet Dumpling Squash

The cream or daffodil-colored rind of the pretty sweet dumpling squash boasts thick deep ribs, which are lined with green or orange. Sweet dumpling squash lives up to its name for being sweet and tender. The petite squash can be held in one hand, making it a “dumpling” in comparison to other squash with ribbed, pumpkin-type shapes. It’s a great size for roasting or baking as individual servings.

Available throughout the fall

Sweet Potato Squash (See Delicata Squash)

Turban or Turkish Turban Squash

The turban squash is distinctively shaped like a sultan’s turban and can be striking in its color. It can vary from orange, red, green and white, sometimes combining all four colors to create a uniquely beautiful squash. The flavor of the yellow flesh reminds some of hazelnut, and its good size makes a wonderful bowl for an individual serving of soup when it is hollowed out. The bottom can be cut off to be hollowed out or stuffed.

Available year-round, best season late summer through early fall.

Uchiki Kuri Squash (See Red Kuri Squash)

 Vegetable Spaghetti (See Spaghetti Squash)

 West Indian Squash (See Calabaza Squash)

Winter Squash

Winter squash is a category of squash that has hard, thick rinds that are not edible. Examples include pumpkins and acorn squash. The flesh is drier—less moist—than summer squash. Kept in cool, dark places, winter squash will have a shelf life of up to three months.

Yellow Squash or Yellow Zucchini

Yellow squash comes in a number of varieties including crookneck, straightneck, pattypan and yellow zucchini. The crookneck has a curved bottleneck, while the straightneck is straight. Pattypan are small dreidel- or top-shaped (like a spinning top) squash with scalloped edges. Like all summer squash, they have a thin edible skin that does not need peeling, and are usually tender and mildly sweet.

Available year-round     


Often paired with its cousin, yellow squash, zucchini is one of the most popular summer squash. Its mild flavor is versatile; it can be eaten raw, grilled, fried, sautéed, baked, tossed in salads, in pasta dishes, on sandwiches, or even baked into bread and cake. Look for glossy, firm, dark green skin.

Available year-round     

Zucchini Blossom

The flowering tip of the zucchini is a gourmet delicacy. It is generally served as a side dish, sautéed or deep-fried.

Available in the spring and summer

Oh, this series was great fun! Adrian, Little Aiden and I had lots of fun squash and gourds hunting. Come back tomorrow for some delicious recipes that uses squash and gourds.

Source: The Nibble

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Squash and Gourds... A-Z... late day post!

Continuing with squash K through R; here we find unusual squash types, the best-known of which are the kabocha, pattypan and of course, the pumpkin. More rare varieties include the lumina, orangetti and red kuri squash.

Kabocha Squash

“Kabocha” is the general term for squash in Japanese, but this Japanese squash also goes by the name ebisu, delica, hoka and (you guessed it) Japanese squash or Japanese pumpkin. The mossy-green rind with spotted streaks of gray-teal encase a tender, sweet pumpkin flesh, but without the stringy fibers.

Available year-round     

Luffa Gourd (See Chinese okra)

Lumina Squash

Lumina is a round, white squash that is sometimes carved like a pumpkin for decoration.

Available in the fall and throughout winter 

Mo Qua Squash

Mo qua is a squash of Chinese origin. A relative of winter melon, mo qua looks like a zucchini with medium green skin and is covered with fuzzy white hairs. Like zucchini, the flesh is light-colored, slightly firm, mildly flavored and can absorb the flavor of any food it is combined with. Peeled, seeded and cubed, Mo Qua is usually stir-fried, braised, boiled or added to soups.

Available year-round

Orange Hokkaido Squash (See red kuri squash)

Orangetti Squash or Vegetable Spaghetti

The pale, orange-fleshed cousin of the spaghetti squash shares the same quality of separating into long spaghetti-like strands as it cooks. The watermelon- shaped orangetti squash is golden and smooth, and its delicate strands can be cooked like a conventional squash. it is especially impressive piled on top of a plate, like real pasta.

Available August through October

Pattypan or Sunburst Squash or Baby Summer Squash

These cute, dreidel-like squash come in yellow, green and white. They have scalloped edges and, like most other summer squash, a thin skin and tender meat. They can be cooked in the microwave, bake in the oven, on the stove, or can be used cooked or uncooked as a charming garnish for any dish.

Available year-round, but the peak season is May through August.

Pebbled or Warty

Pebbled or warty refers to the bumps on the surface of some varieties of squash. The crookneck squash is an excellent example. The pebbles are considered to add to the attractiveness as decorative gourds, and have no impact on flavor.


Drier, coarser and more strongly flavored than most other squash, pumpkins are harbingers of autumn, for Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns and evocative of pumpkin pie. They are mostly ornamental; most people who bake with pumpkin do so with the canned variety due to the time demands of preparing the fresh, fibrous flesh; and much canned “pumpkin” is a less fibrous variety of squash. There are many pumpkin variations, such as the Gold Dust, Jack-Be-Little, Lil-Pump-Kee-Mon, Wee-Be-Little, and various white pumpkins (Baby-Boo, Cotton Candy, Valenciano and others).

Available year round, but best in the early fall throughout winter.

Red Etampes Squash (See Cinderella Pumpkin)

Red Kuri Squash or Uchiki Kuri Squash or Orange Hokkaido

With butter-colored flesh that is smoother than butternut squash, this teardrop-shaped squash with an intense, sunset-colored rind has a pronounced, distinctive chestnut flavor. It makes a unique soup base that allows it to be paired with many other ingredients.

Available year-round Best season is late summer through early fall.

Alright! We are almost at the end. Come back tomorrow for my final installment in the Squash and Gourds series

Source: The Nibble

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Another Rainy Day...

Another rainy day... with extreme fun and a great treat.

Thank you Courtney for thinking of us and creating a play date that was beyond fun. Little Aiden and I are big fans of ZmamaB's Kitchen!

Here is the recipe for the cookies we made today:

Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Author: Eating Bird Food (Eating Bird Food)


1 cup spelt flour (all purpose flour will work too)
½ cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
pinch of ground nutmeg
¾ cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup sucanat or other raw, natural sugar
¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil
½ Tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
¼ cup vegan chocolate chips or carob chips


Preheat oven to 350° F.

Stir together dry ingredients (flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, sea salt, nutmeg) in a mixing bowl.

Mix together wet ingredients (pumpkin, sugar, coconut oil, flaxseed and vanilla) in a separate mixing bowl.

Combine wet and dry ingredients.

Stir in ¼ cup chocolate chips. Mix well.

Drop rounded tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Press cookie dough down into a cookie shape with a spoon or your fingers. Cookies won't spread very much so you can space them about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 15-16 minutes.

Move cookies to a wire rack and cool completely before eating or transferring to a storage container for later consumption.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Cookie Calories: 90 Fat: 3 Carbohydrates: 15 Sugar: 2 Protein: 1


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lazy day post...

Today was a wet gloomy day... but we found something great...

A Butternut Squash in all it's bell-shaped glory!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Squash and Gourds... A-Z... and it continue!

... And so it continues... Squash types beginning with D through J include unusual squash types, the best-known of which is the Hubbard. More rare varieties include the delicata, eight-ball, gold nugget and green-striped cushaw.

Let’s begin!

Decorative Squash

Decorative squash are edible winter squash with unusual shapes and/or markings that make attractive centerpieces and other household decor. They are also known as ornamental squash. Examples include the baby boo pumpkin, carnival squash, the calabash squash, the delicata squash, and the turban squash.

Turban squash

Delicata Squash or Sweet Potato Squash

The oblong delicata squash has lemon-colored skin streaked with green or orange. The meat is a cross between butternut squash and sweet potato, so much so that it is also called sweet potato squash. It is also known as Bohemian squash.

Available year-round, it is best late summer through early fall.

Eight-Ball Squash

The fattened, round eight-ball squash from California is a spherical hybrid of zucchini. Sharing the same dark, speckled green skin and plump insides, this squash can be prepared exactly the same way as zucchini.

Available from spring until fall

Fairytale Pumpkin

The Fairytale pumpkin is a charming, flat-shaped squash with deep ribs. It is a large, flat (cheese-wheel-shaped) winter pumpkin, growing to 20 pounds. The mature pumpkin has an orange-brown rind; the flesh is deep orange, tender and sweet, making it delicious as well as decorative option. The fairytale pumpkin is known in France (and often in the U.S.) as a musquee de Provence meaning, “Favorite pumpkin of chefs. ... A beautiful heirloom from the South of France with large 20 pound flattened fruits that are heavily ribbed”.

Gold Ball Squash

A newer variety hybrid of gold zucchini, gold ball squash are round and make a beautiful still life. Use it as you would a zucchini, or use it as a bowl. Scoop out seeds, fill it with your favorite dip or salad, or cook in halves, then fill with other vegetables, or foods.

Gold Nugget Squash

Similar to a hand-size pumpkin, this dull-skinned squash (the dull skin indicates maturity) is a deep orange inside. Noted for its blander taste compared to other squashes, gold nugget squash can be found throughout the year.

The best season is late summer through early winter.

Gooseneck Squash

He Gooseneck squash is a winter squash similar to the calabash squash. But instead of the calabash’s bottleneck shape (see my previous installment in the series), the neck is naturally bent to resemble a goose’s neck.


A gourd is the hollow, dried shell of a fruit in the plant family Cucurbitaceae, to which squash belong. There are edible gourds (squash), and those non-edible varieties used as vessels, musical instruments and for decor. Gourds are believed to be the earliest plant domesticated by man, in Africa, where they were used as bowls and bottles (they are still used today to drink yerba maté in South America). The rattling dried seeds inside enable gourds to be used as percussion instruments; even today, gourds are used as resonating chambers on certain stringed instruments and drums, especially in the Caribbean.

So SQUASH ARE GOURDS!! How cool is that!

Decorative Gourds

Green-Striped Cushaw Squash

The cushaw is a white squash, mottled and striped with green and crookneck-shaped. Its yellow flesh is best suited for pies and fillings because it is slightly sweet, but thick and coarse. It tastes very much like a pumpkin, and could be an even better alternative.

Available late summer to the end of winter

Hubbard Squash (Blue, Golden, Green, or Gray)

Large and bumpy like a misshapen teardrop, this squash is well-known for its wart-covered exterior and its peach-colored flesh. Hubbard squash is generally uniform in color, although the gray variety has a dusty appearance. The flesh is moist, but is best prepared boiled or baked and then puréed. Longer cooking helps breakdown its fibrousness and evaporates some of the excess water.

Available year-round, but peak season is early fall throughout winter.

Indian Bitter Melon

Resembling a bumpy cucumber, Indian Bitter Melon is much smaller than Chinese Bitter Melon, only 4 to 5 inches in length. The grooved yellow-green to dark-green skin holds a fibrous, seed-filled core ... The lighter the color, the milder the taste. Its slightly sour flavor becomes quite bitter upon ripening. This bitter or quinine flavor is often combined with garlic or chili. It is used in soups, curries, stir-fry, or can be steamed and braised.

Available January through November

Italian Squash

See cucuzza squash.

Jarrahdale Pumpkin

See Australia blue squash.

Source: The Nibble