Thanks a Lot, John LeClair by Johanna Parkhurst and a Hearty Mac & Cheese for those growing boys!

johnleclairI had to alter my schedule for the week, and do a review and recipe  for Thanks a Lot, John Leclair by Johanna Parkhurst. This book is the sequel to another one of my favorite young adult reads of recent years, Here’s to You, Zeb Pike where we met Emmitt Lapoint for the first time. Emmitt the star hockey player of his small town Vermont high school has a big secret, he’s in love with a boy. So in love in fact, that it’s changing everything. He needs to make sense of it all, and so he tries to figure it our the same way he as since he was 7 years old, by writing letters to his hero,  NHL player, John Leclair. He’s never sent any of the letters mind you, but they do seem to help him when he needs to figure things out.

For this book, I had to make a Mac and Cheese, it was a go to dinner for Emmitt and his brother Casey in the book, hot dogs with Mac and Cheese was a THING in this book. I kept hoping  to see a veggie make it to the menu when Emmitt was in charge of the cooking, so I took matters into my own hands, and came up with a recipe even young Emmitt could master. A Hearty Mac and Cheese with broccoli and mushrooms, rich, with a lovely crunchy topping, gooey and super filling. No wine pairing for this one though, keeping it alcohol free for the youths!

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Now the story.

Johanna Parkhurst does this thing, she writes her young characters with such evident respect and high regard, one can’t help but to read it them in the same spirit.  Emmitt is a boy who has placed a lot on his own shoulders, and for the most part he carries it well. He’s made being “good” his life’s purpose. The thing is since Dusty’s come along though, being the Golden Boy is getting harder every day. However things are getting strained with Dusty, he is tired of feeling like Emmitt’s dirty little secret. For Emmitt, the pressure to live up to all the expectations people have put on him, that he has put on himself, are becoming stifling.

This story in many ways is a straightforward coming of age story, adversity comes to test the mettle, and our hero rises to the challenge. The real beauty in this story for me, was in getting to see how Emmitt learned that true strength and success are not things you can see. They are the stuff that makes your life purposeful, meaningful and full of happiness, and those things, they are not for the outside world, they are for you, and  those whose lives your presence fills with purpose, meaning and happiness.

However don’t let this all this depth distract you, this book is funny, witty and seriously adorable, in short, the full YA package. Every character adds to this story, and it’s lovely to see that Emmitt who has always has everyone’s back, gets to have people stand up for him, and show him just how much he matters. At a time, I at least,desperately need it, this book left me feeling good about the future.

Hearty Mac and Cheese

  • 1 cup of chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 cup of chopped white button mushrooms
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup of grated Gouda cheese (or Gruyere)
  • 5 cups of milk
  • ½ all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup of breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb of rotini pasta
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375F. Separately, cook pasta according to  instructions and set aside.

In a large pot (I used a 4qt cast iron braiser, which I put in the oven to bake the Mac & Cheese) melt 2 tablespoons of butter at medium heat. Once it’s bubbling add the mushrooms, cook them for about 3 minutes stirring constantly, add the broccoli and cook that for about 2 minutes. Once the veggies are sauteed, take them off the pot and set aside in a bowl.fullsizerender

Start to warm your milk to use for the sauce. Have your flour at hand, as well as a whisk. In the same pot put the rest of your butter, once it starts bubbling, pour in the flour and whisk vigorously until butter and flour are incorporated.fullsizerender

Once that is done pour the milk in, continue to whisk and add the cheddar and Gouda or Gruyere cheese to the sauce. Mix until the cheese is well melted, add the pasta, veggies, salt and pepper. Let that cook down for 3  minutes until sauce it thicker, it should be a bit thin though, since liquid will be absorbed in the oven.


For the topping, mix the nutmeg, parmesan, breadcrumbs and paprika. If you are using a cast iron pot, you can sprinkle the crumbs right on top of the mac and cheese and put in the oven for 30 minutes. If not, pour pasta mixture into a deep 9X13 baking dish and top with your crumbs, and bake for same length of time. Let it sit for about five minutes before serving. It is a lovely mid-week meal with a simple side salad. Also the leftovers are AMAZING (I had them for lunch today)!

Thanks for visiting, I hope you enjoy the book and the recipe. I have a couple more things in the works this week, including my picks for Comfort Reads of 2016 so check back in soon!

Cheers and happy reading!


Every Inferno by Johanna Parkhurst

EveryInfernoLG (1)JJ keeps having nightmares from the day his parents died. That day, that he lost everything. His whole family. He was just a little kid at the movies with his parents, and in just a few minutes he was an orphan.  Lost his mom, his dad, even his baby sister was taken away from him.

JJ is bitter sure, I mean who wouldn’t be, and yeah he drinks too much which is really a problem at 14, but he’s got so much in his head. So many bad memories and that man he keeps seeing in his dreams, he knows that man was the one that set that fire that killed all those people at the theater where his parents died.

JJ feels hopeless all the time, seems like no matter how much he tries he keeps messing up, and he keeps getting in trouble. He’s a burden. A burden to his aunt who took him in after his parents died a burden to his school, to the town, even to his little sister who he barely sees these days.

JJ is having a hard time figuring stuff out, and then there is the whole thing with liking boys. He hasn’t give this particular issue very much thought, but his friendship with Mckinley is making it harder and harder to ignore.

He wants to do good, he does, but he won’t be able to get peace until he can let go of the past, of what happened to parents. He knows that the only way to do that is to finally figure out what happened the night they died. He has his suspicions and starts looking into them little by little…Except life is happening to him finally. He is making headway, most days he doesn’t have that sinking feeling that fucking up his life for good is just a matter of time.

He’s letting people into his life and that is making a difference. He can even see his sister again now that he is not messing up all the time. He’s making progress, but there are still things that hold him back and the more he looks into how his parents died, the more he thinks the person who did is still out there.

I like how Johanna writes very much, she’s got a great sense for how young minds work and she is VERY aware that young doesn’t mean dumb or emotionally stunted. Young people struggle with big feelings and big issues, many times on their own because their very struggles make them feel completely isolated. They need support and they need a little faith some times to get on track and move on.  JJ learned to rely on himself, and to open up to others who would hold him up, and that made the difference in him being able to move one.

I enjoyed this story because it felt familiar and it felt true to life, sometimes we are our own obstacle, and sometimes we just need a break and something to hope for.  The mystery was also pretty intriguing, and kept me on my toes until the end. I liked the bit of darkness Johanna added here and I certainly enjoyed the lightness she threaded through it as well.

Great young adult title, totally recommend.

Every Inferno is available for purchase here.

Cheers and happy reading!


The Red Sheet by Mia Kerick and the Red Super Powered Smoothie

RedSheet[The]LGWhat does it take to be a hero? Do we actually need a special power, like super human strength? Do we need a band of sidekicks to help us fight the forces of evil? Do we need a cape and shield, to stand out as the beacons of good that we are supposed to be? Or do we simply need to be strong enough to do the right thing? Is it enough to just stand tall, and say our truth even if it hurts, even if it means the path we choose will be lonelier and harder? Or is just being a good guy really what it takes to be a hero?

High school junior, Bryan Dennison wishes he knew, because on a crisp sunny day in October he’s woken up with a hankering to be Superman like you would NOT BELIEVE, and he is at a loss. It is all he can do from tying a damn towel (or RED SHEETS!…Red sheets are the best!) to his neck and leaping off buildings and shit. Is he crazy? He doesn’t think he’s crazy…Even though people are kinda of looking at him funny recently…

Since this is a Young Adult I am not doing a wine pairing, for Bryan and Scott I made a Red Super Powered Smoothie. This drink has a HUGE amount of vitamins, antioxidants, and all kinds of good stuff. It’s a great option for breakfast and I promise a big glass of this will give you so much energy you WILL feel like a super hero!

Back to the story…Bryan is confused, first he wakes up Monday morning, pretty sure he can’t remember something real shitty he did over the weekend…Also he has this REALLY strong desire to start doing good deeds, for like  strangers! Not that being nice isn’t a good thing, but Bryan is a jock, top of the totem pole at his school. Him and his friends “rule the school”. Problem is, this apparently just means he’s a total dickish douchebag 99% of the time, and his friends are even worse…What kind of asshole is he anyways? Because tp make matters worse, it seems like part of his daily school activities include being a vicious bully.

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Bryan is disgusted with what seems to have been his life until now, he is ashamed of how his friends act, he is frightened of how awful he seems to have been acting. Worst of it all is that the kid who he’s been bullying recently, he has no recollection of him at all. Scott Beckett, little fragile looking kid, just sitting by himself trying to have lunch in peace seems to have been Bryan’s #1 victim. What has he DONE? What is WRONG with him that he can’t remember? What is WRONG with him that he would ever hurt someone like Scott, who clearly couldn’t defend himself against someone his size? According to his friends the kid’s gay…So clearly that meant Bryan and his jerkoff friends took that as a free pass to torment him…He is sick, SICK of the person he has been. Everything in him wants to make ammends, do good, make things right…Be better. BETTER. He needs to do better.

Most of all he has to make things right with Scott, he’s not sure what happened between them, but it must have been bad. Scott looks at him and his eyes are full of hate and pain and SO MUCH disappointment. It hurts Bryan, because he KNOWS deep inside, even if he doesn’t remember it that Scott is someone important…Bryan needs to earn Scott’s forgiveness, he will work as hard as he CAN to show him that he is a different guy. Bryan is changed inside, and even though the world can’t see it yet, he’s going to show them. He’ll be a force of good in his world, his school, at home with his mom. He can change the things he’s broken on the outside, because he has strength now on the inside.

Be the change you want to see in the world. -Mahatma Ghandi

Easier said than done, but still, Bryan couldn’t be a selfish, lazy guy like he had been anymore. It was hard though, his old jock buddies, they didn’t like the new Bryan. They thought he had lost his mind when he tried to be nice to Scott and his friends. Everyday it got harder and harder to put up with those guys, until he had to break with them, but they didn’t let him go easy. Things with Scott were no picnic either. No matter how hard he tried, it seemed Scott couldn’t fully believe he really had changed. He couldn’t really blame the guy either, because the more he remembered of the kind of guy he had been to Scott, the more he feared he had ruined things with him for good. It was ALL FUCKED UP, no doubt. But he didn’t keep the red sheet around for decorative purposes (Ok maybe sometimes…)! he was gonna be a frigging hero dammit! HE HAD TO BE.

This book had me from the word go. One of the best Young Adult books I’ve read. Bryan’s voice was wonderful. Funny, engaging, so so honest and bright. That kid had me laughing my ass off and crying my eyes out more than once.  The premise of the story beyond exceptional. Talk about unique, I loved that we got the flip side of the coin, and saw the world to the eyes of the bully. Even more beyond that we saw it through eyes that could really SEE the hurt he’d done. There was never a sense for me that the author was aiming for incredibly realistic.  What I did I feel was that I was being given a scenario that could give me an opportunity for strong introspection about what it really means to be heroic in life.

What would it feel like to wake up one day and be different? What would it feel like to realize that you were not nice or good? To see in the faces of people surprise and confusion when you try to be kind? It would be tough. Bryan didn’t give up though, he went back in everyday and he kept doing good things, doing better than he had until his whole world became different.

There is a lot to say about this book….It goes into the harsh reality of our kids going into schools all around this country, every single day, which for lack of better words, are hostile environments…That we live in a culture where strength and beauty are revered, but daring to be different, or refusing not fall in line to the norm makes the outcasts, makes them targets…The fact that SUCCESS mean popularity or status, but not character or kindness.

So much bad stuff right? Except the tone of this book is incredibly optimistic. It’s hopeful and vibrant. There were moments of pure joy and so much laughter. Romance too, because Bryan was INTO Scott BIG TIME… So many good moments…There was sadness to be sure, because we were on Bryan’s journey and he had a lot to atone for. The thing is Bryan found the good inside him and that made the hard moments bearable and once he began to find people in his life that would hold him up, he could laugh through the tears.  Little by little he did the things he felt were right, he was honest with himself and others, he faced his fears, he tried to figure out the reasons why he had been the kind on guy he had. In the end he got to have SO MUCH more than before. He got to be himself, which to his surprise was all he needed to be for the people who loved him.

What can I even say? I LOVED this book. EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. I could probably re-read it right now. If I could I would by a copy and put it under the door of every single one of the 80 19 and 20 year old college kids that I live with.

Bryan is a character that will stay with me long from now…And his song…I think we should all look to find that better part of ourselves, dig for those special things. Because when we do find them and know their worth there will always be good people to share them with.

The Red Sheet by Mia Kerick  is availalble here, at Dreamspinner Press.

Red Super Powered Smoothie

Makes 2, 16 oz servings


For the RED:

1 cup of Vanilla Almond Milk

1 cup pomegranate juice

1 banana

1 cup of frozen cherries

1/2 cup of frozen strawberries

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1 big handful of greens (stemmed kale or baby spinach)

1/2 tablespoon of almond butter

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

1 tablespoon of flax seeds

2 medjool dates pitted

a pinch of cinnamon


Directions: Put all the ingredients in your blender at the highest power setting for about 1 and a half minutes, and enjoy. This smoothie is FANTASTIC as a substitute for breakfast. It is delicious, filling, you will be incredibly energized and won’t think about food all morning. I am certain Bryan would approve!

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I hope you give this book a try, it is so far one of my favorites this year, cannot recommend it enough. I plan to share it with all the young people in my life, also give the smoothie a try, it’s AWESOME!

Cheers and Happy Reading!


Author Interview with Johanna Parkhurst: Her new book, her inspiration and how a character forced her to write an LGBT story.

18743452Earlier this week I posted my review for Here’s to You, Zeb Pike by new author Johann Parkhurst. It is a Young Adult book, out today on Harmony Ink press. I loved this story and strongly encourage any readers out there to give it a try, it will not let you down. I was so touched by the story, that I went full on stalkerazzi and contacted Johanna and asked if she could do an interview for release day. She kindly answered my question and so here is my chat with her.

The Tipsy Bibliophile: Johanna this is the first work that I’ve read from you, and I loved it. In the Author Notes you talk about your experience as a high school teacher, and how your students have inspired you. Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration for Dusty?
Johanna Parkhurst: Thank you so much for having me! I’m so glad you enjoyed Here’s to You, Zeb Pike.
Johanna Parkhurst: Sooo many students have inspired Dusty–and Emmitt. That’s probably a large reason I love these characters so much; they represent so many year of so many amazing students.
The original inspiration for Dusty and his siblings was a family I worked with my first years of teaching. They were really likeable kids struggling with parents who wanted to be good parents but didn’t always know how. As Dusty changed and grew over multiple iterations of this book, a myriad of other students inspired the way he talks, his attitudes about his emerging sexuality, and his general outlook on life. Dusty’s lines in the beginning of the book about how easy school is for him are basically lines one of my students said to me the as I was re-writing that section of the story.
TB: LGBT YA is I think one of the most valuable genres to focus in for an author, but it’s not exactly mainstream. What made you want to write a story with LGBT characters?
JP: Another fabulous Harmony author Madison Parker ( is featuring a blog I wrote on how…wait for it…Dusty came out to me. No, seriously. I actually didn’t intend, when I started writing this book, to write a story with LGBT characters. Emmitt and Dusty just ended up being so perfect together–the more scenes I wrote about their friendship, the more I realized that they weren’t just friends.
I will say that what pushed me to try and publish this story, and what has pushed me to write more LGBT characters since, is my belief that kids need more books featuring LGBT characters in their lives. I get very upset when schools purposely avoid putting LGBT characters into their curriculum and libraries. Books are kids’ windows into the world. If you don’t give them a window into the world of LGBT characters, you’re essentially telling them there is something wrong or abnormal about being LGBT (whether you meant to send that message or not). For both the sake of promoting identity exploration AND for the sake of building acceptance in our society, our children need to read books that expose them to all kinds of different people and ideas. I’m excited that LGBT lit is finally becoming more mainstream in the YA lit world, and I hope that trend continues.
TB: If you could pick something, what would be the most important reader would take away from your book?
JP: There are a lot of things I hope readers take away from this story, but the most important one is probably the lesson Dusty learns from Zeb Pike…so I’ll let readers do their own exploration of the book and find out what that lesson is. 😉
TB: My blog is a little different, with my book reviews I normally make a dish. For Dusty I wanted to make some comfort food. I came up with a Vegan Mac n’ Cheeze and Walnut and Lentil Loaf that I find delicious, but might make Dusty roll his eyes and beg to be taken out of Northeast, ASAP! What do you think would be the ideal meal for Dusty?
JP: After years of scraping by on Ramen, I think Dusty gets excited whenever someone puts any kind of decent food in front of him (the first time he has Jack’s fried chicken was such a fun scene to write). He might balk at the Walnut and Lentil Loaf–Dusty’s a kid who likes his meat.
I love that you made Dusty comfort food. He definitely needs it!
TB: I fell completely in love with Dusty and his story. Will we see more of Dusty or his story finished?
JP: There is a very good chance you will see more of Dusty in the future! A warning, though: any future chapters in this verse will most likely be from Emmitt’s perspective. I love Emmitt, and he deserves some time in the spotlight.
TB: Are you working on any new books? If you are can you tell us a little bit about that?
JP: I have another YA book I’ve been working on that’s much darker, in many ways, than Dusty’s story. The main character in that one, JJ, is struggling with the death of his parents and a lot of anger issues. I do love writing angsty characters, but JJ’s been bringing even me to new levels of angst. I’m not sure what his publishing future is–we’ll have to see.

Well there you have it folks, a little “get to know you” with this wonderful new author. My thanks to Johanna for gracefully visiting with me. I encourage you guys to go out and get this book today. You will not regret it for a second.

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Early Review of YA Title “Here’s to you, Zeb Pike” by Johanna Parkhurst, and Comfort Food for Vegans.

18743452You know when you see a cover and then you read a blurb and you get that feeling? That feeling that says, “I’ve found something special”…This book gave me that feeling, and it was completely what I expected. More even. Well written, engaging, moving, funny, emotionally clever, endearing and with strong lessons about life. This is the kind of Young Adult story that really adds value to a young person’s perpective, makes them see the world a little differently. And for grown ups like me, well, it’s always nice to read something this good.

Here’s To You, Zeb Pike, is a story about the mountains that life puts before us, and how some are for us to climb and conquer and others are there to show us that walking away is sometimes they best way to triumph. Dusty Porter is a young man who has had to sacrifice too much of his childhood to the neglect of his parents. His story made me question how it is some people can be so weak and so cruel in their selfishness, and others can amaze us with their fortitude and resilience. Some people really are innately good, some are innately bad, and in this world a lot of times those two things play out very unfairly. I loved Dusty’s stregth and his selflessness. The way he cared for this brother and sister on his own, and kept his family intact as much as he could for as long as he could. It’s hard to say how any of us would face adversity, and sadly too many kids in this country, in this world, have to make too many hard decisions every single day.

For Dusty I needed to make something comforting and delicious, the kind of food that makes me feel warm inside. I decided to  go with Vegan Mac and Cheez with Roasted Garlicky Romanesco, and a Lentil and Walnut Loaf. This food is PERFECT for the cold days coming, and is completely vegan and gluten free. I decided to forego the alcoholic selectionon this one, since this book is for Young Adults.

Complete Comfort

Complete Comfort

Dusty Porter, has everything UNDER CONTROL. He’s fourteen (almost fifteen actually), and is pretty much single handedly raising his eight year old brother, and six year old sister.  Sure, he’s tired, and he is constantly stressed out about the school authorities finding out that his dad is pretty much out of the picture, and that his mom constantly disappears for months at a time. It’s a kind of a lot for one person to handle, but what else can he do? Someone has to care for Matt and Julia. He’s good at it too, as long as his mom comes by every once in a while to bring some food, and pay rent he can get himself and the kids to school, fed, cleaned up and all the other things that need doing. He’s not bitter or anything, it’s been this way so long he can hardly remember a time when he didn’t see his dad only when he was desparate, and needed money to eat. Couldn’t recall not being filled with dread that this time his mom would just stay gone for good. Things were not rosy, he knew that, that constant feeling that they were one more selfish act from his “so called” parents from ending on the street, the pressure of making sure no one finds out he’s alone with the kids, was enough to undo him…And then there’s the whole “I might like boys” thing…Nothing is easy for Dusty. EVER.

Things suck, but at least he’s got the routine down pat, then Julia gets sick, needs surgery for appendicits and his cover gets blown in a major way. He has to come clean and admit that his parents are completely out of the picture, have been for awhile, he doens’t even know how to get in touch with his mom, and his dad wouldn’t even come to see Julia at the hospital. He’s so afraid that he’ll be split up from his siblings, afraid he’ll be uprooted from Colorado Springs, the only place he’s ever known. He thought he could conquer this, that he could scale up this treacherous mountain of responsibility, but the jig is up. Everything is out of his hands. Out of nowhere an uncle appears in Vermont. He didn’t even know his mom had a brother! The guy and his wife want to take all three of them to Vermont. Dusty doesn’t like this one bit.  His life is getting completely uprooted and he’s just like a prop or something, no say in a sigle thing.

His uncle Jack and his wife Beth are nice people, that’s true, and have a nice house with rooms for all of them, and everything is “lovely”. Matt and Julia are as happy as clams, they are getting attention and order, but Dusty is not having it. He can’t trust it! These people all of a sudden want to take over raising his brother and sister, and push him aside, they’re HIS family! It’s too much. Too much. New town, new school (where his uncle works!), new EVERYTHING. Then there’s Emmit, oh God…Emmit, the high school hockey star, who’s been showing him around the school for the first few days. Emmit is beautiful and nice…SO NICE. SO BEAUTIFUL. SO STRAIGHT. Dusty just stares, and tries not to drool. Things are just so damn confusing…He’s got to do something about it, because if there is something that Dusty KNOWS is that whenever things can go wrong,THEY ALWAYS DO. But slowly with the the steadiness of his uncle, the friendships that he forges with Emmit and his brother Casey things become less overwhelming…Maybe things really could be ok.

I loved a lot of things about this book. The solid writing, easy and efficent. No frills or wasted words. Dusty as a narrator just stole my heart, his young voice and mind was so spot on, so wise and clear at times, and others so lost and in need of guidance. I felt so angry for him, for that fact that he didn’t even know what it was like to be a kid or a teen. He didn’t know how unfair it was what his parents did to him. Everything about Dusty called to my protective instincts. This book was obviously written from a place of deep caring. The author was writing a story she knows, form the first page I knew Dusty so well.

What I loved the MOST though, was how elegantly this book showed us very harsh realities. Particularly for the young adults reading this story it will be an eye-opening experience. There are sad parts, angering moments, dispappointing bits, and moments of real grimmness.  But there is also youthful JOY and hope. Dusty can still hope, he can still HOPE. The thought that even after having lived through so much hardship, people can be resilient. Even if that optmisim is fragile at first, they can reach for a better future. Romance is not the center of this story, the center is Dusty. His past and his future. His old family and his new family. How things have been for him, and finally how they could be.  Because in the end Dusty has to make a decision, he can try to hang on to everything that was, or he can give this new chance that he’s been given a shot. That’s not to say we don’t get to see things evolve for Dusty. Dusty was  a wonder and every other character in this book had a quiet strength that made for a very solid story.

All in all this is pure heartwarming goodness to the fullest, with excellent writing, and a whole lot of soul. I completely recommend and I’m excited to see what else will come from this author in the future.

Here’s To You, Zeb Pike is available for pre-order here, and will be out on November 7th. I really encourage everyone to give this book a try, it won’t let you down! Check back in on Thursday, to read an interview with the Johanna Parkhurst where she answers question about her inspiration for Dusty, her future plans and how she ended up as an YA LGBT author.

Vegan Mac & Cheeze With Roasted Garlicky Romanesco (adapted from Oh She Glows Blog)

Yield: 4 servings or 1.5 cups of cheeze sauce


  • 1 fresh butternut squash* (peeled and chopped)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, S & P
  • 1 Romanesco head, chopped
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened &  unflavoured almond milk
  • 6 tbsp nutritional yeast, or more to taste
  • 3/4 cup of raw cashews
  • 2 TB Dijon mustard
  • 1 TB Turmeric
  • 1 TB Paprika
  • 1/4-3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 4 leaves of fresh sage
  • 1/2-1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2-1 tsp kosher salt (to taste) & ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 servings of corn flour (brown rice works too) macaroni (8oz or half a 16oz package) makes 3 1/4 cup  cooked

sqash and romanesco on pan

mac and cheez1

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a casserole dish with tin foil. Mix chopped  squash  and romanesco with EVOO, salt and pepper, two sliced garlic cloves and the sage leaves. Roast for about 40 minutes, uncovered, or until  tender.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the cheeze sauce. Gorund the cashews in the food processor until it looks like course flour. In a bowl mix milk, nutriotional yeast, spices. lemon juice, and remaining cloves minces. Add to processor and then leave there, because you will add squash it’s done.

3. Cook your pasta according to package directions. The sauce makes enough to  cover 4 servings of pasta.

4. Once squash and romanesco are done, take squash, sage and garlic and blend with the rest of the sauce. Leave romanesco out to toss once sauce and macaroni have been mized.

5. Add cooked, drained, and rinsed macaroni into pot, along with cheeze sauce & romanesco in a casserole, bake uncovered for 15 minutes at 350F.

DELISH Lentil and Walnut Loaf (recipe adapted from Oh She Glows Blog)

walnut lentil loaf

Yield: 1 large loaf


  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped and toasted
  • 3 tbsp ground flax + 1/2 cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 cups diced sweet onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1/3 cup peeled and grated sweet apple (use a firm variety)
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs (used EZEKIEL Gluten Free bread)
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme (or 3/4 tsp dried thyme)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste

Balsamic Apple Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp apple butter (I used homemade, but applasauce works too)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Rinse and strain lentils. Place lentils into pot  along with 3 cups of water (or veg broth). Bring to a boil and season with salt.  Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer, uncovered, for at least 40-45 minutes.  Stir frequently & add touch of water if needed. The goal is to over-cook the  lentils slightly (see pictures in post). Mash lentils slightly with a spoon when  ready.

2. Toast walnuts at 325F for about 8-10 minutes. Set aside. Increase oven  temp to 350F.

3. Whisk ground flax with water in a small bowl and set aside.

4. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sautee the  garlic and onion for about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Now add in the diced  celery, shredded carrot and apple, and raisins. Sautee for about 5 minutes more.  Remove from heat.

5. In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together. Adjust seasonings to  taste.

6. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Press mixture firmly into pan. Whisk glaze  ingredients and then spread half on top of loaf. Reserve the rest for a dipping  sauce.

7. Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes, uncovered. Edges will be lightly brown.  Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. I  usually wait until loaf is cool before slicing.