Italian Dinner Party – Pt.2 Buttercup Squash with Carrot Pasta

Squash is in season! I don’t know why I get so excited about the fall but everything about it makes happy. The beautiful leaves, the crisp fresh smell of the air and the beginning of comfort food season; it just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.  Although here in Vancouver there aren’t as many deciduous tress as there are back home in Ontario, which is something I missed until I heard some places ALREADY have snow! So I “put up” with most trees being green all year long. Something you could hardly call  an inconvenience. Okay, enough of this silly non-complaining. Let’s talk about the food.

In this photo I made orecchiette or at leased tried to make orecchiette.  but I find I prefer it with linguini. Which I’ll be making again since I’ll be explaining the pasta making process soon. Also I hope to post some pretty pictures to update with in a week or two since it’s now in my weekly rotation.

FYI Butternut squash is very similar to Buttercup squash so if you can’t find one you can use the other. Although buttercup is much easier for me to quarter than the other. Also the creole seasoning I use is Emeril Lagasse’s Bayou Blast. Just coat the chickpeas and pan fry until cooked through.


Don’t forget to tell me what you think!

1 medium Buttercup squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp fresh sage
Coarse salt and ground pepper
5 cloves garlic, peel on
1 cup full fat coconut milk or coconut creamer
4 servings carrot pasta
2 bunches of baby broccolini
2 cups creole seasoned chickpeas
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a large knife, trim ends; quarter the squash. Scoop out the seeds and peel.
Cut squash into 2-inch chunks; transfer to a baking sheet. Toss with oil and sage; generously salt and pepper. Scatter garlic around squash. Roast for 40 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Remove and discard skin from garlic.
Transfer squash and garlic to a food processor and puree. Add creamer or coconut milk; process until smooth. Add 1 to 2 cups water, until your preferred consistency is reached.
Cook pasta according to package or blog directions. Pour sauce over pasta; toss to coat. Top with creole seasoned chickpeas and steamed baby broccolini.
Creole Seasoning
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.


Condensed Coconut Milk

I love living in Vancouver, the weather is always beautiful, it snows maybe once a year for a day and it’s large enough to have most if not all the vegan cooking ingredients I want. Each trip to a new store brings exciting ideas for my kitchen and sometimes something to add to my Why my mom should move here list. For example my wonderful boyfriend took me to a  Whole Foods grocery store the other day to pick up some agave syrup and a few organic veggies. While we were there we saw raw-vegan and singer-sonwriter Bif Naked. I know there are many celebrities in Vancouver and I do encounter them at work but I still thought I should add, chance encounters of celebrities my mom may have enjoyed listening to when she was my age to that list.

Coconut milk and agave syrup

Now to the food, condensed coconut milk or any vegan condensed ‘milk’ is not readily available on grocery store shelves, but it is easy to make. You only need 2 ingredients: 1 can of full fat coconut milk and agave syrup. I scaled down the original recipe by Detoxinista found here, since I don’t need or really want large quantities sitting in my fridge. It’s just way too tempting. So here’s my recipe.

Condensed Coconut Milk 

1 small can full-fat coconut milk

1/8 cup agave syrup


Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan, and heat over medium-high heat until boiling.

Stir in agave syrup, whisk until mixed and reduce heat.

Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently until it’s reduced by half.

Korean Dinner Party – Pt.3 Patbingsu

Good afternoon online family and of course my real family. I know it’s taken a lot longer than expected for my Korean dessert but it is finally here. It’s a fairly simple recipe so I wanted to try my hand at making every ingredient from scratch. Doing so makes it a very time consuming dessert but in the end it’s worth it. For this recipe I’m opting for store bought rice cakes as it’s difficult to make them any better unless you want them in an unusual flavour.

What is Patbingsu? Patbingsu is a very popular Korean dessert that is made using fruits, shaved ice and sweetened adzuki beans.  Not only is it perfect on warm summer days but it can really fill you up given that the beans contain a large amount of protein. Now I’m sure you’re thinking “sweetened beans?! Thanks but no thanks.” I assure you it’s quite tasty!

For this recipe I’m using coconut water ice but really you can sub in any fruit juice ice. I would highly recommend watermelon ice if you are an active person. Watermelon  contains an amino acid called L-citrulline which has shown to accelerate removal of lactic acid from muscles. Not that anyone really needs an excuse to eat watermelon on a warm summer day.

Photo’s to follow shortly.


1 cup Red beans (adzuki beans),

1 cup Agave Syrup (you can sub in raw sugar)

1 tsp Vanilla

1/2 tsp Salt

Coconut Water

Condensed coconut milk

Rice Cakes (Moochi)

2 Bananas

4 Kiwis

Pint of Strawberries


Freeze coconut water in ice cube trays, making roughly one tray per person.

Fill a large pot with 4 cups of water and 1 cup of rinsed Adzuki beans. Bring to a boil and let simmer for one hour. After an hour test a bean to make sure it is soft all the way through, if so then drain beans.

Return beans to the pot along with 1 cup of agave syrup, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of vanilla. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes or until the mixture has caramelized and sticks to the spoon.  Cool in the fridge.

Chop all fruits and rice cakes into bite size pieces.

Shave your ‘coconut cubes’ with an ice-shaver or the ice cube setting on your blender.

Now it’s time to build your Patbingsu! 

Place 1/2 cup of sweetened red beans in to a cup or bowl.

Top with a generous amount of coconut ice

Add 1/4 of your chopped fruit and 6 to 8 pieces of rice cakes

Finish with 2 tbsp of condensed coconut milk