Category Archives: vegetarian

pumpkin and white bean bisque with sage pesto

This year is flying by!!  Even my 18-year-old can’t believe it’s the middle of November already.  I think she is realizing that college move-in day is inching closer and closer.  Even though it will be a big change, we are all very excited for her.  She was accepted into the Honors College at WSU and will be a pre-vet student majoring in animal sciences.  School starts in August, so the countdown is on, especially for her 15-year-old brother, who will be moving into her room 🙂

Cooking Light had this soup in its latest Thanksgiving issue.  It would be a great first course to your Thanksgiving meal, or have it as a great autumnal dinner with some homemade bread.  This soup is very easy, since it uses pantry items, has a great texture thanks to the pureed beans and has a small amount of heat thanks to the cumin and cayenne.  The pesto puts it over the top, but of course you could omit it.  I made it vegetarian with vegetable stock, but the original recipe called for chicken stock.


Pumpkin and White Bean Bisque with Sage Pesto

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage, divided
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

Sage Pesto

  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. water

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion, 1 Tbsp. chopped sage, and garlic to pan and sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned.  Add ground red pepper and cumin, sauté one minute.  Stir in 1/2 cup vegetable broth and cook one minute, scraping pan to loosen any bits from bottom.  Combine onion mixture, 2 cups vegetable broth, beans, and pumpkin in blender and process until smooth.  Return to pan.  Stir in milk and salt.  Bring to a simmer, cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in vinegar.

To make pesto:  Combine 1 Tbsp. chopped sage, spinach, basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, olive oil and water in a mini food processor.  Process until smooth.

To serve, ladle 2/3 cup soup in a bowl and top with 2 teaspoons pesto.  Serves 8.

Recipe from Cooking Light, November 2013.

Using the Weight Watcher Recipe Builder for the soup:

8 servings = 2 Points Plus

for the pesto:

8 servings = 1 Points Plus

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Posted by on November 19, 2013 in soups, vegetarian


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pumpkin cranberry bread

I am in my happy place when I walk into the grocery store and see the stacks of Ocean Spray cranberry bags in the produce section. I don’t understand why we can’t get frozen cranberries year-round!? Well this year, I will be shopping in my freezer until next November when the cranberries are back…I’ve already frozen a dozen bags 🙂

I will probably add more cranberries to the next batch I make.  I loved the tart bursts of flavor!


Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces) LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup chopped, frozen cranberries (I use a cuisinart to chop the frozen berries.  You could always use whole or thaw and then chop)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with baking cooking spray.

Combine flours, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. In a stand mixer, combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and juice. Beat on low until blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in cranberries. Divide into the two pans and smooth tops.

Bake for 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove from pans to cool completely.

Recipe makes two loaves.

Recipe slightly adapted from

Using the Weight Watcher Recipe Builder, my friend Kristina calculated that each slice (12 slices per loaf) has 6 Points Plus per slice.


Posted by on November 12, 2013 in baking, points plus, snacks, vegetarian


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grilled peaches with cinnamon yogurt and honey

I love zombies!!

I anxiously await Monday mornings so I can pay Amazon $1.99 to watch the previous nights episode of “The Walking Dead” (we don’t have cable t.v. 😦 ) I’m such a great fan, I’ve even read the graphic novel as well (Thanks Bill!).  I am also becoming quiet good (in the 43-year-old mom sense) at Call of Duty 2:  Black Ops Zombies.  Love it, love it, love it!!

So it was very exciting to watch Marc and Anna participate in the Run For Your Lives 5K yesterday.  The course was filled with slow and fast-moving zombies trying to capture the flags around their waist.  The runners had a great time dressing up for the occasion.  Marc decided to go with a “caught at work during the apocalypse, so now I’m forced to wear a tie around my head” and Anna went with a shirt that said “Chicks with Brains”.  They sprinted, dodged, crawled and swam their way to the finish line.

After watching part of the race, and hearing the screams and moans, I’ve decided that zombies should stay in books, t.v. and video games.  My pulse was way out of my comfort zone and I wasn’t even running the race!



Here’s a quick dessert that you could cook over any smoldering post-apocalyptic wreckage 🙂  We used our gas grill.


Grilled Peaches with Cinnamon Yogurt and Honey

  • 4 ripe peaches, halved
  • 1/2 cup 0% Fage Greek yogurt
  • 4 Tbsp. honey
  • cinnamon to taste

Place peaches cut side down on a preheated grill (medium heat).  Cook each side 4-5 minutes.

Combine yogurt and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Top each peach with a tablespoon of yogurt and drizzle with a half of tablespoon of honey.  Serves 4.

Recipe very slightly adapted from

Using the Weight Watcher Recipe Builder, each serving has 4 Points Plus.

For my grandpa:  skinnytaste listed each serving as having 31.7 gms carbs and 2.2 gms fiber.  She used fat-free honey flavored Greek yogurt, I used plain.

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Posted by on August 25, 2013 in desserts, points plus, vegetarian


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asparagus, red pepper, and potato frittata

This frittata is great (makes a very cute vegetable PacMan too 🙂 )  And the nice thing is that you could totally change-up the vegetables to your liking.  My daughter thought it would make a very nice school lunch as well.  Yes, that’s right.  It’s already time to plan for back to school.  My senior starts next week!



Asparagus, Red Pepper and Potato Frittata

  • 2 cups liquid egg whites
  • 1/2 cup light ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 cups hash browns (I used Simply Potatoes)
  • 1/2 lb. asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Mix together egg whites and ricotta until smooth.  Set aside.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium-high.  In a large bowl, stir together hash browns, asparagus, red pepper and mushrooms.   Add mixture to skillet and cook 5-6 minutes.  Flip potato mixture.

Pour egg mixture evenly over potatoes.  Cover, decrease heat to medium, and cook without stirring until eggs are set, about 12-14 minutes.  Invert frittata over platter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Serves 6.

Recipe from Crystal Farms advertisement for AllWhites egg whites.

Each 1/6 wedge of frittata has 4 PointsPlus.

**and for my grandpa, each serving has 13 g of carbs and 2 g fiber 🙂


Posted by on August 20, 2013 in points plus, vegetarian


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tofu mac and cheese

This recipe has been a favorite of my kids for several years.  I love it because it is super fast, I can pronounce all the ingredients, and it’s not day-glo orange.

The pot holder the bowl is sitting on was made by my step-mom.  She is a weaver and has been on several covers of “Handwoven Magazine”.


Tofu Mac and Cheese

  • 12 ounces elbow macaroni, or other short shape
  • one package silken tofu
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups firmly packed grated Cheddar cheese (white, sharp, extra sharp…whatever you like)
  • salt and pepper

Puree the tofu in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Pour into a saucepan and add butter and cheese.  Slowly bring to a gentle simmer over medium low heat, stirring often, and cook until cheese is thoroughly melted.

Cook pasta until al dente, drain.  Combine pasta and sauce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook.

Using the Weight Watcher Recipe Builder, if divided into 6 servings, each has 10 Points Plus (using 2 cups cheese)


Posted by on August 15, 2013 in pasta, vegetarian


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zucchini vichyssoise

Yesterday was Sneak Some Zucchini On Your Neighbor’s Porch Day.  Hmm… porch was empty.  I’ll give my friends and neighbors a pass though, since it’s not a well advertised event.  They probably didn’t even realize it was occurring since Target didn’t display themed merchandise two months in advance so you can properly prepare.

I’m surprised Halloween candy isn’t already on the shelves.

But luckily this year I am growing a decent crop in my garden.  Last year’s bounty was horrible and I thought I might be in the Bermuda Triangle of Zucchini.  I mean, who plants zucchini, and then gets two?

Super easy, super nutritious and Weight Watcher friendly.


Zucchini Vichyssoise

  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 cups chopped onions
  • 4 cups chopped, unpeeled white potatoes
  • 4 cups chopped zucchini
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Heat the butter and oil in a large pot over medium-low heat  Add onion or leeks and saute for 10 minutes.  Add potatoes, zucchini, stock, salt and pepper.  Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes, then blend with an immersion blender.  Adjust salt and pepper if needed.  Serve hot or cold.  Makes 12 cups.

Recipe adapted from The Barefoot Contessa.

Using the Weight Watcher Recipe Builder, each 1 1/2 cup serving has 4 Points Plus.

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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in points plus, soups, vegetarian


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sweet onion salad

This past weekend we drove up to Guemes Island to see my 95-year-old grandmother who is visiting from Albuquerque.  She left a comment on my Thai shrimp cake entry last week saying that she would love to try it, since at her retirement center they are a little lacking in food with spices.  So Anna and I made two  batches and formed them into appetizer-sized bites and brought them up.  I think I almost prefer them bite-sized (one recipe made 9 small bites, instead of 4 larger patties).  Grandma loved them 🙂

My dad made this salad to go along with the burgers and fresh crab for lunch.  Delicious!  I quickly took a picture before everyone dove in.


Sweet Onion Salad

  • 3 large sweet onions (Walla Walla or Valdalia)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, rinsed, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pitted and halved Kalamata olives (about 20)
  • one red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Slice onions 1/4″ thick and place in bowl.  Add salt and vinegar and toss to combine.  Add olives, red pepper slices, and cilantro.  Refrigerate for several hours, tossing occasionally.    Add olive oil and feta cheese just before serving.

Using the Weight Watcher’s Recipe Builder, the entire recipe has 22 Points Plus.  I didn’t have a chance to measure how much the recipe made, but it was a large bowl full.  If you divided it into 10 servings, each would have 2 Points Plus.  I’m estimating that it would be about 3/4 cup for each serving.

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Posted by on August 6, 2013 in points plus, salads, vegetarian


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