Penne Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash and Pecans

January 12, 2012 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

Looking to make some pasta but wanting to kick it up a notch? Add some roasted butternut squash, toasted pecans and you’ve got it. The pecans add a crunchy texture into what would otherwise be “normal” pasta while the basil brings in a hint of spring that I’ve been longing for on these long winter nights. I used both fresh regular basil and some red leaf mixed in for good measure.

I’m a fan of butternut squash already peeled, cubed and ready to go.  The bright orange color and the sweet roasted flavor helped boost my mood on a cold winter’s evening. I suppose a bonus is the heated oven keeps things nice and toasty in the kitchen.

Penne Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash and Pecans
By Megabeth

  • 1 package fresh cubed butternut squash
  • 16 oz whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 cup crushed pecans
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesean cheese
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

Spread butternut squash, onions and garlic cloves on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Roast for 40 to 45 minutes until butternut squash is golden. Add pecans to baking tray for the last 4 to 5 minutes to toast. (Watch onions to make sure they don’t burn.)

Meanwhile, make penne pasta per package directions and place in bowl. Toss roasted vegetables into pasta. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with some cheese.

Veggin’ Cookbook Chronicles: Stuffed Potatoes

August 14, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Cookbook Chronicle Challenge, Main Dishes, Side Dishes

I’d like to take you on a little journey. A little journey through The “New Age Vegetarian Cookbook” printed in 1980 by The Rosicrucian Fellowship out of Oceanside, California. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride as this cookbook is an interesting treasure trove of recipes and surprises…

So, the first thing I need to do is find tell a little more about The Rosicrucian Fellowship. It was founded in 1911 in Oceanside, California by Max Heindel. His mission was to “”prepare mankind for the coming age of Universal Brotherhood, the Age of Aquarius.” The group continues on today using a study course to educate and disseminate the Rosicrucian philosophy and “to spread the gospel and heal the sick.”

When I came across this cookbook, I had never heard about the group. I wondered if all were vegetarian and lo and behold, their website answers my exact question:

The Rosicrucians do not teach that everyone should be a vegetarian AT ONCE. In fact they teach that the vegetarian diet generates an abundance of energy, much more than flesh foods. This energy is not only physical but spiritual, so that if a man leads a sedentary life and is of a material disposition, engaged, perhaps, in sordid business transactions or in other lines of strictly material endeavor, this spiritual energy can find no vent and is apt to cause systemic disturbances. Only those who live an active, outdoor life, where the abundance of energy generated by the vegetarian food can be thrown off, or who transmute that energy into spiritual endeavor, can thrive on the vegetarian diet. Besides, we recognize that the heredity of many generations has made man partly carnivorous, so that in the case of most people the change from a mixed diet to vegetables should be gradual. The diet which suits one man is not fitted for another, VIDE the old proverb that “one man’s meat is another man’s poison,” and no hard and fast rules can be laid down which will apply equally to all people. Therefore, everything that we eat as well as everything else connected with our personality should be determined by ourselves individually.

With that knowledge in hand, let’s dig into this cookbook…Sure, this isn’t a slick four-color photo filled book. In fact, there are no photos or illustrations whatsoever. We only see almost 500 pages of dense Times New Roman text.

We begin with the preface which speaks directly to the Dear Reader and ends with:

Many more recipes may be added but for lack of space. We have tried, however, to make of the book a reasonably representative selection, and trust that having it in your kitchen shelf will make you happy.

I kind of like that sentiment. They address the cooking, the eating and the health but most of all…they want you to be happy.

After the preface, we then launch into a nice section about “useful food facts” and a discussion of what various vitamins and minerals do for the body and where to find them. Then there are 64 pages of food values in a table that includes calories, protein, iron, calcium contents.

Next is a comprehensive menu listings that included school and business lunches as well as the full days of breakfast, lunch and dinner. They explain:

There should be variety from day to day to make meals appetizing, along with variation in texture and color. It is in the combination of hot and cold foods, soft and solid ones, the sweet and tart, too, that the flavor is enhanced, with the use of herbs having a share in the enjoyment of meals.

The menus are extensive. And, when one of the items listed is “New Age Cole Slaw” what’s not to like? Each menu day even lists beverages including:  “Upon arising a glass of cherry juice” or “Upon rising a glass of pineapple juice.”

After the menu section, this is where the cookbook ramps up. Page after page of simple recipes, advice, guidance and suggestions. For example, there is a sandwich section where there are 48 suggestions for various combinations – egg, cream cheese, peanut butter, vegetable and all kinds of variations in between. One such suggestion:

Take equal parts of chopped carrots and pecan nuts and pass trough food chopper, using coarse cutter. Mix with mayonnaise. Spread on dark rye bread, toasted.

All recipes are simple and the instructions given are very concise. Sometimes too concise and you have to go into the context clues to figure out what you need to do. So, if they say “4 baked potatoes” in the ingredients you know to bake the potato before beginning the rest of the recipe.

It was when I was doing the perusal of the recipes for this post, the mystical qualities of this cookbook reared it’s head. I’ve used this cookbook several times but this time as I flipped I had to stop as I suddenly came across this:

Yes, a four leaf clover! Oh joy! Someone, who knows how long ago, placed the clover in the book for safe keeping. I smiled, happy with my find, and then turned the page:

Joy of joys! Two more four leaf clovers preserved in the pages! Yes, the writers were correct, having this cookbook on my shelf did make me happy!

The cookbook wraps up with a list of herbs that “provide simple home remedies such as our grandmothers used for minor indispositions.” The extensive herb section begins thusly:

Herbs have come to us so bedimmed by time that we no longer know their origin. Their use has relieved many ailments, serving as an aid to better living.

This introduction is followed by pages upon pages of herbs and their benefits. Such as:

Celandine, wile (plant): ruled by the Sun. Effective in problems of bladder, dropsy, kidney, jaundice, liver, and also for ulcers.

Pumpkin Seeds: ruled by Moon. Beneficial in expelling tapeworm by eating quantity of shelled ones at night, followed next morning by brisk cathartic to expel worm.

I shall remember that around Halloween when I’m carving pumpkins and toasting the seeds. Be gone tapeworms!

After the herb discussion, we head into food equivalents and a quite comprehensive index that does a great job cross referencing and listing by ingredient rather than by recipe title.

Sadly I have to draw this journey to a close. But don’t fret, there is one more section in the book –  a list of books authored by Max Heindel that includes the following titles:

  • Occult Principles of Health and Healing
  • The Message of the Stars
  • Mysteries of the Great Operas
  • Gleanings of a Mystic
  • Simplified Scientific Astrology
  • Simplifies Scientific Ephemeries
  • The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception

To wrap things up, this is one of those cookbooks that you flip through and actually read when waiting for things to cook. It’s a collection of not only cooking advice and references but has some pretty durn good recipes to boot.

Now, on to the business at hand – a recipe from this mystical book. I let the four leaf clover be my guide and chose to make Stuffed Potatoes. I had yet another “happy moment” after getting to pound the living heck out of a bag of cashews and pecans. (I used a wooden crab mallet, laid the bag on the floor and began pulverizing them.) These stuffed potatoes were warm and nutty. I could have used a little more cream in the mixture as they came out a little dry. I noticed it when I was mashing up the stuffing but just didn’t think to add more milk to the mixture. We ate these as a main dish but they can certainly side alongside something else.

Stuffed Potatoes
New Age Vegetarian Cookbook

4 large baked potatoes
1/4 cup ground pecans and cashews
1/2 cup warm certified raw milk (Note: I used skim milk)
1/4 cup grated cheese (Note: I used cheddar)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vegetable salt
2 tsp chopped parsley

Before After

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; remove pulp and mash, adding other ingredients.

Beat until light.

Refill shells, leaving top rough.

Sprinkle with paprika and brown in 400 degree oven.

5 Vegetarian “Make Ahead” Super Bowl Sunday Snack Ideas

February 05, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Snacks/Appetizers


You’re geared up for Super Bowl Sunday, you’ve set-up the giant tv and invited your friends over. But, now your faced with feeding this crowd. Don’t worry, your game watching experience doesn’t have to be filled with boring potato chips and cheezy poufs. You also don’t have to spend all your time in the kitchen worried that you’ll miss the game winning touch down. Make these vegetarian snacks ahead of time and you can cheer on your favorite team with these unique treats to munch on.

1. “Figgy Crack” (Fig and Pecan Tapenade with Goat Cheese)

This dish is so named because once you eat it, you’ll be addicted. This recipe has taken on a life of it’s own since served at several get togethers Folks try it for the first time, fall in love with it and ask for the recipe because it’s so unique and satisfying.fig tapenade

fig and pecan tapenade

2. Cheese Ball

It’s not a party without a cheese ball, right?

3. Marinated Goat Cheese

This marinated goat cheese tastes like you spent a lot of time in the kitchen making it. You don’t have to. Admittedly, it’s not the prettiest looking dish, but who cares? It’s durn good.

4. Vegetable Pan Bagnat

Assemble these layered vegetable sandwiches on Saturday evening and they’ll be good to go the next day. All the ingredients meld together into an explosion of flavors.

5. Buttery Roasted Pecans and Punjabi Masala Peanuts

Rather than serving mixed nuts or plain peanuts, change it up a bit with these unique recipes. The pecans are indeed buttery and the peanuts are spicy.

Spinach Salad with Pears and Dried Cranberries

December 03, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Salads

Spinach Salad with Pears and Dried Cranberries

I have mentioned before that I’m a fan of the Vegetarian Journal.  It’s the quarterly publication for the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) that’s filled with fact and not flash. They do not accept advertising, but rather fill their pages with in-depth articles, information and vegan recipes. For $20, you can join VRG and receive this publication. I like the Vegetarian Journal because they consistently have quick, easy and delicious recipes. This spinach salad with pears and dried cranberries is a perfect example of how good these recipes can be.

This spinach salad is going to become a regular feature in this house. In fact, after his first forkful, my in-house taste tester refused to return the serving bowl to me until he ate about half of this salad. Honestly, I was slightly worried he’d down the whole thing without giving me any.

This salad, as presented, is vegan. If you are vegetarian, you can throw some crumbled goat cheese on top for a variance of texture and you’ll add a complementary flavor. Either way, the sweetness, tartness and nuttiness of this salad is great as a quick at-home dinner treat or served to dinner guests. Next time I’ll double the recipe so I have a chance at more…

Spinach Salad with Pears and Dried Cranberries
Vegetarian Journal, Issue 3 2008

1/4 cup red wine vinegar (rice vinegar or white balsamic vinegar also work well)
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil (I used two for a lighter taste)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon apple juice concentrate
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne or black pepper (Note: I used a dash of cayenne then added some freshly ground pepper)
8 cups baby spinach
1 Bosc pear, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup lightly toasted, chopped pecans (I substituted pecans for walnuts)
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Spinach Salad with Pears and Dried Cranberries

Combine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, concentrate, salt, and cayenne in a glass jar. (Note: or a small container with a lid.) Cover with lid and shake until blended.

Spinach Salad with Pears and Dried Cranberries

Place spinach in a large salad bowl. Pour dressing over spinach and toss. Divide into salad bowls and layer with pears, onions, pecans, and cranberries.

Spinach Salad with Pears and Dried Cranberries

Vegetarians Have Good Hearts!

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