Healthy Halloween!

This is so typical of me.

It’s Halloween.

Yet, I have no Halloween candy treats to present to you.

I know, I’m such a slacker.

Buttttttttttttt (that’s a big butt)…somewhere I’m chuckling like a little girl inside.

But, I do have something sweet on deck for ya.


I pulled through.

Oh, and it’s healthy.



I mean, sweet potatoes are veggies.


So it just hasssssss to be healthy.


 You definitely won’t feel guilty about the 123763764 Reese’s P.B. cups you are going to have tonight.


I made some homemade coconut butter just for this treat.


You know this is serious business.

I never like to jip the Trick Or Treater’s.


You know what I’m saying?

I was that kid who got all dressed up on Halloween and walked up and down the block with one of my parents to fill my jack o’ lantern basket w/ loads of candy.


I was also extremely disappointed when I received what I like to call “dollar store candy.”


You know, the fake tootsie rolls that are 3 months expired.

C’mon people, at least give me some Wal-Mart stuff.




So, you can bet that I’ve got a good stash filled w/ mini snickers, twix, reese’s, and those occasional MNM’s.


I’m also definitely that person who sits on their front porch in their p.j.’s eating the candy out of the bowl, leaving only half the bowl for the actual trick or treaters.


Mhhhhm…I just healthified your Halloween.

Coconut Sweet Potato Butter
Recipe type: Spread, Snack, Dip
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16 oz. jar
Creamy sweet potato and sweet coconut butter spiced w/ pumpkin pie spice and sweetened w/ a hint of maple syrup for the perfect snack. Spread on toast, fruit, or just eat with a spoon! Gluten-free, vegan, paleo, refined sugar-free, nut-free.
  • 1 recipe homemade or store bought coconut butter
  • 1.5 T. slightly melted coconut butter from the batch above
  • .5 T. melted coconut oil
  • 2 T. pure maple syrup
  • .5 t. pure vanilla extract
  • 15 oz. can organic sweet potato puree, or 15 oz. of mashed, roasted sweet potato, from 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1.5 t. pumpkin pie spice
  1. Go ahead and prepare the coconut butter according to the recipe, unless you are using store bought.
  2. In a large food processor, process the 1.5 T. coconut butter along with the remaining ingredients until smooth.
  3. Serve topped w/ a bit of shredded coconut or spread on anything you want for a healthy snack.


Apples to Apples.

I have a mad respect for those food bloggers who have/are in the process/or even thinking about writing a cookbook.

Or, ya know, people who just write cookbooks in general.

A couple of weeks ago I got asked to create 4 recipes for a cookbook based on a popular diet.

Piece of cake, right?


Never underestimate the power of baking soda in a recipe.

In this case, I’m talking it’s acidic capabilities.

I have made a particular muffin recipe for quite some time and yesterday, well that was an EPIC fail.

Hello never ending metallic taste.

I chunked it in the garbage.


Anyway, this recipe today builds my confidence level after a disaster like that.

Oh, and the fact that it’s super simple and utterly mouthwatering isn’t so bad either.


I’m about to tell you how I put coconut butter on my apples.


Hey y’all! I put coconut butter on my apples!


There, I said it!

Oh, then I added some coconut oil, cinnamon, and maple syrup.



Caramelized apple heaven!


Oh yes…


you want 🙂

Caramelized Coconut Butter Apples
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
Sweet, honey crisp apples spiced w/ warm cinnamon, tossed in coconut butter and coconut oil along with maple syrup and baked until tender and bubbly. Gluten-free, vegan, paleo, refined sugar-free!
  • 4 honeycrisp apples, cored and sliced lengthwise into medium thick slices
  • 1 T. melted coconut butter
  • 1 T. melted coconut oil
  • 2 T. pure maple syrup
  • ½ t. ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the apple slices on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Place the coconut butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup in a small mixing bowl and combine.
  4. Sprinkle the apples w/ the cinnamon.
  5. Drizzle the coconut butter mixture evenly over the apples and toss to coat, making sure the apples are coated completely w/ the mixture.
  6. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the apples are tender and just caramelized around the edges.
  7. Let cool slightly before serving.
  8. Serve over a warm salad, or grilled pork chops w/ a drizzle of maple syrup, or as a dessert topping w/ ice cream or yogurt!


Something Pumpkin.

We have been having a weather tease round’ these here parts.

Yea, let’s just be all 65 degrees & breezy for my morning runs, but by 9 o’clock, you can forget it…back up in the 90’s and I’m sticking to my driver’s seat like a sweaty pig in heat.

Whatever that means.

Anyway, I’m not letting this hot weather situation ruin my plans for cooking/baking cool weather dishes.

I told you that I’m gonna overload you with pumpkin recipes.

I’m lowering the boom slowly.


It’s not pie, I pinky promise.


Nope, it’s more of a sweet & savory pumpkin dish.


Imagine that.


This is my version of a sweet potato casserole, just without the sweet potato


because right now I’m obsessed w/ pumpkin.


Don’t worry sweet potato


your time will come.


So ya, garlic + maple syrup + mashed pumpkin


with a crunchy almond maple topping.


Hello, fall!


Let’s get up close & personal.


You can bet I’m making this for Thanksgiving.


Pumpkin is the new sweet potato.

Maple Garlic Pumpkin Crumble
Recipe type: Side/Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
Pumpkin mashed w/ garlic & maple syrup for a sweet/savory combo and topped off with a crunchy almond maple crumble topping. Gluten-free, vegan, paleo, refined sugar-free!
  • For the pumpkin mixture:
  • 2 15 oz. can pure, organic pumpkin puree
  • ¼ c. + 1 T. unsweetened, vanilla almond milk
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 T. + 1 t. pure maple syrup
  • ½ t. salt
  • For the crumble:
  • ¼ c. sliced, raw, almonds
  • 2 T. coconut sugar
  • 1 T. coconut flour
  • 2 T. almond flour
  • 1 T. melted coconut oil
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ t. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ t. ground nutmeg
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an oval casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. For the pumpkin mixture, mash everything together until you reach a smooth like consistency.
  3. Spread the pumpkin mixture into the prepared dish.
  4. For the crumble, combine all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl using your hands, until a crumbly texture is reached.
  5. Distribute the topping evenly over the pumpkin.
  6. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the topping is slightly golden.
  7. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Serve warm.


Pancakes on my Mind…Mind on my Pancakes.

We might as well declare it “veggie zucchini week” here on Mangia.

Like Shark Week…but less blood shed 🙂

Anyhoo, so obvi (that’s an obnoxious way of saying obviously just in case you are oblivious like I usually am to shortened lingo) I have been obsessed with zucchini lately.

Heck, I’m obsessed with vegetables 24/7/365.

I like em charred…or grilled to a pulp.

I’m 100% sure that if you grill me a vegetable I only want to see a hint of color on it.

That’s just me.

I’ve been finding new and innovative ways to get my veggie fix at each meal.

Including breakfast.

Seeing as I’m obsessed with pancakes for breakfast, I thought why not have a savory pancake for breakfast?

I know…who am I?




I mean, usually for breakfast I would choose scrambled eggs slathered in homemade apple butter w/ a side of toasted coconut pancakes.

Butttttttttt think again.

I’m going to be seeing zucchini at most of my breakfast meals this week.

Oh, and basil…just because I bought my first basil plant at the Farmer’s Market this weekend.


Let’s see how long I can keep it alive.

Now, technically these pancakes don’t have to be eaten at breakfast.

I’ll most likely be switching it up, eating them at breakfast, or at other meals of the day.

This is a versatile pancake.

We serve these up w/ a tahini sauce sweetened w/ a touch of maple syrup and freshly squeezed orange juice.


Just think of it as a little sweet dipping sauce or a little sweet something you can slather over all of this savoriness.


These pancakes have a special place in my heart.


Adding new recipes to my daily meals is looking up. 🙂


Change is a good thing.




I just put zucchini into your pancakes.

Veggies in your breakfast…?

Yep. See what I did there? 🙂

Paleo Zucchini Basil Pancakes with Sweet Tahini Sauce
Recipe type: Breakfast, Side Dish, Vegetables,
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Makes 8
Delicious savory breakfast pancakes made of fresh, shredded zucchini squash, seasoned with fragrant basil, and topped with a tahini sauce sweetened with a touch of maple syrup. So simple, with only 4 ingredients! Gluten-free/Paleo.
  • For the pancakes:
  • drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large zucchini, shredded and squeezed of excess water
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 T. coconut flour
  • ¼ c. fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the sweet tahini sauce:
  • 1 T. tahini
  • 1 T. maple syrup
  • juice of 1 small orange
  • 1 T. brown rice flour
  1. For the pancakes, heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat with the evoo.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Scoop the pancake batter out into the pan by rounded tablespoons.
  4. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until lightly golden.
  5. For the sauce, place all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
  6. Let the pancakes cool slightly, then top each with a dollop of sauce.

Nutritional Facts (for each pancake w/out sauce): Calories: 26, Total Fat: .9g, Total Carbs: 2.3g, Sodium: 23.6mg, Protein: 2.2g

Nutritional Facts (for the sauce (per 1 Tablespoon/makes 1/4 c. ): Calories: 44, Total Fat: 2g, Total Carb: 6g, Sugars: 3g, Protein: .8g



Obviously I’m Italian…err…Italian-American…American-Italian? Whatevs. You have probably read my blog long enough to know that my ancestors are from that boot.

So, accordingly…I love me some Italian food.

Not a big fan of pasta though. Can’t even remember when I last had it.

So, that probably makes me about 1% Italian because seriously? What kind of Italian doesn’t like pasta.

Maybe I should say I don’t like spaghetti…dear Lawd…who am I kidding?

I’d much rather have pizza or meatballs covered with sauce, Italian green beans, stuffed artichokes, and ummmm eggplant.

Eggplant should have been my middle name.

I love me the melanzane.

How’s that for Italian, eh?

Anyway, I have been day dreaming about my next vacation which will involve some beach in Italy.

Just haven’t decided where yet.

Any reccs?

Hello, basil! One of my fave herbs.


We are totally making a pesto sauce here.


Ummm…totally dairy-free. You won’t even notice. Basil, spinach, arugula, etc. etc.


But the pesto sauce would be nothing without this simple roasted eggplant.


So tender, so savory, so simple.


I’ve thought about taking culinary classes on my trip to Italy.


Let me let you in on a little secret…I’m terrified that those voluptuous “Sophia Loren”, never aged a day, 60 year old nonna’s will chew me up, spit me out, and curse my Italian cuisine.


They would probably tell me to pack my bags and find the nearest McDonald’s.


News flash: haven’t eaten there in eternity.


But alas…I cannot fret because those are just my fears…doesn’t mean they will actually manifest themselves.


Seriously though, I would probably be bff’s with those cooking school women and find myself


knee deep in a bucket of homemade salted caramel gelato.


I do hope it’s true that every meal is eaten with a glass of wine.

Who wants to join me?


5.0 from 1 reviews
Roasted Eggplant Stacks w/ a Dairy-Free Pesto Sauce
Recipe type: Side Dish, Appetizer, Vegetables
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
Delicate rounds of roasted eggplant smothered in a silky, dairy-free pesto sauce made of basil, spinach, and arugula. Gluten-free, vegan, and paleo!
  • For the eggplant:
  • 2 large eggplants, cut crosswise into rounds
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • For the pesto:
  • 1 c. freshly packed basil leaves
  • 1 c. fresh spinach
  • 1 c. fresh arugula
  • 3 T. raw, unsalted almonds
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • juice of 1 mandarin orange
  • ¼ t. fine sea salt
  • ¼-1/2 c. unsweetened, plain almond milk
  1. For the eggplant, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place the eggplant rounds on the prepared baking sheets, brush each side of the eggplant rounds with the evoo, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until lightly golden on both sides. Flip the rounds halfway through the baking process.
  4. For the pesto sauce, place all of the ingredients except for the almond milk, in a large food processor.
  5. Process on high until a smooth paste forms.
  6. Then, with the food processor still running, slowly stream in the almond milk, starting with ¼ c. and gradually adding more until you reach your desired consistency.
  7. I used ½ c. which I felt created just a silky enough sauce that wasn't too drippy.
  8. Place about ½ to 1 tablespoon of the sauce on each eggplant round and stack them. I say about 2-3 stacks per person.
  9. Garnish with freshly chopped basil and sprinkle with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan if desired.