Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

by Leanne Vogel

Prep time:  5 mins Total time:  5 mins

Serves: 2 cups, 1 serving

This smoothie is creamy and light. Not only will it add extra fiber to your day, but having pumpkin in the morning will keep you fuller, longer!


1 cup non-dairy milk - I used unsweetened almond milk

½ cup canned pumpkin

½ banana

1 tablespoon raisins or ½ teaspoon maple syrup

½ teaspoon gluten-free, alcohol-free pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

⅛ teaspoon ground ginger

pinch ground nutmeg

pinch ground cloves

pinch all spice

vegan coconut whipped topping - I used 2 tablespoon honey and omitted the vanilla in this batch (optional)


Place everything but whipped topping in the blender.

Blend until smooth

Pour into your favorite glass and place a couple tablespoons of coconut whipped cream on top.

Sprinkle with cinnamon if you'd like!


Sweetness - this smoothie is not overly sweet. If you would like to sweeten, add maple syrup instead of the raisins. Or use sweetened non-dairy milk.




Slice of Fall Vodka Martini

by Linnell

Slice of Fall Martini Shaken or stirred? Gin or vodka? What about vermouth? Truth be told, a traditional martini is made with gin. A vodka martini is obviously made with vodka. Generally, either type of martini includes some amount of dry vermouth. So, what’s a drink that’s made with vodka and fresh apple juice called? A perfect autumn cocktail!


2 ounces vodka

2 ounces fresh apple juice*

Pinch of sage

Pinch of cinnamon

Apples, sliced thin, crosswise


1. Chill martini glasses.

2. Combine ingredients (except for apple slices) in a shaker with ice.

3. Shake and pour into a chilled martini glass.

4. Float a thin apple slice as a garnish.

Yield: 1 cocktail


1. *I used fresh-pressed apple cider. I like this drink with more of an apple flavor, so I added a little bit more apple cider than called for. I used 1 part vodka to 2 parts apple juice.

2. I put a little cinnamon and sage in the shaker with the other ingredients. Plus, I sprinkled some additional on top of the apple slice for decoration.


Drink and enjoy responsibly!

Brat & Bacon Appetizer Pizza

Brats and bacon on pizza are a tasty beginning, but I jazz them up with apricot preserves and honey mustard. These cheesy bites please my toughest critics. —Colleen Vrooman, Waukesha, Wisconsin

Total Time

Prep/Total Time: 25 min.


24 servings


1 tube (11 ounces) refrigerated thin pizza crust

4 maple-flavored bacon strips, chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

3 fully cooked beer bratwurst links, finely chopped

1/3 cup apricot preserves

2 teaspoons honey mustard

2 cups shredded white or yellow cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 400°. Unroll and press dough onto bottom and 1/2 in. up sides of a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake until edges are lightly browned, 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon and onion over medium heat until bacon is crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Discard drippings.

Add bratwurst to same pan; cook and stir until browned, 2-3 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix preserves and mustard. Spread over crust; top with bratwurst, bacon mixture and cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, 8-10 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 124 calories, 7g fat (3g saturated fat), 16mg cholesterol, 229mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 0 fiber), 5g protein.

Dining Books 2018

Sweet Potatoes and Yams

By Joseph Parish 

Sitting here at my desk my mind ventured back to last years thanksgiving dinner. My wife Pam was in the kitchen preparing a feast for our dinner and what a feast it was. We had turkey complete with stuffing, a ham, vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy, potato and macaroni salads, the usual cranberry sauce and of course sweet potatoes. No major holiday meal was ever complete without sweet potatoes on the table.

These memories made me think about the differences which exist between the two similar vegetables.  There is always a bit of confusion between these two items and in this short rant I intend to hopeful dispel the myths surrounding this rooted vegetable. The truth of the matter is that the vegetable that you have called a yam for a number of years is actually nothing more or less than a sweet potato. A true yam most people have never seen nor tasted.

That's right folks; the sweet, orange-colored root vegetable which you cherish so dearly is actually a variety of sweet potato. All "yams" which you find in a grocery store or produce market are in fact not yams at all. The majority of people wrongly believe that those long, red-skinned products in the store are yams, but the fact remains that they are nothing more than one of many varieties of our common sweet potatoes. One wonders how we came to be so confused and wrong on this fine vegetable. To answer this question we would first need to discover the main differences which exist between the two products.

A yam is darker in colored than the its popular orange-fleshed cousin. A true yam is an edible root which is extremely starchy and is usually imported to the United States from the Caribbean. In texture it is rough and scaly and contains very little beta carotene.

Depending on the sweet potatoes variety its flesh can range from a pure white to the popular orange color or in some cases even a purple shade. The orange-fleshed variety arrived in the United States multiple decades ago. In an effort to promote the imported variety and to distinguish it from the white variety, producers and importers labeled the imports with an African word "nyami" and thus called them "yams" for short.

I hope this clears up some of the mystery and confusion associated with these two fine foods and with that I wish a great eating experience with either yams or sweet potatoes.


What is Pumpkin Wine?

Those cool breezes are starting to sneak in through your window at night. You’re deciding whether you should pack away the bikini and switch it for a light blanket. You’re favorite TV shows are starting up again. These are all telltale signs that Autumn is near! That means it’s pumpkin season again!

Pumpkin-flavored treats have hit the shop shelves with a craze, and wine is no exception. But let’s take a look at what is pumpkin wine?

Wine in essence is an alcoholic drink made from fermented grapes. This is a process that can be done with just about any type of fruit or vegetable that contains a high level of sugar, which his vital for the fermentation process. So, it’s not all that absurd to think of making pumpkin wine.

What is Pumpkin Wine?

Pumpkin wine is usually made up of fresh pumpkin pulp, water, lemon juice, sugar and optional spices into a fermenter, later adding yeast. Generally, the process takes about a year in total with several filtrations and refermenting periods. It is indeed a legit wine due to the fermentation process but clearly not one we are used to seeing very much of.

Pumpkin wine has become somewhat of a trend nowadays and bottles can reach prices that are comparable to those of some pretty relevant grape-based wines. Pumpkin wines generally tend to run sweet and go best with dishes such as citrus-based pilaf dishes or blue cheese dishes.

Now as much as we love following wine trends and trying all the latest in wine varieties, pumpkin winemaking is not exactly a craft with a solid history to it. At least not as much as grape variety wines. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy a bottle or two, but given the choice of a glass of Brunello di Montalcino or a glass of Pumpkin wine on a crisp Autumn evening, I think the choice is clear!

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