Kid Friendly Plant-Based Mac and Cheese!

My readers know how much I prefer to cook outside-the-box and supply modifications to my recipes. Parents need to pivot at any moment, and that means anything in the pantry could be on the menu. This high protein plant-based version of my Mac and Cheese recipe is also vegan. Whether you are eating plant-based or not, this twist on traditional family favorite will have your kids eating clean without dairy, dyes, or stablizers. A win-win for all! 

You’ll Need:

1 pound Elbow or Fusille Bucati pasta, cooked to manufactures directions 

1-2 tablespoons Olive oil for cooked macaroni to prevent sticking

1 can ( 15 oz ) organic Cannellini beans

3-4 tablespoons Cashew milk, or your favorite substitute

1/2 – 1 cup Daiya brand vegan cheese shreds, white or yellow cheese substitute flavors. Add additional cup if baking the optional casserole recipe

1/2 teaspoon Kosher or pink Himalayan salt 

1/8 teaspoon Garlic powder, or to taste

2 tablespoons Miyoko’s creamery European style cultured vegan butter or good quality olive oil 

Pinch of ground Turmeric

Pinch of ground Nutmeg

Pinch of ground Cayenne pepper ( optional ) 

Here’s How: 

Cook and drain the pasta according to the manufacture’s directions. Toss in a few tablespoons of olive oil or Miyokos butter to prevent the pasta from sticking. Set aside. You’ll thank me later.

Drain and rinse the beans, reserving liquid. Add the beans to the bowl of your food processor or standing blender with the remaining ingredients, except the cheese, butter, and seasonings. 

Blend on high to liquefy. Add additional cashew milk, or reserved liquid from the beans if your family prefers a thinner sauce.

Transfer to a medium, high-sided pot and continue to warm on medium-low heat. Add the cheese and butter, occasionally stirring, until cheese shreds are melted. 

Add the cooked pasta, stir to cover with sauce. Add seasonings and adjust to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley, or fresh basil leaves for additional sweetness. Serve warm.


Can’t find Vegan Cheese? Substitute with 1/4 cup nutritional yeast. If using nutritional yeast, add 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar.

No Beans? No Problem. Substitute with additional vegan cheese. I love cashew cheese because it provides the lovely nutty notes we love in Mac and Cheese. 

Instant Pot Version. Place blended mixture in your instant pot and heat on manual for 5 minutes, season when done.

Try not to Substitute Cannellini’s due to their level of creaminess, but if you need to, Great White Northern beans would be a close match.

Bake it!  Place your completed mac and cheese a 9 x 13 heatproof baking dish and top with additioal cheese , seasoned bread crumbs or Panko and bake 350′ F Degrees until cheese is melted and breadcrumbs are toasty brown. 

Add Cooked Green Peas and tell the kids the recipe is, “Mac and Sneeze”! Trust me- they’ll love it!

Not just for Pasta! Use this delicious sauce to plunge or pour over veggies!

Nutritional information if you need it: 

Based on 1/4 cup sauce using Cashew milk and Nutritional Yeast. If including Miyoko’s vegan butter, add 10 calories and 1 additional gram of fat per serving. 

Approximate Serving Size: 2.5 ounces. Based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Calories: 37 

Calories from Fat: 5

Total Fat: 0.5

Trans Fat: 0

Cholesterol : 0

Sodium: 148 mg

Potassium: 15 mg

Total Carbohydrates: 5.7 grams

Dietary Fiber: 1.9 grams

Protein 2.6 grams

Vitamin A: 1%

Calcium : 5%

Iron 5%

KSCU 103.3 FM Season 2 Episode 14 Tablehopper Marcia Gagliardi / MyMilligram

Copy of LIVE 90/60 Minute Talk Radio show on KSCU 103.3 FM 
Food Talk Begins at the 19 minute mark on tape with Tablehopper Marcia Gagliardi and Guest Co- Host Sommelier Mellisa Smith from Enotrias
Enjoy the shows playlist here on Spotify. A mix of 1960-1970 musical artists.
Marcia Gagliardi

Is the Founder of San Francisco’s long standing, food guide that has an extraordinary cult following. Tablehopper is an institution that’s been around longer than #Eater, #Twitter, or #Instagram.

She is a larger-than-life social influencer and the mastermind behind “mymilligram”, a microdoser media brand & educational platform featuring low-dose, high-quality cannabis products even your Madre would approve!
This boss babe is a regular contributor on KQED radio, has moderated panels with Chef Jacques Pépin, and author of #Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in #SanFrancisco. See her reccommended product list here.
She’s a repeat SFweekly “Best of San Francisco” award winner. Not to mention her over-the-top, after-hours dinner parties for #chefs are an industry legend!
Join myself and guest co-host Enotrias Sommelier Melissa Smith as we stream worldwide tonight on !
Hit the and listen button cause we are turning up tonight, it’s all about California’s latest Gold / Green Rush–The Cannabis Food and Beverage Industry. 

Chocolate Blueberry Pavlova

Eau de brownie is the perfume, which can be deceived by the pale beige shade of the outer shell — yet inside; it is luscious like a truffle with the completion and texture that makes a perfect combination.

You’ll Need : 

For the Meringue 

6 large egg whites

1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar

A couple of pinches of sea salt

1 teaspoon good quality balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted

2 ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

For the Topping

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups fresh blueberries

1/4-1/2 cup organic good quality blueberry jam 

1-2 Tablespoons hot water

1 ounce shaved semi-or bittersweet chocolate, to finish

Here’s How: 

Preheat the oven to 350′ F Degrees. Line the backside of a baking sheet or the top of a 12′ inch round pizza pan. Draw a 9-inch circle on the parchment with a pencil and flip the paper over so that you can see the line, but it won’t touch the Pavlova. The meringue will spread while baking. 

In a chilled mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until satiny soft peaks form begin to beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. 

Sprinkle in the salt, cocoa, vinegar. Then the chopped chocolate over and very gently fold everything together with a rubber spatula taking great caution not to deflate the egg whites.

Shape the Pavlova:

Secure the parchment to the baking sheet or pizza round with a dab of meringue underneath. Mound the meringue into the 9-inch circle, smoothing the sides in upward strokes and slightly plateau the top to hold the berries. Swirl the back of a palette knife against the egg whites for swirl like decoration.

Place the meringue in the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300’F Degrees. Bake the Pavlova for 60 to 90 minutes, should be slightly moist in the center. It’s ready when a crisp, dry crust forms on the outside, but the center feels sponge-like beneath your fingers. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and allow the meringue cool completely. You can leave it overnight if needed. 

When you’re ready to serve, peel off the parchment and slide the cooled Pavlova onto a big plate. Whip the cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. 

Combine the blueberry jam with a little warm water and mix until pourable.

Pile the whipped cream up high onto the meringue. Scatter with blueberries and shave chocolate, drizzle with blueberry jam and serve in wedges. 

Add an optional dusting of powdered sugar.


KSCU 103.3 FM Season 2 – Episode 13 Ashley Reinke- Hawk – Nutrition Expert

Did you make a News Years’ resolution to eat better or turn up personal self-care this year? If so, we might be just-in-time to give you a boost! Join KSCU’s Chef Gigi on Sunday, Supper Food Talk Radio this week after the Superbowl- and meet her guest, Miss Arizona, 2018! Ashley Reinke-Hawk, Certified Nutritionist and On-Camera Wellness and Lifestyle Host. She is here to encourage us to stay on track with her campaign that contains only five ingredients or less and for less than five dollars! Ashley is a certified nutritionist with a concentration in sports nutrition and is currently earning her Master’s in Nutritional Science.
As a modern professional, Ashley knows how time-consuming and browbeating it is to study or work all day and then come home and cook. Especially healthy meals based on a regime of plant-based options. To demonstrate how eating healthful can be manageable, economical, and enjoyable, Ashley created her “Five Ingredients, Under Five Dollars a campaign where she demonstrates various delicious recipes and gives healthy tips that don’t break busy schedules or tight budgets. 
Ashley regularly appears on morning talk shows from California to Arizona. Ashley’s “Anti-diet” approach to eating and living well comes from her experiences as Miss Arizona 2018 and as a professional model for over the past decade. She has seen hundreds of people try various fad diets, yet they never achieve lasting results. Ashley’s 5 Minute Food Hack goals are simple, to make cooking fun and tangible. 
Passionate about philanthropy and giving back to her community, Ashley launched Chomp Out Cancer, a program that partners with food banks to promote nutrition education for disease prevention. She also works with various non-profit organizations, including Teen Cancer America, The Susan G. Komen Foundation, Second Harvest Food Bank, and Ronald McDonald House Charities. 
To work with Ashley or get in touch- follow her on social media at @ashleyareinke or visit her website So excited to have her on Chef Gigi’s Food Talk Radio right here on KSCU! Don’t miss it! 

KSCU 103.3 FM Season 2 Episode 11 MycoKind LLC “The Fun-Guys”

#Recording of LIVE show on January 26,th 2020. Recordning begins at the 2 minute mark. 
KSCU 103.3 FM Silicon Valley, Chef Gigi’s Sunday Suppers Chef Gigi hosts a tiercé of food scientists.Co-founders of MycokindLLC, a lifestyle brand that incorporates food, culture, and education through the love of fungi and food science! This trifecta of food fanatics emerged on the Bay Area culinary scene in 2018 and are now lovingly referred to as, “The Fun-Guys”- as they share a passion for all things mycological! Ha!
We love them already! Be sure to tune in and meet this colony of super-humans behind the mushroom veil! You dont want to miss these guys! 
We LOVE these guys! Super heros of the Fungi world— Check them out! 

KSCU 103.3 FM Season 2 Episode 10 Far West Fungi

Recording of LIVE show 2/19/20 =  KSCU 103.3 FM 
My first guest of 2020 this week are the founding family of The Far West Fungi Co. LIVE ! Tune in this Sunday, Jan 19th, 6-7 PM PST / 9-10 PM EST on my Food Talk Radio Show on KSCU 103.3 FM Santa Clara in Silicon Valley – this week on Sunday Suppers. Food Talk Radio with Chef Gigi, meet the whole Garrone family – founders of, Far West Fungi Company.
They will all be in the studio chattin it up with me about their premium focus on organic, high-quality cultivated, as well as wild foraged mushrooms and their journey to being the best! Don’t worry- I won’t forget to ask about the magic ones! All of a sudden Psilocybe have burst back onto the scene and has become the answer to many peoples enlightenment experiences!
Get questions about basic science of these magic fungi and the role in the environment, their interest in chemistry, and where they occur! Taking questions from you! Drop in a DM or call into the show!
Far West Fungi Click link to Learn More:
#FoodForging KSCU 103.3 FM Santa Clara

10 Tips to Make the Holidays Happy for Everyone!

For us… the ” Grown-ups”- the holidays are a festive time. We travel to the homes of family and friends, or invite them into ours. We show off our children and indulge in recipes from our own childhoods. While we like to think the kids are enjoying themselves, that’s often not the case.

Unfortunately, for some children this is a time of crazy chaos, uncomfortable clothes that need to stay neat, sitting still for photographs, lengthy car rides and of course,  getting kissed and hugged on by family members they may only see once or a twice a year. To them, – strangers. Children’s physical appearance and academic growth are usually in judgment during these annual meetings. Height, weight, age — grades, social standings. All these factors are what many people talk about when they don’t really know the child well enough to talk about anything else. To kids, it’s placing them in the hot seat.

Let’s face it – children would rather be grounded to their rooms for life than endure these holiday horrors. It’s not hard to imagine how all of this can cause the holidays to be a hassle and bring out the worst in them. This time of year should be fun for all!  Grown-ups and children alike. Manners can be taught in a relaxed and fun way that offer up much better results than high expectations and awkward questioning.

Grandparents, parents and friends can help ease the “agony” of holiday gatherings by following some of these helpful hints on teaching children proper etiquette and good manners in a way that is beneficial to all.

1. The Menu- Face it, we would like them to try all the different and sometimes foreign dishes on the table- but having a few “kid friendly” and familiar dishes like homemade mac & cheese will bring a smile to their face. This also assures that they eat something that’s a little better for them than cake and without ensuing an argument with force feeding tactics.

2. The Attire – Allow them to bring a change of clothes along. Try to get  picture-taking out of way as soon as possible and always before food is served. They’ll be much more comfortable and you’ll know for sure that there won’t be any punch on the front of that dress shirt.

3. Participation- Encourage children to participate in some of the meal preparation. This can become messy and slow things down a bit, but the pride they show when that dish comes to the table is worth it. Cooking together is a great way to enjoy spending time with your child. It allows you to teach them a valuable life skill – and even get a jump-start on passing down family cooking traditions.

4. Education – Teach them an etiquette rule for the day. A fun example would be how to make a toast. Explain to them that a toast should last only a few seconds and is meant to make others feel good. They can make a toast to welcome the family, to show special appreciation to a particular family member, or tell what they are grateful for. Remind them that the person being toasted should never drink to themselves.

5. Decorations – Let them be a part of decorating the holiday table. Send them on a scavenger hunt for holiday decorations to accessorize the table with. Go along with what they choose, it won’t be the perfect table but it will show creative holiday character and your family’s ability to work together.

6. Relaxation – Try to keep things light-hearted. Your children want to enjoy the holiday, so let them! If you’re hosting the get together- don’t use linens or tableware that will cause you to go into a panic when sticky fingers stain it or drop food on it. Before correcting your child for any behavior make sure that it’s truly warranted. Punish in private, praise in  public. Expecting them to exude the same decorum as an adult is probably not very realistic. If you feel something must be addressed do so quietly and quickly. There’s no reason to go into a 20 minute lecture over placing elbows on the table in the middle of the meal and in the presence of your guests.

7. Indulgence – The holidays are special occasions. Will having a piece of pie, and a candy cane with hot chocolate really matter in the grand scheme of things? Maybe not but try to continue to practice healthy eating habits the majority of the time. Go ahead and let your kids be kids and sample annual gooey goodies.

8. Compliments- Show praise and compliment each child equally for all the considerate deeds they did that day. Let them know how grateful you are for them. Be sure to show the children how to compliment your hosts if your family is dining away from home.

9. Clean Up- Encourage them to be involved in the clean up, especially if you’re the host! There are lots of things they can help with. It will make things easier for you, and assure the littles will feel involved.

10. Activity – I don’t think I need to remind you what idle hands or idle minds can do. Prepare holiday crafts, choose family games appropriate for all ages. Have conversations at the dinner table that EVERYONE has the ability to participate. Ask related questions of the children when having a discussion at the dinner table — this will assure your children learn great social skills while feeling accepted.

All these activities will help to create positive holiday memories. 

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Go Ahead…get Boozy with it!

You’ll Need:

For the Cupcakes:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder, sifted

1 tablespoon good quality instant coffee

2 eggs

1 cup Stout beer

2/3 cup molasses, avoid blackstrap 

Maldon salt for garnish

For the Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2-4 tablespoons nut milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup browned butter

For the Brown Butter:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

Here’s How:

For the Brown Butter: 

Place the butter in a pan over low heat and melt until brown and bubbly. 

Swirl the pan over the heat until the butter begins to bubble, brown and start to smell nutty. Carefully not allowing the butter solids to burn. The fat will turn brown fast, so don’t walk away from this one. Pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl to stop the cooking process, making sure to scrape up the brown bits for maximum flavor if it burns, discard and start over. 

For the Cupcakes: 

Heat the oven to 350F’ Degrees. Line 2 dozen medium-sized muffin tins with liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: the flour, spices, instant coffee, and baking soda. Set aside. 

In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the sugars, and then the melted butter on top. Add the eggs and beat well about 1-2 minutes. Drizzle in the stout and molasses on medium-low speed until combined. 

Add dry mixture to wet mixture until the batter is lump-free about 2-4 additional minutes.

With a medium-sized ice cream scoop or portion control cup, evenly distribute the batter in the muffin tins. Bake until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed in the center, about 15-18 minutes. 

Cool, frost and garnish with flakes of Maldon Salt, or Cocoa powder, drizzled chocolate or caramel. They are also delicious plain.

For the Frosting:

In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy about 2 minutes. Occasionally scraping the sides. 

Turn off the mixer and add in one 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, change your setting to low-speed and beat until just combined. Increase the speed to high when most of the powdered sugar is absorbed. Add nut milk, vanilla extract, and brown butter and beat until creamy. 

Add additional tablespoons of milk as needed if frosting is too stiff.

Chefs Notes: 

Make the frosting ahead of time, so it has time to chill. If chilled overnight or longer, remove from cooler and re-whip until the consistency becomes creamy and favorable for icing.

For a darker frosting, add sifted cocoa powder, and a pinch of instant coffee for a rich flavor but remember to increase the liquid to speadable consistancy.

Makes approximately 2 dozen cupcakes

KSCU 103.3 FM Season 2 Episode 9 Chef Wanda Blake

Chef Gigi Gaggero and her guest co-host, Chef Robert Edwards heats up the KSCU studio with guest Chef Wanda Blake Founder of Wanda’s Cooking. Wanda came hot on the food scene in 2015 as a Pop-up Restaurant in Oakland, California. Chef Wanda events are an expression of her culture, and her passion for food. Pop-up themes you would usually only dream about attending.
Chef Wanda makes it real for everyone in the Bay Area to share in these iconic traditions of favor profiles. Her themes include warming comforts of Sunday Supper- Grandma’s house on Sunday, Wanda’s Cooking loves New Orleans, Black Eyed Pea Festival and Gumbo Trinity to name a few.
Her cuisine will make you have all the feels!Don’t miss this great show!Chef Wanda’s Cooking a bright light shining in #Oakland, Californa! Chef Wanda was just featured in


Gingerbread Pancakes with Molasses Spiked Maple Syrup!

These pancakes that taste like you are eating gingerbread cookies for breakfast! So magicial and delicious! They’re light, soft, fluffy with a pleasant boldness. Nicely spiced without being overwhelming. If you’re sensitive to these bold flavors like I am, tone them down a bit by adding less than the recipe calls for, and spike the molasses to your taste!

You’ll Need: 

2 cup all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed 

4 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2-1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch salt, optional and to taste

1 3/4-2 1/2 cups buttermilk the more liquid, the thinner the pancake

2 large egg

3 tablespoons light, medium, or dark molasses ( avoid blackstrap )

2 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 recipe Molasses Maple Syrup ( see below ) 

Here’s How: 

In a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients, and whisk to combine – make a well in the center, set aside.

In a large bowl, add the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until combined. The batter will be fairly thick; add more liquid if you prefer a thinner pancake.

Preheat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray (or use melted butter if you prefer).

Using a 1/4-cup measure cup sprayed with cooking spray for easy release, scoop batter onto warm skillet. 

Cook for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes until bubbles form on the edges. Take a peek at the underside with a spatula, and when golden, flip.

Control heat to medium-low and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until done. Repeat the process with the remaining batter, adding more cooking oil as needed, and wiping any black residue with a paper towel as needed. 

The molasses will burn quickly, so be sure to control the temeratures.

Serve immediately, garnished with fresh winter fruit and drizzle with syrup

Ginger Molasses Maple Syrup

You’ll Need: 

1 cup maple syrup

 2-3 tablespoons light, medium, or dark molasses, or to taste

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, to taste

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Here’s How:

Combine all syrup ingredients in a small bowl or serving pitcher and whisk until smooth. Warm syrup and drizzle over pancakes. 

To keep pancakes warm for up to an hour, transfer them to a lined baking sheet and place in a preheated 200’F Degree oven with a cup of hot water to keep warm and moist.