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My father died 2 weeks ago today.

I left my tower on Tuesday morning, knowing I needed to get home to see him. He wasn’t doing well. In fact, he was starting to spiral downwards. He had the advanced stages of dementia.

I did not get there in time.

That part is going to be hard for me.

But I’m back at the cabin/tower now. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so grateful for a series of rainy days. After 10 days of grief, stress, family drama and so much sadness, I am tired. Really tired. Rainy days are exactly what this girl needs. The radios are quiet, there isn’t any yard maintenance projects to do, and with the cabin being replaced next year, there’s not much to do inside either. I can rest.

Now all I need is a steady stream of comfort food. After all, emotional eating is healthy…right?

Right now I don’t care and Baked Mac and Cheese sounds about right.

Healthy baked mac and cheese

I’m glad I froze myself a batch of butternut squash mac and cheese sauce before leaving. Baked mac and cheese is the perfect accompaniment to a sad and rainy day.  This is a healthy version you can feel better about eating. I used elbow rice pasta for a gluten free version and Hemp Seed “Bread Crumbs” for extra nutrients.

Healthy Baked Mac and Cheese Sauce

  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • ¾  cup water
  • 2 ½ cups cooked butternut squash
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 ½ cups milk or milk alternative (I used hemp seed milk)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, add the cashews and the water. Allow the cashews to soak for 1 hour. In the mean time you can roast the butternut squash. I used 2 small butternut squash to get 2 ½ cups of cooked flesh. Slice the squash in half, place face down on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 F for 1 hour or until tender.

Place the cashews and the water in a blender. Puree until almost smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to puree until smooth. It will appear a little runny, that’s ok. It needs to be for the baking process.

Add sauce to cooked pasta of choice. Mix until the pasta is coated. Pour into a baking dish. Top with bread crumbs or Hemp Seed “Bread Crumbs” and bake at 375 F for 10 minutes.

  • Recipe Note: Note that store bought unsweetened almond milk is a little sweeter than hemp milk and you may need to add an extra tsp of lemon juice and a pinch of salt to balance it out.
  • Note: I split the batch in half. Freezing half a batch for latter use. Each half batch is enough sauce for 4 cups of raw pasta (cook the pasta until almost cooked before baking).
  • If using the recipe for Hemp Seed “Bread Crumbs” (at the bottom of the linked post), you’ll want to double the recipe. I make the breadcrumbs while the pasta is cooking.

What’s your favorite healthy comfort food?

Feel free to leave a link or a recipe if you have one. I’m going to need ideas…

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