10 October

Kabocha Salad

October 26: National Pumpkin Day

Our local library’s culinary club once had a potluck theme about pumpkins. Members brought in a variety of sweet and savory dishes—pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin soup, pumpkin hummus….. But Islander’s friend, Yukiko H., brought in something slightly different than the usual pumpkin recipes. Her contribution was a salad/side dish made out of Japanese pumpkin, a squash called kabocha. It was kind of sweet and savory at the same time and it was Islander’s favorite of all the other potluck pumpkin dishes. Thankfully, Yukiko shared her recipe with us and we are happy to feature her kabocha salad recipe on our blog for National Pumpkin Day.


(From Yukiko H.)


  • Small kabocha squash, cooked until tender
  • ¼ cup onion
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 slices of bacon
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil


Cut the kabocha squash into wedges or large chunks. Scoop out the seeds. Peel off the skin. Cook by baking (first toss in a little cooking oil, spread on a baking sheet and heat in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 30-40 minutes) OR boiling (simmer in a pot of boiling water for 20-30 minutes until soft, then drain). Place in a bowl and mash a little bit, leaving some chunky pieces.

In a large bowl, grate the onion and sprinkle a little salt to get rid of its sharpness. Add vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in the same bowl and mix them well.

Chop the bacon roughly. Fry the bacon pieces in the canola oil until they become crispy. Put them in the bowl, including the grease, in the onion mixture. Toss in the kabocha pieces. Dish out and serve warm.


  • Arigato (thank you) for sharing your recipe for our blog, Yukiko!
  • Don’t forget to check out all of our other pumpkin recipes under the Theme Menus tab.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

October 26: National Pumpkin Day

One can of pumpkin puree = three recipes (first—pumpkin hummus, second—pumpkin pie spice rice krispies treats, and third—this pumpkin spice latte). All of these pumpkin recipes, plus the ones we have posted in the past, has made it necessary for us to add a “pumpkins” category to our Theme Menus.

Although Highlander has cut down his spending on and drinking Starbuck’s coffees and has taken up tea, he likes to indulge once in a while on a latte-like libation. Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte is so popular that it showed up on the menu a whole month before the fall season even started!

There are lots of artificial ingredients and flavors in the sugary Starbuck’s beverage. So we made a much healthier version at home with the leftover pumpkin puree we had from the two other recipes we made earlier.

For a fall favorite beverage, make this pumpkin spice latte to celebrate National Pumpkin Day!


(Adapted from Nutribullet)


  • 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/cup vanilla almond milk, sweetened or unsweetened
  • 1/cup coffee, black/strong, cooled (we used Kona coffee)
  • 1/teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Optional toppings: whipped cream, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg


In the container of a blender/mixer, combine the pumpkin puree, almond milk and coffee. Sprinkle in the pumpkin pie spice.

Add the maple syrup. Cover the container and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass or mug. Garnish with a swirl of whipped cream and sprinkles of ground cinnamon and/or nutmeg.


  • Use canned pumpkin puree and not canned pumpkin pie mix.
  • This is a thin drink; it is not thick like a smoothie.
  • Substitute almond milk for another favorite milk. If using unsweetened almond milk, add ¼ teaspoon vanilla.
  • Check out our new “Pumpkins” category under the Theme Menus tab on our blog.

Poop Emoji Cupcakes

October 18: National Chocolate Cupcake Day

Although 2020 turned out to be a crappy year due to the coronavirus, it gave us all some extra time to reflect on the positive things in life and appreciate what we do have…like our health. We thank God that we have not contracted COVID-19 and that all of our medical test results were normal (including a negative result for the coronavirus).

To celebrate passing her poop test (Cologuard), Islander made chocolate cupcakes and decorated them as the popular emoji. They are perfectly paired with our toilet paper cake and are a fun food for National Chocolate Cupcake Day.


For the chocolate cupcakes

For the chocolate buttercream frosting

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2+ tablepoons whipping cream


Bake chocolate cupcakes, cool and set aside.

Make the chocolate frosting. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Add the cocoa powder and beat until well blended. Gradually add the powdered sugar. Thin to piping consistency with whipping cream.

Fill a piping bag outfitted with a large round decorating tip. Pipe swirls on top of the cupcakes, starting from the bottom and squeezing to layer up to a tip. Roll out white fondant to 1/16 inch-thickness. Use ½-inch round decorating tip to cut circles. Slice in half to make the mouth. Position the mouth on the cupcake. Finish decorating the cupcake with candy eyes. Refrigerate to set the frosting. Bring to room temperature to serve.

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