Thursday, November 29, 2012

Non-traditional Thanksgiving

You could say our Thanksgivings have been anything but traditional since we became vegan. Despite the lack of a turkey centerpiece, I still love the multitude of dishes that are made for the day. Leftovers!

This year we went to my parent's to celebrate with them. My father has had a turkey aversion for a few years now, after getting sick after eating some. While I would say that suits me fine, it hasn't stopped my parents from having some meat dish for the day's meal. This year my mom settled on ribs. Knowing that the vegans in my family wouldn't be eating any, and that I would be cooking later in the day for a second feast (my kids work retail and wouldn't be home until evening), I volunteered to make a couple of sides to accompany my mom's choice of macaroni and cheese (non-vegan, of course!)

I went with potato salad and coleslaw. Completely non-traditional, but certainly an accepted accompaniment for ribs.

Dill and Sour Cream Potato Salad

3 lbs. red potatoes, cut into chunks
1 T. fresh dill
1/2 t. black pepper
2/3 c. vegan mayonnaise
2 t. fresh parsley
One container vegan sour cream
1/2 t. salt

Boil the unpeeled potatoes until tender, about 20-30 minutes. Drain and cool. Refrigerate them until ready to mix with remaining ingredients.
When ready, add remaining ingredients to the chilled potatoes and mix well. Refrigerate again until serving time.

Tri-Color Coleslaw

One head red cabbage, shredded
One head green cabbage, shredded
One bunch kale, shredded
2/3 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. pumkin seeds
Vegan mayonnaise

Mix all the ingredients together with enough mayonnaise to coat well, but not too juicy. This makes a LOT of coleslaw, so make sure you are feeding a crowd!

My mom loves potato salad and my dad loves coleslaw, so the choices were a success. My husband thought the potato salad needed more salt (I tend to use less because of his propensity for salting at the table before tasting) and my dad doctored his coleslaw servings with more mayo (he likes his creamier), but everyone else thought the dishes were just right.

Personal preferences aside, try these out at your next cookout or non-traditional feast. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cranberry Cumberland Sauce

Years ago a friend of mine shared this recipe with me. I have made it every Thanksgiving since. It is definitely a family favorite!

Cranberry Cumberland Sauce

2 lbs. whole cranberry sauce (the recipe is on the bag of cranberries)
1/2 t. dry mustard
juice and zest of 2 oranges
1 t. cornstarch
1 t. lemon juice
2 T. vegan sugar or stevia

Dissolve the mustard in the orange juice and add the cornstarch. Stir until well mixed. Add this mixture to the cranberry sauce, along with the lemon juice, orange zest and sugar. Heat the sauce, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes. Pour the hot mixture into a bowl and let cool. Chill well before serving.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving, Part Two

As a vegan, our meals don't revolve around a meat dish as a centerpiece. For us, there is no such things as too many side dishes! This year could be considered an exception in that we did make our first Tofurky roast, which could easily be viewed as a *main dish*. However, it was just one of many dishes we made that day.

Orange Fennel Salad

One bunch fresh, organic spinach, washed and leaves separated from stems
One fennel bulb, cored and sliced thin
3 Clementine oranges, peeled and sliced
Citrus Dressing

We bought already packaged baby spinach and baby kale. Place this in a bowl with the sliced fennel and oranges. Pour the dressing on top and mix it well.

Citrus Dressing

1/3 c. vegan mayonnaise
One container vegan plain yogurt (I used one made from almond milk)
2 T. frozen orange juice concentrate

Mix well.

Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips

1-1/2 lbs. potatoes (I used a mixture of red and gold potatoes)
1/2 lbs. parsnips
Vegan butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegan milk
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

Cut the potatoes into chunks. I never peel mine, but do so if that is your preference. Peel the parsnips and cut into chunks. Add both potatoes and parsnips to a large pot of water, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, until potatoes and parsnips are soft. Remove from heat and drain. Add back to the pot, along with the butter, salt, pepper, milk and parsley. Mix well until nicely mashed.

Baked Cheezy Cauliflower

One head of cauliflower
1/2 c. vegan mayonnaise
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. vegan milk
Coarsely ground black pepper to taste
Daiya cheddar shreds

Remove leaves from the cauliflower and trim away the core so that the head of cauliflower can sit flat. Place in a glass pie plate with 1/2 c. water. Cover with wax paper shaped to form a tent. Microwave for 10 minutes.
When cooled enough to handle, slice the cauliflower. Arrange the slices in a baking dish.
In a pot, melt the butter. Add the mayonnaise, mustard and Daiya cheddar shreds until the shreds have melted into a sauce consistency. Pour this sauce over the cauliflower. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.


I'll add more recipes from our day tomorrow!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tofurky Thanksgiving

This year we decided for the first time to have a Tofurky roast for Thanksgiving. We decided on the Tofurky Vegetarian Feast. It came with the roast with stuffing, gravy, chocolate cake and little wishstix.

Because I had never made it before, I figured I should look around for tips on how to best do it. I came across several recipes, but the one that caught my eye was the one from the website Meet the Shannons. Their Betty Crocker Project has wielded a wealth of yummy, yummy, yummy veganized recipes. I chose the one that uses rosemary and dark beer to baste the Tofurky. You can find the recipe and their blog here.

My dish came out looking like this and was DELICIOUS! Even my non-vegan daughters-in-law proclaimed how good it was!

Tomorrow I'll share the recipes for the various sides.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Chick'n and Bean Stew

My daughter posts a link to my Facebook and asked me to make the dish shown there. How could I refuse? So between the two of us, we gathered up the ingredients and doubled it, and it was wonderful!

The original recipe can be found here. This is my very slightly modified version.

Chick'n and Bean Stew

One package gardein chick'n scallopini
Olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Two cans diced tomatoes
4 c. vegetable broth 
4 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 t. black pepper
One bunch arugula

Fry the scallopini in oil until lightly browned. Set aside. In a Dutch oven, saute the garlic until softened. Add tomatoes, broth, beans and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Add arugula, reduce to simmer and let cook about 20 minutes. Cut scallopini into bite sized pieces, add the the soup, and serve. Enjoy!

This was very good! Even my non-vegan daughter-in-law asked about the chick'n, wondering if was vegan because she couldn't tell the difference!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Crockpot Mushroom and Green Bean Stroganoff

I seriously love the convenience of crockpots. And there is nothing more inviting than walking into the house and smelling some scrumptious. It makes your mouth water just anticipating what you are about to dine on!

Crockpot Mushroom and Green Bean Stroganoff

Olive oil
One package sliced mushrooms
2 T. tomato paste
2 c. vegetable stock
One onion, chopped
One green bell pepper, chopped
2 T. flour
1-1/2 T. Hungarian paprika (yes, it does make a difference!)
One bag frozen green beans
1/2 c. vegan sour cream

Saute the mushrooms, onion and bell pepper in the olive oil until softened. Whisk in the flour. Remove from heat. Add this mixture to the crockpot. Add paprika and green beans on top of mushroom mixture. Mix the tomato paste with the vegetable stock and pour this on top of everything. Cover and cook on low 8 hours. When done, stir in the vegan sour cream. Serve with wide noodles. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Oat Burgers

Yesterday I was craving a burger. With onion rings and a large glass of iced tea. I could, of course, have easily gone to the grocery store and picked up some frozen vegan burgers. They're good, don't get me wrong, and they are convenient when the hubby wants to grill on a sudden whim.

Fortunately, I have several burger recipes in my files to try.

Oat Burgers

Olive oil
One onion, chopped
1 c. rolled oats (not instant!)
1 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. flour
1 t. sage
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. salt
1-1/3 c. boiling water

Saute the onion in the olive oil. In a bowl, add the oats, walnuts, flour, sage, thyme and salt. Mix well. Pour in the boiling water and stir to mix. Add the onions and mix again. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Form into patties. Fry the patties in olive oil until nicely browned on both sides.
Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

And don't forget to make some onion rings!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Kung Pao

Before I became vegan, my favorite dish at any Chinese restaurant was Kung Pao. Usually Kung Pao chicken, but sometimes even one with three different meats. Now, of course, that thought horrifies me, but I had begun to wonder why in so many Chinese restaurants the only dish available to me was steamed mixed vegetables.  Boring. Bland. Why couldn't they do a vegan Kung Pao?

I have since found some excellent Chinese restaurants that offer a variety of dishes for the non-meat eater, and this pleases me enormously. But I also make it at home. This recipe can be made with either tofu or seitan.

Kung Pao Tofu

4 c. cooked rice
Sesame oil
One onion, chopped
5-6 ribs of celery, diced
One package extra firm tofu, frozen, thawed, pressed, cut into bite sized cubes
1/4 c. peanut butter
1/3 c. soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
1-1/4 c. water
2 T. cornstarch
Dry roasted peanuts
Green onions, chopped

Saute the onion and the celery in the sesame oil until softened. Add the tofu, peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Whisk together the water with the cornstarch and add to the frying pan. Simmer over medium until slightly thickened. Serve over the rice and sprinkle the peanuts and greens onions on top. Enjoy!

Kung Pao Seitan

Substitute seitan for the tofu.

You can also substitute Braggs Aminos for the soy sauce, and can use a different nut butter if you prefer.

Also, remember to check the ingredients on your dry roasted peanuts. Some name brands contain gelatin.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Garlic and Lemon Pasta

I was hosting a potluck the other day and wanted to try something new. I've warned friends and family in the past that potlucks are my opportunity to make guinea pigs out of them, LOL!

Garlic and Lemon Pasta

One package spaghetti
1/3 c. lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. salt
1-1/2 t. agave nectar
1/2 t. dijon mustard
4 T. olive oil
1/3 c. walnuts, chopped
1/3 c. fresh parsley

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions and drain. Mix the lemon juice, garlic, salt, agave nectar, mustard and olive oil until well blended. Add the sauce to the spaghetti, along with the walnuts and parsley. Toss together well. Serve. Enjoy!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mushroom Lasagna

I love kitchen appliances! I have two crockpots. One round, one oblong, and I use them both. I also have a mini crockpot that is perfect for hot dips. Crockpots come is so handy for those days you'll be involved with something and don't want to have to stop just to prepare supper. The day I decided to tackle cleaning out my pantry was one of those days. It was a win-win - got the pantry cleaned out and organized AND a hot supper, too!

Mushroom Lasagna

One package soft tofu, drained and pressed
1 T. lemon juice
1 c. water
3 cloves garlic
One not chicken bouillon cube
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
Olive oil
One package sliced mushrooms
1 T. dried rosemary
One package lasagna noodles

In a blender, add the tofu, lemon juice, water, garlic, bouillon cube and nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth.
Saute the mushrooms and rosemary in olive oil.
In the crockpot, coat the inside with oil. Spoon some of the tofu sauce, top with a layer of noodles, spoon some mushrooms on top of that. Repeat layers, ending with a layer of noodles and the last of the sauce spooned on top. Cook on low about 4 hours or high for about 2 hours.

The camera flash makes the picture hard to see, but it turned out really beautiful!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Celebrate with Black and Orange!

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours on Halloween.
~Author Unknown

Something wonderful happens when I see the colors black and orange together. I get excited because I know Hallowe'en is near. For some, the celebration continues over the course of three days, as Catholics honor the saints on November 1 and all souls on November 2. But the fun really begins on All Hallows Eve, October 31.

This year we only had five little trick or treaters. Several friends of mine reported the same. Kind of sad, since I have such happy memories of my own trick or treating as a child, and then taking my kids around the neighborhood for their trick or treating adventures.

In the spirit of the holiday, however, I made all black and orange dishes. Of course, at least one of those dishes contained pumpkin.

Black and Orange Salad

3 navel oranges, peeled and cut in half
1/4 of a red onion, chopped
1/4 c. slivered almonds
One can of small black olives
4 mint leaves, chopped
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. olive oil
1 t. sugar

Mix everything together. Serve.

Black and Orange Stew

One butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into bite sized pieces
Olive oil
One onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
One orange bell pepper, chopped
One can diced tomatoes
2 T. tomato paste
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
One chipotle chile in adobo, chopped
1 c. apple juice
3 T. chili powder
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. sugar

In a Dutch oven in the olive oil, cook the squash, onion, carrots and bell pepper, covered, for about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, beans and chipotle chile. Stir in the apple juice and seasonings. Stir until well mixed and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer about 3o minutes, or until squash is tender.

Black and Orange Muffins

1-1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. cornmeal
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1-1/4 c. canned pumpkin
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. plain nondairy milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil (not olive)
One can diced green chiles
1/4 c. pumpkin seeds, chopped
Black sesame seeds

Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in one large bowl. Mix the pumpkin, brown sugar, milk and oil in a separate bowl. Add this wet mixture to the dry mixture, and stir in the green chiles and pumpkin seeds. Mix well. Pour this into paper muffin liners in a muffin tin. Sprinkle some black sesame seeds on top. Bake at 375 for 18 minutes. Test with a toothpick to make sure they are done. I got about 18 muffins from this.

I really loved the salad and the muffins. The stew was spicy, so be prepared and have tissues nearby!

And because cutting through tough squash can be difficult, I'm including this tip to make your life easier!


After eating this healthy, it's okay now to indulge in a little - just a little! - of the leftover candy! You're welcome!
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