Wednesday, November 23, 2016

National Cranberry...

National Cranberry Day is November 21. National Cranberry Relish Day is November 22. National Eat a Cranberry Day is November 23. I'm sensing a theme here...

My daughter has begun to insist on cranberries every Thanksgiving. They make my daughter-in-law gag. I can take them or leave them. Until this.

Cranberry Orange Salsa

I found the recipe here. I decided to make it because it was just a different take on the usual cranberry sauce. Rather than eat it like a salsa, with crackers, however, I found I much more enjoyed it like a fruit salad. Slightly tangy but nice.

Funnily enough I read that another name for cranberries is bounceberries, because they bounce when they are ripe. Maybe we should start a new tradition...

Monday, November 21, 2016

National Stuffing Day

One would think that National Stuffing Day would just naturally be on Thanksgiving, right? And, well, it falls close enough to it that it will certainly occasionally actually fall on Thanksgiving. But if Thanksgiving comes later - or earlier - and you've got a hankering, here ya go!

Easy Stuffing

1/4 c. vegan butter
3/4 c. chopped celery
1-1/2 c. water
One package of your favorite stuffing mix
1/3 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. walnut pieces

Melt the butter in a skillet, and saute the celery until not quite tender. Stir in the water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the stuffing mix, cranberries and walnuts. You can add a cup of vegan shredded cheese, if you like.

At this point, you have some options. You can make individual servings by mounding the mix into muffin cups, or you can pour the entire mix into a baking dish.

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Serve. Enjoy!

One thing I've read about, but still haven't tried, is to take your leftover stuffing and heat up in a waffle iron, and serve with breakfast. If you happen to have leftover stuffing, maybe try this. Let me know if you do and what you think. Eventually I will remember to try this!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

National Pizza with Everything (except anchovies) Day

Today is, believe it or not, National Pizza with Everything (except anchovies) Day. And I am totally down with this. Honestly, though, almost every day could be pizza day for me. My local Whole Foods makes several vegan pizzas that are amazing!

Fresh Vegetable Pizza

Your favorite vegan crescent rolls dough
1 container vegan sour cream
1 T. vegan horseradish sauce
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
Sliced mushrooms
Chopped tomatoes
Broccoli florets
Chopped green onions

Spread your dough on a cookie sheet, pressing and smooshing to make one big roll of dough that covers the entire pan, and bake at 375 for about 15 minutes, until brown. Let it cool completely.

Mix the sour cream with the horseradish, and spread this over the top the of baked crust. Top with the chopped vegetables, and cut into squares. Serve. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

National Sandwich Day

Every St. Patrick's Day, my kids and I try a new corned beefless recipe. They've been pretty hit or miss, honestly. But this year I decided to try a new recipe, with a new twist. Instead of just the regular corned beefless as part of a meal, I decided to make reubens. Since none of us have ever had a reuben sandwich, this was definitely new to us.

Vegan Reuben Sandwiches

2 pkgs. extra firm tofu, frozen, boiled, pressed, sliced into 1/8" slices
8 c. hot water
2 large beets, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. Balsamic vinegar
2 T. Braggs Liquid Aminos
1 cube no beef bouillon
6 bay leaves, crumbled
2 cinnamon sticks
12 allspice seeds
1 t. salt
1 t. agave syrup
1 t. ground coriander
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. liquid smoke
1/4 t. ground cloves
Olive oil for sauteing
Vegan thousand island dressing

Lightly brown the tofu slices in the olive oil. Drain. Mix everything, except the dressing and sauerkraut, in a crockpot. Make sure to submerge the tofu slices as much as possible. Cover and let cook on high for about six hours.

Spread some of the dressing on a slice of rye bread. Top with 2-3 slices of the tofu, add some sauerkraut and another slice of bread. Serve. Enjoy!

I like my bread toasted, but a couple of my kids used untoasted bread. Your choice. The tofu by itself is somewhat, surprisingly, bland. Suffice it to say the flavor is very mild, so eating it alone isn't as yummy. But added to bread with the dressing and sauerkraut, OMG! It is DELICIOUS! The picture does not do it justice!

I got the original recipe here. I had everything except the mustard seeds, and I doubled the recipe. My family absolutely loved this recipe, and I will definitely be making it again!

BTW, if you've never dealt with raw beets before, peeling them reveals a beautiful ruby red color. It will stain, so wash everything the red comes in contact with.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

National Potato Day

Today is National Potato Day. We eat a lot of potatoes in my house, just because they are so versatile and pretty darned delicious. People are surprised I will eat a baked potato all by itself with only a little salt and pepper, as if that is sacrilegious! LOL! But sometimes I eat them with butter, too, so, it's cool. My youngest son is truly the potato aficionado, though. He is always trying new ways with potatoes, with often amazing results.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

One 5 lbs. bag of potatoes of your choice
5 T. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/2 c. non dairy milk
10 peeled garlic cloves

In a Dutch oven, cover the potatoes and garlic with water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until soft. Drain. In a large bowl, add the cooked potatoes and garlic, and add the olive oil, salt and pepper. With a hand mixer or potato masher, start mashing the potatoes while slowly adding the milk. Serve. Enjoy!

For fun, I will often add a single sweet potato to the mix. Feel free to try that!

Monday, June 13, 2016

National Cucumber Day

Today is National Cucumber Day. I like cucumbers. I find them refreshing and summery. They are a common feature of tea sandwiches. You can find a couple of nice cucumber tea sandwiches here and here. Heck, you can even use them on your face, like this very lovely rinse for the face. My son likes to add cucumber slices to water during the hot summer months.

Some people just can't abide them, though. Makes them gassy. Those poor, unfortunate souls!

If you aren't a fan, but don't hate cucumbers, here's a nice little finger food to enjoy them.

Tortilla Bites with Sesame Soy Sauce

One container vegan cream cheese
One package whole wheat flour tortillas
1-3 c. cold, cooked long grain brown rice
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into strips
1 avocado, thinly sliced
One bunch organic spinach leaves
1 carrot, cut into strips
One can vegan tuna
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
1/4 t. ground ginger
1 T. sesame oil

Spread the cream cheese over one tortilla. I lightly sprinkled granulated garlic on top of this, but you can leave out if you want. Close to one edge of the tortilla, layer some rice, cucumber, avocado, carrot, spinach, and tuna. Roll up and tightly as possible, then slice the tortilla into one inch or so rounds.

Mix the soy sauce, red pepper, ginger, and sesame oil in a bowl. Serve this alongside the tortilla bites to dip in. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

National Corn on the Cob Day

Today is National Corn on the Cob Day! Seriously, who doesn't love corn on the cob? It is such a summer food, in my mind, but with frozen cobs available year round, it can be enjoyed any time. And there is just something fun about eating it.

Corn on the Cob with Parsley Flavored Butter

Corn on the cob, fresh or frozen, as many ears as you like
Vegan butter
1/4 t. onion powder
1 T. dried parsley or 1/2 c. fresh parsley

Boil the corn in the manner you normally do. I tend to cover the corn with water in a Dutch oven and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until done. Frozen takes longer, but I boil it the same way.

Soften the butter, then mix in the onion powder and parsley, until blended well. Serve the butter alongside the cooked corn.

Serve. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

National Cheese Day

Today is National Cheese Day. I know for many, every day is cheese day. I can't even count how many times I've heard people say how cheese makes everything better! And, I also know all too well how difficult it is to give up cheese when you become vegan. The vegan alternatives do a pretty good job, though, especially when made into sauces or baked into something. This is one of those.

Hot Garlic Cheese Puffs

One package vegan shredded cheddar
1/2 c. vegan butter
1 c. all purpose flour
1 t. chives
1/2 t. garlic powder

Mix cheese into softened butter, and stir in the flour, chives, and garlic powder. Make sure it is mixed well. Shape this mixture into 1" balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours. When ready, bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, until a light golden brown. Serve. Enjoy!

Here's another cheese recipe, if you want something more than a nibble: Beer and Cheese Potato Chowder. And if you want something more in the casserole category: Cheeseburger Rice (think Hamburger Helper for vegans).

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

National Olive Day

Today is National Olive Day. I just love olives, especially the black ones! If I open a can of them in my house, they disappear quickly, because everyone in my family loves them, too! My oldest will occasionally buy stuffed green olives, and those can be almost as addictive. If you want to try something a little different, but omg-can't-stop-eating, try these:

Baked Olives

6 cloves garlic, chopped
1-1/2 t. dried thyme
1 t. crushed red pepper
1 c. olive oil
2 cans large black olives, drained

Mix everything in a bowl until well coated. Pour into a baking dish and bake at 300 for about 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, use a slotted spoon to lift them from the oil and into a serving dish and serve. Trust me, you will enjoy!

Friday, May 13, 2016

International Hummus Day

Today in International Hummus Day. Hummus is an ingredient often used in making vegan sandwiches, but I like it best as a dip, especially with pita bread, but vegetables are good, too. My daughter-in-law practically inhales the stuff, she likes it so much. There are many versions, and it is so easy to make. Try this one, but definitely experiment.

Mediterranean Dip

1 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 t. cumin
One can chickpeas, drained
1/2 t. salt
1 T. lemon juice
One container plain vegan yogurt

Saute the garlic in the olive oil until fragrant, and remove from heat. Stir in the cumin and chickpeas, and coat well. Add this mixture, along with the salt and lemon juice to a food processor, and whirl until smooth. Transfer this mixture to a bowl and stir in the yogurt. Serve. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

National Lima Bean Respect Day

Today is Lima Bean Respect Day. I grew up eating lima beans, so I love them, but I know some who felt this was torture to eat as a kid. Honestly, I just really like beans and peas of all kinds, so I eat them almost every day.

Black Eyed Peas and Lima Beans

1 green pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
One package frozen lima beans
2 packages frozen black eyed peas
2 t. red wine vinegar
1 c. vegetable broth
1 c. water
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
1/2 t. black pepper
Vegan bacon grease

Saute the green pepper, celery, and onion in the vegan bacon grease in a Dutch oven until softened. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with vegan bacon bits, serve, enjoy!

If you are so inclined (re: daring!) or just love limas, here are several more lima bean recipes for you to try! And, well, because I like black-eyed peas so much, here are a host of black eyed peas recipes, too.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

National Broccoli Day

Today is National Broccoli Day! Sure, there are haters out there, but this stuff is delicious. I like it raw or cooked. Kids have fun with it because it looks like little trees. Since most people will only eat it slathered in cheese sauce, I am accommodating you here. In a good way.

Pan Scalloped Broccoli and Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower (cut in florets)
1 head of broccoli crowns (cut in florets)
2 T. vegan butter
2 T. flour
1 c. vegetable broth
1 c. non dairy milk
1 c. vegan shredded cheddar
1/8 t. white pepper

Cook the broccoli and cauliflower separately. Bring about 1/2" of water to boil for each, and cook the broccoli about 5 minutes and the cauliflower about 9 minutes. Drain.
Melt the butter in a separate pot. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Add the broth and milk. Simmer for about 1 minute. Add the cheese and pepper until cheese has melted.
Place the broccoli and cauliflower in a bowl together, and pour the cheese sauce over them. Serve. Enjoy!

You can boil the vegetables ahead of time and put in the refrigerator until ready to use, if you want or need to. Also, if you can find it, add a head of broccoflower cut in florets to the dish. You can cook the broccoflower with the cauliflower.

Oddly, I could not find anything on a National Cauliflower or National Broccoflower Day. If you find one, please let me know. And then celebrate those days, too, with this dish!

By the way, if you've never even heard of a broccoflower, they look like this:

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Eat Brussels Sprouts Day

Today is Eat Brussels Sprouts Day. I know a lot of people don't like them, but c'mon, they are such cute little cabbages. I admit, I wasn't a fan for a long time. I don't know, they just had kind of a bitter aftertaste to me. But over the last few years, I have come to really, actually, enjoy them. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do.

Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds

Two bags of frozen Brussels sprouts
1/4 c. vegan butter
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. slivered almonds, lightly toasted

Cook the Brussels sprouts according to the directions on the bag. Drain. In a frying pan, melt the butter. Add the remaining ingredients, including the Brussels sprouts. Stir until everything is well coated and heated through. Serve. Enjoy!

You can make the Brussels sprouts ahead of time and keep in the fridge until you are ready for the rest of the recipe.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Curried Chicken Day

Today is Curried Chicken Day. I'm only over the last year or so new to Indian cuisine. I'd pretty much avoided it in the past, thinking it too spicy. But I've had several dishes that I especially liked, so am still working my way through the cuisine.

One day Whole Foods had some vegan curried chicken on their hot bar, and I tried some. Omg, it was delicious! I think I went back a few more times that week just to get more. Which, of course, can get expensive, so I decided to try to make some at home.

Curried Chicken Salad

One package favorite frozen chicken (mine is Delight Soy nuggets), baked according to package directions, chopped
1/4 c. diced red onion
 ribs celery, diced
1/2 to 1 cup chopped peanuts
1-1/2 c. vegan mayonnaise
2-1/2 T. curry powder
Dash turmeric
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Mix everything together in one large bowl, until coated well. Serve. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

National Green Beans Day

Today is National Green Beans Day. I typically associate them more with summer, but since I can buy them year round frozen and canned, I guess every day can be a green beans kind of day.

April 4 is International Carrot Day. I know a lot of people who will eat them raw, but not cooked. It's a consistency thing, apparently. I like them both ways. So, if you miss eating this dish today, you can make it for that day.

Or, you could just make it any darn time you like!

Carrots and Green Beans with Ginger

1-1/2 lbs. carrots, sliced
1-1/2 lbs. green beans, trimmed
1/4 c. vegan butter
2 t. freshly grated ginger

Boil carrots and green beans separately, about 7-10 minutes each. Drain. Melt butter in a skillet or Dutch oven. Add the ginger and saute over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the green beans and carrots to the melted butter/ginger mixture and stir to coat well. Serve. Enjoy!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Black Eyed Pea and Collards Soup

Every new year's day I make black eyed peas and collards in some way. Sometimes it is just simply a pot of beans and a pot of collards. This time I decided to switch things up a bit and turn it into a soup. The results were delicious!

Black Eyed Pea and Collards Soup

One package vegan kielbasa sausage, sliced into coins
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. Cajun seasoning
8 cups vegetable broth
One package of dried black-eyed peas
1 bunch of collard greens, stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 c. basmati rice
1 t. hot sauce

Soak the peas in enough water to cover overnight. Drain and dump them into a crockpot. Add the onions, garlic, Cajun seasoning and vegetable broth. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours. Add the collards, rice, and hot sauce. Stir to mix, cover and let cook an additional hour.

Saute the kielbasa in a little bit of olive oil until nicely browned.

Serve the soup in bowls and top with a few coins of the kielbasa. Enjoy!
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