Archive for the ‘ Vegan ’ Category

Stuffed Acorn Squash

I originally found this recipe while reading Dr Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live.  The book was interesting enough but this recipe by far was the best thing I got out of it.  I don’t actually remember the original recipe, so this is my own rendition of it.  I’m not sure at this point what the specific ingredients were but I like my version quite well.

This would make an excellent main course for a Thanksgiving dinner.  I like that it’s served in perfect single sized servings!  The acorn squash with nuts, pineapple and cranberry will make any plate look festive.  I also enjoy taking leftovers to work.  It makes a great lunch and people always comment on it.

Ingredients

2 acorn squash

1 can crushed pineapple drained

1/2 cup both cranberries and chopped walnuts

4 tablespoons of chopped dried apricots

A small amount of butter or vegan spread for each half

Cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom to taste

Directions

Gently prick each acorn squash in 2-3 spots and microwave them for 4 minutes to soften

Cut them in half and scoop out seeds, place face down in a baking dish with 1/2 inch of water and bake at 350 for 30 minutes

While that is baking mix together the rest of the ingredients and let them sit

After baking the squash, remove from oven, drain the water, turn over the squash

Rub a little butter or spread on each piece and then add 1/4 of the stuffing to each half

Top with a little additional cinnamon and return to the oven for 20 more minutes

~enjoy~

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Mom’s Saltine Stuffing Vegetarianized!

My family has been eating this stuffing recipe my entire life.  As a kid I didn’t even realize that stuffing is supposed to be made with bread!  I had never seen it done that way.  Making a saltine stuffing saves the bother of buying a nice loaf of bread and letting it go stale.  Thanksgiving morning you just open the box of saltines and get started.

There was a couple of Thanksgivings where I’ve actually made a different recipe with both cornbread and saltines.  My husband, kids, and I all liked it very much.  But once my family moved down to Florida, they took one look and wondered where the “traditional” stuffing was!  Personally, I enjoy both but this one saves a lot of time so I’m happy to make it for them.

My mom’s stuffing was made with chicken broth and drippings.  I’ve made a simple change by using Knorr’s  dry soup called Spring Vegetable which is not tomato based.  You could just use vegetable bouillon cubes in place of that.  The soup mix I use has lots of little vegetable flecks in it which I don’t mind at all.   I also use butter rather than the drippings, you can easily use a vegan butter spread in place of butter.

This recipe works well when you assemble it early in the morning and then cook it before serving.  You could probably assemble it the night before if you eat early enough.  There is an egg in it so I wouldn’t refrigerate more than 12 hours prior to baking.  I’m sure a vegan can easily use an egg substitute with good results.

Ingredients

1 box of Saltines

4 onions chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

1 stalk celery

1 package of Knorr Spring Vegetable soup or 4 veg bouillon cubes

1 egg or vegan equivalent

Butter or vegan spread to dot the top (up to 1 stick depending on preference)

Salt, pepper and seasonings to taste

Directions

Saute the onions until translucent or lightly browned (I prefer browned) add in the garlic and celery for the last 2 minutes

Make the soup mix according to directions (strain out veggie flakes if desired) cool

Place saltines in enough broth to absorb fully and feel moist but not overly mushy, add some water if needed,

Mix in the other ingredients and seasoning

Place in a well-greased 9″ x 13″ pan

Dot with butter or spread and add more towards the end of baking

Bake uncovered for 1 hour

~enjoy~

 

Super Easy Cranberry Dressing

I’m not even sure if this qualifies as a recipe.  It’s really just a few ingredients that work well together and there are so many possible add in’s depending on your personal taste.  I adapted this from my mom’s cranberry dressing which is made with gelatin, therefore not vegetarian.

I don’t really understand her method.  She drains out all of the canned berries liquid that had gelled on it’s own and then adds the gelatin to it.  It’s very good but not at all worth the bother.  Her version takes hours of setting etc.  My version is just as good, personally I’d say better and takes about 5 minutes.

I’m looking forward to this Thanksgiving.  My nephew and his girlfriend will be flying in to join us and I always love company.   The only part I don’t like is where I’m the one who cooks the turkey.  My mom and I actually have it worked out where she purchases it, cleans it up, and removes the utterly disgusting baggie of insides etc.  Thanksgiving morning she’ll drive it over to me and I’ll pop it into my oven.  She cooks up whatever’s in those baggies to prepare the gravy and then finishes the gravy at my house once the bird is done.  It’s not ideal for me personally but it’s a good compromise.

Thanksgiving is the one meal where I actually don’t want a main course.  Even as a kid I barely touched the turkey.  My family goes way overboard with all the yummy side dishes and I’d much rather enjoy a variety of veggie dishes than any one main dish.  This cranberry dish is a favorite of mine.  I can imagine many possible ways to change it with a few different ingredients but my family likes holiday foods the way they’re used to them so I’ll stick to the basics once again!

Cranberry Dressing

2 cans of whole berries

1 small can of crushed pineapple drained well

1/2 cup of crushed walnuts

Just a little cinnamon

 

Just toss them in a pretty bowl, give them a good mix and refrigerate until ready to serve

Possible add ins:

Chopped apple or pear

Orange segments

Jalapeno & onion for  a salsa version

Chopped strawberries or blueberries

A larger can of pineapple which is what a lot of people use, personally I don’t like the pineapple to overwhelm so I stick with the little can

Cranberry-Dijon Salad Dressing

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything simply because I haven’t been cooking anything but some of my old stand by recipes.  This is a recipe I’ve stolen borrowed from my daughters abandoned blog.  I’ve been waiting all year for fresh cranberries to be back in season so I can try it.  With the exception of the fresh cranberries all the ingredients are in either my pantry or fridge which I love.I’ve put this dressing on top of a salad made of fresh greens, sliced apple, onion, walnut, cucumber and feta.  I think it would also be a great dressing to accompany a variety of veggie sandwiches.

Sorry there are no pictures once again, but it’s a salad dressing.  You can pretty  much imagine what it looks like!  I am still very much adjusting to the hectic pace of my days and stopping to grab a camera does not seem to be in the forefront of my mind these days.  The good news is that while I’m nervous about the ever increasing pace of my job I am absolutely loving it.  I get to help people work through a troublesome experience (minor car accidents) and work to resolve their issues with as little inconvenience to them as possible.  It’s very rewarding and the busy days fly by.

Cranberry-Dijon Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

  • Fresh cranberries (a few handfuls, maybe 2 cups/4dl?)
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard (this I did measure!)
  • White wine vinegar (probably about 1dl/0.5cup)
  • White wine (probably about 2dl/1 cup)
  • Olive oil (a couple tbsps)
  • Water (to bring to desired consistency.  Though I left mine pretty thick, I like the creamy texture.)

Cook:

  1. Put a couple of tablespoons olive oil in a small sauce pan and put on high heat.
  2. Add cranberries and put the lid on.  The cranberries will sorta ‘pop’ like popcorn, so you don’t want that oil splashing onto you.  When the popping stops lower heat and mash with a potato masher.
  3. At medium heat add wine, vinegar, and mustard.  Stir in more olive oil if desired.  Blend together.  Add water if desired.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

~Enjoy~

Simple Shoes

I simply love my new Simple Satire sneakers.  I went into Nordstrom’s the other day to try on Tom’s shoes.  Tom’s apparently don’t fit me well but are still great shoes from a company that built its reputation on giving back to those less fortunate.  I like that, I like that Tom’s has vegan options, they just didn’t fit.

On a display a few feet away from Tom’s were Simple’s Satire vegan sneakers.  I had read about them and found them to be an impressive company so I tried them on.  These shoes are super comfortable, have great arch support and are made by a company that cares about the planet and it’s inhabitants.  I like that.  My new sneaks are vegan, and made with sustainable materials.  Their goal is actually 100% sustainability.   The laces are recycled elastic, the bottom is from recycled car tires.  All of the supportive inside stuff is made of EVA with BIO-D to make it biodegradable.  I just hope they don’t start breaking down while I’m wearing them!  Last they actually have a nice comfy arch support.

More importantly they are actually really cute!  I had a hard time deciding which style and color to purchase.  I ended up with Charcoal because they go with pretty much anything.  My first time out in them was a work day.  I wore them with no socks all day and had no problems.  I could have bought them right from their website http://www.simpleshoes.com but decided to purchase from Zappo’s because I first heard about them there.  At http://www.zappos.com/s you can actually search for shoes under the word “vegan” and they have a lot of options.

My one issue is that Simple manufactures their shoes in China.  They say that they pay reasonable wages and overtime when appropriate.  They do not hire children under 16 years of age.  But what about the fact that these ‘eco-friendly” shoes have to be shipped halfway around the world?  I’m not sure if it’s environmentally irresponsible or just part of a global economy.  I like purchasing products made in the USA but am more concerned that the people making a product are treated fairly.

They also have some cute ballet flat styles that I’ll purchase soon.  I like that they also have mens and kids shoes so the entire family can be eco-friendly.  Check them out, they’re reasonably priced and come in many great colors and styles.

 

 

Slow Cooked Barley Lentil Soup

I seem to be easily falling into a habit of using my new crock pot to prepare Monday night dinner.  I assemble most of it the night before, add a few last-minute items and plug it in right before leaving the house.  Sunday evening prep was simple because I was already chopping veggies for dinner, I just chopped some into a separate bowl.  I had the barley and lentils measured out in a bowl ready to add in just before cooking.  My only job on Monday morning was to scrub and dice the potato.  Does anyone know if it would have gone bad overnight with the broth while refrigerated?  I decided not to risk it.

A couple of people have asked about my new job.  This week is better than last.  It’s all starting to come together for me.  I was told that they have a term “Lightbulb Tuesday” which is apparently when most people have their “Aha” moment.   It was true for me.  Now I just have a couple of exams to pass Thursday and Friday.  Next Monday I go live.  I’m pretty excited about that!  I’m working with an incredible group of people who are intelligent and interesting to hang out with.  It’s all good.

Anyway, try the soup, it’s souper (haha) easy and makes a hearty fall meal.  I can easily see adding some other veggies or beans but really it doesn’t need it.  The spices really gave it a unique flavor but if you don’t have all of them just wing it and use something else that will provide a similar richness.

Vegan Persian Barley Soup in a Slow Cooker

Ingredients:

1 cup of lentils (rinsed)

1 cup of pearled barley (rinsed)

1 medium onion, finely diced

1  large or 2 small potatoes, diced

1 cup sliced carrots

2 garlic cloves, grated or in small pieces

1 teaspoon  each turmeric, cumin, garam masala

6 cups vegetable stock (low sodium)

1+ cup water (I added more before serving because it was so thick)

8-12 oz can tomato sauce (or a can of petite diced tomatoes)

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh chopped herbs of choice for topping if desired

Directions:

1. Combine all dry ingredients into a large slow cooker (mine is a 5 1/2 quart beast). Stir thoroughly.  I combined all ingredients except the lentils, potato and barley the night before and refrigerated, then put them in the pot just before cooking.

2. Cover and cook for a minimum of 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.  Check seasoning before serving and top with choice of herbs

~Lin~

Butternut Squash Chili in a Crock Pot

I love when I find a recipe that my husband enjoys without commenting on the lack of meat protein.  I was surprised to find out that this was one of them.  As far as I know he’s not a big fan of squash but he happily ate this meal including a second helping as well as leftovers later in the week.  That makes it a hit in my book!  Another great thing is that this is a vegan and gluten-free dish.

I wish I had taken a picture of this because it’s actually a very pretty chili.  It’s quite colorful with the dark red sauce, bright orange squash, and the assortment of beans and peppers.  However, having assembled it one day and completing it the next I totally forgot.  It’s been a crazy week for me.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I’m starting a new job.  I’m in the process of becoming an insurance claims adjuster.  A few weeks ago I had to go through a course to get my state license.  That was tough enough.  Now I’m in training to learn how to actually do my job.  For the first time in my life I feel at a disadvantage and I’m trying to figure out if it’s age related.  It definitely feels like those in their 20s and 30s are catching on quicker than us older 40 somethings.  I am enjoying the process I just wish it would come to me a little quicker.

With that said, I don’t remember the last time I was so grateful for the weekend!  I’m considering a trip to the beach while my husband is thinking about chores around the house!  Perhaps we’ll barter for a day of each.  In the meantime I’ll be looking for something new to make using some of the 2 bags of barely I have.  Another sign of aging, I  bought 1 bag this week and realized that I already purchased barley last week.  If you have a great barley recipe for me, please share!

Ingredients

1 medium butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed into 1/2 pieces

1 28 oz can tomato sauce

1 28 oz can Bush’s Pinto Beans in Chili Sauce

1 28 oz can Black Beans rinsed

1 large onion chopped

2 cloves of garlic chopped

½ to 1 whole jalapeno finely chopped (depending on personal taste)

1 red or green pepper chopped

A few shakes of Tabasco Chipotle flavor

Pepper, Chili powder, and cumin to personal taste

Vegetable or Canola oil just a few teaspoons

Optional grated cheddar or vegan cheese to top

Directions

The night  before, or early in the  morning:

In a large pan saute the butternut squash in oil for a few minutes  on medium high and then add the onion and jalapeno and pepper

Saute 2 until onion becomes translucent and add the garlic, saute 1 more minute

Turn heat off and add sauce, beans and seasoning, stir well

Add a little water, tomato juice, or broth to bring to your desired consistency, I like it thick so I use very little

Transfer mixture to your crock pot.  Refrigerate over night if needed

Place in crock pot on either low heat for the entire day or if possible high heat for several hours and then more to low once heated through and the squash is tender.  We had it on high for about 4 hours and low for 2 hours before serving

Season to your own taste, and serve with cheese if desired

If cooking on a traditional stove use the same steps but simmer until the squash is tender

Enjoy!