Monthly Archives: November 2011

Stuffed Pumpkins

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Tired of Tofurky? Hey- we’re not against Tofurky. We like Tofurky, too. But occasionally, you want a different centerpiece for your vegan table. We’ve got you covered. These stuffed pumpkins look crazy elegant, are super-filling and will impress just about anyone. Another cool feature is that after polishing off one of these, you don’t need much more in terms of sides – it will fill you up! Talk about something to be thankful for! Yum! There’s a good deal of prep work involved in this dish, so be prepared to chop. It’s worth it for the resulting holiday feast and wonderful presentation.

Stuffed Pumpkins

Serves 6

6 small pumpkins, about 6 or 7 inches in diameter

one 14 oz. roll of Lightlife Gimmee Lean Sausage (it’s vegan!)

1/2 tsp. dried sage

2 tsp. fennel seeds

2 Tbls. Earth Balance or canola oil

1 cup diced onion

4 cups whole wheat or herb bread, cubed and let dry overnight

1 cup chopped carrots (about 3)

1 cup chopped celery (about 3)

1 cup chopped white button mushrooms

3 cups chopped fennel (about 2 bulbs)

2 1/2 cups Granny Smith apple, cored and diced (2 apples)

1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

3/4 cup dried cranberries

3/4 cup vegetable stock

3/4 cup  chardonnay (or your favorite dry white wine)

1 tsp dried marjoram

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

Move oven rack to bottom of oven an preheat to 35o. Your oven should only have one rack in it.

Cut off pumpkin tops and set aside. Scoop out seeds and membranes and rinse out pumpkins. Place on a large baking sheet with edges.

Melt Earth Balance in a large skillet. Over medium heat, saute all Gimmee Lean Sausage with sage, fennel seeds and onions until sausage is crumbled and onions are lightly browned.  Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl mix all remaining ingredients. Add onions/sausage and combine well with hands. Pack stuffing very tightly into pumpkins and cover with reserved tops.

Bake until shells are tender, about 60-90 minutes. Do not overcook or pumpkins will collapse. When they’re done, the stuffing is hot all the way through, the bottoms are a little soggy and the sides are soft to the touch. It’s essential the sides get soft, or you won’t be able to eat the pumpkin flesh.

Serve hot with your favorite brown or mushroom gravy. Be sure to try the inside of the pumpkin flesh, too – it will have a wonderful sweetness that adds to the dish!

A few notes… you can use this stuffing recipe alone, or to stuff other squash too – not just pumpkins. Alternatively, you can use your favorite stuffing recipe and bake it in the pumpkins.

If you aren’t into Gimmee Lean Sausage (it’s vegan!), you can skip that ingredient and just add one cup more mushrooms. Be sure to saute the onions, though, so they are soft and sweet.

For the gravy, you can make your own from scratch or try a quickie instant. We like Seitenbracher Brown Gravy with this recipe. There are other brands available, like Hain Pure Foods and Simply Organic, too.

Corn Pudding

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Around the holidays we get a yearning for the old days and sometimes, that means traditional food. Corn pudding is not usually vegan-friendly. We both have family recipes, and neither was going to work without eggs or dairy. So we gave corn pudding a make-over. We hope you like it.

Corn Pudding

1  15-oz. can creamed corn (describes how it is cut, not that it has cream)

1  15-oz. can corn kernels

1/2 cup soy sour cream (we used Sour Supreme)

1/2 cup plain soy creamer (we used Silk brand)

1/4 tsp. salt

1 Tbl. arrowroot

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 Tbl. sugar

4 1/2 tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer in 6 Tbl. water

10 whole wheat Ritz crackers

Set oven at 350.

Mix Egg Replacer with water. Stir well to smooth out lumps and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine both cans of corn, soy sour cream, creamer, salt, arrowroot, flour and sugar. Add Egg Replacer and mix again.

Pour into an 8×8 baking dish. Evenly crumble/crush Ritz crackers over the top of the corn pudding.  Bake at 350 for an hour. When it’s done, the top will be slightly browned and the pudding will be evenly set with bubbly edges.

Serve warm…and remember all those delish family holidays of past.

Peanut Butter-Carob Dog Treats

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Every dog has her day. And if you bake these snappy, fragrant cookies for you dog, it’s absolutely her day. (Or his 🙂 ) These are fast to make and the good news is that baking for dogs is easy! They aren’t picky. You can burn the edges, get the recipe a little off – they don’t mind.  They’re always grateful! Imagine your pooch’s adoring eyes when you offer a homemade treat. Try it out, you’ll see what I mean.

Peanut Butter-Carob Dog Treats

2 cups barley flour

1/2 cup oat bran

1 tsp. non-aluminum baking powder

3/4 cup smooth peanut butter

3/4 cup water

1 cup carob chips

Pre-heat oven to 375.

Add all ingredients except carob chips to a food processor and pulse until a dough ball forms. The dough will be sticky. Turn out into a mixing bowl and knead in carob chips by hand.  This step is pretty fun, actually.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a food processor, add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and combine by hand.

Roll dough into cookie-size balls for your dog. Our dog is large, so the cookies we made are about 1-1/2 inches in diameter and the recipe yields 4 dozen cookies that size. If your dog is smaller, make them smaller and you will end up with more cookies. Use your best judgement.

Bake on parchment-lined cookie sheets for 15 to 18 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Cool before serving to your hound. Store in a sealed container in the fridge – fresh dog cookies get moldy if left out. If your pooch is a slow eater, you can freeze and thaw these, too.

Sweeties: Yummy Earth

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There’s something fabulous about a vegan, organic, gluten-free lollipop. What not to love? Yummy Earth delivers. With over twenty flavors!

 

The company was founded by two Dads who weren’t happy with the usual junk-food candy offerings. Now, Yummy Earth is the USA’s leading organic candy company and they make lollipops, jelly beans, gummi worms, hard candies and even vitamin drops. They have even won awards for their sweets at the prestigious New York. Fancy Food Show. Super cool.

Yummy Earth products do not contain any chemical colors, artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, dairy, soy or peanuts/tree nuts.

These wonderful little treats are available at lots of stores. Or you can buy Yummy Earth online, too. Yum, yum, yummy!

Peel Perfection

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You’re ready to start shopping. A lot. Internet, TV and radio ads for Black Friday started before Thanksgiving. I mean – we get it already, right? It’s the holiday shopping season. This year for the holidays, we are making a commitment to select gifts that are responsible – and that our friends and family will love. It’s harder than it sounds.

But there are incredible options out there. You won’t find them on blaring TV ads. The kinds of small and/or local companies offering eco-friendly, ethically made products can’t afford to buy airtime on NBC. Great stuff is available though.

Like this gorgeous – and good smelling – bracelet from Calamarie. It’s handcrafted from upcycled dried orange peels by women in Colombia. We love that it’s eco-friendly in every way – and giving jobs to women who would otherwise not have employment.

Calamarie also offers necklaces, handbags and hair accessories made from orange peel, seeds and more. Check out their website and shop locally in the DC/Maryland/Pennsylvania area – or shop online. Oh  – and most of their offerings are vegan! Be sure to read about each item for full details as some products comtain silk – but everything is all natural and ethically produced.

Happy Shopping!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Tomatoes

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As a kid, I hated brussel sprouts. Ironically – I loved how they looked, but not how they tasted. As an adult, though, I’ve come to appreciate these little treasures. In fact, this recipe is a redo of my mom’s brussel sprouts!! Just a few little changes and now it’s a new pretty, colorful dish and ready for your holiday table. And – good news – it’s really easy to make!

Makes 4 portions

1 Tbl. dijon mustard

1 Tbl. vegan worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. raw sugar

pinch salt & pepper

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 cup olive oil

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

2 cloves minced garlic

2 cups chopped brussel sprouts

2 cups whole cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped scallions

Combine mustard, worcestershire, sugar, salt, pepper, herbs oil and vinegar in a large bowl. Mix well to make a marinade. Add  chopped brussel sprouts, minced garlic and whole cherry tomatoes. Toss to coat. Cover and chill in fridge for at least two hours and up to overnight.

When ready to roast, preheat over to 350. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes until tomatoes are tender and bursting, and brussel sprouts are browned and fork-soft. Top with chopped scallions and serve warm.

Meet Amelinda

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In one week, about 46 million turkeys will be on American tables for Thanksgiving. Not ours, we’re not meat-eaters. But our families and friends are almost all omnivores and each of them will be carving a bird.

This year, the Dirty Hippie gave me a sweet as pie gift for Thanksgiving: he adopted Amelinda from the Farm Sanctuary‘s Adopt-A-Turkey Project.

No, she’s not actually moving in with us. She’s a virtual pal. Amelinda will be living out her days on the grassy fields at the Farm Sanctuary. At the Farm Sanctuary, rescued turkeys will receive compassionate care and each Thanksgiving they have their own feast of pumpkin pie, cranberries and stuffed squash.  Isn’t she cute? In a turkey-sort-of-way?

In past years, the Farm Sanctuary‘s Adopt-A-Turkey Project has saved as many as 1000 birds from slaughter. I know – you’re thinking – who would want to save a turkey, right? Well, factory farming is kind of a huge issue for the environment. In America, around 300 million turkeys are raised annually for slaughter. Before those birds end up on your table, they eat, drink and poop. That’s a lot of food/water usage and a lot of poop. Literally tons and tons of poop. It has to go somewhere…

And no, sadly, most turkeys don’t get adorable names — or even access to sunshine. They live out their lives – about 14 to 18 weeks most of the time, indoors in conditions that even a turkey can’t cope with.

According to the Farm Sanctuary’s website, birds are packed by the thousands into warehouses. They are frequently debeaked and detoed – with no painkillers, to prevent fighting. Later, at the slaughterhouse, birds are hung by their feet and their heads are stuck in a “shock bath” – electrified water tanks to stun them. But the turkeys are still conscious when their throats are cut and sometimes when their bodies are submerged in scalding water. What a way to go.

You know, I’ve been vegan a really long time. Holiday meals have been meatless on my table for almost two decades. This looks easy to me. But if you build a whole tradition around one food, it might be hard to image a change for any reason – be it the environment or non-violence or anything else. I’ve seen folks glaze over when there’s mention of a meatless meal, nevermind a meatless holiday.

So I propose this… try adopting a turkey this year. Do it for fun. Do it because they’re cute. Do it because Ellen DeGeneres and Alicia Silverstone do it. Whatever works for you. Here’s a cutie named Antionette, she’s still looking for someone to adopt her!

Then take a few minutes and read about factory farm animals. Give it 10 minutes. Go forward with at least education about where your food is coming from and the long term impact of your day-to-day actions.

And then, no matter what you choose, be thankful. It is Thanksgiving, after all.

Fat Free Vegan’s Mushroom Barley Soup

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Have you noticed how much we love soup?  Soup is on the menu here all year long, often more than once a week. But now that it’s getting chilly in the Baltimore/DC area, you better believe we’re eating lots of soup.

Fat Free Vegan is a great blog kept by Susan Voisin. She has over 1000 healthful vegan recipes online and her offerings have graced our table more than a few times.

A coupla days ago, we tried her version of mushroom barley soup. Her recipe is inspired by one from the book Love Soup, which I haven’t read yet. But Susan’s recipe was delicious.

We didn’t have any cannellini beans, so we skipped that part, and we used chardonnay instead of dry sherry. We were also out of lemon and spicy paprika – instead, we just added a few dashes of cayenne hot sauce before serving. I’m  sure it is groovy as written – but hey – we’re hippies. We adapt, we use what we have. : )

Oh – be sure to give yourself enough time with the barley. If you don’t have a pressure-cooker, it will take a little time to make sure the grains are tender.

Like a warm hug in a bowl! Mmm… And as you know, I cannot re-print Susan’s recipe. Copyright laws and all that. Respect.

But I’m happy to link it.

Far Out: Rehoboth Beach, DE

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Several times a year, we find ourselves in the quiet resort town of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. We’ve been there at least once a year – sometimes as often as 4 visits in a year – since before we were married in 2004.

There are things we always love about Rehoboth: the slower pace, mild traffic, funky independent shops, peaceful walks on the beach. But now we can add to that… awesome eco-vegan stuff. Each of these places was introduced to us by friends, too, which makes them even better.

In the most unexpected of places, a sports bar, we found a good selection of vegetarian and vegan eats. Thanks to Linda & Jan for sending us to Arena’s Cafe. At first glance, Arena’s is like any other sports bar. There’s a wooden bar with televisions, dart boards and on the facing wall, a big chalk board with different beers listed.

Arena’s has both indoor and outdoors seating. In the patio area, you can bring your dog along for the meal. Which is cool for dog people like us.

The little sports bar is popular among locals for several dishes, but the most notable is their huge, huge, HUGE plate of vegetarian nachos. This is a mega-size portion of nachos piled high with layers of melted and not-melted jack & cheddar cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes, pickled jalapenos and house salsa for only $8.99.   The basket arrived warm and all the chips were incredibly crisp – even in the middle of the basket. The Dirty Hippie was not able to finish it in one sitting – he had two more meals from this one basket of nachos.

Arena’s magical mountain of nachos is not available with vegan cheese, but they are able to prepare it with no cheese/sour cream, and loaded with guacamole and salsa. It’s delicious.

The house salsa is definitely worth a mention. It was chunky and fresh – spicy with a tangy tomato flavor and a touch of cilantro. We would stop just to eat the salsa and chips at Arena’s.

There are lots of vegetarian offerings on the menu . From a fresh veggie plate, to a variety of cheese fries to an entire menu area with seven vegetarian lunch/dinner entrees, most of which can be veganized or are vegan already.

The Dirty Hippie could not resist trying Arena’s gooey Potato Skins. They were loaded with cheese but not swimming in grease. The potato part was thick and crisp, with toasty edges. A vegetarian treat! Oh – and this portion was also huge. One order contained six of these cheese boats. More than enough to share.

Vegans, don’t despair. Not everything was swimming in cheese at Arena’s. The House Salad Wrap was delicious and fresh. I ate two. It was loaded with the house Guac, which was smooth and garlicky. Their Famous Granny Smith Sandwich was a mouth full of layers – fresh and sweet, with apples, honey mustard and veggies on thick, soft whole grain bread. Very good bread. Both sandwiches are listed with cheese on the menu, but our server was a vegetarian herself and was extremely familiar with vegan food needs and questions.

Also available were coffee drinks from a full coffee bar-style menu; smoothies and desserts; daily drink & food specials and vegetarian-friendly breakfast offerings in the morning. They offer carry-out and delivery in the area. Arena’s is located at 4113 Highway One, Rehoboth Beach DE 19971; (302) 226-CAFE.

In the mood for something sweet? You gotta try Annie’s Banannies. It’s a shop that offers whipped up frozen bananas and is just like soft ice cream – but way better! Thanks Beth for sending us here!

Owner Annie works behind the bar personally serving up icy delish treats. Bannanies are vegan, gluten free, have no added sugar and are healthy beach food. Oh – and they’re served in compostable greenware!

The regular menu has such tasty offerings as The Nutty Bannanie (with natural peanut butter & chopped peanuts) and the Tropical Banannie (with mango, pineapple and toasted coconut flakes), or you can make your own from the a la carte topping bar. There are also seasonal offerings, like the Cider-Poached Pear Bannanie we sampled.

Annie’s hours vary over the winter, but in addition to being open at her Rehoboth location, a new shop is planned in 2012 in the Light Street Pavillion in Inner Harbor/Baltimore. We can’t wait.

Visit Annie and try Banannie at 9 First St. South, Rehoboth Beach, DE. 19971 ; (302) 260-9875

When you’re done eating, a little walk around downtown Rehoboth is great fun – especially when you visit vegan bath and beauty store, The Little Egg Harbor Soap Shop.

We love Little Egg Harbor Soaps and stock up every time we go to Rehoboth. It is a small, woman-owned business that’s grown – for fourteen years!

All of their products are handmade in New Jersey. The soaps have a cold-pressed olive oil base and there are no detergents, hardeners, sulfates, parabens or alcohol in any of the products.  You want variety? You’re in luck – there are 90 varieties of soap.

Once you have sampled all those fabulous soaps (we like cucumber, hot chocolate and wild watermelon), move on to the other goodies at Little Egg Harbor. You can also try their exquisite bath salts, bath fizzies, facials, sugar scrubs, body lotions and butters and organic hair care.

As you can see, even in the fall – which is not peak beach season – there is loads to enjoy in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Stay tuned… Rehoboth also boasts a very exciting restaurant called Hobos with an award-winning vegan chef! We got to interview her during our visit and will be posting soon!!

Cream of Celery Soup

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Have a stay-in Saturday night. You know the scene: you curl up on the sofa with your date/hound dog/cat under a worn & comfy blanket. Flip on the TV or listen to the radio. Space out. And in that mood, try this easy and cozy soup.

Much like stay-home Saturday nights can be under-rated, celery is a seriously under-rated vegetable. In this simple soup, celery’s subtle flavor comes through and at last, takes a place of pride outside the crudite platter.
Makes 4 servings

4 cups vegetable stock

4 cups chopped celery

3 bay leaves

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4. tsp. ground white pepper

1 tsp. thyme

1 cup chopped onion

4 cloves minced garlic

1 Tbl. olive oil

2 cups unsweetened, plain almond milk

1 tsp. celery seeds

2 tsp. arrowroot powder

2 -3 Tbl. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

handful croutons

In a large pot, warm vegetable stock. Add chopped celery, bay leaves, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until lightly browned.

Add onions, garlic, almond milk, celery seeds and arrowroot powder to soup. Simmer for another 20 minutes to combine flavors well. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, puree in batches in a regular blender or food processor.

To serve, stir in parsley and top with croutons. Then curl up on the sofa under a blanket and enjoy.

Perfection.