Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Dozen Vegan New Year's Holiday Dishes

Growing up, we never celebrated New Year's the traditional American way. Our Mom was a Teetotaler, and so there were no New Year's Parties, and we really didn't do the New Year's traditional feast, either. We waited for the New Year to ring in (sometimes at Church, sometimes watching the ball drop on T.V.), then would sleep late on New Year's Day - and spend a quiet day relaxing.

As a result, I was grown up before I even found out that many Americans had a traditional menu for the holiday. Pork; Black-Eyed Peas; Greens, Sauerkraut or Cabbage; and Cornbread! Who knew?! ; )

So, here are my favorite recipes for dishes with those ingredients - a few traditional, some remarkably non-traditional.

Whether your family celebrates the New Year in a traditional or non-traditional way, I hope you enjoy these recipes & have a wonderful New Year!

This is being shared on Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Food on Friday, Wellness Weekend, Gluten Free Fridays, Simple Saturdays, What'd You Do this Weekend, Modest Monday, Making Your Home Sing Monday, The Chicken Chick, In & Out of the Kitchen, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Women Helping Women, Real Food, Allergy Free

Vegan Party Appetizers

Dips Buffet for a Party

Greek Style Black-Eyed Peas

Indian Style Spiced Black-Eyed Peas

Vegan Sausage Patties

Vegan Jambalaya

Sauerkraut (this one takes a few days - so you might want to keep the recipe on hand for next year - or enjoy it a few days after the holiday)

Dinosaur Salad!

Better than Coleslaw

Cornbread or Corn Muffins

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Fruited Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Christ is Born!
Orthodox Nativity Icon from the walls of Kykkos Monastery, Cyprus
(Greek caption at top is from the Akathist Hymn, and translates "The Shepherds Heard")

Glorify Him!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Raw (ish) Cookie Assortment

Gluten Free, Vegan, Whole Plant Food, Raw (ish)
Cookie Assortment
As Christmas draws near, and my traditional cookie & bread making is done, I have a wee bit more to

I have two friends who, like me, are Orthodox Christians - which means that this time of year they are keeping Vegan for Advent. But, they are also Gluten Free, and (as they put it) "Crunchy." So, it's time to whip up a few Christmas treats that are Vegan, Gluten Free, & based on Whole Plant Foods for their Christmas gift tins. These treats are mostly raw - with the possible exception of the spices or flavorings used.

I made an assortment of three varieties. If I was a little more familiar with their precise restrictions (and a little more artistic!), I would have decorated them in some way (drizzled chocolate, sprinkled coconut, cherry halves, etc), but I decided to be better safe than sorry.

I made all of these in my food processor - which is an inexpensive 2-cup capacity Sunbeam Oscar with an s-blade in a bowl. If you blend these too long, you can end up with nut butter (not good) but on the other hand, if they are too dry, a little longer blending will help the nuts release their oils and become moister.

With all of these, you will want to pulse/blend them in the food processor till fairly finely ground. When you are able to squeeze together a little ball of the mixture and have it hold its shape (rather like making a snowball from snow), it is ready to form into balls or discs.

I use cheap, grocery store pitted dates (which are usually the "Deglet Noor" variety). These little treats are supposed to hold their shape and have a somewhat firm bite, and fancier dates (like Medjool) not only drive up the production costs, but produce a less-desirable pasty consistency. Some raw treats must be kept in the freezer to keep a proper texture because they are made from Medjool dates rather than the firmer dates. Not these - they're ready to go as soon as they're made!

Here they are:

Chocolate Cherry Cordial Balls
1/2 Cup Pecans
1/2 Cup Almonds
1 Cup Dates (packed)
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon water if needed for moisture
Stir in
Dried Cherries
Shape into balls

Raw  (ish) Snickerdoodles
1/2 Cup Almonds
1/2 Cup Pecans
1 1/2 Cup Dates, Packed
1 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
Shape into Balls

Raw (ish) Gingerbread Cookies
(This one is inspired by The Healthy Maven but I wanted to make it grain free, and more like my own Gingerbread Cookies for taste)
1/2 Cup Pecans
1/2 Cup Coconut (unsweetened, grated or flaked)
1/2 Cup Dates, Packed
1 1/2 teaspoon Molasses
1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Ground Cloves
Shape into Balls & Flatten into discs.

This is being shared on Gluten Free Fridays, Simple Lives Thursday, Happy, Healthy, Green & Natural, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Real Food Friday, Wonderful Wednesday, Home Acre Hop, Simple Saturdays, Thrive at Home, What'd You Do This Weekend, In & Out of the Kitchen, Teach Me Tuesdays

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Make One Mix- Make Ten Different Cookies!

Ten Vegan Cookies from One Master Mix
I love cookies! And, at Christmas time, I often give homemade cookies as gifts to friends. While I sometimes enjoy health food sorts of cookies throughout the year (Raw, Whole foods, without added oil or sugars), for
Christmas, I like to have traditional, homemade cookies, but still Vegan, and with no Saturated Fats.

These cookies are Vegan, and while not health food by any measure, they're less unhealthy than many traditional cookies, as I've minimized the fats, cut out animal products, use some applesauce in place of eggs, and replaced saturated fats with healthier oils.

These are recipes for the Big Batches of Cookies that I like to make at Christmastime. If you want recipes for a small family, check out my Mixes & Variations tab for smaller batches of many of the same cookies. (There are three new varieties here that I didn't have last year when I did the smaller batches)

My little girl & I love to make these together at Christmastime! And - since there are no raw eggs, there's no danger if she samples some of the dough before it's baked : )

(BTW - these look much better in person - and if someone else makes them! I'm neither a skilled photographer, nor a food-artist.)

This is being shared on Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Mom's Library, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, We Made That!, Cottage Link Up, Wonderful Wednesday, Encourage One Another, Wise Woman, Real Food, Allergy Free, Penny Pinching Party, Fabulously Frugal Thursday, Think Tank Thursday
Simple Lives Thursday,  Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Thrive at Home, Home Acre Hop, In & Out of the Kitchen, Teach Me Tuesday, Simple Saturdays, What'd You Do This Weekend
Ultimate Cookies & Goodies Party 
Victorian or Afternoon Tea Party 
Cookie Link Up 
Food on Fridays: Holiday Treats 
Traffic Jam Weekend 

Stuffedveggies Cookie & Cake Mix
Shake together in large Canister or Zippered Gallon Bag:
9 Cups All Purpose Flour*
4 Cups Sugar*
2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt


Stuffedveggies SMALL Batch Cookie & Cake Mix
Measure into canister or Zipper Bag, shake & store
 2 1/4 cups Flour
1 cups Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt

Baking Directions
All of these Cookies are mixed with a spoon, then mixed together by hand (I'm sure if you have a fancy machine - like a KitchenAid - that would work too!). They're all Baked on a Cookie Sheet, with a little space between them (they spread a tiny bit, but not as much as traditional cookies) at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes - till tops are lightly browned, and bottoms are golden Brown. I bake mine on a non-stick surface, and I don't oil or grease the pan. This year, I'm actually baking these on my non-stick Perforated Pizza Pans - and it's working great!

Slice & Bake Sugar Cookies
4 Cups Stuffedveggies Cookie Mix
3/4 Cup Oil
1/2 Cup Applesauce
Mix as above, then form in a log (may be wrapped in Plastic wrap to shape & store if desired)
Slice, Sprinkle with Colored Sugar, and Bake as above.
For a Children's Version of this recipe, check out this post! 

Thumbprint Cookies
Make Slice & Bake Sugar Cookie Dough, but instead of forming in a log, shape into Walnut-Sized Balls, place on cookie sheet, and make an indentation with a finger. Fill indentation with a little Jam or Jelly before baking.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
4 Cups Stuffedveggies Cookie Mix
3/4 Cups Oil*
1/2 Cup Applesauce
Stir in
Chocolate Chips to Taste
Form in Balls and Flatten Slightly.
Mix & Bake as described above.
For a Children's Version of this recipe, check out this post!

Peanut Butter Cookies
4 1/2 Cups Stuffedveggies Cookie Mix
3/4 Cup Applesauce
3/4 Cup Oil*
1 1/2 Cups Peanut Butter (One 16oz Jar)
3/4 teaspoons Salt
Mix as above & shape into balls, Roll in Sugar, Flatten with the traditional fork-score & Bake as described Above.

The PB&J
Make Above Peanut Butter Cookie Dough,
Form in Balls & Indent with Thumb
Fill with 1/4 teaspoon of your Favorite Jam
or All-Fruit Spread
Sprinkle with Sugar
Bake as Described Above


Make Slice & Bake Sugar Cookie Dough
Form in Balls & Flatten Slightly
Roll in Cinnamon Sugar
(4 parts Sugar to 1 Part Cinnamon)
Bake as Above
For a Children's Version of this recipe, check out this post! 

Russian Teacakes (Mexican Wedding Cakes)
Mix together:
4 Cups Stuffedveggies Cookie Mix
1/2 Cup Cornstarch
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar (Confectioners' Sugar)
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
Walnuts to taste
Then mix in:
3/4 cup Oil*
1/2 Cup Applesauce
Shape into Balls & do not flatten. Bake as Above. After Baking, Roll in Powdered Sugar while still warm, then Sprinkle with more Powdered Sugar after cooling

Ginger Cookies
4 Cups Stuffedveggies Cookie Mix
1/2 Cup Molasses (not Blackstrap)
3/4 Cup Oil*
1/2 Cup Applesauce
2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
Mix as Above. Shape in Balls (or boys & girls) & Flatten Slightly. Roll in Sugar. Bake as Above.

Brownie Snowballs
Mix Together
3 Cups Stuffedveggies Cookie Mix
1 Cup Cocoa (not hot cocoa mix, but the baking kind!)
Then Mix in as above:
3/4 Cup Oil*
1/2 Cup Applesauce
Walnuts or Pecans to Taste
Chocolate Chips to Taste
Shape into Balls & do not flatten. Bake as Above. After Baking, Roll in Powdered Sugar while still warm, then Sprinkle with additional Powdered Sugar after cooling.

Cashew Cardamom Cookies
Make Slice & Bake Sugar Cookie Dough
Mix in By Hand, Desired Quantity of
Roasted Salted Cashews
Form in Balls & Flatten slightly
Roll in Cardamom Sugar
(2 Tablespoons Granluated Sugar
Mixed with 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom)
Bake as Above.

*You can choose these ingredients according to your preferences. I use Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, but I have tried Whole Wheat Pastry Flour in these recipes, and it produces a very nice cookie, but does have a slight whole-wheat-y taste. Beet Sugar is Vegan, but not necessarily any more healthy than Refined Cane Sugar. Cane Sugar is often processed through Animal Bone Char, so is scrupulously avoided by many Vegans. Usually Beet Sugar is the less expensive grocery store variety; you can simply call the manufacturer of your favorite store brand, and ask them if it is Beet Sugar or Cane Sugar. If you prefer, you can use Turbinado Sugar, Florida Crystals, or Evaporated Cane Juice here - but it will produce a slightly different flavor. The nice thing about a mix like this is that you can tailor each ingredient to your own nutritional needs, allergies, or preferences. For Oil, I use Sunflower Seed Oil in cookies, because it has a light flavor, and is a comparatively healthy choice as oils go.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

A Week of Frugal, Vegan Advent Meals

"Having received God into Her womb,
the Virgin hastened to Elizabeth whose unborn babe
at once recognized Her embrace, rejoiced. . . "
Icon from the walls of Kykkos Monastery
In our modern culture, many people are concerned with the excess of pre-Christmas festivities. They
tend to take our focus off of the coming of the Messiah - and cause us to gain unwanted weight in the bargain.

Historically, Christians have anticipated the coming of Christ not by feasting, but by abstaining from rich foods, keeping a  mostly Vegan diet during the six weeks before Christmas.

These dishes are all frugal and simple to prepare - several of then have been prepared by my daughter who is just the age to be learning to make her own Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches!  This allows you to use your time and money for things you value more during this season.

This is being shared on Menu Plan Monday, Modest Monday, In & Out of the Kitchen, Teach Me Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Teaching What is Good, Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural, Wise Woman
Penny Pinching Party, Fabulously Frugal Thursday
Think Tank Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday
Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Thrive at Home
Home Acre Hop

This is an Advent menu for those observing this season:

Lemon Rice with Lemon Dal, Super Simple Salad

Eggplant Stew, Rice, Super Simple Salad


Chili Cornbread Casserole, Better Than Coleslaw
(The entrée here is easy enough that my little girl can make it almost all by herself)


Family Favorite Lentil Soup, Homemade Bread, Super Simple Salad


Curried Chickpeas over Rice, Super Simple Salad

Greek Style Black-Eyed Peas, Fresh Veggie Tray
(this is another one that my little girl can make! : )


Teriyaki Stir Fry with Rice

Featured on:
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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Spectacular Brussels Sprouts

Spectacular Brussels Sprouts
These Brussels Sprouts are REALLY good! How good? Well, let's just put it this way: tonight, when
we sat down to Pizza for dinner, my little girl looked at me with disappointed eyes, and said, "But where are the Brussels Sprouts?" Yup - they're that good!

They're simple to fix, too.

This recipe was shared with me by my Sister some years ago.

Browning the Buttery Spread here (as with Dairy Butter) dramatically changes its flavor, allowing you to use much less fat than you might otherwise be accustomed to using, but still having LOTS of flavor!

Here's the dish:

Spectacular Brussels Sprouts
Sauteeing the Pecans in Browned Buttery Spread
Steam as desired.
Brussels Sprouts 24 ounces (1 1/2 pounds)
I like them fork-tender, which took 8 minutes in my microwave by this method.
Meanwhile, Heat till deep golden Brown
1 Tablespoon Vegan Buttery Spread, such as Earth Balance Soy Free
It's fun to buy the Sprouts still on the Stalk. My little one wanted
to decorate this "Brussels Tree" for Christmas!
Then add to buttery spread and sautee for several minutes, till toasted & fragrant, stirring

A handful of chopped Pecans
Steamed Brussels Sprouts (above), and toss till heated. If they brown a tiny bit, that's even better!
Salt & Pepper to taste (don't skimp here!)

Serve & Enjoy!

This is being shared on
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Friday, November 29, 2013

Three Ingredient Peanut Butter & Jelly Laraballs

Peanut Butter & Jelly Laraballs
I love Peanut Butter & Jelly Lara Bars - they're my favorite flavour. But the price? Not so much. And, I don't always want a "bar." So, I made this taste-alike ball, which is cheap, easy, and tasty. What's not to like?

I find that the key to making these is to buy cheaper, older Deglet Noor Dates (these are the kind you usually get if you just buy supermarket Dates). You may even want to let them dry out a bit after purchase and before use. Although Medjool Dates are delectable, they are too moist for this recipe, and tend to produce a paste instead of a the firm texture I'm looking for.

This is a perfect travel snack for Vegans - or for anyone, for that matter. We often take these with us when we fly. It's also a great lunch-box dessert for kids (or grownups ; )

Peanut Butter & Jelly Laraballs
Grind till fine (but not a butter)
in food processor
1/4 cup Roasted Salted Peanuts
1/4 cup Dried Tart Cherries (or Cherry flavoured Craisins)
1 1/2 cups Deglet Noor Dates (measure loosely, don't pack)
(If you like, a 1/4 cup Quick Oats may be added to "stretch" the recipe a bit. I cannot notice a difference in taste when I do this, and Oats are very healthy. But, of course, the brand name bar does not have oats)
Pulse till finely ground.
Form in balls by packing in your hand -
using a method very similar to making snowballs - for those of you who live where it snows.

*Any type of peanut may be used in place of roasted, salted. If you use a type without salt, I recommend adding a little salt to the recipe to compensate.

This is being shared on Healthy Vegan Fridays, Making Your Home Sing Monday, The Chicken Chick, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Anti Procrastination Tuesday, Penny Pinching Party, Real Food, Allergy Free

The mixture should look like this after
grinding in the food processor, and before packing
into balls.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cauliflower with Peppers & Onions

This is a lovely, uncomplicated side dish. I like to prepare this for holiday dinners - like Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's always well-received. It provides a nice, simple contrast to the more elaborate dishes of the season.

I especially like that I can make this in advance for the refrigerator, and just reheat it on the busy day.

Cauliflower with Peppers & Onions

Saute till Golden Brown (don't be afraid to go for an nice, brown color)
1 (12oz) bag Frozen Bell Pepper & Onion mix (or 1 Onion & 1 Bell Pepper, Chopped)

1 head cauliflower, cut in florets
½ cup water
½ cube bouillon, crumbled
½ tsp oregano
Saute, then cover with a lid and steam to cook cauliflower till tender, adding more water as needed.

This recipe cooks down a lot. It makes less than 1 quart when it is done. So, double or triple it if you're serving a bigger group.

This is being shared on Healthy Vegan Fridays, Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural


Monday, November 18, 2013

Savory One Pot Mushroom Noodles

Savory Mushroom Noodles with Peas & Salad
This is a nice standby recipe - if you need a little variety in your starchy sides for your Omnivore, and a Main Dish for a Vegan, this recipe fits the bill. And, it's as quick to make as a box of dinner "helper," and comes together in one skillet. I adapted it substantially from PDQ by Donna Klein 

Savory Mushroom Noodles
Saute (I use no oil or liquid - if it sticks, I add a tiny bit of the liquid from later in the recipe, but usually I don't need to)
1/2 Chopped Onion (or 1/2 cup frozen chopped onions)
1 Spoon Garlic (you decide how big a spoon!)
After a brief saute, just toss everything else in the
skillet & simmer
2 (4oz) cans Mushrooms, Drained - or equivalent fresh.
Then add
3 1/3 cups Water
1/3 cup dry Red Wine
1 T dry Parsley
1 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 (12oz) Package Egg Free Noodle Pasta (or other similar pasta shape)
Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally till pasta is al dente, and liquid is nearly all absorbed
(if pasta becomes sticky, drizzling a little cool water over it will help)

Savory Mushroom Noodles reaching the al dente stage

Tips for dining with Omnivores: This dish goes nicely with Steak or other Beef dishes. Alternately, some cooked hamburger could be stirred into Omnivore's portion. If you do not abstain from Eggs, Egg Noodles will also work for this recipe.

This is being shared on
Making Your Home Sing Monday, Inspire Me Monday, The Chicken Chick, Modest Monday
Plucky's Second Thought, Feeding Big, Teach Me Tuesdays, Anti-Procrastination Tuesdays
Rosevine Cottage Girls, Wise Woman, Wonderful Wednesday