Happiest of holidays to my select few readers.  Your support and feedback has meant the world to me this month, as I have worked and experimented to get the TTV blog up and running.  It’s still a long way from where I want it to be – particularly the framework and permanent page content – but I have a vision, and Inch by Inch, Life’s a Cynch!!  So most of all, I just want to say Thank You, and may your upcoming holidays be truly filled with joy, laughter, peace, abundance, people whom you love, and good-healthy food !!!

I’m a firm believer in the Law of Attraction.  In the book The Secret, Michael Bechwith notes:  “Creation is always happening.  Every time an individual has a thought, or prolonged way of thinking, they’re in the creation process.  Something is going to manifest out of those thoughts.”

As I mentioned on last Monday’s post, I really had no ideas or pre-conceived notions of what this coming week and recipe planner had in store, but I sure did put my thoughts and wishes out there, with belief that a wonderful menu would come.  As I opened my heart and mind, ideas and invitations poured in …

Click on Photo for full size printable format …

12-24-12-Planner

 

So with that, we sure have alot of celebrating and partying to do over the next nine days, which means the normal planner has been thrown out the window!  I’ll re-post New Years next Monday, but for my own planning purposes, the standard seven day planner was bumped up to nine days.

First let’s talk about the non-holiday meals.  Spencer and I ended up at two impromptu parties last week, so you’ll see that two dinner recipes  – Fried Cauliflower with Tahini and Coconut Corn Chowder – have been moved to this week’s menu.  The beauty of fall/winter veggies is that they last longer in the “cellar” (and part of why I chose what I chose last week!).  I’ll be purchasing another cauliflower for use in the holiday recipes, but I sure hope the pomegranate will hang in there another 5 days, because it cost a whopping $5.99!!  The chowder calls for frozen corn, so no rush (or waste) there by postponing that recipe another week.

On the remaining open night, I’ve decided to make Chick Pea fritters, as I’ll have opened up a large can for the cauliflower tahini recipe.  Over the fall, I had flagged two recipes for Chickpea Fritters.  I have not made either recipe before, and I’m not sure yet which version I’ll end up making.  I’ll have both sets of ingredients on hand, and see how the moment strikes me ….
Squash and Chickpea Fritters
with Winter Greens and Hazelnut Salad
Sweet Potato Chickpea Burger
with Dilly Cucumber Salad

Now on to the main event:  The Holidays!
VP_Holiday_CookbookAlong with a breakfast cookbook, high on my list to publish is a Vegan Holidays Cookbook.  As you can see from my photo, I’ve been working on this cookbook for MANY years.  Blogging for the holidays is hard, because I know this post is a bit late to be of much use to you.  But maybe it will be useful in the years to come.  While many of my holiday recipes have become tradition at this point, I’m still perfecting them, which means they are not quite ready for publication.  So instead of giving you my personal recipes, below you will find links to the original recipes that have inspired me.

Christmas Eve Vegan Fondue:
Fondue1

Over the years, Christmas Eve has become a quiet evening for Spencer and myself to share alone.  We have both worked in retail and hospitality, and so 12/24 has become a night where we can take a break from socializing with others, and simply spend some quality time together.  We’ll share a nice bottle of bubbly, A Christmas Story will be playing on TNT in the background, and maybe we will open one present under the tree.  Fondue with fun dippers have become the traditional fare, and I was concerned the first year of going vegan that things just wouldn’t be the same without the “Swiss Cheese” fondue.  I’m not going to lie to you:  Nothing can replace the gooeyness of cheese.  But what I can offer are fondue recipes that will come fairly close to hitting the “cheese” mark, but are SO much healthier, and above all, cruelty free!  Interestingly, I cannot find the source for my original recipe, so until I can give proper credit, here are a few other links you could try out in the meantime …

Millenium Restaurant’s Vegan Fondue Recipe
Veg Times Blonde Bliss Vegan Fondue

I’ll give you a hint that I actually serve two kinds of Fondue from my cheezy base:   One is a Pesto Swirl Version, and the other is an Aged “Cheddary” and Guinness Stout Version where I substitute hearty beer for wine.  The fondue base can also be used to make Vegan Queso Dip (simply add Rotel Tomatoes and Veggie Sausage).

My favorite fondue dippers include:
A Bread Bowl filled with toasted bread cubes
Pigs in Blankets (Veggie dogs wrapped in Pillsbury Cresent Rolls and baked) or veggie meatfree-balls
Gnocchi
Grilled Polenta
Pre-packaged Sweet Potato or Steak Fries
Fresh Fruit:  apples, pears, grapes
Fresh Steamed Veggies:  brussell sprouts, new-baby  potatoes, asparagus spears, artichoke hearts or leaves, button mushrooms, baby carrots, patty pan yellow squash, baby zucchini.

Christmas Dinner:
Christmas Dinner changes for me from year to year.  And here’s where a bit of divine inspiration hit me.  Yesterday, I received an email invitation from the Kushi Institute, famed for it’s macrobiotic, plant based healing modality.  Macrobiotics (a close dietary “cousin” to veganism) is said to be one of the best known ways to naturally fight cancer and long term food issues.  The Kushi Institute is offering a New Year’s Retreat, with the following gourmet plant-based dinner menu:

Brown and Wild Rice Pilaf with Crimini Mushrooms
Oven Fried Cod Fish Fillets with Tartar Sauce
Orange Pan Glazed Tempeh
Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic
Steamed Greens with Ume Scallion Dressing
Fresh Salad with Anjou Pear, Toasted Walnuts,
Pickled Tofu and Cranberry Vinaigrette
Curried Carrot Soup with Cornbread
Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Mousse
Lemon Strawberry Custard

I was curious about the pickled tofu, and this opened up a whole new world for me!!  When I google food, I generally google words, but look at the images pages first.  I saw a beautiful pickled tofu, stuffed with matchstick veggies, rolled and tied with a blanched spring onion.  I clicked on that, and came across a wonderful facebook page, and two related websites ….

I hope you’ll take a moment to check out (and friend) Berkshire Vegan:
Berkshire Vegan Facebook
Berkshire Vegan:  Yukiko on Blogspot.com
Six Flavors:  Chris Jenkins on Blogspot.com

My own Christmas Dinner Menu will be inspired by their gorgeous photo:
BerkshireVeganHoliday-540

Vegetable En Croute with cauliflower-parsnip puree & roasted vegetables
Glazed Tofu Roll
Mashed Potatoes with Shallot Mushroom Gravy
Sourdough Bread Stuffing
Festive Coleslaw
Cranberry “Cheese” Cake

Unfortunately, this photo appeared on Facebook, and they did not publish the recipes, so we’ll have to use our own creativity here when creating the dishes.  For dessert, I am also considering a Peppermint Cream Tart with Chocolate Crust (I’d substitute SilkNog for the milk, and earth balance for the butter).

 

Boxing Day, December 26th:
We are headed over to a friends house.  Normally it’s BYOB, but as a vegan, I’m satisfied with bringing the food, if the hostess will supply the booze!  So back to this glazed and pickled tofu.  While browsing The Berkshire Vegans’ photos on their facebook page and websites, Chris had a recipe for Autumn Pizza which used fermented tofu as the “Cheese”.  Tofu is basted in miso, and left out to sit and ferment for three days.  I’m totally intrigued, and  decided that this would be the basis for my Boxing Day  menu.  I can’t wait to see how this turns out !!!!

The Slow Cooker Lasagna I made this week turned out superb, and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever make lasagna any other way again.  The mock-riccotta filling was very tasty, the daiya cheeze topping melted better than ever, and I invented a new way to quick cook lasagna noodles.  I’ll be posting the lasagna recipe later today, as I’m out of time.    So here’s the Boxing Day Italian Buffet that I’ll be carrying up to my neighbor’s …

AutumnPizza

Vegan Autumn Pizza with Fermented Tofu Cheese

Slow Cooker Lasagna
Veggie Balls with Pesto Sauce (adapted or store bought)
Caesar Salad
Spiced Citrus Olives
Holiday Cookies (plus Organic Cappuccino Truffles from Whole Foods).

Well, that’s a wrap folks.  I’ve got to make final decisions on my menu, a grocery list to make, grocery shopping, and a client to visit.  Dash away, dash away, dash away all (I know you have placed to be too LOL) …

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

helping-hands-logoVegan tenets are really simple:  Do the least harm and the most good.

~  Joan Stepaniak from Being Vegan:
Living with Consciousness, Conviction and Compassion

 

 

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