A HOLIDAY CELEBRATION ON A PLATE!!!!

Jolly Green Christmas Tree4JOLLY GREEN CHRISTMAS TREE

This alluring, easy-as-pie appetizer recipe has a way of putting everyone into a festive mood and quickly attracting guests to the holiday table to scramble for a taste! And there are infinite ways to decorate the tree, while having fun.

Choose bright colored veggies and cut them into different shapes and sizes to create thisVegan Holidays highres very flavorful starter. Because people come to a holiday gathering ravenously hungry, they’ll appreciate this ready-to- serve appetizer that can be prepared several hours ahead or even a day ahead. The recipe comes from my Vegan for the Holidays cookbook.

If you have children who love to participate in the kitchen, create the basic green pea recipe and form it into a tree shape. Then, chop up a pile of bright colored veggies and let the kids have at it. You might be surprised at the unbridled creativity, while it keeps their eager little hands occupied for quite some time.

Of course, you can always choose to be the tree decorator and give the kids another task. This tasty holiday appetizer puts yuletide spirit on a plate and unveils your hidden talent as a sculptor and artist. Using nothing more than a spoon, you’ll be able to turn this delicious dip into a dazzling sculpted Christmas tree or even a Christmas wreath that flaunts colorful ornaments you can eat. Make it mildly spiced or crank it up to muy picante with extra jalapeno chiles and a pinch of cayenne.

Bowl Pea DipNot feeling artistic? No problem. Make the pea dip mixture in the food processor, then, simply spoon it into an attractive serving bowl. Sprinkle the top with some of the chopped veggies  and serve with the crackers on the side.

Below are some students’ photos of the Jolly Green Christmas Tree taken at cooking classes I teach throughout Los Angeles.

JOLLY GREEN CHRISTMAS TREE

Yield: 8 to 10 servingsSimple Xmas Tree

Christmas Tree Dip

1 pound frozen peas, thawed

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons organic sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 to 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powderMessy Xmas tree

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

Pinch cayenne (optional)

 

Ornaments

1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced

1 carrot, half sliced and half finely dicedCrazy Xmas tree

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

1 jalapeno pepper, sliced crosswise

1 green onion, white and green parts sliced

1 whole star anise, or 6 whole cloves

Fresh herbs (mint, cilantro, parsley)

  1. Put the dip ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl.
  2. Spoon the mixture onto a large platter and use the back of a spoon to form the mixture into the shape of a large Christmas tree. Decorate the tree with wild abandon, using the bell pepper, carrot, green onion, etc. Place the star anise at the top or arrange the cloves into a radiating star, or use herbs at the top. Serve with baked tortilla chips, bean chips, toasted pita wedges, or your favorite crackers.
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ACORN SQUASH GETS SOME SWEET LOVE!

MAPLE SQUASHFOR ZEL MAPLE BAKED ACORN SQUASH

Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE Award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. Ms. Theodore is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy SQUASH LAURA ZELVegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host of the weekly Jazzy Vegetarian cooking show on PBS and she hosts the podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio. Laura has made guest appearances on ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX, and she was recently featured on The Talk on CBS <https://vimeo.com/79038409> , Insider/Entertainment Tonight, News 4-NBC, Fox News 8, Better TV, and WCBS Radio. Laura has been featured in the New York Times, New York Daily News, VegNews, Family Circle, Readers Digest, PBS Food, Naked Food and Healthy Aging, among many others. A love for good food, compassion for animals, and enthusiasm for great music has created a joyous life path for Laura Theodore. Read more at: http://www.lauratheodore.com <http://www.lauratheodore.com>

MAPLE BAKED ACORN SQUASH

Makes 4 servings
2 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons vegan margarine
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking pan with unbleached parchment paper. Put the acorn squash halves, cut-side-up, on the prepared baking pan. Put 2 heaping teaspoons maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon margarine, and π teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice in the center of each squash.
Tent with foil and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until the squash is soft and filling is bubbling.

SPICE UP THE HOLIDAYS WITH A CREAMY NOG!

 

Nogs on platter closeupSPICED HOLIDAY NOG

Festive holiday gatherings beg for a celebratory nog with a spicy personality that measures up to the spirit of the season. What better way to welcome your guests to a holiday gathering than to hand them a small cup of silky smooth vegan nog as soon as they’ve taken off their coats.

Faces light up and smiles spread widely even before their first taste. You wait anxiously for their first sip, anticipating their positive reactions, and, then, sure enough, the mmmmmms and aaaaahhhhs begin to flow.

Far better than any commercial “eggnog” or should I say “eggnot” one can find in the grocery store, and much purer, too, this fragrant, homemade nog doesn’t have preservatives or artificial colors–just the richness of seasonal spices, a generous measure of cashews, and soymilk.

What makes this nog so aromatic is the abundant medley of spices I’ve included, making the spicy flavors jump to the forefront and bringing refreshing delight to the palate. By assembling just a few familiar ingredients and giving them a simple whirring in the blender, you’ll offer your guests a festive beverage that tastes extravagantly rich, feels satin-smooth and ultra thick and creamy, and offers a joyful moment as friends and family raise their glasses and toast the holiday.

If you’d like to pump up the holiday spirit just a bit, add 1/4 cup of brandy to the blender and give it a whirl. Enjoy the nog with or without the extra spirits. Now it’s time to raise your glass and wish everyone Holiday Cheers!.

Here’s an added bonus: You can make the nog up to two days ahead and refrigerate it. If you need to double or triple the recipe, prepare it in separate batches and store it in a pitcher. Just before serving, give the nog a whirl in the blender to give it a fluffier touch.

Nogs on platter w:candycanesSPICED HOLIDAY NOG

Yield: 6 (6-ounce) servings

2 cups vanilla soymilk, almond milk, or hemp milk

1 cup cashewsSingle nog

1/2 cup apple juice

3/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus more for garnish

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

6 extra-long cinnamon sticks

  1. Put 1 cup of the soymilk and the cashews in the blender. Process on high speed for 1 minute, or until smooth and creamy. If you have a high-speed blender, you can put all the ingredients into the blender at once and process until smooth.
  2. Add the remaining 1 cup of soymilk, the apple juice, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves and process until thick and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the blender jar.
  3. To serve, pour the nog into glasses and sprinkle each with a pinch of nutmeg if desired. Add a cinnamon stick to each glass and serve. If preparing in advance, pour the nog into a 1 1/2-quart pitcher and refrigerate.

Note: The nog will thicken slightly and tends to separate when refrigerated. Refresh with a brief whirl in the blender or whisk vigorously just before serving. If needed, thin the nog with 1 or more tablespoons of soy milk or apple juice until you reach the desired consistency.

If any of your guests have an allergy to cashews, simply use almonds instead and blend a little longer.

HELLO, SUGAR PLUM FAIRY. THANK YOU FOR THE SWEET GIFT!

SUGAR PLUM SPICED NUTS

Dish w:white cupAn ideal gift for special friends at holiday time or simply an extra-special treat to serve on a dessert table, these nutty delights can be made well in advance of the holiday rush. They’re good keepers if you store them in airtight containers.

Wrap it for Christmas, tie it in blue and white Hanukkah colors, decorate it in red, green, and black for Kwanzaa–any which way you play with decorating the finished nuts, you’ll have a very special homemade treat for sharing or giving. Holiday cheers!!!!

Walnuts

The success of this recipe depends on two factors:

  •  Measuring all ingredients in advance of assembly
  •  Applying patience and stirring until the liquid is completely absorbed

Closeup on dish

The recipe actually comes together quickly once you have everything ready.

 

SUGAR PLUM SPICED NUTS

 Yield: 31/2 cupsChristmas jar

 1/2 cup powdered sugar or more if needed

Spice Mixture

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground cloves

2 teaspoons ground allspice

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepperwhite cup

1/4 teaspoon salt

COATING

1 tablespoon organic canola oil

1/3 cup organic sugar

3/4 cup apple juice

3 cups coarsely chopped raw walnuts

  1. Place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl and set it aside.To make the spice mixture, combine the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, cayenne, and salt in a small bowl or cup. Stir the mixture well and set aside near the stove.
  2. To make the coating, pour the canola oil into a large nonstick skillet. Place the Hanukkah jarorganic sugar, apple juice, and walnuts in separate cups or bowls and set them aside near the skillet. Now you’re ready to begin.
  3. Heat the canola oil over high heat for about 1 minute. Add the organic sugar and stir another minute until hot and bubbly.
  4. Pour in the apple juice and stir constantly for about 1 minute, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  5. Quickly stir in the walnuts and continue stirring over high heat until all the liquid evaporates and the mixture becomes sticky and shiny. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer, or until all the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture and toss to coat the walnuts, stirring for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and add the remaining spice mixture, tossing continuously.
  7. Pour the spiced walnuts into the bowl with the powdered sugar and toss to give them a white dusting. Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a large dish or baking sheet to cool completely. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, Sugarplum Spiced Walnuts will keep for up to 1 month.

Note: This recipe is not limited to just walnuts. It works quite well with all nuts.

white cup w:ribbonGift wrapped jar

Possibly the Worlds Healthiest Chocolate Cake: Beetroot and Avocado Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze and Toasted Almond Gold Dust

Bunny Kitchen

IMG_0141

I first saw a recipe for a beetroot chocolate cake about 2 years ago when a recipe came with my weekly organic veg box. Boxes had contained bunches of beetroot for about 4 weeks running and the company were kindly helping keep us in ideas to ensure no anti-beetroot campaign. I turned my nose up at it. Beetroot in a cake? Yuck.

IMG_0136

It’s funny how our tastes and preferences develop and change over time. I’ve never considered myself a fussy eater (minus animal products as a vegetarian/vegan!), I’d eat anything as long as it met my vegetarian values. I loved beetroot and of course loved chocolate, especially chocolate cake, but the two together just didn’t appeal to me.

IMG_0130

Two years later, I come across a recipe for avocado cookies. I bookmark the recipe and think it’s a genius idea. This reminds me of the beetroot chocolate cake which I’ve seen…

View original post 332 more words

HELP SANTA DELIVER HOMEMADE GIFTS!

 Scrub bestGRAPEFRUIT AND POPPY SEED SUGAR SCRUB

For the friend or family member who really adores body care products, this homemade, Bow w:pineconecreamy white and almond-scented body scrub makes such a welcome holiday gift. Also unique is that a body scrub makes a delightful departure from the calorie-laden baked goodies that are so popular for holiday gifting. And it takes practically no time to whip it up in your home kitchen.

Recipe by Poppy of Bunny Kitchen

Poppy portrait w:kittiesI have always had a deep connection with animals as far back as I can remember. It probably comes as no surprise, therefore, that I became a strict vegetarian at the age of 6 and am now a devout vegan in my twenties. I work in a wildlife hospital, treating and rehabilitating all kinds of wild animals for the hopeful eventual release back to the wild.

I am also studying in my final year forBow Hanukkah a degree in Animal Management, carrying out research into a disease affecting pigeons and other birds which causes great suffering, yet is much unstudied.

I share vegan recipes, DIY tips, inspirational animal stories and general health resources on Scrub side viewmy blog which has evolved somewhat over the years from an amateur baking blog to a fully vegan blog.

My spare time is usually centred around food, I love getting creative in the kitchen along with spending time with my 24 rescued pets!

GRAPEFRUIT AND POPPY SEED SUGAR SCRUB

Bow red & greenThis super exfoliating and pretty polka dot sugar scrub can be mixed up in minutes.

Per cup of scrub, mix together:

60ml/1/4 cup almond oilScrub top view

200g/1 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

A few drops of vitamin e oil (optional)

 Then stir in:

8 drops of grapefruit essential oil.

 Jar and label and give as a thoughtful gift.

The finishing touch is a puffy, colorful bow taped to the top or one that’s wrapped around the jar.

Bow horiz

TARTS FOR DESSERT? YOU BET!!!

Raw Gingerbread Tartlet1 LR 1500px RAW GINGERBREAD AND CHOCOLATE TARTS

oliverioPlant-fueled since 2011, Annie Oliverio writes, runs, and cooks in the heart of Cattle Country. An enthusiastic “home chef,” Annie started her blog, An Unrefined Vegan, to share her passion for creating cruelty-free, unprocessed, whole food recipes that are delicious, healthful, and simple to prepare. Annie’s dishes contain little or no oil and her desserts are sweetened with fruit, dates, or stevia. It’s all about nurturing body, brain, and conscience.

Through her project, Virtual Vegan Potluck, she invites both vegan and non-vegan bloggers to share a twice-yearly online potluck, demonstrating how food can bring people together. Annie is currently writing and photographing her first cookbook, crave/eat/heal.

She has been fortunate to have as participants, cookbook authors Kathy Hester, Robin Robertson, Natalie Slater, Ellen Jaffe Jones, and Bryanna Clark Grogan. Read more about that event on her website, Virtual Vegan Potluck. Annie is also a recipe contributor to One Green Planet and a featured chef on Raw Food Recipes.

 RAW GINGERBREAD AND CHOCOLATE TARTS

 Makes 9

Crust:
1/2 cup pecans

1 tbsp. crystallized ginger
1 tbsp. cacao or cocoa powderRaw Gingerbread Tartlet3 750px LR
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
4 dates, chopped
1 tsp. dried ginger
1 tbsp. water

Chocolate layer:
4 tbsp. low-fat coconut milk
1 tbsp. cacao or cocoa powder
1 tsp. agave nectar
4 tbsp. vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

Filling:
1 banana, cut into chunks
1 cup cashews, soaked for a few hours, drained & rinsed
1/8 cup molasses
3 tbsp. low-fat coconut milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. allspice
pinch ground cloves

~18 thin strips of crystallized ginger, for decoration
9 whole pecans, for decoration

Make the crust:
Have a 12-cup muffin pan at the ready.

In a food processor, combine the pecans, ginger, cacao powder, chia seeds, coconut flakes, dates, and dried ginger. Process until the nuts and dates are broken down into very small pieces. Add the water and process until the mixture starts to come together. The mixture should stick together when pinched.

Put 1 tbsp. of the mixture into each of 9 muffin cups. (You could probably eke out 10…) Press the crust firmly and uniformly down into each tin. Set aside while you prepare the chocolate layer.

Make the chocolate layer:
In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and melt over medium heat. This does not take long – so watch carefully so you don’t burn the chocolate. Whisk to thoroughly combine, then remove from the heat. Carefully pour the chocolate over the crust. Tap and tip the pan so that the chocolate completely coats the crusts. Place pan in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

Make the filling:
In a high-speed blender, combine the banana, cashews, molasses, coconut milk, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and spices and process until very smooth. You’ll need to tamp it down a few times to get a really smooth mixture. You want it silky with no little chunks of cashews. You can do this in a food processor, but it takes a long time and you won’t get that silky smoothness.

Once the filling is smooth, scrape it into a small bowl. This just makes working with it a little easier. Remove the muffin pan from the freezer and divide the filling between the cups. Place two strips of crystallized ginger on each tart and gently press in one pecan per tart. Refrigerate for several hours.