Holiday Cookbook Offer!

 

The holidays are here and I wanted to offer you a little gift.  How about 13 new, healthy, and fabulous plant-powered recipes for FREE?!

I want you to start 2013 with nourishing, whole plant foods, designed to delight your tastebuds and power you into a vibrant new year!

How does this work?  Have a look below, it’s pretty simple: Pick up 2 copies of LTEV, OR 1 copy of LTEV and 1 copy of any other ‘Dreena’ cookbook between now (Nov. 27th) and December 31st, and send proof of purchase to: getplantpowered@gmail.com. In late December, I will email you a package of 13 NEW plant-powered recipes to kickstart 2013!

Cookbooks make great gifts… for your luvvy, a friend, sibling, and of course – for you!

(and, if you have LTEV and love it, if you can take 2 minutes to leave a review on amazon, that would be an awesome stocking stuffer for me). 😉

Any questions?  Feel free to ask for clarification on anything – Happy Holidays!  

 

Maplelea: Review and Doll Giveaway!

When Maplelea approached me to offer a giveaway for the holidays, my answer was an immediate “YES”!  Do you know about Maplelea?  If you are a Canadian with a daughter, niece, or other special little girl in your life – you must get to know them.  Today, I will introduce you!
Maplelea is a Canadian company with a line of high quality, Canadian-themed, 18” vinyl play dolls, with eyes that open and close, and that are “an inspiration to and a reflection of, Canadian girls from coast to coast.”  Originally, Maplelea had 5 girls with distinct backgrounds, personalities, hobbies, interests, and passions. Last year, they added their sixth character doll, to complete their original line:
More recently, they have added an entire new line of 12 Maplelea Friends:
These friends are distinct looking dolls in need of a name, background story and wardrobe that real girls get to invent. Girls may choose a doll that resembles themselves (long blonde hair to short curly black) or their best friend or may select a playmate that’s entirely new to them. Each of the Maplelea Friends comes with a 64-page journal to fill in, adorable head-to-toe outfit and decorative storage box that can be used to store all the Maplelea treasures!
I was really excited to see this addition of the friends.  Our eldest girl has the Leonie doll, and our middle girl has the Alexi doll.  Our ‘wee’ girl is now 3 1/2, and we wanted to get her a Maplelea doll for Christmas.  But, none of the character dolls were ‘fitting’ her personality the way Leonie and Alexi seemed to suit our older girls.  But, then I saw THIS doll in the friends line – excitement!
This doll will be the big surprise for our wee girl on Christmas morning.  I know she will be thrilled, because she is always scuttling off with either Leonie or Alexi.  She wants her own doll now!  And this friends doll is just right!
Our daughters truly love their dolls.  They have little beds set up for them, and when our girls got bunk beds, they found a way to “bunk” their Maplelea girls:
Leonie and Alexi have joined us for berry picking, piano recitals, grocery shopping…

pumpkin patching…
and we even made Halloween costumes for them to trick or treat with us!
These dolls are special.  Beyond being extremely well-made and beautifully crafted.  Yes, they are a little expensive, but you are paying for quality.  A doll like this lasts for years and years.  And, these dolls represent REAL girls, with REAL lives, caring about things that young girls should care about, rather than trying to speed them through childhood into being a woman.  From Maplelea’s website:

It is hard not to be concerned about the plethora of “diva” type dolls on the market that emphasize body image, dating, glamour and sophistication. Childhood is short enough and our daughters shouldn’t wish it away, longing for the day they are older.  Maplelea Girls were created to be positive role models for our daughters. Each Maplelea Girl is a unique individual with her own preferences, interests and strengths, but all are bright, energetic, caring girls who are happy with just who they are at this time of their lives. 

Maplelea has generously offered to GIVE a Maplelea doll ($100 CDN value!) to one of my readers!  You may choose one of the original character dolls, or one of the new dolls in the Friends line!  This contest is ONLY open to Canadian residents. To enter, follow the options through rafflecopter below – you can gain multiple entries by “liking” our facebook pages and tweeting this giveaway… your choice!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vegan Thanksgiving and Christmas Menu with Recipes

Today I’m going to share with you a SLEW of recipes that are ideal for your Thanksgiving menu – but also for Christmas.  You see, in Canada, while Thanksgiving is celebrated, it is nowhere near as large and festive as it is in the US.  So, I have always viewed American Thanksgiving dinner to be very similar to our traditional Christmas menu.  So, I will share with you the plant-powered dishes I make for both our Canadian Thanksgiving AND our Christmas dinner – pretty sure you will find at least a few to add to your own menu!

My menu is based on flavors and ingredients that were (somewhat) traditional from my childhood.  I say somewhat because there are parts of my Newfoundland food heritage that I didn’t care for and don’t try to preserve (salt beef, boiled cabbage).  But, the elements I loved – like dried savory in a moist breadcrumb based ‘dressing’ I did love.  So, I have reinvented some dishes in more compassionate, healthy – and flavorful ways, plus added my own menu components.  And, I’ll note that our families (my mom, my parents-in-law, and sisters) have said that our vegan dinner is tastier than their traditional turkey dinners (and that they feel better after eating it).

The “Centerpiece”

I think this is where vegans feel stuck for the holidays, because they feel the need to “replace” the turkey.  In my view, I never wanted to replace a carcass on the table.  And, since I always thought that turkey meat was the least interesting part of the meal (there’s a reason I smothered it with gravy, dressing, and cranberry sauce), I didn’t care to “replace” that meat-y component to the meal either.  So, for our family, we have never done the Tofurky for Christmas.  You may want to – I’m not condemning it!  Instead, I’m giving alternatives for something like Tofurky, Field Roast, and Gardein roasts, for those of you that want something altogether different (as we always have).  Here are two ‘main dish’ ideas:

1) Festive Chickpea Tart.  This savory tart from Let Them Eat Vegan was featured in VegNews and has received rave reviews.  It isn’t difficult to make, and you can even bake it without a crust if you prefer.  Definitely a holiday “centrepiece”.

2) A phyllo pastry savory main course.  Usually I make the Festive Chickpea Tart for Thanksgiving, and then for Christmas I make a main course with whole-wheat or spelt phyllo pastry.  I choose a savory filling, some of the recipes I’ve used over the years include: Spiced Mushroom and Potato Phyllo Pie from TEV, White Bean, Walnut, and Spinach Phyllo Rolls and Moroccan Chickpea Vegetable Phyllo Rolls from ed&bv, Brocolli-Mushroom-Walnut Phyllo Pie from Vive le Vegan, and most recently I’ve used the Rawesome Nut Dip from ed&bv as a filling for phyllo rolls. While I love all these recipes, I will tell you that the rawesome nut dip is the easiest, quickest filling of them all.  I’ve used it the past couple of years for that reason, and usually double the batch to yield a large enough batch for filling the phyllo rolls.  This year I plan to roast some vegetables (probably some sliced red peppers, fennel, and mushrooms) and layer those with the raw dip.  Phyllo is FAR easier to use than you might think, and it is forgiving.  So, either layer in a casserole dish (I have instructions for doing so in both TEV and Vive), or make phyllo “rolls” (and I have instructions for doing that in ed&bv).  I have posted the recipe today for my White Bean, Walnut, and Spinach Phyllo Rolls!  Plus, the Moroccan Phylllo Rolls recipe and Rawesome Nut Dip recipe are also available.

Moroccan Chickpea Vegetable Phyllo Rolls with Balsamic Maple Sauce (from “eat, drink & be vegan”)

“Dressing”

I know there are regional differences whether you call it stuffing or dressing.  We called it dressing growing up, and it will always be that for me.  But, why stuff a bird-bum when you can stuff a gorgeous, fresh winter squash?  Butternut, kabocha, red kuri… take your pick, then stuff it silly!  (Plus, you can always make extra stuffing and bake in a covered dish.  I do just that, because my crew eat a LOT of the dressing!)  I have posted my “All-Dressed Squash” recipe for you!  **Note: Forgive some of the upcoming photos, they were taken several years ago.  I will try to get better photos this year, though I must admit that taking food photos is the last thing I want to do once Christmas dinner is all ready!

Gravy
I have recipes in most of my books for gravy.  In TEV you can find a Mushroom Gravy.  In ed&bv there I have a Thick ‘n Rich Gravy, and in LTEV you can try Rosemary Gravy (pictured with the No-Fu Love Loaf, below).  I am sharing my Thick ‘n Rich Gravy recipe (with an oil-free option) with you today!  😀

Mushroom Gravy from “The Everyday Vegan”

Side Vegetables 

The side veggies might be my favorite.  My secret to particularly scrumptious root vegetables is to ROAST, not boil, them.  Growing up, our parents boiled the veggies – to a pulp.  Boiling takes all the flavor out of the vegetables and then you need a lot of fat/salt/seasonings to make them taste special.  Roasting concentrates the flavors and caramelizes the natural sugars for the best flavors in your root veggies.  Roast them whole, then puree in your food processor or with an immersion blender.  The pureed roasted rutabega (turnip) are spectacular, I really love them, with the infusion of cinnamon (just like my mom used to do)!  I also make roasted sweet potato puree with nutmeg, and then I do a casserole roast of some combo of chopped roasted parsnip/fennel/carrots/shallots.  (And, sometimes I’ll do a mashed potatoes for the girls as they love them.)  In LTEV I also have some ideal holiday side dishes, including: Smashing Sweet Spuds (pictured below), White Bean Mashed Potatoes, Lemon Dijon Green Beans, Oven-Sweetened Beets with Sage, Gingered Broccolini, and Duo of Roasted Fennel.  The recipes for my Roasted Sweet Potato Puree and Roasted Rutabega Puree are now posted.

No-Fu Love Loaf with Smashing Sweet Spuds, Rosemary Gravy, and Lemon Dijon Green Beans

Roasted Sweet Potato Puree (left); Traditional Cranberry Sauce (foreground), Phyllo Rolls with Rawesome Nut Dip (right)

Roasted Turnip Puree

Mixed Green Salad

With all the cooked veggies, I like to add a fresh mixed greens salad to the menu.  I keep it very simple with some thinly sliced red pepper, cucumber, green onions, and pomegranate seeds (an easy, festive, colorful touch), and topped with a sprightly dressing.  This Kale-Slaw would also be PERFECT for the holidays, with the combination of apples and cranberries:

From “Let Them Eat Vegan”

Cranberry Sauce

Can’t forget the cranberry sauce.  Forget ocean spray, it takes mere minutes to make your own fresh cranberry sauce using the simplest of ingredients!  My Traditional Cranberry Sauce is easy and excellent, try it!

Dessert

Dessert varies every year.  Some years I’ve made my Chocolate Pumpkin Pie, more recently I have been making my Pumpkin Pie Custards with Brulee Topping.  Many years I make ice creams!  They are great for many reasons: (1) You can make them in advance; (2) You can customize holiday flavors (I have “egg-nog ice cream” and “pumpkin pie ice cream” in LTEV; (3) add a luscious sauce (like Coconut Caramel Sauce from LTEV), fruit, and/or nuts, and transform them into beautiful parfaits!

Pumpkin Pie Custards with Brulee Topping

And, here are some other recipes that would be ideal for your Thanksgiving and Christmas get-togethers:

* Chai Peanut Butter Ice Cream

* Pumpkincredible Hummus

* Pumpkin Chia and Raw Chocolate Pudding Parfaits

* Pumpkin Cauliflower Chickpea Curry with Fresh Cream Sauce

* No-Fu Love Loaf

* Nicer Krispie Squares

* Creamed Cheese Brownies with Salted Dark Chocolate Topping

* Gluten-Free Pie Crust with “Apple of My Eye” Pie Filling 

* “Hello Vegan” Bars

I hope you enjoy these recipes for the holidays. 😀  Truly, a vegan Thanksgiving and Christmas meal can be FAR more delicious than any traditional dinner, wouldn’t you agree?  Please share some of your favorite holiday dishes with my readers!

New Recipes: Thai Chickpea Almond Curry, Tempeh Tickle, and Whole-Grain Chia Pancakes

No pumpkin today! 😉 I am moving on to some other recipes – some very comforting, deliciously satisfying dishes to ‘chasse’ your cooking diva through the holidays into winter!

First, a very easy one-pot dish.  All the ingredients for this Thai Chickpea Almond Curry (RECIpage link) are assembled in the casserole dish, then into the oven while you put your feet up (yeah, yeah, in our dreams).  The flavors are full-bodied and rich and irresistible.  This is perfect with a brown basmati or short grain rice, or with another grain like quinoa.  Or, try letting it cool slightly and adding it to a collard wrap with some grains (or maybe just all on its own).  Recipe is from Let Them Eat Vegan.

Next, another LTEV recipe to convince you to try (and LOVE!) tempeh: Tempeh Tickle (RECIpage link).  This takes all of about ten minutes to prep (you can get the marinade together while the tempeh simmers).  The slices of tempeh beautifully absorb the marinade, and become a perfect main or side dish for dinner – or chilled for sandwiches during the week.  You may want to double this recipe!

Finally, for your Thanksgiving weekend or any other lazy weekend morning (again, who am I kidding?): Whole-Grain Chia Pancakes (RECIpage LINK).  This recipe is also getting plenty of rave reviews, because the pancakes are fluffy and light and tender – not what you might expect from a whole-grain “crunchy granola” pancake recipe!  And, another great way to add some chia seeds in your diet.  These are also featured in LTEV.

Whole-Grain Chia Pancakes, photo credit: Hannah Kaminsky

So guys, I may not be back with another post this week – we’ll see.  I am in the throes of planning an at-home birthday party for one of girls this week, as you mamas know, that is a bit of an all-consuming task!  For sure I’ll be back with some Thanksgiving ideas for those of you gearing up for your big holiday weekend.

A few other tidbits to mention…

I have freshened up my Chickpea Ratatouille photo:

Funny, Gena and I must have been on a recipe wavelength last week… because as I was getting ready to post this new photo to encourage you all to try this dish, she also posted about using this Chickpea Ratatouille atop zucchini noodles.  Such a fresh and innovative take on my recipe! Thank you for sharing it with your readers Gena! xo

Also, Heather Nauta recently posted a cooking video of my “Romesc-oat” Sauce.  She also hosted a giveaway of Let Them Eat Vegan (hopefully you got a chance to enter – if not, please follow my facebook page by “liking”, I post all of these updates on facebook).  And, Angela from Oh She Glows has organized a Hurricane Sandy disaster fundraiser – with the chance to win a couple of incredible prizes – she has already raised over $3000!  Wonderful, admirable effort, Angela.

Finally, a sneak peek of what’s to come… a hearty, earthy, smoky Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes

p.s. On the topic of kiddo birthday parties – anyone have some great suggestions for games?  So far we have: pass-the-parcel (classic!), freeze dance (another classic), pop the balloon, ‘memorize the tray’ game, and possibly… “pass the orange”.  Any other easy-game ideas?