Posts tagged ‘Christmas’
My family Christmas was full of quality time spent together. Since Christmas fell on a Sunday this year, we worked our Christmas traditions around our Sunday church service. You can tell we aren’t kids anymore, since sleeping in was more important than early morning Christmas presents! We still enjoyed our traditional Christmas breakfast of egg casserole before church, but with a few veggie twists for me. Since I can remember, my mom has made a church cookbook breakfast stratta with pork sausage, eggs, cheese, and bread cubes. She still made the traditional favorite for my dad and sister, but adapted another casserole recipe for me.
The original recipe is from Simply Living Healthy, and I sent it to my mom a few months ago knowing how much she loves jicama. She made it for my family when they went to Florida, and wanted to make it for me as well. Instead of using sausage, she added more mushrooms for meaty texture. The jicama adds a great sweet crust, and the dairy-free, veggie and protein packed casserole will keep you full all morning. Check out our vegetarian twist, or head over for the original recipe!
After church, we enjoyed surprising each other with thoughtful gifts. My sister searched high and low for a fun teapot for me, and my parents surprised me with a great new knife, set of mixing bowls, French press, and a few other fun kitchen gifts. But it turns out I am not the only foodie in the family! My sister got a waffle iron, an immersion blender, and an apron, and my mom got a new electric pasta maker! We spent the rest of the day playing with our new toys.
We couldn’t get my mom’s pasta maker to work that day, which was a huge bummer. The dough has to be the perfect consistency to not get stuck in the extruder, and we couldn’t get it to work. We gave up for the afternoon and broke out my hand roller, so we still got to enjoy fresh pasta with homemade sauce for Christmas dinner! (My mom persevered and finally got the right dough consistency yesterday, so the electric pasta maker will stay!)
Our Christmas celebrations will continue for the week, since my mom, sister, and I are all home and work-free. My sister and I are delivering our last Christmas present to our parents tonight: a gourmet dinner at home! On the menu: petite beef wellington, warm beet salad, lobster ravioli, and rum poached pears! Come back tomorrow for the recipes and pictures!
Jicama Breakfast Casserole
adapted from Simply Living Healthy, serves 4-6
12-14 ounce jicama (weight is before peeling and shredding)
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium roasted red bell pepper, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
Saute mushrooms in olive oil over medium heat. Don’t over crowd the pan, as you want the mushrooms crispy. (This may require cooking in two batches depending on the size of your pan.) Peel the jicama and shred the root. Press between paper towels to absorb as much water as possible. Press into a glass pie dish as a crust. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and coconut milk. Layer the mushrooms and roasted red pepper over the jicama, and then pour the egg mixture over top. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish and bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Remove the top and bake for 7-10 more minutes. Cut into slices to serve.
In my mind, it is now officially Christmas! Exams are over, so now my time can be filled with Christmas cookie baking, making homemade gifts, and coming up with creative wrapping papers. I have always been a self-labeled Christmas nerd, but Pinterest has only fueled my obsession. There are so many great DIY ideas for Christmas ornaments, decorations, gifts in a jar, and recycled gift wrapping! Check out my holiday board for some of the ideas I love right now, and here are some pictures of creative Christmas crafts I have already completed.
As a poor med student, I have to rely on creativity for gifts and holiday fun. Christmas doesn’t have to drain your bank account, and there are so many fun ideas to make Christmas thoughtful and affordable. I am so grateful to have the next week to spend making cards and Christmas cookies, as well as spend time with friends and family!
Question: What are you doing in this week leading up to Christmas?
Apparently my baking spurts come in twos. Remember last time when I un-veganized two recipes? Well, this time, I made two vegan baked treats! A few thoughts on vegan baking before I tempt you with recipes and pictures…
Many people assume, myself often included, that vegan baking is inherently healthier. True, it does not contain nearly as much saturated fat or cholesterol, and homemade baked goods don’t contain the preservatives and additives that come from a box. However, vegan treats often contain as much, if not more, sugar than regular baked goods. After reading this article on the toxicity of sugar in the NY Times and this post about giving up sugar by another food blogger, it has made me re-think sugar once again. This article makes bold claims about the health risks of sugar – it is not just linked to obesity, diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, but also to cancer. Research has shown that sugar is handled by our bodies differently, and that 100 calories of sugar will indeed make us fatter than 100 calories of protein. So that leaves me with some questions, and I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you feel like vegan baking is healthier, and why? Are you more concerned with the fat content of a dish, or the sugar content? How do you feel about the arguments presented in this article? Does it affect your views on the amount of sugar you consume?
This is a hard time to read this article, with the holidays right around the corner! So many of our Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions center around food. With Christmas cookie season around the corner, it is important to be both mindful of the amount of sugar we consume, but also thankful for the tradition and celebration of the Christmas season. I am convinced that added sugar should be avoided, and will continue to keep my daily sugar intake to a minimum. But who am I to avoid a homemade treat? Especially when it is as delicious as these vegan baked goods!
This Black Bean Brownie recipe from No Meat Athlete may be the best vegan brownie I have tasted. The texture is great, and the chocolate flavor is rich. The coffee flavor comes through a bit too strong in the way the recipe is written, so I would cut that down if you aren’t looking for a mocha flavor. I want to try to cut down a bit on the sugar for the next time I make these as well, but they are definitely on the favorite dessert list!
Another favorite dessert: these vegan chocolate cupcakes. The last time I made these, my friend declared that she dreamt about them that night. So how could you not make her a batch for her birthday? The cupcakes themselves are pretty healthy – whole wheat, low-fat, and low sugar. The icing will give you a sugar high, though, but what icing won’t? I changed up the frosting this time, adding peppermint extract instead of coffee to make them Chocolate Peppermint cupcakes! The vegan Peppermint Frosting Recipe is below!
If vegan baking can’t put you in the holiday spirit, then maybe some Christmas music will! Now, many sticklers out there will argue that Christmas music shouldn’t be played until Friday, after Thanksgiving festivities are finished. However, my friend has unofficially declared November 15th as the first acceptable day for Christmas music, decorating, baking, and holiday cheer. That marks 40 days until Christmas, so why not celebrate?
And what better way to celebrate the start of the holiday season than with my church’s latest album? They have been working hard since the summer to record some reworked Chrismas classics, as well as some original Indie Christmas tunes. You can stream it here. Take a listen and let me know what your favorite track is (mine is #6!)
Vegan Peppermint Icing
adapted from this recipe
1/4 cup Earth balance buttery stick, room temperature
1/8 cup nondairy milk
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
7 peppermint candies
In a small bowl with a hand mixer, whip together the butter, milk, and peppermint extract. Slowly add the powdered sugar until the frosting is a desired consistency (should be stiff and smooth). Finely crush the peppermint candies. After icing the cupcakes, roll lightly in the crushed candies.