Family. Friends. Food. FANTASTIC!

A couple of weeks ago, I exclaimed on Facebook (for nearly the whole world to see) that I have a great life. A bold statement, yes. Completely true and not just an in-the-moment thought, also yes. I really do have an amazing life. I am blessed with loving and supportive family and friends and have endless opportunities now and in my future. I’m studying a subject I am passionate about and working to make a positive impact in my community. This time of year really reinforces the values I hold strong, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

On a more immediate surface level, I had such a great Thanksgiving weekend filled with joy, love, relaxation, and way too much food! I hope your holiday was just as fantastic. Eric and I spent quality time with his parents and Pittsburgh relatives, dining on Soba‘s exquisite pan Asian cuisine one night and savoring endless dishes and conversation the next. Friday  night was spent sharing a post-holiday meal with new (to me) people (Eric’s doctor friends), and some studying happened in there :-). Then I got to catch up with an old friend and her lovely husband last night and expose them to tasty brunch at Square Cafe this morning. And now, my husband is enjoying some quality time with a college friend while I already reminisce about such a wonderful weekend. I cooked a lot, I ate a lot, I talked a lot, I relaxed a lot. I wouldn’t want it any other way. The only thing that would have made it better was seeing some of my family members, but I did receive an early Chanukah present (a tofu press!), so it’s almost as good. A nearly perfect 4 days.

Since I’m being entirely selfish and talking about me, me, me, I will leave you with a fantastic original recipe for vegan holiday stuffing. It was my first attempt and a smash hit for all who tried. Please enjoy! It is filled with veggies and lots of love 🙂

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Julie’s Vegan Holiday Stuffing

Serves 8-12

Tools You’ll Need: knife, cutting board, baking pan, baking dish, medium-sized pot, stirring spoon, box grater

Ingredients:
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 lg. carrots, sliced in bite-sized pieces
1 small sweet pepper or ½ large (about ¼ cup), diced
4-6 cups fresh spinach (or 1-2 cups frozen/canned, drained)
½ cup mushrooms (I used rehydrated shiitake), sliced
2 cups veg. broth
4 Tbs. Earth Balance (or other butter alternative)
Fresh herbs (I used 1-2 tsp. each rosemary, sage, thyme a.k.a. “poultry mix”)
1 block tempeh, parboiled and grated
1 cup homemade bread crumbs, plus 1/3 cup for topping (I used whole grain sourdough)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 cup roasted butternut squash, cubed

Step 1: Start by roasting butternut squash. Cut in half, brush tops with oil & sprinkle salt. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, crank up to 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. The squash should be tender and just slightly golden. I like roasting the squash separately as it gives the stuffing more depth of flavor (and sounds fancy!).

Step 2: If using fresh mushrooms, you can skip this. If not, rehydrate dried mushrooms in water for 20-30 minutes.

Step 3: Slice block of tempeh in half. Bring left over mushroom water to a boil and parboil tempeh for 3-5 minutes to get rid of some bitterness (this helps a lot!). Grate on box grater so it looks like cooked rice.

Main Attraction: On medium heat, sauté onions in 2 Tbs. Earth Balance until soft. Add celery and carrots and cook for a few more minutes. Add peppers and mushrooms (if using fresh). Add spinach and about 1 cup of broth. Cover and let steam for 7-10 minutes. When veggies look soft and greens have wilted, add mushrooms (if rehydrated), tempeh, 1 cup bread crumbs, fresh herbs, another cup of broth and last 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance. Stir until combined and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and gently stir in squash and dried cranberries. Pour into large, sprayed/oiled baking dish and top with remaining 1/3 cup bread crumbs. Cover with foil and cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for 10-15 more minutes.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cathy S
    Nov 26, 2012 @ 03:09:44

    Wonderful post and as your mother, I am so happy that you feel the way you do and that’s all a mom can wish that her children be well and fulfilled…..

    Reply

  2. enjoynthisorganiclife
    Nov 26, 2012 @ 07:50:53

    Love this Julie! I’m so happy to hear you’re living the life you love 🙂 the recipe sounds great… Since I missed thanksgiving his year, I’d like to try this but with a gluten free bread over Xmas. I’ll let you know how it goes! Sounds so delicious, stuffing was always my highlight.

    Reply

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