Tag Archives: vegan

Radish Green & Potato Soup

It’s radish season! Raw radishes in salads, grilled with butter & salt, or sautéed with mint and onions—radishes take on completely different personalities depending on how you prepare them. The greens offer a whole different culinary perspective that is often overlooked. We had to adopt out our bunny for the sake of Kevin’s lungs (allergy-induced asthma), which has left us trying to find new ways to use up plant parts we used to feed to the bunny. Radish greens are one thing I am glad I learned how to cook with! They are so delicious, and have tons of nutrients. You can sautée them like you would other greens, or, you can make them into this crazy simple soup. It is simultaneously earthy, fresh and zesty.

Radish Green & Potato Soup



Ingredients. (Not pictured: Hot Sauce,

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large bunch radish greens
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 2-3 c. water (or broth) (enough to cover potatoes in pan)
  • 2 T. parsley
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • chives, parsley, mint, sprouts, etc. for topping


  1. Chop shallot, parsley, & garlic
  2. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add shallot & garlic. Sauté, stirring frequently, until shallots are translucent.


    Sautéeing shallots, garlic & parsley.

  3. Chop radish greens and add to pot. Sautée until wilted.

    Radish Greens

    Wilting radish greens

  4. Wash & dice potatoes. (You can peel them if using russets, but I used yellow potatoes with pretty thin skin & left it on. No need to peel red ones, either.)
  5. Add potatoes to pot and add water or broth to just cover top of potatoes.

    Simmering potatoes

    Potatoes in the pot

  6. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Remove from heat; purée with an immersion blender or in batches in the blender.
  9. Ladle into bowls. Top each bowl with a few dashes of hot sauce.
  10. Finely chop remaining herbs and place on top of soup.
Radish Green & Potato Soup

It may look like something from a swamp, but it is seriously good eating.


Mushroom & Turnip Couscous

Believe it or not, despite the warm temperatures, it’s still root vegetable season (although I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel—Today is the second day of spring, and I’ve got some pea shoots!). Winter is at times the toughest season to be a locavore, but at other points, it’s so rewarding. Root vegetables & mushrooms are much more fulfilling on a cool day than a summer salad or bowlful of sautéed spring veggies. There’s a reason why certain foods grow at certain times—Because that’s when our bodies need the nutrients they offer! In this transitional period between winter and spring, heartier vegetables are still in abundance, but slow cooked stew and tagine just don’t seem as appealing when the temperature is slated to be in the 70s. So, I embraced the challenge of using the hearty offerings of the earth in a manner that doesn’t feel quite so heavy in the stomach or heat up the house so much. Plus, for my vegetarian & vegan friends, you can eat this too!

(P.S. Speaking of mushrooms, I can’t wait—Tomorrow I am picking up my very own shiitake mushroom grow log. Yes. Shiitakes fresh from the back yard. Mmm.)

Mushroom & Turnip Couscous

Note: You’ll notice that this post does not include the individual farm’s name next to each ingredient. From feedback I received, that made it more difficult to follow & print recipes. SO, I am working on a page that will list all of the farmers & local businesses I buy from, their specialties, and their contact info. Then you can see where all of the great spots to purchase ingredients are. I’ll still highlight specialty/exclusive ingredient sources in the specific recipe. I assure you, even though the name of the farm isn’t right there, it was all still purchased from local producers.



  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion (or half large)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • pinch of thyme
  • pinch of rosemary
  • pinch of sage
  • 4 white mushrooms
  • 4 cremini mushrooms
  • 2 c. broth (I used turkey stock, but chicken or vegetable would work, too)
  • 4 medium turnips (I used 3 golden, 1 white)
  • 1 c. couscous


  1. Mince garlic and chop onion and mushrooms. Heat olive oil in large saucepan or dutch oven and add garlic & onion, sautéeing until onion is almost translucent.
  2. Meanwhile, chop mushrooms and crush herbs. Also, peel and dice turnips.
  3. Add herbs and mushrooms to onion mixture, cooking for two more minutes, or until mushrooms are slightly golden and herbs are fragrant.

    Mushrooms, onion, garlic & herbs

    Mushrooms, onion, garlic & herbs, a good base for many things!

  4. Add turnips and broth to pan and bring to a boil.

    Turnips & other veggies in broth

    A photographed pot never boils.

  5. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes, or until turnips are fork tender.
  6. Add couscous to pan and stir. Immediately remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
  7. Fluff with a fork and serve hot.
Mushroom & Turnip Couscous

Mushroom & Turnip Couscous

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Velvety No-Cream Potato Leek Soup

I know I’ve talked about my Polish background in posts about kielbasa and pierogies, but there’s more than the Polish half to me. If you haven’t guessed by my name (Colleen, meaning “girl” or “maiden” in Gaelic), I am part Irish, too. The O’Briens, on my mother’s side, passed down some fiery Irish genes to supplement 1/4 of my background. I competed in Irish step dancing from when I was 4 until I was 15. No, I wasn’t crazy like the ones on TV, but I do know the difference between a reel and a jig and am acquainted with the term “poodle socks.” I remember those dancing years, during this season, we’d be carted around from one smokey bar to the next, with stops at nursing homes in between, to perform as part of the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Aside from step dancing, enjoying potatoes and whiskey, and a healthy admiration of Celtic knots, I’m also fascinated by the tales of Irish immigrants that settled in the regions near to here, like the Molly Maguires in the coal region.

So, in honor St. Patrick’s Day and my Irish heritage, I am posting this recipe for potato leek soup. This recipe doesn’t call for any milk or cream, making it not so bad for you (vegan, in fact!), and very inexpensive to whip up. If the soup is too thick for your taste, you can add some extra water after you purée it. Serve this with some crusty bread and an Irish beer. This weekend, I plan on experimenting with some bangers and mash, so perhaps you’ll see that recipe, too!

Potato Leek Soup



The ingredients in this soup cost just a couple of dollars! (not pictured: chili powder)

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 4 leeks (Jett’s Produce)
  • 4 stalks celery (Jett’s Produce)
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (my garden)
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder, optional
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 6 c. water (or vegetable stock, if you prefer, but not necessary)
  • 6 medium potatoes (Padula Potatoes)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • crusty bread (we used Potato Bread from Apple Ridge Farm)


  1. Slice leeks and celery 1/4″ thick. (Great tutorial for cleaning & slicing leeks here. Make sure to freeze the dark greens for making broth!)
  2. Heat olive oil in large soup pot or dutch oven. Add leeks & celery and season with salt. Cook leeks over medium heat stirring frequently, until they’re completely soft and wilted, about 5 minutes.

    Leeks & Celery

    Leeks & celery sautéeing

  3. Meanwhile, peel and chop potatoes.
  4. Add thyme and chili powder to leek mixture, cooking and stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add water, potatoes and whole bay leaf.
  6. Cover, bring water to boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.


    Simmering away!

  7. Remove whole bay leaf.
  8. Purée soup with immersion blender (or in small batches in blender(not more than 1/2 full)).
  9. Sprinkle with black pepper and serve hot with crusty bread.
Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup with Potato Bread from Apple Ridge Farm!

(Don’t forget to vote for your favorite blogs in the Best of Blogs contest! You can vote once per category per day.)

Mushroom & Root Veggie Shepherd’s Pie—It’s What’s for Dinner!

We’ve been eating a bit less meat than usual, trying to save money so we can make up for Irie’s vet visits. Kevin works manual labor out in the cold all day, so a warm hearty meal tends to be in order for the evening in the cold months. Since I started eating mushrooms last year, we’ve grown to enjoy using them as an inexpensive substitute for meat pretty frequently—You hardly notice the difference! Fortunately, the root vegetables that grow in our area at this time of year are also inexpensive and nutrient packed, so we were able to put together this awesome, filling dish for pennies per serving.

Mushroom & Root Veggie Shepherd’s Pie





  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Peel and chop sweet potatoes and 2 of the turnips. Place in pot and cover with water. Add one whole, peeled clove of garlic.
  3. Boil until tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mince remaining garlic and chop leek or onion, celery and jalepeño, if using.
  5. Sauté garlic, leek, celery and jalepeño in olive oil in large skillet until onion is translucent.
  6. Peel and chop remaining turnips and carrot, then add to skillet. Continue to cook and stir until turnips have begun to soften and turn golden.
  7. Slice mushrooms and add to skillet. Sauté 1-2 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to caramelize.
  8. Add 1 can beer, applesauce, thyme and sage.
  9. Bring beer to boil, then reduce heat and let simmer until reduced by half.

    Mushroom Mixture

    hearty mushroom & root veggie filling

  10. When sweet potatoes and turnips boiling in water are tender, strain them.
  11. Add 1/2 can beer, a few tablespoons of olive oil and salt & pepper, then mash sweet potatoes and turnips until smooth, adding more beer if necessary.

    sweet potato & turnip mash

    creamy sweet potato & turnip mash

  12. Transfer mushroom mixture to 8×8″ casserole dish.
  13. Spread mashed sweet potatoes and turnips over mushroom mixture.
  14. Brush top of sweet potato mixture with olive oil.
  15. Bake for 15 minutes or until topping is golden and filling is bubbly.
  16. Serve warm with hearty bread and salad.

    mushroom and root veggie shepherds pie

    Mmm. We enjoyed this with some Apple Ridge Farm dinner rolls.

What’s For Dinner?

Can you figure out what I made for a weekend dinner based on these local ingredients? Check back for the recipe on Friday and see if you were right!


sweet potatoes, carrot, celery, turnips, leek, applesauce, garlic, white mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, jalepeno, sage, thyme, beer, olive oil, salt & pepper

Vegan Butternut Squash Dip with Garlic-Onion Crackers

Tonight is the first meeting of the Bethlehem Grocery Co-Op (7:00 at the library—Be there!). My husband and I are so psyched. I am even skipping out on one of my Girl Scout meetings to attend! The Express Times covered the story with a pretty decent article, which you can read here.

In the spirit of community, the meeting organizers have asked people to bring vegetarian or vegan snack food or non-alcoholic beverages to share in a potluck. Since I’ll be coming straight from my earlier Girl Scout meeting tonight, I knew I had to make something ahead of time that I could just grab when I pick up my husband and bring along. With a bunch of roasted butternut squash in the freezer, plus two whole ones in the fridge, I figured that was a good place to start. Dip is generally pretty foolproof, so I whipped up a super-simple batch in the food processor and made some tasty garlic onion crackers to go along with it. The combination is delicious—Savory crackers (based off a recipe for Indian nippattu, an onion and chili savory cookie) with a slightly sweet, slightly spicy dip. So, whether you’ve got a holiday party coming up or taste this tonight at the meeting and decide you want more, give it a try! (By the way, both recipes are vegan.)

Butternut Squash Dip



Dip Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 c. roasted butternut squash (I had some in the freezer from Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 takeout packet soy sauce (I think that’s a tablespoon?)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • hot sauce, to taste (Easton Salsa Company)


  1. Mince garlic in food processor.
  2. Squeeze all the juice from the lemon into the food processor, then add remaining ingredients.
  3. Process until smooth.
  4. Serve with savory crackers.
Butternut Squash Dip

Butternut Squash Dip—How easy was that?!

Garlic-Onion Crackers

Makes 120 bite-size crackers!


Cracker Ingredients

Cracker Ingredients

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt (I used herb sea salt we made from thyme, sage & rosemary from our garden)
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. sesame seeds
  • ½ large onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 3 cloves garlic(Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup warm water (you may not use it all)


  1. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and sesame seeds in large bowl.
  2. Mince onion and garlic (I used a food processor) and add to flour mixture, stirring to combine well.

    Cracker Dough

    With Onion & Garlic Added

  3. Add olive oil and mix well (mixture will be lumpy)
  4. Gradually add water and stir until dough forms. Dough will feel oily.
  5. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 325°.
  7. Form a small ball (about 1/2-3/4″ in diameter) of dough. Place between two sheets of wax paper or greased plastic wrap. Press thin with your fingers (about 1/16″ thick, 1-1.25″ diameter).
  8. Gently peel dough circle from wax paper and place on non-stick or foil lined baking sheet. Prick dough circles all over with fork.

    Dough Circles

    Dough Circles

  9. Repeat until all dough is used.
  10. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. (Since this makes 120 crackers, you may want to bake these in batches so you aren’t using up a zillion baking sheets!)
  11. Cool completely on wire rack and store in airtight container.
Garlic Onion Crackers

Crackers and crackers, oh my!


Vegan Thanksgiving Extravaganza!

Yamming it up

Just yamming it up … har har.

Well, my food coma has worn off and I am in the process of concocting ways to use up the various leftovers we were sent home with from our two Thanksgiving feasts. This year, inspired by a visit to the Farm Sanctuary, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law requested a vegan Thanksgiving. My husband, who has grown to thoroughly enjoy vegetables and raises no complaint about several meatless meals each week, agreed to their request, with one stipulation: no fake meat or dairy products (i.e. no Tofurkey, veggie crumbles, chick’n, egg replacer, soy cheese, etc.). If we weren’t going to eat meat, we shouldn’t pretend like we were. I have to say, I supported that point—Vegan processed food is still processed and probably not very good for you. So, my sister-in-law and I set off on a quest to develop a menu that wouldn’t leave the omnivores dreaming of turkey, purchasing as many local ingredients as we could. The results were quite delicious and everyone seemed sufficiently stuffed! We dined on lentil loaf, stuffing stuffed apples, chili maple sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, mushroom and plain vegetable gravies, cranberry sauce, and apple and pumpkin pies. So, without further ado, the recipes for a delightful animal product free Thanksgiving feast! Oh, and a note: all of the recipes for this meal that require baking can go in at 375°.

Lentil Loaf (based off the recipe at My Vegan Cookbook)

I was a bit skeptical of this seemingly random mush of ingredients, formed into a loaf and baked, but it was so good! It was quite flavorful, not at all dry, and easy to slice. My husband is not a tofu fan and couldn’t detect it in this dish.

Lentil Loaf

After reading several recipes and reviews, I was afraid our lentil loaf would crumble apart, but this recipe stood up well!


Tomato Topping Mixture

  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

Lentil Loaf

  • 1 c. oats
  • 1/2 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 c. medium onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1 T. tomato topping mixture
  • 3 T. corn meal
  • 3/4 c. cooked & drained lentils
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme (my garden)
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dried mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Mix together all tomato topping ingredients in small bowl and set aside.
  3. Dice onion and red & green pepper, then sautée in 1 T. olive oil until onions are translucent.
  4. Meanwhile, pulse oats five brief times in food processor (you could probably also crush the oats in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin if you don’t have a food processor).
  5. Drain tofu and press out all extra liquid. Place tofu in large mixing bowl and mash with a fork.
  6. Add sautéed veggies and the rest of the lentil loaf ingredients, making sure to just add 1 T. of tomato topping mixture and reserve the rest. Mix well.
  7. Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil and grease the foil.
  8. Form tofu-lentil mixture into a loaf shape about 2.5″ tall and 4 inches wide on tin foil.
  9. Coat loaf with tomato mixture.
  10. Bake 20 minutes, then cover with tinfoil and bake an additional 10 minutes.
  11. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Stuffing Stuffed Apples

Stuffing Stuffed Apples

I think these were the biggest hit!


  • 6 T. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 3 stalks celery (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 3 cloves garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1 T. dried sage (my garden)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme (my garden)
  • 1 medium loaf bread (about 4-5 c. cubed, we used cranberry-walnut from Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1 c. vegetable stock
  • 10 medium apples (Strawberry Acres)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut off top third of apples and scoop out insides, leaving 1/4″ wall, using either a spoon or small melon baller.
  3. Dice onion and celery and mince garlic, then sautée in olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven until onions are translucent. Add dried herbs after 1 minute of cooking.
  4. Meanwhile, cut bread into 1″ cubes.
  5. Add bread cubes to onion mixture.
  6. Drizzle vegetable stock over bread mixture.
  7. Stuff bread mixture into apples in large baking dish, heaping out the top of each apple.
  8. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes.
  9. Remove foil and bake 15 minutes, or until bread is golden brown on top.

Chili Maple Sweet Potatoes

Chili Maple Sweet Potatoes

Sweet & Spicy Chili Maple Sweet Potatoes


  • 4-5 medium sweet potatoes or yams (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 3 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut in wedges about 3/4″ thick.
  3. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil in 9×13″ baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle with chili powder and drizzle maple syrup on top.
  5. Toss to evenly coat.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Green Bean Casserole

My sister-in-law came up with this recipe—It tastes just like the classic version and made a ginormous pan full!

Green Bean Casserole

Just as creamy and crunchy as you remember it as a kid, but with no dairy!


  • 2 1/2 cup plain soymilk
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 4 cans (14 oz) green beans
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 9 oz french fried onions
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder (or 3 fresh cloves)
  • pepper to taste


  1. In a pot over medium heat add 2 cups soymilk, mushrooms, garlic, and pepper.
  2. Bring to boil then simmer.
  3. Dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 cup soymilk and add to pot. Stir for 5 min, then remove from heat.
  4. Drain beans and put in casserole dish.
  5. Add 3 oz french fried onions and soymilk mixture.
  6. Bake at 350 for 40 min.
  7. Top with rest of onions and cook til brown.

Mashed Potatoes

This makes a huge batch—We love our mashed potatoes!

Mashed Potatoes

My brother-in-law taught me a couple years ago that adding a few cloves of garlic to the boiling potatoes adds a lovely subtle flavor.


  • 5 lbs Lehigh potatoes (from Padula Potatoes, Yukon Gold is a close sub)
  • 4 cloves garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1/2-3/4 c. plain soy milk (this was the only “fake dairy” we used)
  • 4-6 T. vegetable based margarine


  1. Peel and dice potatoes. Smash garlic cloves.
  2. Place potatoes and garlic in large pot and cover by at least 2 inches with water.
  3. Boil, covered, for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Strain potatoes.
  5. Add soy milk and margarine, then mash with potato masher or whip with blender.

Vegetable Broth Gravy
This recipe is also from my sister-in-law!


  • 1/2 cup canola or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (Queen’s Nutritional Products)
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 cup veg broth
  • 1/2 tsp sage (my garden)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  1. Sauté onion and garlic in oil.
  2. Stir in flour, yeast, and soy sauce.
  3. Gradually add broth.
  4. Season and bring to boil. Simmer 8-10 min, or until thickened.

Mushroom Gravy

Mushroom Gravy

The mushrooms add a wonderful rich flavor to the gravy.


  • 5 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 2 cloves garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 4 T. flour
  • 6-8 mushrooms (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 1 can beer (Yuengling)
  • 1.5 c. vegetable broth
  • sage, thyme, rosemary (from my garden) and black pepper, to taste


  1. Dice onion and mince garlic.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic in oil until onions are translucent.
  3. Slice mushrooms, add them and herbs to onion and garlic and cook 1 minute.
  4. Add flour and stir until thick and pasty.
  5. Whisk in beer and let simmer until slightly thickened.
  6. Add vegetable broth and continue to simmer until hot and thick.

Double Crust Apple Pie

Apple Pie

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without pie!

Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. cold vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 c. ice cold water

Filling Ingredients:

  • 6-8 apples (I used a mix of Mutsu and Melrose from Strawberry Acres)
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 T. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • sugar to sprinkle on top of pie


  1. Place flour and salt for pie crust in food processor. Cover and pulse 4 times to combine.
  2. Add shortening to flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. With processor running, add ice water until dough just begins to form ball and leave sides of processor.
  4. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice apples to make 6 c. slices. Place apples in large bowl and mix with lemon juice.
  6. Preheat oven to 375°.
  7. Remove one dough ball from fridge and roll to 1/8″ thick.
  8. Place crust in 9″ pie plate and press on bottom and sides, trimming excess from edges. (Save the scraps to coat with cinnamon and sugar and bake like cookies!)
  9. Add flour, sugar, cinnamon and ginger to apples in bowl. Mix well.
  10. Heap apples in crust in pie plate, mounding more in the middle than on the edges.
  11. Roll out second crust and place over top of apples.
  12. Fold two crust edges over each other and crimp to seal.
  13. Cut small vent holes near center of top crust.
  14. Sprinkle top crust with sugar.
  15. Bake 1 hour, covering crust with foil if it begins to brown too much. Filling should be bubbling near center of pie.
  16. Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks Pie

Our Apple Pie of Thanks

I can’t believe how quickly Thanksgiving snuck up this year. It’s always nice to have a little reminder each year to be grateful for what you have and sit down to share a meal with those you care about. It’s really easy for me to over think this holiday and become critical of its historical roots, but I’ll try to avoid getting into that here and just focus on gratitude and the fact that it seems Thanksgiving is the least commercialized of major holidays—No gifts, just food, family & friends (I really think there should be a special holiday for Friends Thanksgiving—No family obligations, just time shared with your close friends.

Anywho, I just wanted to pop on the blog this morning and thank everyone who reads this! I never thought I’d actually get a “following” online, so I am grateful for each one of you. Now, I’ll be off to my in-laws house for our first ever Vegan Thanksgiving complete with lentil loaf & mushroom gravy, chili maple sweet potatoes, mashed taters, stuffing-stuffed apples, green bean casserole and the above pictured apple pie. Look for recipes & pictures soon!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Girls’ Night Gnoshing: Italian Roasted Veggie Dip

Each Wednesday a group of my friends and I get together for a night of testosterone-free hanging out. Sometimes we head to Roosevelts (if they are not having an obnoxious DJ) for gravy cheese fries & $4 mixed drinks and sometimes we gather at someone’s home for a BYO night. Either way, it’s sure to be a night of laughter, booze and good food.

A couple of weeks ago, girls’ night was going to be at a friend’s home, and I realized I didn’t have anything to bring! A quick survey of the kitchen didn’t turn up any prepared snack food, and I was out of alcohol. All I had were vegetables! I was pretty well stocked on eggplant, so I thought of making baba ganoush, but I didn’t have any tahini on hand. So, I pulled out what I could find and figured if my friends didn’t like it, we just wouldn’t eat it. Well, all of it was gone by the end of the evening, so I take that as a good sign. Bring this Italian dip with you next time you need an easy snack and you’ll be all set!

Italian Roasted Veggie Dip


[My husband was kind enough to roast the veggies for me while I was running errands, so I don’t have a picture of everything raw.]

Simple ingredients for a complex-tasting dip.

Simple ingredients for a complex-tasting dip.

  • 1 large eggplant (Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 1 large onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 1 large tomato (Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 2 cloves garlic (Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 12-15 fresh basil leaves (our garden)
  • 4 sprigs oregano (our garden)
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 T. lemon juice (I didn’t have any, so my dip darkened a bit, but was still tasty)


  1. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and sprinkle with salt. Let rest 10 minutes.
  2. Cut onion into thick slices.
  3. Cut tomato in half.
  4. Place veggies cut side down on cookie sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, or until eggplant is soft. Let cool enough to handle.
  5. Meanwhile, chop garlic in food processor.
  6. Add basil and oregano to food processor, pulse until finely chopped.
  7. Scrape pulp out of eggplant skins and add to food processor.
  8. Add tomato and onion to food processor.
  9. Process until smooth.
  10. Slowly add olive oil while processor is running until dip is desired consistency.
  11. Let sit at least 1 hour before serving with crackers, toasts or pita chips.
Italian Roasted Veggie Dip

Italian Roasted Veggie Dip

Veg Fest & Feast

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Weekend Hodgepodge, this Saturday was spent enjoying vegetables, plain and simple. I am an omnivore, and a locavore, no longer vegan or vegetarian, but I love vegetables and was happy to be able to see them in the spotlight this weekend.

Jaime K

Jaime K of Save the Kales!

First of all, let me say that Bethlehem Vegfest was a knock-out success and I hope to see it continue for years to come. Many thanks to the Downtown Bethlehem Association,  Jaime K of Save the Kales! and everyone else who contributed for bringing this sort of festival to Bethlehem. I heard rumor that 10,000 people attended the fair, which stretched for several blocks down South Bethlehem’s Greenway. I arrived at 12:10, just ten minutes after the festival began, and a large crowd had already amassed. I had never actually visited the Greenway before and was quite happy to see such a well maintained rail-trail through the heart of the city! I had heard of the trail before, but tended to stay away from the area due to its previous reputation as a skeevy part of town before the tracks were paved.

Vegfest Entrance

The start of Vegfest

Emeril's Booth

A chef from the local Emeril's restaurant serves samples.

The festival grounds were divided into several themed areas (think platzes from Musikfest, but without the sausages and obnoxious people) housing about 200 vendors. There was a pet area, a farmers’ market, a food court, a sustainable energy area, a lecture tent, cooking demo area, and music stage, among others. Vendors peddled goods, services and wares while entertainers put children inside huge bubbles, and vegetarians could eat free samples without having to ask “Is there meat in that?”

Local Dub

This band, Local Dub, played some chill reggae music, and even used the word "irie" in their PR for the gig! Irie is our cat's name, meaning the ultimate positive, powerful, pleasing, all encompassing quality. I've never heard anyone else use it.

Cooking Demo

While catching a few minutes of this cooking demo, I got to taste grilled watermelon. Mmm! Definitely keeping that in mind!

Smart Juice

Bethlehem-based Smart Juice company

I was on a pretty tight budget since Vegfest fell between paydays, but I did indulge in a bottle of yummy organic no-sugar added peach-apricot juice from Smart Juice, a Bethlehem-based company that I first encountered when they donated juice for the Iftar dinner I attended (read about that here). This juice made me feel like I was James in a giant peach, that’s how real it was.

I also found a book that I must purchase, From Asparagus to Zucchini. It is a comprehensive guide to produce, listing nutritional information, storage and cooking techniques and recipes. One of the best parts, though, is in the back, where it lists recipes using seasonal ingredient combinations. SO, when you get your CSA share and wonder what to do with a bunch of eggplants, a tomato, and several ears of corn or something, you can just check the book! Wishing there was a book fairy right now …

Vegan Treats Display

My sister-in-law works the Vegan Treats table.

Vegfest didn’t carry any hints of the pompous attitude vegetarians are sometimes unfairly labeled with. Instead, it exuded a warm community vibe, inviting people of all sorts to take a look and try something new.

Later that evening, my in-laws came over for a very belated Christmas gift of a dinner & game night at our house. My mother-in-law recently began moving in the vegan direction, so I wanted to prepare a meal that honored that decision. However, my husband and I are fairly opposed to many of the “fake meat” and “dairy” products on the market. A lot of those products are so highly processed and full of genetically modified or laboratory-created ingredients that I cannot justify eating them. So, I made a meal highlighting vegetables, with no meat, dairy or egg substitutes. It’s also very important to me to use local ingredients, so everything in this meal is from this area with the exception of cooking oil, salt, pepper, cornstarch, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and polenta. Nothing on this menu will require a trip to the health food store or a large amount of money.

Normally, I leave the vegan meals up to Save the Kales!, but I will share this one with you.

A Vegan Feast:

Vegan Meal

An all-local vegan meal, with no "fake meat": salad, roasted tomatoes with garlic & herbs, tri-color potatoes & beets, polenta & beet green stuffed zucchini, and pear crisp.

In the interest of avoiding carpal tunnel, I am going to list the vendors I purchased ingredients from once, here, instead of immediately following the ingredient: Heritage Farms CSA, Apple Ridge Farm, Bechdolt’s Orchard, Jett’s Natural Produce, Cardamom & Curry, and Jumbars.

Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic & Herbs

Roasted Tomatoes

The contrast between the slow-roasted flavor of the tomatoes & garlic and the freshness of the herbs balances wonderfully.


  • 5 medium tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • a few sprigs thyme
  • 6 or so basil leaves
  • a few sprigs oregano


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut tomatoes into 6-8 wedges each and place in glass baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  3. Chop garlic cloves and sprinkle over tomatoes.
  4. Remove thyme leaves and sprinkle over tomatoes.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Bake 30 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft and begin to turn golden.
  7. Chop basil and oregano and mix with tomatoes before serving.

Tri-Color Potatoes & Beets

Rustic & colorful

Rustic & colorful


  • 5 potatoes of different colors (I used purple, red and white)
  • 10 small beets (or 3-4 large ones)
  • 1 red onion
  • few sprigs thyme
  • few sprigs rosemary
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Wash potatoes and cut into 1″ chunks.
  3. Peel and trim beets, reserving greens for zucchini recipe or to sauté on the side. Cut into 1″ chunks.
  4. Cut onion into thick slices.
  5. Combine potatoes, beets and onion in 9×13″ baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle with thyme leaves, rosemary, salt & pepper.
  7. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
  8. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Polenta & Beet Green Stuffed Zucchini

Polenta and Beet Green Stuffed Zucchini

A hearty vegan entrée


  • 2 big zucchinis
  • 1/2 c. coarse ground cornmeal
  • 1.5 c water
  • 10 small beets’ worth of beet greens (or 3-4 large beets’ worth)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • few sprigs thyme
  • salt & pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut a v-shaped opening, going the long way, into each zucchini, removing in one piece and setting top aside. Scoop out insides, discarding large seeds but reserving pulp. Scrape pulp from removed top, too.
  3. Salt hollowed zucchinis and tops and place, cut side down, in greased baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring water to boil.
  5. Reduce heat to low. Slowly add cornmeal, stirring with a whisk. Stir until thickened and creamy looking.
  6. Add thyme leaves to polenta and stir.
  7. Dice onion and garlic. Sautée in olive oil over medium heat until tender.
  8. Chop zucchini pulp and add to onion and garlic mixture. Cook for 4 minutes.
  9. Chop beet greens, removing tough stems, and add to zucchini mixture. Cook until greens are wilted.
  10. Remove zucchini from oven and spoon thyme polenta into zucchini boats.
  11. Spoon vegetable mixture evenly over polenta.
  12. Place cut out tops of zucchini over filling.
  13. Bake 20 more minutes, or until zucchini are tender.
  14. Let sit 5-10 minutes before slicing to serve.

Pear-Granola Crisp

Pear-Granola Crisp

You can make this dessert ahead and serve at room temperature or pop it in the oven when guests arrive and serve warm.


  • 6 medium pears
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger (I ended up using some turmeric tea (with ginger in it) from Cardamom & Curry that I had already steeped a few times instead. It’s a great way to get the most of your tea—Use the leaves to make 2-3 cups of tea, then add them to a dish you are cooking—They still have flavor!)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c. granola (double check that it is vegan)
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar, divided
  • 5 T. canola oil (walnut or coconut oil would be even better)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Peel and slice pears. Place in deep, square baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle pears with 1/4 c. sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger (or tea leaves!).
  4. Add vanilla extract and 1/3 c. sugar. Stir until evenly mixed.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix flour, remaining 1/4 c. sugar, and granola.
  6. Add oil and stir until mixture is wet.
  7. Spread topping evenly over pears in baking dish.
  8. Bake 40 minutes or until top is golden.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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