12 easy vegetarian and vegan potluck dishes for Thanksgiving

November 20, 2019 by  
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Sticking to a vegetarian or vegan diet on a holiday that revolves around poultry doesn’t have to be a bummer. With the idea of potluck Thanksgiving dinners gaining more and more popularity in the United States (Friendsgiving, anyone?), this can be the perfect opportunity to expose your meat-eating friends to your plant-based lifestyle and provide some healthier alternatives to classic Thanksgiving staples. Pumpkin gnocchi Making your own gnocchi is a great way to show off your cooking chops without doing a ton of work. Swap out the potatoes for nutrient-rich pumpkin and replace the all-purpose flour with whole wheat and almond flour. This simple recipe from Kale Me Maybe uses ghee, a type of clarified butter, for the sage sauce along with garlic. Ghee is a staple of Ayurvedic medicine and is often made using low heat, allowing it to retain more of its natural health benefits. Related: 6 yummy organic pumpkin recipes you can make for Thanksgiving Roasted Brussels sprouts Perfect for larger groups looking for a traditional Thanksgiving vegetable side, roasted Brussels sprouts can be whipped up and topped with any number of vegan or vegetarian ingredients. Slice off the stems of the washed sprouts. Then, cut the sprouts in half, making sure to remove any brown leaves off before roasting them with salt, pepper and olive oil in the oven until they are crispy. Top with lemon zest and cheese for a vegetarian option, or toss with chopped pecans and cranberries for a hearty vegan dish. Green bean casserole with crispy onions This recipe from OhMyVeggies puts a healthy spin on the classic side dish (usually packed with sodium and processed ingredients, like condensed canned soup and bagged fried onion strings). Use fresh green beans and mushrooms along with soy milk or almond milk to veganize your green bean casserole. Pomegranate spinach salad Nothing says autumn quite like tangy pomegranate seeds, and this recipe from Cooking Classy combines them with fresh, sliced pears and nutrient-dense leafy spinach. Even better, the dressing uses apple cider vinegar (we suggest using the organic , unfiltered kind to get those gut-friendly enzymes). Vegetarians can make the recipe as-is, but vegans can swap the honey for agave and leave out the cheese. Glazed carrots Sliced carrots can be roasted in the oven, cooked in a slow cooker or sauteed on the stove with either butter or olive oil for a simple Thanksgiving side dish. Add salt and pepper to taste along with a touch of balsamic vinegar to give it an extra bite. No matter how you cook the dish, consider leaving the skins on the carrots instead of peeling them off — they are loaded with vitamins and minerals (just make sure to thoroughly wash the carrots). Related: 6 vegan and vegetarian turkey alternatives for Thanksgiving Stuffed mushrooms These bite-sized treats are sure to draw a crowd of meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. Play with different ingredients depending on your audience, but make sure to top it all off with plenty of fresh herbs to compliment the savory mushroom caps. Everything about this vegan stuffed mushrooms recipe from Blissful Basil screams festive, from the diced walnuts to the sage to the cranberries. Butternut squash soup With a sweet, flavorful base made from coconut milk , butternut squash and curry powder, this soup is the perfect comfort food for any Thanksgiving potluck guest. Check out this recipe from the Minimalist Baker that incorporates cinnamon, maple syrup and chili garlic paste for an extra sweet-and-spicy kick. Vegetarian stuffing Thanksgiving is incomplete without a side of delicious stuffing to soak up the rest of the meal, but it typically isn’t a vegetarian-friendly dish. This recipe from the Vegetarian Times calls for cubes of whole-grain or sprouted bread and a variety of herbs to get that same stuffing taste without the meat juices. Use a medley of mushrooms for an earthy flavor, throw in some chopped nuts for an extra crunch or add dried cranberries for a touch of sweetness. Swap the butter for olive oil if you’re sticking to a vegan recipe . Wild rice pilaf Another great side option for larger groups, this wild rice pilaf recipe from One Green Planet is packed with fiber and whole grains. With the added autumnal flavors of dried cranberries, baked butternut squash and fresh squeezed citrus fruits, this Thanksgiving side is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Creamed kale Spice up your classic creamed spinach recipe by swapping the traditional greens for vitamin-packed kale and using soaked raw cashews instead of cream and butter to make it vegan. This recipe from Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen uses shallots and garlic for a burst of fragrance and flavor and can be made in large batches for bigger potluck groups. Vegan cauliflower risotto With riced cauliflower becoming all the rage in vegetarian and vegan cooking these days, why not elevate the classic cauliflower rice into a hearty risotto? Check out this recipe from Foolproof Living that uses a unique combination of tahini, miso paste and nutritional yeast to give the dish a savory, cheesy flavor without any dairy. Vegan spinach artichoke dip This recipe from Nora Cooks combines spinach and fiber-rich artichoke hearts to make a hearty dip. The secret to this dish is in the cashew cream, which gives the dip its cheese-like consistency, and nutritional yeast, which keeps it satisfying without any dairy products. The best part? It only takes about 30 minutes to make. Images via Shutterstock

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12 easy vegetarian and vegan potluck dishes for Thanksgiving

Woman’s lost engagement ring found rooted to a carrot – 13 years later

August 18, 2017 by  
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Watch while you weed , or you may lose a ring. Gloves can help, not only to prevent contact with soil-borne infections and bacteria, but also to keep prized possessions on your person. Mary Grams of Alberta, Canada learned this the hard way. 13 years ago, Grams, 84, lost her diamond engagement ring, a family heirloom since 1951, whilst working in her garden. “I didn’t tell [my husband], even, because I thought for sure he’d give me heck or something,” said Grams. Fortunately, her lost treasure reemerged from the dirty depths, thanks to a carrot , the most charismatic of root vegetables, which had grown through the ring. Although Grams has since moved on from the plot where her ring was lost, her family stayed on the farm . The ring was rediscovered by Colleen Daley, Gram’s daughter-in-law, while she was out harvesting carrots with her dog Billy. “I knew it had to belong to either grandma or my mother-in-law,” said Daley, “because no other women have lived on that farm.” Although Gram’s husband died five years ago, shortly after their 60th wedding anniversary, she imagines that he would have appreciated this peculiar turn of events. “I’m going to wear it because it still fits,” she said. Related: HOW TO: Extend the Shelf Life of Root Vegetables by Storing Them in Sand Not only are carrots great finders of lost relics, but they are also very adaptable and can grow around objects. Gardeners can utilize this special feature of the root vegetable by planting carrots within an underground mold , designed to shape the carrots growth. Think of it as the subterranean version of the cubed watermelon . Head over to NPR to see the extraordinary image of the ring wrapped around a carrot . Via NPR Images via Liz West/Flickr , Shira Gal/Flickr , and Nate Steiner/Flickr

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Woman’s lost engagement ring found rooted to a carrot – 13 years later

Subterranean Oxygen Park is a breath of fresh air in the Qatari desert

August 18, 2017 by  
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A “green lung” in Qatar’s desert landscape is helping people stay healthy and active, and reconnecting them to nature. Erik Behrens and James Haig Streeter of AECOM recently completed Oxygen Park, a unique public space in Doha’s Education City. Built to promote exercise and social gatherings, Oxygen Park is partly buried underground and features undulating, organic forms masses inspired by the desert’s wind-eroded rocks and landscapes. Oxygen Park derives its name from the elemental life-force of oxygen , which the park also produces with its tree-studded green landscape. The designers wrote: “Oxygen Park is a man-made ‘green lung’ with a design inspired by nature. It is an antidote to the generic indoor gym environment and helps people to get back to nature, while fostering social engagement and promoting active healthy lifestyles.” A series of “balloon lights” float above the subterranean landscape to draw attention to Oxygen Park from afar. Related: SOMA Architects’ luxury Shaza Hotel breaks ground in Doha The park’s exercise features include shaded running trails, subterranean pitches for team sports, and equestrian facilities. More passive recreational areas also punctuate the park in the form of water plazas, sensory gardens, shade gardens, play gardens , and a series of soundscape -filled, folly spheres. The use of water and shade are seamlessly integrated into the design to provide relief from the hot climate. At night, a beautiful lighting scheme illuminates the park and water to create a safe and attractive environment for workouts and strolls after sundown. + AECOM Images by Markus Elblaus

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Subterranean Oxygen Park is a breath of fresh air in the Qatari desert

10 Unexpected new recipes that feature delicious winter vegetables

November 12, 2016 by  
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For many people, the idea of eating seasonally is a brilliant idea. That is until the colder months roll along. After all, there’s a spectacular amount of produce available to be played with from early spring to mid autumn, but once Halloween passes, the culinary palette seems to be comprised of a few scant offerings. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Root vegetables, brassicas, winter greens, and hard-fleshed fruit can be fabulous when paired the right way. Below are a few ideas for using seasonal produce to its greatest potential. Cabbage and Ramen Noodle Salad This salad may sound a bit weird, but the flavors all combine gorgeously into a fun, crunchy autumn/winter dish. 1 head of napa cabbage, shredded finely 1 bunch of green onions, sliced 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1 package of ramen noodles, broken up into small pieces 1 cup slivered almonds 1/4 cup cider vinegar 3/4 cup vegetable oil 2-3 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari Blend the cabbage and green onions in a large bowl, and refrigerate until ready to serve. In a large skillet, melt the butter or margarine on medium-high heat, and toss in the ramen noodles and almonds. Use a spatula to turn this mixture often, and remove your pan from the heat once the majority of it has been browned. Set aside. For the dressing, heat the vinegar, oil, sugar, and soy sauce in a small pot on medium-high heat. Allow it to boil for about a minute, then set aside to allow it to cool for a bit. Combine the cabbage and ramen-nut mixture with a set of salad tongs, and mix the dressing into it just before serving so it doesn’t get soggy. Root Veggie Chips Take a quick jaunt over to Amy’s Cooking Adventures for an incredible tutorial on how to make perfect root vegetable chips . These are great alternatives to chips for scooping up your favorite dips, and if you use veggies like watermelon radish, heirloom carrots, and a bunch of different beets, you’ll have a veritable rainbow of snacks to nibble. I like to spice mine up with cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and onion salt, but they’re delightful plain as well. Stems and Roots Slaw You can use whatever root vegetables you have in the house for this, and adapt it to your own tastes. I like to add in grated apple on occasion, or switch out the lemon juice with orange instead. Sometimes I’ll even throw in toasted nuts and dried cranberries. Be creative! 2 carrots (different colors, if available), julienned 1 bulb fennel, shredded 2 radishes (if you can get 2 different colors, all the better), grated or julienned 1 golden beet, grated 2 broccoli stems, peeled and julienned 1/2 small celeriac root , peeled and julienned 1/2 red onion, peeled and sliced thinly 1 cup plain yogurt (dairy or soy) 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon lemon juice Salt and pepper Combine all the shredded vegetables into a large bowl. Blend the yogurt , lemon juice, and mustard together and pour over the vegetables, tossing the lot to combine it. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes Now, this isn’t so much a recipe as a basic idea that you can add to with whatever suits your own whims. I usually use one sweet potato per person eating, and fill with a variety of different bits, depending on what I have in the house. Preheat your oven to 400 F. Poke a few holes in your sweet potatoes , and bake for 1 hour or until soft and tender. You can also cook your potatoes in the microwave for 10 to 15 minutes or until soft, but since I haven’t had a microwave in over a decade, I can’t vouch for this method. When the sweet potatoes are cooked,  slice a piece off the top lengthwise, and scoop out the flesh so you have a nice big bowl to fill up. At this point, I generally use a bit of what I’ve scooped out as part of the filling that’ll go back in (the rest goes into soups and such). I like to create a spicy, smoky black bean veggie chili, into which I pop some of the sweet potato and a bit of cooked quinoa. That gets ladled into the potato shells, topped with cubed avocado, corn salsa, and a dollop of plain yogurt. Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup This is a great warming dish for a chilly day, and it’s packed with iron and protein. 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup yellow onion, diced 4 large garlic cloves, chopped coarsely 4 cups vegetable or onion broth/stock 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped finely 4 cups chopped kale 1 large can Italian-style diced tomatoes 1 tablespoon tomato paste Salt, pepper 2 large carrots, peeled and diced 1 large can of white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (use white kidney beans if cannellinis aren’t available) Sautee the onion in the olive oil until it softens, and then add in the garlic. Cook for an additional minute or so, but don’t allow the garlic to brown. All all remaining ingredients except the beans, cover with a lid, and cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Add in the beans, stir thoroughly, and season with the salt and pepper to taste. I generally deglaze the onions with a bit of wine before adding in the veggies, and I tend to add a kick of spice with some cayenne pepper and smoked paprika, but do what you like to make this soup your own. Squash and Winter Greens Salad I don’t have a recipe for this per se, as it depends on many variables, so feel free to adapt it however you like. To make this, I grab an acorn or delicata squash, slice it into half-moons, remove the peel, drizzle it with olive oil and salt, and roast it at 425 F for about 20 minutes, or until it’s browning and fork-tender. Set that aside to cool. In a large bowl, mix together whichever winter greens you like best (I like spinach, sliced endives, and arugula that I’ve grown on my windowsill, but massaged kale works well too), nuts of your choice (try sunflower seeds or walnut pieces), and any other produce you think would work well in here. I’m fond of adding sliced of pears, but if you prefer a salad that’s less sweet, you can use halved cooked fingerling potatoes, shredded beets, etc. For the dressing, whisk together a simple vinaigrette with a couple of tablespoons each of lemon juice and vinegar, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup. Toss the greens together and top with the squash. If you’re not vegan, feel free to add some crumbled feta or chèvre on top for a lovely, creamy note. Roasted Purple Potato and Beet Tarte Tatin This gorgeous, gluten-free dish is as delicious as it is colorful. It’s perfect for a special occasion brunch, or even a light supper with a side salad and bowl of soup. The recipe can be found on the Canelle etVanille website, and is absolutely worth trying out as soon as you can. Sweet and Sour Cauliflower Say that out loud a couple of times and just try to stop yourself from smiling. This is fabulous with rice, or even on its own as an appetizer or light lunch. 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal 2 tablespoons water 1/3 cup water 1/3 cup corn starch 1/4 cup flour 1 teaspoon oil Oil for frying Mix all of the ingredients together and let sit for a few minutes to form a batter. Its consistency should be that of a thick pancake batter, but if you feel that it’s too gummy, add a bit more water. Heat approximately 1/2 a cup of oil in a large skillet until it spits when a water droplet is flicked at it. Dip each cauliflower floret into to batter, and then fry in the oil until browned and crispy. Drain on some paper towels or newspaper. For the sauce: 4 garlic cloves, minced 5 or 6 green onions, sliced thinly 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 tablespoon sesame oil 2 tablespoons of soy sauce or tamari 2 tablespoons white or rice vinegar The zest and juice of 1 orange 1/4 teaspoon brown sugar 1 teaspoon corn starch Saute garlic in a bit of oil for a minute or so, then add the green onions, and both the orange zest and juice. Cook for another minute or so, and then add in the rest of the ingredients. Whisk this together as it comes to a boil, and then remove it from the heat. Toss your cauliflower nuggets into this sauce, ensure that they’re coated well, and then serve immediately. Perfect Brussels Sprouts Most people cringe at the thought of eating these mini brassicas, but they’re one of my all-time favourite veggies. The key is to roast them in order to bring out their natural sweetness. 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon black pepper Preheat your oven to 400 F. Use a sharp knife to cut the stem ends off the Brussels sprouts, and be sure to remove any loose or yellowed outer leaves. Cut the larger sprouts in half lengthwise, and then toss the lot in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Pour these into a shallow baking dish or baking pan and roast for about 40 minutes, until the outsides are crunchy and the insides are slurpy-soft. Sprinkle with a bit more salt (if desired) and serve hot. Pear, Fig, and Goat Cheese Pizza A vegan version of this can be created by using a sour cashew “cheese” in lieu of chèvre.   1 lb pizza dough 1/4 to 1/3 cup fig jam 1 large bosc pear, sliced thinly 1/3 cup goat cheese (soft chevre), or soft cashew cheese Additional cheese (dairy or vegan) of your choice. (I like to dot this pizza with bits of gorgonzola, but it’s also lovely with fontina, gruyere, or even mozzarella Daiya shreds) Slices of prosciutto (if you eat meat and happen to like it) Preheat oven to 450 F. Oil a round cookie sheet, and then place a couple of pieces of parchment onto it. Oil that too. Soften the fig jam by placing the jar in warm water for 5-10 minutes, and then spread the jam over the crust, leaving a 1-inch border, since it’ll ooze as it warms up. Top with pear slices, and crumble the goat cheese around fairly evenly. If you’re using prosciutto, now’s the time to lay it on, and then sprinkle with any remaining cheese, if desired. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges of the crust are brown, and the cheese is bubbly. Shake the pizza free from the sheet onto a wire cooling rack, let it sit until it’s less likely to burn your face off from the inside, then place upon a large cutting board, slice up, and serve. All images via  Shutterstock

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10 Unexpected new recipes that feature delicious winter vegetables

10 Vegetables to Plant Now for a Bountiful Spring Harvest

October 17, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of 10 Vegetables to Plant Now for a Bountiful Spring Harvest Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: artichokes , asparagus , beetroot , broad beans , broccoli , cabbage , carrots , cauliflower , cold frames , collards , daikon radish , Egyptian onions , fall planting , Gardening , kale , leafy greens , lettuce , map , onions , overwinter vegetables , peas , plant hardiness zone , poly house , pre-seeding crops , scallions , shallots , spring , vegetable gardening , vegetables for spring harvest , winter

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10 Vegetables to Plant Now for a Bountiful Spring Harvest

10 Unexpected New Recipes That Feature Yummy Winter Vegetables

November 6, 2013 by  
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For many people, the idea of eating seasonally is a brilliant idea. That is until the colder months roll along. After all, there’s a spectacular amount of produce available to be played with from early spring to mid autumn, but once Halloween passes, the culinary palette seems to be comprised of a few scant offerings. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Root vegetables, brassicas, winter greens, and hard-fleshed fruit can be fabulous when paired the right way. Below are a few ideas for using seasonal produce to its greatest potential. Read the rest of 10 Unexpected New Recipes That Feature Yummy Winter Vegetables Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: autumn , autumn vegetables , beans , beets , carrots , eating seasonally , eating with the seasons , fall , fall cooking , fall vegetables , kale , parsnip , roots , salads , soup , squash , vegan , vegetables , vegetarian , veggies , winter        

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10 Unexpected New Recipes That Feature Yummy Winter Vegetables

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