Holiday Archives | Stephanie Dreyer

Holiday

December 9, 2019
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I’m a huge Trader Joe’s fan. It’s my main store for my weekly shopping because of the abundance of plant-based products it offers, but this time of year, it’s also my go-to for all of its delicious holiday hacks. Their huge selection of meal helpers for making homemade-ish meals is a time saver with all of the holiday cooking and entertaining in my house.

(Homemade-ish a term I coined that means preparing a homemade meal in less than 30 minutes using prepared products from the store, such as sauces, frozen foods, or prepped produce.) During the holidays when we have so much to juggle and cook, I love a little help from the store…and Trader Joe’s is my go-to helper.

While Trader Joe’s offers lots of dinner hacks and meal solutions featuring their spreads, dips and bagged salads, today I’m focusing on the holidays—and specifically, appetizers and desserts! I go big on the meal so that’s where I can use the most help. Check your Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer because they’re always adding new seasonal products that may surprise you and become the inspiration for your next family favorite dish. Below are a few holiday hacks to inspire you!

Trader Joe's Holiday Hacks for Appetizers

Appetizers

Small bites are easy to throw together with everything that TJ’s has to offer. These appetizer ideas are fun and easy.

Holiday Antipasto Wreath or Tree

This was a huge hit with my family last year! Choose from the assortment of marinated vegetables and olives that Trader Joe’s offers and also include raw vegetables, such as sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Secure each bite with a toothpick, arranged in a pattern.

Crispy Vegetable Pouches

Find these in the frozen section and serve with their Carrot Miso Ginger Dressing (found by the salads). I think a bag of Tempura Cauliflower would be a delicious addition to a serving platter with these pouches on them.

Meatless Meatballs with Cranberry Orange Relish

Find the meatballs in the frozen section. Serve with toothpicks for a very simple, yet elegant small bite.

Hold the Corn! Appetizers

These savory cones are the perfect handheld for a cocktail party. Serve with Trader Joe’s Gyoza Dipping Sauce or Soyaki. 

Trader Joe's Holiday Hacks for Cocktails

Beverages

Everyone loves a festive drink for the season. I’m looking forward to one of these!

Winter Wassail

This “punch” blends nicely with red wine and mulled on the stove or mix it with Prosecco for a lively party libation.

Coconut Milk Nog

This nog is the perfect mixer with Kahlua and vodka…for sipping by the fire. 

Trader Joe's Holiday Hacks

Desserts

I’m not a baker so I love to take help from the store when it comes to dessert. These are just a few ideas.

Holiday Cookie Plate

Trader Joe’s offers a variety of vegan cookies (chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip, Peppermint Joe Joes, Speculoos cookies, Soft Baked Snickerdoodles and Brownie Crisps are a few of my favorite plant-based options. For the holidays, TJ’s also has Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies and Scandinavian Tidings candies that would add a festive touch to the cookie plate.

Peppermint Marshmallow Brownies

Add flax eggs and vegan butter to TJ’s Brownie box mix and stir in peppermint marshmallows for a chocolate mint treat.

Peppermint Rice Crispy Treats

Swap the peppermint marshmallows for regular in your favorite rice crispy treat recipe. Cut into squares and dip in melted chocolate (use Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chips).

Do you have a Trader Joe’s holiday hack to share? I’d love to hear it in the comments below.

Want more plant-based meal planning tips? Check out my new Ultimate Guide to Plant-based Meal Planning. 

Trader Joe's Holiday Hacks

 


December 2, 2019
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Hooray for the holidays! Tis the season of eating and drinking. Who else has a few holiday potlucks on the calendar this month? If you need help figuring out what to bring, you’re in the right place! I’ve got a round up of delicious plant-based dishes that everyone will love (omnivores included!).

First things, first: If this is your first season of holiday potlucks as a plant-powered eater, you may have some questions about how to navigate attending a potluck when you’re the only vegan. I’ve been there (and am still there!). These are a few tips that I follow any time I’m going to a potluck:

Eat something before the party.

Give yourself a small bite to tide you over through the party so that if there isn’t much to eat, you won’t be starving until you get home.

Bring a dish you love that you know will satiate you. 

This is your fail safe: you know that if there’s nothing else to eat at the party, you’ll have this one dish! You might even bring two items instead of one. I like to bring an appetizer (something I can graze on throughout the party – like vegetable sticks and a great dip) and a hearty salad.

Stick to “safe” entrees 

Instead of searching down the host or whoever brought each item to check the ingredient list, focus on dishes that are easy to identify (although more power to you if you want to track down and drill the host and guests!).

Holiday potlucks are a great opportunity to share the deliciousness of plant-based food. This is the time to bring your favorite vegan dish and share your love of it with everyone else. Go for it but keep the following guidelines in mind.

The best potluck dishes are ones that:

Taste great at room temperature

Don’t require reheating or keeping hot

Are easy to eat while talking and walking around (while holding a drink in another hand!)

Don’t use obscure ingredients 

Are familiar (Stick to whole plant-based foods and avoid the faux meats and cheeses.)

Travels well (and requires minimal assembly when you arrive at your holiday potluck)

Are visually appealing (Show stoppers are always a win and great conversation starters…”Why yes, I did bring that. Thank you so much…!!”)

Recipes

The following round up of holiday potluck recipes are just a few ideas to inspire you. These are some of my go-to’s.

Quinoa and Chickpea Salad
Photo by Cookie & Kate

Salads

This is a healthy but flavorful choice, and depending on the recipe, can be very filling. It’s a great pick because people are eating so much junk this time of year and appreciate something healthy that is delicious. Let the colors of the season inspire the ingredients you use. Some of my top picks are:

Herbed Chickpea and Quinoa Salad by Cookie & Kate 

Brussels & Pomegranate Salad by Blissful Basil  

Pasta Salad by Well and Full 

Crowd-Pleasing Caesar Salad by Oh She Glows 

Vegan Doughnuts
Photo by Healthy Happy Life

Sweets and Treats

If you’re a sweet person, chances are that the desserts will NOT be vegan so bringing your own is a great choice for you contribution to the holiday potluck. You can’t go wrong with any of these:

Cookies: This chocolate chip cookie gets rave reviews all the time.

Donuts by Healthy Happy Life 

Holiday Bark by Sweet Simple Vegan 

Chicken Shwarma Dip
Photo by Minimalist Baker

Dips

An amazing dip, spread or hummus is a great conversation starter. Serve with tasty dippers for an easy win win. These spreads will get everyone talking:

Mushroom Pate with Crackers by It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

Chickpea Shawarma Dip by Minimalist Baker 

Artichoke Dip by Healthy Happy Life

Tomato and Basil Pinwheels
Photo by Minimalist Baker

Handhelds 

These are great options for that little something you can hold and walk around with as you mingle at your holiday potluck (with cocktail in hand):

Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Pinwheels by Minimalist Baker 

My Vegan Deviled Potatoes 

Garlic Stuffed Olives by The Baking Fairy 

Want more plant-based meal planning tips? Check out my new Ultimate Guide to Plant-based Meal Planning. 

Plant-based meal ideas

 


April 10, 2019
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Easter Meal Planning Guide

I love to entertain and Spring is one of my favorite seasons! I’m Jewish but I converted and my family is Catholic so we celebrate Passover in our home and also Easter at my mom’s home every year. Lots of celebrations in the Dreyer fam!

Passover is one of my favorite holidays. I think of it as a kind of Jewish Thanksgiving! There’s a beautiful seder (a sort of ceremony) that leads the meal and a feast of food. I go all out and wouldn’t have it any other way. But to get it all done, I’ve got to plan in advance. We typically have anywhere between fifteen to forty people at our Passover table each year so organization is key!

When it comes to menu inspiration, I look to my favorite cookbooks, Instagram feeds and Pinterest boards. My menu is 100% plant-based so I look to all of the wonderful seasonal produce that is plentiful in Spring (asparagus and fennel are at the top of my list). A beautiful crudite sculpture always graces the table, along with bright and flavorful salads.

In addition to the menu, I spend lots of time on my tablescape and place settings. It sets the theme for the meal and adds decor to my entertaining space. I love creating my tablescape and spend lots of time selecting all the pieces.

Between the menu and the tablescape, there’s lots to do. If you’re hosting this Passover or Easter, you probably know what I mean! To get my Passover and Easter meal planning done, I put together a plan just like I do for my regular weekly meals.

In my latest video, I share that plan (plus a free Passover and Easter meal planning guide), including:

  • Ingredient and recipe ideas
  • Tablescape and centerpiece inspiration
  • What to do four, three, two and one week(s) before the holiday

Get my free Passover and Easter meal planning guide here:

Easter Meal Planning

Watch the video and comment below with your Passover and Easter meal planning questions or tips!

Easter Meal Planning


December 14, 2018
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Give yourself the gift of ease this Christmas with my list of holiday meal prep tips. I share my favorites along with my prep schedule for the week leading up to the holiday.

Everyone knows that the holidays are as much about the food as the presents. Or is that just me?!!

Seriously, as much as I love to get carried away with the baking and entertaining this season, I’ve been working really hard to give myself the gift of ease this Hanukkah and Christmas. Holiday meal prep is my answer to simplifying things without giving up the indulgent spreads and beautiful meals that I look forward to this time of year.

With a little planning, holiday cooking and entertaining can be easy breezy (with a glass of bubbly in hand!). And this year Christmas Eve is on a Monday, which means we have the weekend to spread out our holiday meal prep. Happy holidays to us!

My regular weekly meal planning routine is in full effect for the week of Christmas, but I’m adding a few extra tips to tackle the additional cooking this time of year.

Holiday Meal Prep Tips:

1. Finalize your for Christmas Eve / Day menu, along with your family’s meal plan for the rest of the week of Christmas

With all the attention to the big day (s), don’t forget about the rest of the week. Or else, instead of sitting in your pajamas with a cuppa cocoa the day after Christmas, you’ll be heading back to the store to figure out what to feed your family the rest of the week! Get it all done at the same time. Print out my free meal planner and plot out the rest of the week. I look at my calendar to get a “lay of the land” of the daily activity and plan meals around meetings, appointments and my kids’ activities accordingly.

2. Do your grocery shopping for the week, not just Christmas day.

When you do your shopping, don’t just stock up for Christmas. Get it all done at once while you’re there. Use the extra time you saved from extra shopping trips to relax on your holiday break!

3. Plan takeout or leftovers into your meal plan the day after Christmas.

Do your future self a favor and take it easy on the meal prep the day after Christmas. You will have earned it after all the shopping, wrapping, entertaining and eating you’ve done earlier in the month!

If you’re hosting your Christmas feast, plan to make a little extra and reinvent the leftovers into a loaf or other savory dish. Otherwise, plan a delicious night of take out to feed the family.

4. Bring one show stopping dish + make the rest homemade-ish

When it comes to your actual Christmas Eve or Day menu, go all out with one show stopper and get a little help with the rest. I’m in charge of snacks this year for Christmas Eve Day so I’m going all out with this appetizer Christmas Tree and making a homemade cheese ball (shaped into presents) to put under it. We do a cold cut and salad spread for the day so I’m ordering vegan meats and cheeses from the Herbivorous Butcher and buying pre-made salads at the store.

How can you scale back some of your holiday dishes or get a little help from the store? For example, there is a Brussels Sprouts Salad I’m making for Christmas. Instead of doing the laborious task of peeling and shredding the Brussels myself, I’ll buy a bag of pre-shredded sprouts from the store.

5. Prep a breakfast casserole for the morning of Christmas

This is a great tip for New Year’s Eve too! No one wants to have to wake up and make breakfast the day after Christmas, when you’ve been up late celebrating. I pay myself forward by making one of my scrambles or breakfast casseroles the night before. All I have to do is reheat it the next morning while my husband pours me a mimosa!

How do you like those holiday meal prep tips?! To see how I put it all together in action, below is my schedule for this week to get it all done.

Thursday night

  • Finalize my holiday menu and make my grocery list for the week.

Friday afternoon

  • Grocery shop.

Sunday (the day before Christmas Eve)

  • Make the cheese presents for my Appetizer Christmas Trees.
  • Make the fillings for Gaby and my won ton entry. (My family has an annual Won Ton “Wars” competition each year-complete with trophies! We order in Chinese takeout for dinner.

Christmas Eve morning

  • Prep a casserole or scramble for Christmas Day.
  • Prep any ingredients for the dishes I’m bringing to my mom’s on Christmas Day, such as salad dressings or sauces. (My parents are divorced so we celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my dad and stepmom, and Christmas day and evening with my mom.)

Christmas Day

  • Spend the day relaxing after Christmas breakfast at my parents’ house. Then, assemble and complete my Christmas Day dishes.

I’m super lucky that I don’t have to host for Christmas Eve and Christmas but I always bring lots of dishes and food to contribute to the feast! How are your prepping for your holiday meals?

Cover Photo by Canva


December 9, 2018

It’s not a party without a cheese platter so I’m showing you my favorites in this vegan holiday cheese guide!

I was a huge cheese eater before going vegan.  As a former vegetarian for five years, I swore I could never go vegan because I could not give up cheese.

Soon thereafter, I learned about the atrocities of dairy farming (organic does not mean humane either, folks) and the realities of forced impregnation and lactation on mommy cows while their babies are stolen from them.  After that, saying goodbye to dairy was easy peasy.  I don’t ever want to be a part of that – no matter how good the cheese tastes.

I made the sacrifice, acknowledging that my snack platters would no longer include cheese. That was until recently, when an abundance of dairy-free artisan cheese options have become widely available at mainstream grocery retailers such as Ralph’s, Vons, Whole Foods, and Lazy Acres.  The demand for delectable, natural vegan cheeses is on the rise and artisan cheesemakers are responding with delicious products.  With this emergence of plant-based cheese options, my only struggle is which one to choose!

Of course, I have my favorites and go-to’s (I love you Miyoko’s Kitchen!) but when it comes to the holidays, I like to mix it up and splurge. In my opinion, the best cheese platters offer variety not only in flavor, but also in texture. You want a balanced combination of soft and hard cheeses with a mix of pungent and mild tastes.

It's not a party in my book without a cheese platter so check out this Vegan Holiday Cheese Guide for some of my favorites for celebrating the season.

A winning spread also needs colors and textures. That’s where crudite and crackers come in. What’s cheese without something to spread it on! I’m partial to veggies over crackers for spreading because it means I can eat more cheese!!

When it comes to selecting which cheese brands and varieties to add to your platter, good luck! With so many to choose from, it’s no easy task. Read on for some of my favorites.

My Vegan Holiday Cheese Guide

Miyoko’s Kitchen 

Hands down, this is the best cheese I have ever had – dairy or not.  Miyoko is constantly evolving it’s offerings, including its latest Roadhouse cheeses.  My favorite varieties include Herbs de Provence Smoked Farmhouse, Sun-dried Tomato, Double Cream Chive, and French Style Winter Truffle. There is literally something for every occasion.

My vegan holiday cheese guide picks:

Smoked Mozzarella: This ball of smoky goodness tastes amazing sliced and layered on mini toasts or vegetables, but for even more holiday fun, melt it like fondue and serve with bread cubes for dipping.

Cheers to Cheddah: This cheese spread makes a great holiday cheese ball. Just scoop it out of the container, mold into a ball and cover it with sliced almonds. Chill until ready to serve.

It's not a party in my book without a cheese platter so check out this Vegan Holiday Cheese Guide for some of my favorites for celebrating the season.

Kite Hill

The almond based creations and spreads from this company can stand alone on any cheese plate, but they also are perfect for sprinkling on salads, pizzas and pastas.

My vegan holiday cheese guide picks:

Chive Cream Cheese Style Spread: This schmear looks and taste decadent in an endive leaf or on a mini toast.

Ricotta: This is SO good. It’s salty and crumbly, pairing perfectly with pomegranates and cranberries in sprinkled in salads or spread on crostini.

Yvonne’s Kitchen

Yvonne is local in the Los Angeles. MilkandEggs.com recently starting selling several of her products (which also include cookies, cheesecake and crackers) but you can also be ordered directly through her website. She offers local delivery to Orange County and Los Angeles

My vegan holiday cheese guide pick:

Goatless Cheese: This cashew-based log is the best dairy-free substitute I’ve tasted for goat cheese. It’s super festive, topped with dried cranberry and dill. Pair with her Superfood Crackers for a delicious addition to your holiday platter.

It's not a party in my book without a cheese platter so check out this Vegan Holiday Cheese Guide for some of my favorites for celebrating the season.

Treeline Cheese

I love each of these soft, French-style nut cheeses. They are creamy and spreadable and make a beautiful display with vegetables and crackers. They also have two aged nut cheeses that are firm and tangy (great for slicing on a cheese board).

My vegan holiday cheese guide picks:

Herb-Garlic French-Style Soft Nut Cheese: This is my favorite of their spreadables. So tangy and scrumptious!

Cracked Pepper Aged Nut Cheese: This is one of their hard cheeses. It makes for a beautiful presentation with herb crackers.

 

Do you have a favorite dairy-free cheese not on this list? I’d love to hear what you’re serving on your holiday platters! Tell me in the comments below.


December 2, 2018

This post contains affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I receive a small commission for purchases made. 

My new children’s book, Not A Purse, is now available on Amazon! Click here to add it to your cart!

It’s the sequel to my first book, Not A Nugget. (Learn more about both books here.)

I have been overwhelmed by all of the love and support I have received for the book. One of the awesome bi-products of the book’s launch has been the opportunity to collaborate with some amazing women and their small businesses to create this Not A Purse Holiday Gift Guide. I love supporting women businesses!

All of the gifts below are inspired by the animal characters in Not A Purse. They are cruelty-free and artisan made with the highest quality and meticulous standards. The women behind these businesses inspire me personally to do what I love so that I can share my gifts with the world, just as they are doing.

Of course I’m biased, but I think one (or more!) of these gifts paired with my new book would make a great gift for the children (and adults!) on your holiday shop list! So join me for a little online shopping tour and browse with me below.

The Not A Purse Holiday Gift Guide

Spirit Animal Bracelets

Spirit Feather

Find something for the young ones (and young at heart) on your gift list this holiday with this Not A Purse Holiday Gift Guide, featuring a range of gifts inspired by my new book, Not A Purse.

Jennifer Toledo is the master artisan behind these beautiful, handmade gemstone healing bracelets. Full disclosure, she also happens to be my twin sister! However, I’m completely unbiased in my endorsement of her jewelry line. (I swear!)

She customizes her creations to help others tap into the healing properties of gemstones and crystals to address issues such as anxiety, chakra balancing, and thyroid health – and even qualities you want to channel more into your life (think happiness, prosperity, wealth and love).

With the launch of Not A Purse, she debuted her Spirit Animal collection. She has introduced a Pig and Elephant bracelet so far. One of the things I love about Jennifer’s jewelry is that each bracelet comes with a card that explains the properties of the gemstone and a description of its healing properties. She packages the bracelets in beautiful cloth poaches with cleansing quartz beads.

In Jennifer’s words, here’s the background on the Pig bracelet:

A pig represents a path of personal growth. It holds the energy of spiritual strength and knowledge. It symbolizes self-esteem, confidence and the ability to overcome fear. This bracelet is made of multi-colored rutilated quartz and pink calcite featuring a silver pig charm.

And here’s a little tidbit about the Elephant bracelet:

An elephant symbolizes inner strength, emotions and the ability to overcome obstacles. It represents communication and determination. This bracelet is made of kunzite, onyx and moonstone featuring a silver elephant charm.

I hope you’ll check out these bracelets and everything else she has to offer at her Etsy shop.

Bath Bombs & Soaps

Ren’s Remedies

Find something for the young ones (and young at heart) on your gift list this holiday with this Not A Purse Holiday Gift Guide, featuring a range of gifts inspired by my new book, Not A Purse.

Ren Ziel has been practicing the art and science of herbal remedies and plant healing for over 20 years, learning alongside her great-grandmother since she was a kid. Ren’s Remedies is her online shop where Herbalism meets every day life!

Her unique, quality and effective herbal products help you live your healthiest life. All of her herbal products are made with a “higher conscious” using organic, natural, fair trade, sustainable, palm oil free, cruelty free, non-gmo, vegan, vegan friendly, eco-friendly and locally sourced ingredients.

In addition to the herbal side of her biz, she’s got a full line of inspired bath and beauty products and candles in a range of themes, including Disney, Harry Potter and Broadway musicals.

I partnered with Ren to create a batch of bath bombs and soaps featuring some of the characters in Not A Purse. They smell delicious and are so cute that I can’t bear to bathe with them yet!!

Check them out at her Etsy shop!

Recycled Metals Jewelry

Christy Robinson

Find something for the young ones (and young at heart) on your gift list this holiday with this Not A Purse Holiday Gift Guide, featuring a range of gifts inspired by my new book, Not A Purse.

Christy has been making jewelry for 26 years and has been an ethical vegan for 20! I adore her jewelry designs that are essentially conversation starters for human, animal, and environmental issues.

All of the materials in her designs are earth friendly recycled metals, such as aluminum, sterling silver, PMC (precious metal clay), copper, Lab-Grown stones and ethically sourced beads and fair trade findings. She’s also eco conscious about her packaging and encourages zero waste living with materials that can be reused or repurposed, including muslin jewelry bags, paper gift boxes, and recipe cards.

She’s got it all in her line: necklaces, bracelets, rings, keychains, charms and more! Her animal and vegan collections are my favorite. (No surprise there!). I love my Not A Nugget chick bangle!!

For Not A Purse, she created a special bangle featuring several of the characters from my book. Custom order your own and check out her other products at her website or Etsy shop.

Luxurious High Fashion Vegan Handbags

GUNAS

Find something for the young ones (and young at heart) on your gift list this holiday with this Not A Purse Holiday Gift Guide, featuring a range of gifts inspired by my new book, Not A Purse.

Founder, Sugandh G. Agrawal is the award-winning designer behind GUNAS, an independent high fashion label with a cause! GUNAS was the first high fashion vegan handbag I ever owned and it still remains one of my favorites today. (The Kangaroo Saffiano in green is one of my go-to handbags in my collection.)

Find something for the young ones (and young at heart) on your gift list this holiday with this Not A Purse Holiday Gift Guide, featuring a range of gifts inspired by my new book, Not A Purse.

The handbags in Sugandh’s line are luxurious, fun and stylish. The colors and designs are inspired and unique. Each bag is a statement piece!

I’m grateful for Sugandh’s support over the years, including with my first book, Not A Nugget. I’m collaborating with her again for Not A Purse, on a special holiday giveaway! Follow her on Instagram to get the details when they are announced and shop the entire GUNAS collection at her website.

I hope you’ll check out these fab woman-owned small businesses and find something special for your holiday gift giving and beyond this year! Happy shopping!!

 


November 18, 2018
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Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Ever since I was a kid, I loved the “production” of it all: the special occasion dresses my twin sister and I were given to wear; the beautiful, huge table decorated to the nines; and of course, the food. So. Much. Food. And it wasn’t just the eating of the food that day. It was the days of prep before. My mom’s homemade pies were an event in themselves. I couldn’t wait until I was an adult and could host Thanksgiving for my family.

With three sets of parents to rotate amongst each year, I haven’t had the opportunity to host my own Thanksgiving but I typically make almost the entire meal (if not all of it) every year. Part of it is my type A, need to control the menu personality. (Yes, guilty as charged.) Plus, I love to cook. It wouldn’t feel like a holiday to me if I wasn’t in my happy place, cooking in the kitchen with Maroon 5 playing in the background and a glass of wine alongside me. I truly get so much joy from preparing all the dishes I contribute to the festive meal. However, there’s another part: I have a non vegan family. Not just in my immediate family, but also in my extended family.

So, I take charge of the menu and make sure that there is lots of food for me (and my vegetarian daughter, Gaby) to eat. So, what does this vegan feed her non vegan family for Thanksgiving?

The Main Affair

Since we always have Thanksgiving at a non vegan household, someone else always makes a turkey. (Side note: Team Dreyer adopts a turkey each year from Farm Sanctuary. This year, we adopted Spunky. You can adopt one too here.) I have served a couple of different vegan options for me and Gaby over the years. (This will be her third Thanksgiving as a vegetarian. She made that choice on her own, without any pressure from moi and I’m so proud of her.) There are three un-turkeys that you can’t go wrong with: The FieldRoast Celebration Roast, a Tofurky, or Trader Joe’s Turkey-less Stuffed Roast. I make my own gravy (and stuffing) and it’s heaven.

I have also served Gardein’s Turkey Cutlets with my gravy and they hit the spot. Gardein also has a Savory Stuffed Turk’y and Holiday Roast that I have never tried. Lots to choose from!

 

Some other options include my Sourdough Stuffing Vegan Meatloaf and Three Layer Vegan Holiday Meatloaf, both featuring Beyond Meat. These are hit with non vegans too and they feature some of the sides also on the Thanksgiving Table.

The Sides

Mashed Potatoes

What’s Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes? My recipe is free of dairy but full of flavor and my non vegan family enjoys them just as much!

Wondering what I cook my non vegan family for Thanksgiving? From the main event and pies, to everything in between, read on for my Thanksgiving menu.

Stuffing

My mom made a traditional stuffing with celery, carrot, onions and raisins my whole life. Now that I get to make what I want, I go sourdough all the way and I ditched the raisins. This. Is. So. Good.

I have changed it up in the past and made a vegan cornbread and used Lightlife’s Fakin’ Bacon for a vegan bacon cornbread stuffing that was amazing, if I do say so myself!

Mac ‘n Cheese

I added this side to my table last year. I think my craving came about as an excuse to eat all of the gluttonous foods I deprive myself of the rest of the year! Because I was cooking so many other things, I went with Daiya’s box mix and it was amazing!

This year, I’m making this recipe from Pamela Salzman. I’m making it my own by adding a mixture of nutritional yeast and Panko breadcrumb on top.

The Veg

Everyone has their favorites, but my family seems to gravitate to Brussels sprouts and green beans.

Brussels Sprouts

My husband always wants Brussels sprouts. My daughter, Alex loves this salad so I can please both of them with this one dish!

Sometimes, I’ll purchase the shredded Brussels sprouts from Trader Joes, toss them with a lemon-dijon mustard vinaigrette and top with avocado.

Another easy and flavorful way to serve them: Halve Brussels and spread on a baking sheet. Toss with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 35o degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and place in a serving bowl with pomegranate seeds and roasted hazelnuts.

Wondering what I cook my non vegan family for Thanksgiving? From the main event and pies, to everything in between, read on for my Thanksgiving menu.

Green Beans

My easy, go-to recipe for green beans is to blanch them for 3 minutes and then transfer them to a saute pan with several tablespoons of Earth Balance butter and thinly sliced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Done and delicious!

This year, I’m making a Winter Chopped Salad: greens, fennel, beets, celery, walnuts and Kite Hill almond ricotta cheese. If it’s a hit, I’ll post it on my website! 🙂

Rolls

Maybe we should call Thanksgiving “Carbsgiving”! I keep things simple with the crescent rolls from Trader Joe’s. They are delicious as is, with just a touch of Miyoko’s European Style Butter or Earth Balance, but I get a little fancy for Thanksgiving. I roll each piece of dough into rosettes and place them together on a cookie sheet before brushing them with melted Earth Balance. Once they are baked, you have a beautiful presentation that everyone can just pull apart and eat.

The Pies

I’m not a baker. But, I challenge myself for Thanksgiving. I was never a fan of pumpkin pie but this Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Hint of Chocolate by Nava Atlas is EVERYTHING. I’ve made it every year for at least the last 5 years. I use a frozen vegan pie crust from Whole Foods to simplify things.

For other pie options, check out my Pies Pinterest board.

I top both of them with So Delicious Coco Whip. It’s kind of a must.

That’s what I feed my non vegan family for Thanksgiving! And although I’m all about the food, I look forward most to the moments when we are all around the table together sharing what we are most grateful for each year (but it wouldn’t be possible without all that great food – hahaha).

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!


December 11, 2017
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As a Jewish convert, I always go big for Hanukkah because I was raised with Christmas and have an innate enthusiasm for the holiday season!! In my household, that means lots of glittery blue and silver decorations, 8 presents (1 for each night), and a different evening celebration where we light the menorah. Eight crazy nights means lots and lots of latkes!

If you are new to latkes, allow me to introduce you…they are delicious, fried potato pancakes traditionally served with applesauce and sour cream. I make a huge batch the weekend before Hanukkah and freeze them to eat all week long.

You can make traditional latkes or mix things up with sweet potato latkes. I have even seen beet and Brussels sprouts latkes!

They taste amazing plain and simple with a dollop of dairy-free sour cream (or applesauce if you prefer), there are so many other delicious ways to eat latkes. After many years and latke competitions (yes, that’s a thing with my Jew crew!), my latke game is strong!

Below are some of my favorite ways to eat latkes!

1. Dairy-Free Latke Grilled Cheese

Ummm….yum! Potatoes and cheese are a match made in tummy heaven. After you fry the latkes, top with a square or two of your favorite cheese or a tablespoon of your favorite vegan cheese spread. Sandwich together with a latke on top.

2. Chip and Dip Latkes

This is one of my favorite latke recipes. (I don’t want to brag, but they might have won me a trophy during one of our annual latke competitions.) Pair latkes with your favorite dip and you’ve got a tasty snack!

3. Bagel Latke

Switch out your bagel for a latke and you’ve got a lagel! Spread dairy-free cream cheese (my fave is Kite Hill chive), top with a tomato slice, capers, and my new favorite spread: Miyoko’s Kitchen Unlox Your Dreams. Oy, that sounds delicious!

4. Latke Nachos

This recipe has it all: dairy-free nacho “cheese” sauce, lime crema, and avocado…you may never have nachos without latkes again!

5. Breakfast Sandwich

Latkes are basically hashbrowns, so why not top your English muffin with a latke and a few spoonfuls of tofu scramble for a delicious way to start the day?

6. Taco Latkes

This is the perfect meal on Taco Tuesday during Hanukkah. Treat your latke like a tostada and top it with your favorite taco fixings. Delicioso!

7. Fish & Chip Latkes

Cook up some Gardein fishless fillets, slice and add a dollop of Follow Your Heart’s tartar sauce. These are kid approved but adults will love them too!

8. DIY Mediterranean Latke Bar

Create a stress-free buffet for your next Hanukkah party. Set out platters of different types of latkes, along with assorted Greek dips and toppings: hummus, baba ganoush, tzaziki, tabbouleh and kalamata olives.

If Greek’s not your thing, have fun with other toppings and sauces of your choice. Have fun and enjoy the party while everyone makes their own creations.

9. Pizza Latkes

These are a fun twist on the English Muffin pizzas the kids love to make. Spread a little pizza sauce on top of the latke, sprinkle with dairy-free mozzarella or Parm, and sprinkle with a touch of basil chiffonade.

10. Latke Sliders

These latkes are the bomb and quite possibly one of my favorite ways to eat laktes! A crispy latke topped with a vegan slider made with Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger, topped with a dollop of Follow Your Heart’s Thousand Island Dressing and a Bubbie’s pickle. Perfection!

Who else is eating latkes this week? Tell me your favorite way to eat them in the comments below.


December 4, 2017
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I believe the holidays should be delicious, but not stressful. I enjoy entertaining this time of year, but I keep things simple, especially when it comes to holiday appetizers. With shopping to do, presents to wrap, and parties to host (and attend!), I don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen (or the desire!).

Appetizer buffets are a festive, fuss-free way to celebrate with friends and family. With a few tricks and a little help from the store, you can offer a beautiful spread for your guests and enjoy yourself too! As a Jewish convert, our December calendar is full of Hanukkah and Christmas parties. I host and/or bring dishes to most of them, and it’s usually a holiday appetizer. Even the simplest recipe can look magical and mouthwatering with a few tips, and with all of the eating this time of year, people appreciate small bites that they can graze on instead of a heavy meal. These holiday appetizers are extra special. Dairy-free and vegan, they are healthier options for this time of year.

Entertain with ease with these recipes for beautiful and delicious holiday appetizers. #vegan #dairyfree #holiday #appetizers

Before I show you the recipes, below are three of my biggest tips for creating beautiful holiday appetizers.

Tips for Easy & Elegant Holiday Appetizers

1. Take some help from the store and use pre-prepared ingredients for spreads and doughs
2. Use herbs and fruit for colorful garnishes in the colors of the season
3. Presentation is key! Display on a pretty platter in an eye-pleasing arrangement

Entertain with ease with these recipes for beautiful and delicious holiday appetizers. #vegan #dairyfree #holiday #appetizers

Now, on to the recipes:

Pomegranate Hummus Crostinis

Vegan Brie and Pear Stars of David

Pesto Cream Cheese Crostinis

These are my kind of holiday appetizers.  I want to wow my guests, but as I said above, I really don’t want to slave away this time of year when I entertain.  I want to be enjoying the festivities as much as they are – preferably with a glass of champagne in my hand!  The ingredients for these holiday appetizers are simple and can take some help from the store with store-bought staples, like hummus and cream cheese, but are also easily personalized with your own homemade recipes for spreads. The garnishes, colors, and shapes are all inspired by the holidays so that they mirror the season.

Entertain with ease with these recipes for beautiful and delicious holiday appetizers. #vegan #dairyfree #holiday #appetizers

Easy & Elegant Holiday Appetizers

Ingredients

Pomegranate Hummus Crostinis

  • 1 French baguette thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup hummus
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • Mint leaves optional

Vegan Brie and Pear Stars of David

  • 1 package dairy-free puff pastry such as Aussie's Brand
  • 2 slices Field Roast Chao Original cut into 12 strips
  • 1 pear sliced
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free butter such as Earth Balance (melted)
  • 1/4 cup agave

Pesto Cream Cheese Crostinis

  • 1 French baguette thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free cream cheese such as Kite Hill
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free pesto
  • Arugula leaves

Instructions

Pomegranate Hummus Crostinis

  1. Brush the baguette slices with the olive oil, and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 5-7 minutes.
  2. When crostinis are toasted, spread them with hummus and place a few pomegrante seeds on top.
  3. Garnish with mint leaves, if desired.

Vegan Brie and Pear Stars of David

  1. Thaw the puff pastry and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Use a small Star of David cookie cutter, (or other favorite holiday shape), to cut shapes into the pastry dough sheet.
  3. Top with a thin slice of pear and a Chao Creamy Original cheese slice.
  4. Brush with agave and top with another pastry dough star.
  5. Place on a cookie sheet, brush with dairy-free butter, and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.

Pesto Cream Cheese Crostinis

  1. Brush the baguette slices with the olive oil, and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 5-7 minutes.
  2. When crostinis are toasted, spread them with the cream cheese first, and then the pesto.
  3. Garnish with the arugula.

Entertain with ease with these recipes for beautiful and delicious holiday appetizers. #vegan #dairyfree #holiday #appetizers

What is your favorite easy holiday appetizer?  Please share in the comments below.


October 30, 2017
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Halloween is a favorite holiday for kids of all ages! Although I do enjoy a good costume (and love outfitting my kids), I really enjoy the opportunity to create themed food. That goes for any holiday, but Halloween has so many spook-a-licious options! To prove my point, I have rounded up a few of my favorites below to inspire your Halloween menus this week. With all the candy out there, I focused on healthy dinner and snacks options with a twist. Put several of these together for a Halloween buffet to chill your family to the bone!

1. Vegan Mummy Dogs

Select one of these plant-based Halloween dinner recipes for a spooky holiday meal, or create a boo-licious buffet with several of them together.

These mummy dogs kill me! Mustard eyes? Love them! Get a DIY tutorial from World of Vegan here too.

2. Skull Pizzas

Select one of these plant-based Halloween dinner recipes for a spooky holiday meal, or create a boo-licious buffet with several of them together.

I love everything Fork & Beans serves up for Halloween, especially these skeleton head pizzas. They are also the perfect entree for Dia de los Muertos.

3. Mummy Quesadilla Polenta Bites

Select one of these plant-based Halloween dinner recipes for a spooky holiday meal, or create a boo-licious buffet with several of them together.

These bites from Vegans Don’t Bite are perfect for small hands. They are one of the most creative takes I have seen on the classic quesadilla.

4. Graveyard Taco Cups

Select one of these plant-based Halloween dinner recipes for a spooky holiday meal, or create a boo-licious buffet with several of them together.

I LOVE the presentation of these taco cups. Fork & Beans does it again!!

5. Spooky Black Bean Hummus

Select one of these plant-based Halloween dinner recipes for a spooky holiday meal, or create a boo-licious buffet with several of them together.

This tasty dip from Fat Free Vegan is perfect for the occasion, and would look great next to a skelton face made of crudite.

6. Bloody Falafel Fingers 

Select one of these plant-based Halloween dinner recipes for a spooky holiday meal, or create a boo-licious buffet with several of them together.

Vegan Richa creeps me out with these realistic looking fingers. It’s a deliciously disturbing way to serve one of my favorites – falafel!

7. Lentil Stuffed Jack-o-Lantern Peppers

YumUniverse shows us the spooky side of stuffed peppers (and gives it a yummy lentil filling) in this festive recipe. Older kids will have fun “carving” their peppers!

Select one of these plant-based Halloween dinner recipes for a spooky holiday meal, or create a boo-licious buffet with several of them together.

8. Skull Vegan Pot Pies

I think these spooky pies from Healthy Slow Cooking are incredible. She has a full pie version too, if you are feeding a crowd.

Select one of these plant-based Halloween dinner recipes for a spooky holiday meal, or create a boo-licious buffet with several of them together.

9. Eyeball Pasta

Select one of these plant-based Halloween dinner recipes for a spooky holiday meal, or create a boo-licious buffet with several of them together.

This eye-popping (hee hee) pasta from Spend with Pennies is vegetarian, and can easily be veganized by using a dairy-free cheese.

10. Vegan Mummy English Muffin Pizzas

Select one of these plant-based Halloween dinner recipes for a spooky holiday meal, or create a boo-licious buffet with several of them together.

Pizza gets a fun Halloween makeover from Veggies Save the Day. I love how quick and easy these are – a great option before trick-or-treating.

What are you serving your family for Halloween?

Select one of these plant-based Halloween dinner recipes for a spooky holiday meal, or create a boo-licious buffet with several of them together.


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