A World of Baked Potato Adventure Awaits!

Usually, when I prepare potatoes I either make oven-baked fries, mashed potatoes, hashbrowns, boil them for potato salad, or serve them baked and topped with steamed veggies & Spicy Vinaigrette Dressing. Oh, and I almost forgot, Thick & Creamy Potato Soup.
However, in catching up on cooking blogs I discovered a treasure trove of potato preparation ideas. A guest poster on HappyHerbivore.com listed a variety of options for your potato eating pleasure. I am especially intrigued by the “hot dog” style potato since I too love the toppings, but (obviously) can live with out the hotdog.
Trying that out is definitely in my future.

C

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31 Days of Menus: Thanksgiving 1

Thanksgiving can seem to be one of the hardest holidays to cook for on a plant based diet. After all, the main feature of the meal is traditionally, a turkey. However, the rest of the meal is quite easy to adapt.

Here are some suggestions for a substantial plant based meal to celebrate your Thanksgiving Holiday.

Bryanna’s Breast of Tofu Slices, this recipe used to be available on her blog, and it may be again (I hope). She is currently revisiting the recipes to make them printable, etc. and I’m hoping that’s why it is not available. (Found the recipe online, complete with a video if you so desire.)
Alternatively, you could use Oven Roasted Tofurky Deli Slices.

Cranberry Sauce (of course)

3 cups cranberries
3/4 cup honey
1 cup water

Simmer honey and water until well combined. Add the cranberries and simmer as the skins pop and the berries soften, about 5 minutes.
Cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.
This is not a really thick sauce, it’s more on the runny side. However, it is delicious!

Stuffing – use any bread based stuffing recipe that doesn’t call for meat and substitute vegetable broth for the stock

Rolls – use this recipe, except up the oil and sweetener for the holidays. Try 1/2 cup oil and 1/4 to 1/3 cup honey or agave.

Tossed salad

Mashed Potatoes (this is a small recipe, you may need to double or triple it)

2 potatoes, in 1″ cubes, skins intact (I prefer Yukon Gold, use 2 large or three smaller potatoes if using this variety)
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
Sea Salt
Pepper

Boil or steam the potatoes until tender, drain and place in a bowl. Beat with a hand mixer adding milk (cooking water or vegetable broth could also be used) as needed. Or use a potato masher. if you go with the blender option, which is what I use, be sure to blend briefly so the potatoes don’t resemble glue when you’re done. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Some olive oil could also be added, or a salt free seasoning mix used.

Gravy – there are a lot of options here, I like the Chicken Style Gravy from Passionate Vegetarian. You could also try, Tammie’s Simple Basic Gravy recipe.

for dessert…

Try This Pumpkin Pie Brownie (scroll down for the link to her Thanksgiving dinner menu/recipes – including this pie).
You could serve it with Coconut Bliss Vanilla as Angela suggests, (and I do love this brand) but if you’re more into ice cream than I am, you might have other favorites.

C

O.K., It took twenty-seven minutes…

but, that did include taking some snazzy photos

Creamy potato soup, coming up

and letting the raw potatoes fall where they may.

Though you’d find the action on the floor interesting, ;-).

Creamy Potato Soup

5 medium/largish Russet potatoes (just regular large, not Idaho large)
1 small sweet potato or 1 large carrot (if using the sweet potato cook it with the Russets)
1/2 onion
1 large clove garlic
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar
2 3/4 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon Mountain Rose Herbs Seasoning Salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (black could work in a pinch)

Start the water boiling, whether you’re steaming or boiling the potatoes (not the 2 3/4 cups, unless you’re planning on using the potato water in the soup- which I often do). Then scrub and chop the potatoes into chunks and add them to your cooking apparatus. Here they are in mine, steaming away:

After starting to cook the potatoes, wash and dice the sweet potato and throw it in too. Or… just chop up the carrot and throw it in the blender along with all of the other ingredients. I use the large capacity container on the blender (this makes about 7 cups of soup).

By this time the potatoes should be soft enough to add them in too. If not, just let them cook for a few more minutes (they don’t need to be well done).

Blend together well. If using a Blendtec the soup button is sufficient and since the potatoes are already hot, no need to worry about additional blend time to heat the soup.

The finished product is quite thick,

so if you’d prefer a thinner soup just add more water.

C

Healthy Halloween Treats

Halloween marks the start of the Holiday season, and as Melissa mentioned in her last post, this can be a difficult time of year to maintain healthy eating habits.
Some fun ideas for special Halloween food include; roasted pumpkin seeds, stew or soup made with black beans and sweet potatoes, or burritos made with the same black bean and sweet potato combination.
Family Fun has several cute ideas including crudites arranged as a skeleton or cat with corresponding dip (the skeleton used a hollowed out cabbage filled with dip for the head), chip dips (guacamole & “Hallow-bean salad” lol – they used orange peppers for this, but I think sweet potatoes might be more popular with children), “Snack O’ Lanterns”, and a melon-brain (definitely nasty looking enough to be popular with a certain age range of boys!).
Also, one of my favorite ideas came out in their magazine years ago, Roasted Ghosts made from mashed potatoes. Of course this recipe needs a bit of fixing to make it dairy free, but not much needs to be changed. Just sub out soy or another (unsweetened) non-dairy milk for the milk called for and leave out the cheese altogether. If you need a slightly creamier texture, used a few Tablespoons of olive oil in place of the cheese.
Tammie over at Simple, Healthy, Tasty also has some fun recipes for this time of year. I’ll be trying out her recipe for Popcorn balls this year. Some of her other recipes that look good to me for Halloween are; Kettle Corn, Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream, More popcorn recipes, and the Pumpkin Cookies.

C