Christmas 2014

This year Santa was a bit of a douche, what I woke up to Christmas morning was a horrible case of pinkeye. Oh and its not any better today, it looks like I was punched in the face, but a swollen eye is no reason to get upset.  Christmas was to wonderful for that.

Christmas eve we ate edamame and tofu chowmein. Christmas was a wonderful time of watching a lot of Christmas movies, taking photos of Belphie with his Santa hat (he loved his hat), pretending to be reindeer and eating the most delicious sweet potato dauphinoise. This is Christmas in photos.

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^^ aint no mess like a Christmas mess.

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^^ First attempt at our Christmas photo. I couldn’t stop laughing.

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^^ Oh lamingtons how I miss you.

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^^ Yum.

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^^ Things started getting silly.

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^^ cuties.

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^^ Green tea time!

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^^ Homemade Tofu chowmein

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^^ So what’s up with Christmas crackers? why do they think all I wanted for Christmas was a measuring tape and a pencil sharpener?

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^^ Vegan Stollen.

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^^ love notes. ( that’s Carls hand)

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^^ Sweet potato bake and roasted vegetables.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas.

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Butternut Cannelloni with Cashew Cream

Hello ūüôā I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas filled with vegan treats and family. ¬†Today I wanted to post a couple of photo’s of my Christmas ( A warm Christmas in Africa) and also share a delicious recipe for Cannelloni. ¬†I don’t like over seasoning the butternut, I like the natural flavor of this squash and you want it so shine through. ¬†This is my go to recipe for a large crowd. ¬†It takes a bit of time, but it is¬†definitely¬†worth it.¬†

BUTTERNUT CANNELLONI WITH CASHEW CREAM–¬†Serves 10

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Ingredients

  • 20 cannelloni noodles¬†
  • 2 large butternuts, Halved and seeded/ Roasted or steamed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp dried sage
  • Drizzle of olive oil (If roasting)
  • 2 -3 cups Store bought pasta sauce or passata¬†

Cashew cream РOPTIONAL

  • 1 Cup raw cashews
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp¬†cornstarch
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

 Preheat oven to 350F.

Place the butternut on a roasting sheet cut side up.

 

¬†Drizzle¬†with olive oil, salt and black pepper. ¬†Roast for 30 minutes or until the butternut is tender. ¬†If you don’t want to roast the butternut feel free to steam. ( leave the oven on)

In a large bowl scoop out the butternut and mash.  Stir in sage and adjust salt and pepper.

Scoop the butternut mash into a ziplock bag with the tip cut off ( you can also use a piping bag).  Fill the cannelloni with the butternut.

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In a large baking dish, cover the bottom with a thin layer of pasta sauce (this prevents sticking).

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 Place all the cannelloni on the baking dish.  Pour the pasta sauce of the cannelloni making sure its completely covered.

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If you’re going to use the cashew cream. ¬†Place all the ingredients for the cashew cream in a blender and blend till smooth. ¬†

Pour the cashew cream over the cannelloni.

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Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for 15 minutes uncovered or until bubbling.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy this with a salad.

Like I promised, some¬†Christmas¬†photo’s ūüôā

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Pedro’s Christmas gifts

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Daisy the dog

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Minx

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Flowers and pretty views

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How was your Christmas?

 

Tomato and Basil Polenta tart

I love creating recipes that everyone can enjoy, even if your a kitchen disaster, student or a food diva. This recipe is a perfect example of that!

This is a simple tart with basic ingredients, but everything works so well together.  This is great either hot or cold.  Serve this for Christmas lunch or for potluck.

 

TOMATO AND BASIL POLENTA TART – one 9 ” tart

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup dry polenta ( cornmeal)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried chives ¬†– optional
  • 1 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 small shallots, cut into rings
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped lenghtwise – optional
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sprinkle cayenne pepper – optional

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. ¬†Grease a 9″ tart pan.

In a small pot bring the water to a simmer.  Slowly add in the polenta, stirring constantly until the polenta is thick about 5 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper and chives.  Pour the polenta into your tart pan and let sit for 5 minutes.

Spread the zucchini, tomatoes, shallots, garlic and basil over the polenta tart, making sure its well covered.  Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.

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Place in the oven and bake for 25 Р30 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let sit for 10 minutes before slicing.  Serve hot or cold.

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DIY Christmas

I’m not a big Christmas fan, don’t get me wrong I love the whole idea of¬†Christmas¬†I just think the message has been lost. ¬†Everywhere I look I see kids throwing tantrums in shopping¬†centers¬† grumpy people shopping and people buying so much food they could feed an army. ¬†Instead of people being grateful for what they have they buy more and more of things they don’t need and in some cases things they will never use. Its the season of endless waste (wrapping paper,¬†serviettes¬† paper plates, food and living trees just getting thrown away after its served its “purpose”), but if all that isn’t enough to make me want to explode the thing that really makes my heart beat a little faster is the gluttony, I see it year after year all the eating, till you can’t eat anymore. ¬†Its enough to drive me crazy, but I do love Christmas. ¬†I love the decorations, giving to people in need ( most years I go for a drive and hand out food to the homeless), giving handmade gifts to family and friends (truffles, cookies and hummus), being able to spend time with family and most importantly, being thankful for the friend and family in my life, they are way more important than any gift I could possibly receive. ¬†

DIY CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS Рbecause Christmas should be about love. 

Pine cone centerpiece

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This is so easy and looks so pretty.  Collect a couple of pine cones and place it in a pretty bowl, you can even spray paint it for a little more color.

Stick Christmas tree

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This is my favorite thing. I just love how simple it looks.

Get a couple of twigs from your garden, place them in a little pot and decorate with a view Christmas decorations. 

Pine Cone Christmas trees

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Place the pine cone in a small pot and cut out a cardboard star to place on the top.  This is a sweet craft idea kids will love to help out with.

That’s just my top tree decoration ideas ūüôā let your¬†imagination¬†go crazy! ¬†And remember try to have a waste free¬†Christmas, use cloth napkins and don’t over do it!

Happy Holidays!