Add a Little Style To Your Holiday Menu, Stuffed Sweet Dumpling Squash

squash christmas dinner 01 Add a Little Style To Your Holiday Menu, Stuffed Sweet Dumpling SquashPhotographer V Blak

Merry merry jolly jolly to you all! Almost time to celebrate. The tree trimming, the lights sparkling, the festive decorations hanging, the fireplaces crackling, the soups simmering, the stews slowly brewing, the spiced apple cider steaming, the rich hot chocolate warming, the bread baking…mmmmmm I could go on and on….love the holiday season. Always have. And I especially love love love to bake, to brew, to stew and to create something new everyday in my warm toasty kitchen.

When I was a vegan (yes, I said ‘was’) I decided to take the 6 month chef’s training program at the Natural Gourmet Cookery School in NYC to learn how to cook vegan style. The focus was on cooking with whole foods and how important it is, especially if you are vegetarian, vegan or RAW to learn about how to eat a balanced diet. For example, when I was RAW for over a year I felt great for awhile but then I became totally imbalanced, tired and even lost my period. I was eating a tremendous amount of dried and fresh fruits or raw desserts to try and gain energy. I later learned it was a sign my body was craving protein. It took me a bit to get over my militant RAW food obsessions and transition out of that diet but when I did, I immediately felt better. I just did. I didn’t want to admit that eating a little organic animal protein balanced me out but it did. And it still does. So now, I like to call myself a Flexatarian — which is roughly translated to mostly vegan sprinkled with raw goat dairy, some organic meats and eggs. But I am getting off on a tangent now, so back to the holiday meal! Jeeezzzzzzz….. :)

One of my teachers at the Natural Gourmet was chef and cookbook author Myra Kornfeld. She wrote one of my favorite vegan cookbooks “The Voluptuous Vegan” A cookbook I always seem to go back to time and time again. I bring Myra and her book up because truth be told, this recipe is heavily inspired by a recipe of hers, which I have made many times over the years, for my family and friends. Not only does it look beautiful but it tastes incredible.

All of your guests (vegan or not) will be unbelievably nourished and satisfied. I am not a fan of serving up a veggie meal ladened with all those fake processed vegan meats. Tempeh is a whole food yes, but tofu is not and who the heck knows what’s in those vegan sausages and that damn Tofurky, right? If ya ask me, it’s a bunch of man made crap that will cause much unfortunate digestive upset… ;)

So….try this recipe out for a delicious whole food holiday meal alternative. Believe me, your vegan, vegetarian, and yes, even carnivore friends will be feeling the delicious holiday spirit and will leave your table very jolly!

squash christmas dinner 05 Add a Little Style To Your Holiday Menu, Stuffed Sweet Dumpling Squash

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Next Year Think About Going Natural: Making Your Own Fruit Christmas Ornaments

citris cranberry christmas orniments 04 Next Year Think About Going Natural: Making Your Own Fruit Christmas OrnamentsPhotographer V Blak

It’s the same story every year. December just seems to creep up on me. What it’s Christmas again? How did that happen and where the hell are all the Christmas lights and ornaments? Yeah, this year, somehow I have lost everything and instead of buying glass ornaments from Target, (made in China of course) we decided to go fruity. Thats right, we reached into the fruit bowl and pulled out a little Christmas cheer.

My special Christmas guest and myself, created our fruity natural theme using Oranges, Limes, a dehydrator and some fresh Cranberries. Think about it, when you slice an orange, the fruit wedges have a glass like look. The light passes right on through. When you hang them on the tree with Christmas lights, the effect is very pretty. We even took the process one step further, by dying the limes in a beet juice soup. We ended up with Orange colored orange slices and red lime slices.

This project was simple and actually a lot more fun than I thought it would be. If you have an oven or a dehydrator, you too can go fruity next year. Here is what we did. (instructions after the jump)

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