The anatomy of a Christmas Card, Butternut Squash Dressing, and The Vegan Holiday Kitchen GIVEAWAY!!!

Update:  The Winner is. . ..

My favorite Thanksgiving Dish is my mom’s Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread.  Yummy my taste buds are watering just thinking about it. She has given me her recipe several times over the years but mine never comes out like hers (my kids are quick to point this out to me too).Oh well! I try.

Please contact me in the next 48 hours at nickiwoo.thehomeguru@gmail.com to claim your prize, or another winner will be chosen.

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November 4th, Friday.
6:30pm Family arrives at our second JCPenney of the night (apparently the one closest to our house is too small for Mr. Woo), on the hunt for jeans for the 11 year old. She grew over night and refuses to wear high waters.

Also on the hunt for junior sized Christmas dress for pictures. . . .that will be taken in 3 days.  None spotted. Apparently if you’re 5’1″ and 11, you should be wearing hoochie clothes.

6:35 pm.
Mr. Woo forgot the stroller. He goes to retrieve it from the Yukon. Meanwhile, the girls and I roam around the Christmas section. So pretty. Bella spots a dark brown Santa. Rosy cheeks with a bowl full of jelly. She says, “Now that is the Santa I believe in.” My heart goes pitter patter.


November 5th, Saturday
I remember. I have no clothes. I rush back to JCPenney (they were having a sale and it’s two minutes from my house) and buy two dresses. One very cute, black, and sassy. Very mod. Euro style. Cut above the knee, a little leggy. The other, black but a bit more dazzling and definitely more va-va-voom, but still classy. I try on both for Warwick. He likes the second. I buy the first. He wonders why I even asked his opinion.

November 8th, Tuesday.
2:15 pm. The girls arrive home from school. They are rushed into separate corners, their legs sloshed into tights, bodies adorned with frilly dresses, and bows tied crookedly. All bows and fanciness are removed from the 11 year old because she does not want to look cute or anything remotely resembling her sisters.  We are on schedule. Looks like we may be early.




She grabs a book for the wait.

 



Foreshadowing a Christmas pose. I think so.



3:55 pm We’re late. I’m not sure what happened from here to there, but we are late. We rush out of the car, stampede into the photography salon and announce we have arrived. And not a moment to soon, because the photographer says our appointment is at 4:20. We are 18 minutes early.

4:22 pm
The children are becoming restless. They hate each other and their mother and father. Bella hates her dress. Soledad hates me and my no candy rule. Shelbi hates everything, Warwick may or may not hate my dress, and I hate this feeling that my underwear are up my butt. Oh, and Phoebe hates pictures, as she has told us this 29 times.

6:00pm
It’s over. And the photographer might hate us. We cleaned her out of lollipops and as she was waving and shoving us out the door, sweat was dripping from her brow. Merry Christmas.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I complain. But I shouldn’t. I really do love all the hustle and bustle.
Right now, I’m planning our Thanksgiving menu. Must have all the favorites, and some of the new.

This year, because we’re southerners, we’ll have the traditional cornbread stuffing and dirty rice.  But I always like to add a new flavor, something familiar, but done in a new way. So I just may add

Butternut Squash Whole Wheat, Wild Rice, and Onion Stuffing.
 It is as good as it sounds. I tried it out on Monday with baked chicken. Perfection.

It comes from my new fave Cookbook, Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas.

Beautifully written, it puts into the readers hands,  all MY favorite parts of Thanksgiving, the vegetable loveliness.

I mean  I’m carnivorous and all, but really, there is only so much meat I can eat. The book walks you through over 200 festive recipes for special occasions ranging from Thanksgiving, Christmas, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, Easter, Independence day, summer and all other entertaining. Main Dishes (replacements for meat that aren’t weird), side dishes, soups, desserts, salads, EVERYTHING. And all Vegan.

The dishes are not only for holiday fare, they can easily be used (as most are uncomplicated) in your everyday life. The Hearty Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie is next on my “to make list”.

Anyway, if you’re like me and you want your guests to think you are the best cook in the universe in hopes that they’ll leave tips, give this lovely colored hard-back cookbook a try.

And just because I know you’ll love it.
And really it is time to get ready for the holidays.
And because I think you’re the gravy in my boat. . . . .

I’M GIVING AWAY ONE COPY OF The Vegan Holiday Kitchen, to one lucky reader of my blog.

TO ENTER:
Just answer the following question in the comments section of this post.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving (or holiday) Dish?

THE RULES

One entry per person, please. Or I will get a great big CARNIVOROUS Lion to eat up your Thanksgiving Turkey and see how you like it. I’m not sure that makes any sense, but just know I mean business.

The Vegan Holiday Kitchen GIVEAWAY will end Monday, November 14, 2011 at midnight CST. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, November 15, 2011. Entrants limited to US and Canada. They will be chosen randomly using http://www.random.org/

Good Luck!

Update:  The Winner is. . ..

My favorite Thanksgiving Dish is my mom’s Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread.  Yummy my taste buds are watering just thinking about it. She has given me her recipe several times over the years but mine never comes out like hers (my kids are quick to point this out to me too).Oh well! I try.

Please contact me in the next 48 hours at nickiwoo.thehomeguru@gmail.com to claim your prize, or another winner will be chosen.

Oh. . .and now for the Recipe for your Decipe. I really like this. . .not making sense bit.

Butternut Squash Whole Wheat, Wild Rice, and Onion Stuffing
A few things need to be said here. When I made the recipe, I adapted it to what I had in my kitchen, because I needed to make it for dinner, in like 40 minutes. Please forgive me. But, that being said, the recipe bodes well for adaptions, ease and accessibility. Anyway, I used sweet potatoes instead of squash, therefore it was not presented inside a squash, which damn. would have been pretty.

It still was pretty. Just not as pretty as it could have been. And ummm. . .one more thing. . .I finished it off with a little honey. drizzled on top. it was quite nice. that is all.

Here is the recipe, as printed in the book. enjoy.

Reprinted with permission from Vegan Holiday Kitchen © 2011 by Nava Atlas, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photographs by Susan Voisin

Butternut Squash with Whole Wheat, Wild Rice, and Onion Stuffing
Can be made GLUTEN-FREE by using gluten-free bread
SOY FREE, NUT-FREE
8 SERVINGS
Here’s one of my favorite holiday main dishes, which I adapted slightly from the original recipe in Vegetarian Celebrations. Instead of using dried sage, as in the earlier version, this recipe uses fresh sage leaves (which are so much nicer) plus a few other tweaks for deeper flavor. This satisfying dish makes a handsome centerpiece for a festive meal.
4 medium-small butternut squashes (about 1 pound each)
3/4 cup raw wild rice, rinsed
2 cups prepared vegetable broth, or 2 cups water with 1 vegetable bouillon cube
11/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
21/2 cups firmly packed torn whole wheat bread
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
5 or 6 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
2 to 3 teaspoons all-purpose seasoning blend (see sidebar on page 31), or to taste
1 cup fresh orange juice
1.       Bake the squashes until tender but still firm enough to hold their shape, according to the directions in the sidebar on page 22.
2.       Meanwhile, combine the wild rice with the broth in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, then cover and simmer gently until the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes.
3.       Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
4.       In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked wild rice with the sautéed onion and the remaining ingredients. When the squashes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the pulp, leaving firm shells about 1/2 inch thick. Chop the pulp and stir it into the rice mixture. Stuff the squashes, place in foil-lined baking dishes, and cover.
5.       Before serving, place the squashes in a preheated 350º F oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the squashes, or until fork-tender and well heated through.
VARIATION: To add drama to this presentation, try this recipe with other squash varieties. Hubbard squash, delicata, sweet dumpling, and golden nugget are just a few of the stuffable squashes available.

Disclaimer: I received this cookbook for review because I really love GOOD cookbooks. NO. I mean it. I love them. Sometimes. . .I sleep with them. Anyway. No other compensation was received. And because I really did love the book, and find it useful and beautiful and handy, I wanted to to share it with you. Because I love you too.

Update:  The Winner is. . ..

My favorite Thanksgiving Dish is my mom’s Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread.  Yummy my taste buds are watering just thinking about it. She has given me her recipe several times over the years but mine never comes out like hers (my kids are quick to point this out to me too).Oh well! I try.

Please contact me in the next 48 hours at nickiwoo.thehomeguru@gmail.com to claim your prize, or another winner will be chosen.

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