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Pumpkin pie is great during the holidays, but often it is made with eggs and cream. I searched online and found three yummy looking, vegan pumpkin desserts.

Photo courtesy of Minimalist Baker Blog

Coconut whipped cream looks delicious

1) Creamy No-bake Pumpkin Pie, topped with a luscious coconut whipped cream: http://minimalistbaker.com/creamy-no-bake-pumpkin-pie/

2) Tofu Pumpkin Pie – made with silken tofu!

3) Easy Pumpkin Mousse

And in case you need added incentive to open a can of pumpkin and make dessert, Huffington Post lists some impressive health benefits of eating pumpkin. Seems that pumpkin is good for your heart, your eyes, your skin, your mood, and more! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/04/pumpkin-health-benefits_n_1936919.html.

So make a guilt-free dessert. Happy holidays!



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Risotto with Brussel Sprouts

Risotto with Brussel Sprouts

The other day, I experimented with ingredients while making a risotto, and it turned out really delicious. I love brussel sprouts and wanted to incorporate them into the risotto. They seemed to pair nicely with the apple and the pistachios.

Risotto makes a delicious vegan main dish. It’s perfect when you want to impress someone (including yourself).

Risotto with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apples and Pistachios

3/4 cup Arborio rice
1 ½ cups roasted brussels sprouts, cut into thirds
½ tart apple, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp. roasted shelled pistachio nuts, halved
2 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth
¾ cup white wine
2 tablespoon fresh rosemary
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp. parsley
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
½ yellow onion, chopped
3 shallots, peeled and chopped
Olive oil

1) Place 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in deep sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and sauté about 5 minutes. Add chopped shallot and sauté another 5 minutes.
2) Add all spices and apples. Saute another 5 minutes.
3) Add rice and ¾ cup vegetable broth. Stir and keep an eye on it until broth absorbed – a few minutes.
4) Add another ¾ cup broth and sauté until broth absorbed.
5) Add ¾ cup white wine and sauté until absorbed.
6) Stir in Brussels sprouts.
7) Add ½ cup vegetable broth and stir until broth absorbed.
8) Stir in pistachio nuts.
Makes 3 main dish servings or 6-7 side servings.

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Pumpkin Pancakes

It’s the time of the year for all things pumpkin!

Almost any baked good–breads, cookies, etc. can be pumpkin-ized by adding canned pumpkin. In addition to being a Fall favorite, pumpkin also contributes to good health. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber, pumpkin is low in fat and high in disease-fighting nutrients. It has Vitamin A (promotes healthy vision and ensures proper immune function)and Alpha-carotene (thought to slow the aging process and also reduce the risk of developing cataracts). The fiber in pumpkin may help to reduce bad cholesterol levels, protect against heart disease and control blood sugar levels, promote good digestion and aide weight loss.

The vitamin C in pumpkin boosts immunity, reduces the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, and regulates cholesterol levels. Pumpkin is also a good source of vitamin E which promotes healthy skin by protecting the body from sun damage and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers.

Pumpkin pancakesThe potassium found in pumpkin aids in balancing fluid levels in the body, promotes strong bones, is necessary for energy production, and helps to control blood pressure. Pumpkin is also rich in magnesium, which aids the body in hundreds of functions, including promoting a healthy immune system, contributing to bone strength, and normalizing heart function. Pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5 is also found in pumpkin. Vitamin B5 help balance hormone levels and manage stress. (Source: http://suite101.com/article/health-benefits-of-pumpkin-a153140).

But in addition to all of these health benefits, pumpkin is delicious! Try these pancakes and you will agree.

Heart-healthy Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes

¾ cup white whole wheat flour
¾ cup HeartSmart Bisquick
1 tbsp. ground flax seed whisked with 4 tbsp. water (egg substitute)
1 ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
¾ cup canned 100% pumpkin
½ tsp. cinnamon (optional) or ¼ cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

1)      Whisk together ground flax seed and water.

2)      Add flour and Bisquick and stir together.

3)      Add remaining ingredients.

4)      Preheat stove to medium-high and cook pancakes on a griddle. Cook evenly on each side.

5)      Serve with syrup, apple sauce or your favorite pancake topping.

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Spinach and Artichoke Dip

If you like making an appetizer and having leftovers, this is not the dip for you. I have made it several times and never once had leftovers. It is that good.

Be the star of your next holiday party by showing up with this yummy hot appetizer.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

(Note: substitute Daiya mozzarella for the cheeses and you’ve made it Vegan).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1 6 oz. bag of baby spinach 1 10-12 oz. can of non-marinated artichoke hearts (very important to use artichoke hearts in water, not the marinated kind)
1 large pinch of grated reduced fat Monteray Jack cheese
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese 1 splash of unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. of Vegenaise or low-fat mayo
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp. minced onion
2 tbsp. Olive oil Salt and pepper

1) Finely chop spinach. Cut artichoke hearts into quarters.

2) Stir together all of the ingredients, except spinach and artichoke hearts, in a large bowl.

3) Add the spinach and artichoke hearts and mix. Use a wooden spoon and stir carefully so you don’t mush up the artichoke hearts.

4) Firmly pack dip mixture into small-to-medium size casserole dish.

5) Cook for 35-45 minutes or until top is bubbly brown.

6) Serve hot with crackers or tortilla chips.

Dip should stay warm for about an hour.

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It was the best of times. You had the day off from work, your daughter was home from college, and the house smelled like apple pie.

It was the worst of times. The new puppy just had an accident in the foyer, your in-laws were coming over in less than an hour, and you forgot to thaw out the Tofurkey roast.

Tofurkey brand roast is delicious, no doubt about it. Sometimes though, you might forget to defrost it. Frozen Tofurkey is like a block of the antarctic. Expect to wait a while to eat. Or maybe you just decided  at the last minute to serve a mock “turkey,” and you need it ready in a hurry.

Which Mock “Turkey” Should You Choose?

For old-fashioned Tofurkey, the way mom used to make it, choose the original Tofurkey roast. It comes stuffed with a bread and rice stuffing. You baste it and slow cook it in the oven for over an hour in a casserole dish with potatoes, carrots and other veggies you choose. The house will smell like Thanksgiving. Tofurkey also sells a “giblet” gravy with its tofurkey.

Tofurkey Dinner

Old-fashioned Tofurkey Dinner

For mock turkey in a hurry, choose the Celebration Field Roast. It’s also filled with stuffing. You can heat it up in the microwave! Ready in minutes.

Field Roast

Sliced Field Roast Dinner

Both brands are Vegan, tasty and make great leftovers.

If you choose to go the Tofurkey Brand route, here is a recipe you might like to try:

Tofurkey with Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Onions and Brussel Sprouts

1 Tofurkey roast, thawed
2 white potatoes, quartered
3 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, cut into 8 pieces
About 10 brussel sprouts, cut in half (optional)
10 halved mushrooms (optional)


½ cup olive oil
3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
4 tsp. ground sage
2 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. parsley
½ tsp. celery seeds or celery salt
½ tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1)    Remove thawed Tofurkey roast from plastic casing.

2)    Grease a large casserole dish with oil or non-stick spray. Set Tofurkey roast in the center of the casserole. Arrange potatoes, carrots and onion around the Tofurkey.

3)    Place baste ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake vigorously. Pour half of the baste over the Tofurkey roast. Drizzle a little olive oil over the vegetables.

4)    Cover with foil or tight fitting lid and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

5)    Toss brussel sprouts with some olive oil. Add them to the casserole dish. Pour remaining baste over the Tofurkey. Cover again and continue baking another 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

6)    If you want to add mushrooms, add them when there are about 10 minutes left in the baking time.

7)    Serve each person a slice of Tofurkey and some veggies. Let’s eat!

 **If you purchased the “giblet” gravy, simply heat it up on the stove. I like to add sliced mushrooms to the Tofurkey “giblet” gravy, turning it into an easy yummy mushroom gravy.

 Note: Tofurkey Roast has stuffing inside already.

This dish serves about 4-5 people. Makes good leftovers, including Tofurkey sandwiches!


If you need additional assistance with making your tofurkey roast, feel free to consult the Vegetarian Light Youtube video: http://youtu.be/_X80FlhA5zA.

Tofurkey website: http://www.tofurkey.com/

Celebration Field Roast Grain Meat Co website: http://www.fieldroast.com/

Follow Vegetarian Light on Facebook: www.facebook.com/vegetarianlight

Happy Thanksgiving and holidays y’all!

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I live in central Virginia, and a lot has been going on recently in the realm of natural disasters. First, we had an earthquake that registered 5.8. The whole building shook. Okay, the damage was just a few pictures knocked askew, but still…we just don’t get earthquakes in this part of the world. It was weird.

We will rebuild

We will rebuild

Okay, we were still talking about the earthquake, and then Hurricane Irene slammed into us. I could actually hear trees falling outside as the wind howled and the rain pelted the roof. I lost power for 7 long days! (Hence the break from blogging).

Storm damage by Hurricane Irene

Storm damage by Hurricane Irene

A week after the hurricane, I left for the sunny Outer Banks of NC!! Central Virginia, however, as well as much of the East coast, got hit with torrential rain for days. As luck would have it, the storm was just west of the Outer Banks and we enjoyed sunny days and moonlight filled evenings. It was awesome!
Sunrise over the Atlantic on the Outer Banks
Sunrise over the Atlantic on the Outer Banks

 So…a lot has been going on, but I’m happy to be back home and looking forward to sharing some of the recipes I’ve enjoyed over the last couple of weeks, including:

  • Pizza on the grill (from the power outage post hurricane days);
  • Authentic Greek salad (prepared by a friend from Greece at the beach); and
  • Vegan deviled eggs (from the Veg potluck I went to last Saturday).

So….just wanted to let everyone know why I haven’t blogged in a couple of weeks. It’s nice to have power and be able to cook again. Recipes on the way soon.

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Looks like a regular watermelon

Looks like a regular watermelon

Today my foster dog Peaches and I took a break from the adoption stand and instead I went to the gym and the local farmer’s market.  I purchased a small watermelon and the guy running the stand “warned” me that it was yellow. Yellow? Really? I decided to take a chance on the yellow watermelon.

I was very pleasantly surprised. It looked and tasted like a regular watermelon, except it was just a tad firmer than a red one and just a little bit less sweet. But it was delicious. I’m not sure where you could find one except from a farmer, but if you ever get the chance, take it.

Since watermelon and tomatoes are in abundance right now, I thought I’d share a recipe that raw foodist Rob Murphy provided at my

Yellow watermelon!

Yellow watermelon!

localveg society meeting last Saturday. I’m not a huge gazpacho fan, but this was really light and tasty. I loved the addition of the watermelon. Perfect Summer food.

Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho

3 cup watermelon, seeded and pureed
1 cup watermelon, seeded, diced small
1 cup tomato, seeded, diced small
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced small
½ cup red bell pepper, diced small
2 tbsp lime juice
1 small handful of parsley leaves
1 tsp. ginger, minced
½ jalapeno, seeded and minced
Salt & pepper to taste

 1)    Combine watermelon, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, lime juice, parsley, ginger, jalapeno, and salt & pepper in a large bowl.

2)    Stir to combine.

3)    Chill for several hours before serving or serve in chilled serving bowls. Serving idea: use a watermelon shell!

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Check out our website for more healthy veg recipes: http://www.vegetarianlight.com

Peaches taking it easy!

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