Category Archives: entertaining

meatless monday (and meatless thanksgiving) recipes from martha…

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just in time for the holiday, martha stewart has posted 15 delicious ideas for your vegetarian friends and guests. these hearty ideas will not only delight your meatless friends, but are also welcome additions to any thanksgiving celebration.

i chose to showcase the bread pudding because while not a substitute for my mom’s amazing stuffing, it is one of the dishes i miss most at thanksgiving. martha’s combination of leeks, parsnips and parmesan sounds pretty incredible!

and if none of these strike your fancy, meatless mondays has also posted a collection of thanksgiving themed dishes.

happy thanksgiving, everybody!

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meatless monday recipe: pumpkin stuffed with everything…

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so the other day, the irishman was driving in the car, listening to npr. i called him as i left work and he was so excited, “did you just hear that story on “all things considered”? “no, i’m still at work.” “oh my dog, it was a recipe for a pumpkin stuffed with everything! it sounded delicious!” he went on and on, describing dorie greenspan‘s recipe that truly can be adjusted to your dietary loves and limitations – resulting in a perfect holiday centerpiece entrée for vegetarians and carnivores alike. he got to his destination and sent an email to his sister and me with a link to the recipe: pumpkin stuffed with everything good

last year, i posted her recipe for pumpkin packed with bread and cheese – at that time, she called it a “recipe in progress” – well, it looks like she’s perfected her original idea!

the recipe calls for bacon, but at the end of the article, she talks about all the variations you can try:  adding cooked rice instead of the bread makes a risotto-like filling (that’s what i’m going to do), and since the irishman doesn’t like kale or spinach, i’ll have to hold on those until a later date (or once i perfect the technique, i’m sure i could do mini versions with squash)…

i’m loving the basic idea of this recipe – it seems like another perfect vehicle (like pizza) to let your mind and your pantry wander…crumbling some organic soy sausage? sure, why not! peas, parmigiano-reggiano and onions? yummy! pretty much no matter what you do, this recipe will evoke those sumptuous, comforting fall flavors.

merci, dorie!

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just in time for the holidays! “simple times: crafts for poor people” by amy sedaris…

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after the tremendous success of her brilliant entertaining guide, “i like you:  hospitality under the influence”, amy sedaris is back with her tribute to crafts and crafty people –simple times: crafts for poor people– complete with bonus video on the amazon page!

highlights from her interview in this morning’s l.a. times (besides the pearl of wisdom, “just figure it out or eyeball it”)…

on the creative process of writing a book:

Why did you decide to break it down into chapters such as “Craft Yourself Homely,” “Shut-Ins” and “Knowing Your Knack for Knickknacks”?

First, I thought I’d break it into seasons, then months, then I came up with the idea of crafting with whatever disability you have and the challenges you have to overcome. That turned out to be a big chapter. Then I wanted to get into nature crafts. I woke up one morning and thought, “I want to do crafting for Jesus because I love Bible crafts.” I started thinking like that, and then I stopped thinking when I had all the chapters.

on her history with crafts, selling potholders and receiving gifts:

Did you grow up making crafts, and do you make any now?

I made ashtrays in first grade, and we did lots of crafts in Girl Scouts and Junior Achievement. I made jewelry and those tissue flowers. I was a Girl Scout through my senior year in high school. I’d wear my uniform to school.

If I do a book signing, I’ll sell things I made. It takes me 20 minutes to make a potholder, and I’ve sold them for $5. This time I’ll sell them for $10 because it’ll come with a tag and I’ll sign it. It’s a lot of work.

I know I’m going to get crafts from people on this book tour like little knitted things. I usually spend time destroying them. I know that sounds awful, but I’ll rip them up and put them in different trash cans. I have to get rid of them.

and finally, what’s next?

What do you think you’ll tackle in your next book?

I think it’ll be something with interiors. I really love working with miniatures, so I might want to expand on that. You have to recuperate after writing a book, and I don’t have anything lined up. I feel so free and open to ideas, and I get inspired by everything. I love this feeling.

But it’s hard when someone says, “Let’s do a craft together,” because I hate crafts now. Everything’s in storage and I don’t want to have anything to do with them.

expect to see a lot of crappy crafty crafts in your xmas stocking this year! or a perusaltron (if i can afford it)…

“simple times: crafts for poor people” – on sale november 2nd!

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101 quick and easy recipes from mark bittman…

now that i’ve quit my job, this blog needs to get back in action! later today, i will post my meatless monday recipe for the week but i couldn’t pass up sharing this fantastic article from mark bittman in the new york times.

101 easy peasy recipes/ideas to have a tasty meal on the table in minutes! like i said, this is not a veggie-centric post, but if you bookmark the article (as i did), you will have loads of ideas at your fingertips…i’ve got my eye on #19 and #34…

bon appetit!

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meatless monday recipe…wine?

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cruising the internets yesterday, i came across this series of reviews of trader joe’s from – for most, these posts would be confirmation of all that is the glorious, salivating foodie adventure that is trader joe’s. but for me, it was this one sentence from the review posted by (a pretty fab vegan blog) that stopped me in my tracks:

They also sell their famously inexpensive Charles Shaw wine, a.k.a. “Two Buck Chuck” – which, obviously, goes for $2/bottle (in doing a little research on the internet I am seeing conflicting information about whether or not their Two Buck Chuck is vegan-friendly, however – some wineries use animal products in the filtration process).

now a serious, vegetarian, wine drinker has to say to herself, “huh? animal products?!?”

so i posted to facebook and twitter and asked for some help on this most pressing issue (and i’m not even joking) because i’m not kidding around when it comes to wine. i do not want some foreign animal matter swirling around in my glass. the odd thing is, i have never gotten sick off of wine – i’ve been a vegetarian for quite some time now and am pretty sensitive to cross contamination or when dishes are not 100% vegetarian.  i’ve actually had chefs come and apologize to me in restaurants because a dish was prepared with chicken broth and my sweaty, tummy-aching presence obviously sensed something was wrong.

but wine? mon dieu!

in response to my panicked query, my good friend arminda sent me to these two posts – one from diary of a nutritionist and the second from wise geek. basically, to remove proteins, yeast, and other organic particles, wineries use something called a fining agent. it is added to the top of the wine vat and as it sinks down, these elements adhere to it and help to filter the wine. i am in quite a quandry about this – i actually don’t eat altoids or anything else with gelatin in it because it is made from animal bones. i wonder why i’ve never had a bad reaction to wine (only to bad wines)? should i still be concerned? it’s a lot to ponder…and what exactly are we talking about?

this explanation from

Fining can take on a whole new meaning if you are a vegetarian or a vegan. Many of the fining agents used are animal products. These animal products include albumen, casein, gelatin, and isinglass.

Albumen, which is produced from egg whites, is the most common fining agent. Egg whites are typically used in fining red wines. Wines fined with egg whites are acceptable to vegetarians but not vegans.

Casein is a milk protein. Casein is also more commonly used in red wines. For someone with a severe milk allergy, it is wise to inquire if the wine they are drinking was fined with casein.

Gelatin is an animal protein from the skin and connective tissue of pigs and cows. Gelatin may be used in the fining process of either red or white wines.

Isinglass (also called fish glue) is made from the bladder of the sturgeon fish. Like the other agents, this works like a magnet, attracting the impurities and carrying them to the bottom of the barrel or tank, producing a clean wine. Isinglass is found in many German white wines.

barnivore and vegan frommars have posted a list of vegan and non-vegan wines. they also suggest that you contact the winery directly to find out about their fining process. many of the blogs i came across in my research touted frey organic wines as a terrific vegan option. all i know, is i have a good deal of tasty research ahead of me!


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keeping our pets safe for the holidays…

just like thanksgiving, the upcoming holidays are bringing so much joy and cheer (and people and food) into our homes. so, please take a quick look at this list that petfinder has posted of all the holiday hazards that may make little fido or fluffy’s celebrations not so merry…


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safe thanksgiving tips for our four legged friends…

tomorrow will be a day of friends, family and food. and while you are cooking and putting all your finishing touches on the festivities, please keep in mind these simple tips to ensure a safe thanksgiving for your furry family members – a great list from the aspca and this quick list from petfinder of foods your dog should avoid:

  • alcohol
  • avocados
  • chocolate (all types)
  • coffee (all forms)
  • garlic
  • grapes and raisins
  • macadamia nuts
  • moldy or spoiled foods
  • onions or onion powder
  • salt
  • yeast dough
  • xylitol (sweetener)

for our dogs, a stuffed Kong toy will provide hours of entertainment and distraction from all those smells and sounds and activity that surely will be filling our house tomorrow.

happy thanksgiving!

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