Thursday, November 22, 2012

Holiday Dinner Loaf

Here's a recipe that I have adapted to gluten-free. It's festive and delicious! Although it 
might look complicated, it really is not. Adaptations are listed below the recipe. Enjoy! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tofu Roll:

2 lbs (900 g) firm tofu, not silken
4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) cornstarch
2 Tbsp (6 tsp) nutritional yeast
2 tsp powdered agar
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

3 1/2 cups 'Herbed Stuffing' (recipe to follow)

You'll also need: parchment paper, plastic wrap, and aluminum foil.

1. In a food processor, puree all roll ingredients, stopping to scrape down the
sides, as necessary. Mixture will be fairly stiff; don't add liquid. Preheat
oven to 350 degrees F (175 C).

2. On a work surface, lay down two 16-inch (40 cm) long pieces of plastic wrap,
over-lapping them about 2 inches (5 cm), lengthwise. Spoon tofu mixture onto
plastic wrap and spread out into an 8 x 12-inch rectangle, about 1/2 inch
(1.25 cm) thick. Make sure thickness is even all around.

3. Lay a third sheet of plastic wrap on a work surface, and on it mound the
stuffing, forming it into a roll about 11" (28 cm) long. Carefully transfer
the stuffing roll to the center of the tofu rectangle (eliminating plastic

4. Now is the time to summon an assistant. With one person on each end of the
plastic wrap, bring the two sides together. The tofu will meet over the top
of the stuffing roll, encasing it. Gently press together and smooth out any
places, including ends, that have stuffing showing through; twist and tie
ends with twine to seal.

5. Securely wrap roll in 2 layers of aluminum foil, making sure no plastic is
exposed. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove
from oven, let cool in wrappings, and refrigerate until 1 hour before

6. To serve, carefully remove aluminum foil and plastic. Wrap with fresh foil,
place on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 F (175 C) until heated through,
about 30 minutes. Remove foil and transfer roll to a serving platter.
Decorate as desired. (Nice decorated with portobello mushroom slices and sage
leaves). Serve with mushroom gravy.


Herbed Stuffing (recipe):

1 large onion, diced
1 Tbsp (3 tsp) vegetable oil
3 celery ribs, diced small
1 Tbsp (3 tsp) dried sage
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tsp caraway seeds
5 cups bread cubes (I used gluten-free cornbread, tapioca and rice breads)
1/2 to 3/4 cup vegetable stock (I used water and Chicken-style seasoning)
salt(and pepper)

1. In a large skillet, or Dutch oven over medium heat, saute onion in oil,
stirring frequently, until golden, about 15 minutes.

2. Stir in celery, sage, rosemary, and caraway seeds and continue cooking for
about 2 minutes.

3. Add bread cubes and toss to combine.

4. Turn off heat and slowly add vegetable stock, tossing to combine, until
mixture is moistened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


*** Generally I don't use plastic wrap in baking, nor do I allow aluminum foil
to come into contact with food. I decided to follow the instructions given, but
to add several layers of parchment paper between the food and the plastic wrap.
I'm not sure this really protected us from the dangers of baked plastic, but I
decided it was "once a year" and we would probably be okay.

*** Next time I will add more flavoring to the tofu mixture. It was a bit bland
(although we did not serve it with gravy, which would help). The flavor and
texture was great, but I think it needed more onion powder, garlic powder, and
some Bragg's Liquid Aminos. We don't use pepper either, so omitted it from the

*** The stuffing was delicious, but it didn't stick together enough to satisfy
me. I think gluten bread crumbs become doughier. Next time I'll add either a
flax gel or tapioca/potato starch to the stuffing. The stuffing recipe contains
a bit more than the tofu mixture may with to leave about 1/2 cup of
the stuffing mixture out of the filling.

*** The end result is beautiful! This makes a rolled "log" of "skin" that looks
like a regular vegetarian roast. When sliced it makes beautiful rings of shell
and stuffing inside. I think cashew gravy would be a delicious addition to this

*** I'm quite delighted to find a recipe that is vegan, gluten-free, and FESTIVE
for the holiday table!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fresh Cranberry Relish

Grandmother's Cranberry Relish

4 cups cranberries

1 apple
2 oranges
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Chop cranberries. Section oranges and cut into small pieces. Grate apple with peelings on (for color). Blend well and sweeten with maple syrup (add more if desired). Add salt and walnuts. Stir. Chill over night. 

Makes 4 cups.

Cashew Stuffing in Winter Squash

Cashew Stuffing in Winter Squash

1 cup diced sweet onions
1 cup finely diced celery
1/3 cup parsley
1/2 cup sliced black olives
3 quarts cubed bread, toasted (gluten free if necessary)
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup chicken style broth*
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped raw cashews (oven roasted)

1. Mix all ingredients together.

2. Stuff into a whole, half-baked pumpkin or winter squash that has been cleaned out

3. Bake 45 minutes at 350 F. Continue baking until pumpkin is tender when poked with
a fork.

4. Makes a beautiful, edible center-piece for your Thanksgiving dinner table.

*For chicken style broth, add 1 tsp chicken style seasoning to 1 cup water.
May use water or vegetable broth.

Serves 6 - 8.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Love wholeheartedly,
be surprised,
give thanks and praise...
you will discover the
fullness of your life.

David Steindl-Rast 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cranberry Tea for a November Day


Cranberry tea is tart and such a great morning wake up call! Not only does it attract the attention of your taste buds, but the health benefits of cranberry abound. Cranberry contains multiple vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. The nutrients cranberry contains are especially helpful in protecting you against heart disease and cancer. Additionally, the acids and other components in cranberry juice are helpful in treating or preventing urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and peptic ulcers. It also helps prevent the formation of oral bacteria that can lead to gum diseases and plaque. It is a great natural defense for the body!

Taken alone, cranberry juice can sometimes be difficult to take in any quantity, so it can be helpful to mix it with other tasty ingredients to make it go down just a bit better. What better ingredient to pair with cranberry juice than tea! Try this recipe and see what you think!

Cranberry Tea

1 quart brewed tea of choice
4 cloves, whole
4 cardamom seeds
cinnamon to taste
1 tsp. stevia
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice
1/2 cup orange juice

While brewed tea is hot, add cloves, cardamom seeds, and cinnamon. Then add stevia. Stir. Allow tea to cool to room temperature. Then strain.  Add cranberry juice and orange juice. Warm to a comfortable drinking temperature (do not boil). Serve and enjoy! For garnish, add 2 or 3 cranberries to each cup. They will look beautiful as they float.

*More stevia can be added for a sweeter tea.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Counted & Thanks

Not everything that
can be counted counts,
and not everything that
counts can be counted.

Albert Einstein

I'm thankful for the little ones in my life (some now grown up) and all the tea experiences they've so willingly shared with me!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

An Afternoon Tea Occasion

You can serve high tea around the dining room table, but afternoon tea is more of a living room occasion, with everything brought in on a tray or a cart.

Angela Hynes
The Pleasures of Afternoon Tea

The Leaf

There is the size of the leaf:
Its unique shape,
Its unique color,
Its unique fragrance,
A taste all its own,
And it changes...sip by sip.

Ron Rubin, Tea Chings

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

This November Day

The seasons changed quickly this year! A late and pleasant summer gave way to a few weeks of autumn, and then cold, wintry weather set in. 

Today the freeway over a nearby mountain pass was closed to all traffic. Fortunately, Dad and Alma, who were on their way here for a visit, passed through it yesterday without delay. They arrived on their way home after an eight-thousand mile road trip around the United States. We were their first and last stops as they made a huge look-around America. 

Dampness, gray skies, and a chill in the air make staying inside quite appealing. The pellet stove keeps the house cozy and warm. A basket of yarn sits by my chair, and I've been enjoying crochet during breaks from chores throughout the day. My teacup has been filled with Ambessa Choco Nut Black Tea sweetened with a touch of stevia and a splash of soymilk. Crock pots have been filled with soups: potato; vegetable with sauerkraut and spinach; and lima bean with carrots and celery. The bread baker has been busy too, providing ambient heat in the kitchen. The dogs cuddle up to cushions in the armchairs in the family room and sleep the afternoons away. Such simplicity. Such luxury. So many blessings.

How have you been on these November days?

Friday, November 09, 2012

Presents in Pots

Autumn is here and winter isn't far behind. The holiday season is usually abundant with the blessing of fellowship with those we hold dear and lots and lots of presents! Gift giving is an integral part of the upcoming holiday season. Presenting a gift in a pot is a fun way to wrap up some of your holiday giving. Here are a few ideas for making your own potted presents.


*Pot --- Pick a pot that is the right size for your gift idea and is a style and color that compliments the gift. If you are mailing your pot, pick a light-weight plastic one.

* Stuffing--- Fill the bottom of your pot with a stuffing that will help lift up your gift and "show it off". Good stuffers are tissue, shredded tissue, Easter grass, a crushed colorful bag, or popcorn.

* Gift --- This is the fun part! The possibilities are endless. Coordinate the colors for a real splash. Adding colorfully wrapped candy, silk or dried flowers really adds pizazz. Don't forget to put in a package of seed that ties in with your theme.

*Tying It Up --- If you are sending your gift, you will need to wrap it in Saran or cellophane, then tie it with raffia, french ribbon, shredded Mylar ribbon, or strips of netting. If you will hand deliver your pot, then leave it unwrapped and tie your bow around the pot. Painted and stenciled designs on your pot make it really unique.

* Card --- Be creative! Make homemade cards, use recipes, seed packets, sachet packets, postcards, etc. Whatever it is, let the message you inscribe on it reflect the fun you had making this potted present as you thought of them.

Types of Pots:

*Bath Pot --- Fill this one with soaps, lotions, loofah and new undies!

*Dessert Pot --- Provide the ingredients to make a yummy dessert (like mint brownies)!

*Garden Pot --- Stuff it with garden gloves, trowel, seeds and a book about flowers.

*Get Well Pot --- Full of items for god health; Kleenex, lozenges, "chicken soup mix", and crackers.

* Kids Pot --- Your favorite munchkin will love getting a pot of crayons, markers, a tablet, and their own packages of seeds to plant.

What other ideas can you think up for pot types? I'd love to read them. Please post your ideas in the comments section of this post. Happy gifting!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Grandma's Recipes

This has always puzzled me, just how much is a pinch?
These recipes of dear Grandma's surely are no cinch.
A "snip" of this, a "dab" of that, a "lump" of something else,
Then "beat it for a little while", or, "stir until it melts."
I have to be a wizard to decipher what she meant,
By all these strange proportions in her cookbook worn and bent.
How much nutmeg in the doughnuts? Grandma wouldn't flinch,
As she said, with twinkling eyes, "Oh, just about a pinch."
There must have been in her wise head a measuring device,
That told her just how much to use of sugar, salt and spice.

Author Unknown

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Brown Teapot Raises Hope-Refreshed

As you start a new home, I pass on this teapot,
brown-glazed, old and squat, unlovely, yes. . .

But it's more than a receptacle for tea,
having long experience in brewing endurance,
containing patience and dispensing courage.

Clasp trembling hands about this treasure
when the need asserts itself.

Over a steaming cup the lump of grief ---
intolerable at times ---
softens, and bitterness dissolves.

With clearer eyes one looks
through this amber well at truth,
and rises hope-refreshed.

Unfailingly with me it has been thus. . .
with you also let it be.

Anonymous poem

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Stovetop Granola

My favorite granola easy and yummy! Make it for your own breakfast, or mix up a batch to gift to others. 

Stovetop Granola

3 cups oatmeal (rolled oats), not quick or instant
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup dried, shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened
1/2 tsp. cinnamon or coriander
1/4 cup light oil (sunflower, etc.)
1/3 cup maple syrup (or your favorite sweetener)
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup dried fruit of your choice (raisins, currants, cranberries, or
chopped apple, apricot, pear, pineapple, prune, etc. or combination;
may omit entirely)

Use a large, heavy skillet, at least 10 inches round, with high sides. (If you don't have a skillet this big, use a smaller one and prepare granola in two batches. Or use a wok, which works great!). 

Into the cold skillet place the oatmeal, nuts, sesame seeds, coconut, and cinnamon. Mix well.

Blend the oil, syrup, and vanilla together in a cup. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients in the skillet, stirring well to blend.

Turn the heat under the skillet to medium high. Toast the mixture, stirring frequently, until the oats and nuts are crispy and browned. The sesame seeds will start to "pop" and the maple syrup will smell like burnt sugar --- be careful not to let the mixture burn.

Toasting will take no more than five to seven minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the dried fruits. Let the granola rest in the skillet to cool.

NOTE: Some people don't like a crunchy or chewy granola. If you prefer a tender granola omit or reduce the amount of nuts and add seeds instead. Choose a combination from: sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, etc. 

This recipe is very adaptable. If you don't have an item. . .leave it out or find a substitute. It'll still taste great! This is a yummy recipe and takes much less time than "oven" granola. It turns out differently every time, depending upon which ingredients you choose.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Warm Words

May you have warm words
on a cold evening,
a full moon on a dark night,
and the road downhill
all the way to your door.

Mary Engelbreit

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Facial

When the Tea is Brought

When the tea is brought at five o'clock
And all the neat curtains are drawn with care,
The little black cat with bright green eyes
Is suddenly purring there.

Harold Monro

Tea time is for everyone! 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Feathers of Silver and Gold

" shall be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold."  

Psalm 68:13

Friday, November 02, 2012

Winter On My Head

 Early Winter


Twig Beauty 
Cozy and Warm

Among Clouds 
Winter is on my head,
but eternal spring
is in my heart.

Victor Hugo

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Ordinary Simplicity

The ordinary acts we
practice every day at home
are of more importance to
the soul than their
simplicity might suggest.

Thomas Moore