Victoria's Vegetarian Victuals

In this season of loving and giving, I want to remind all of my readers of the needs of animals, who are too often forgotten and excluded when humans celebrate.  This year, please remember them and extend love and compassion to all the creatures that you can reach.  Goodness knows, they are in need around the earth.

I hope that all people and animals around the world have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season, with food, shelter, and comfort.

As we are all aware, The holiday season has, over the years come to include a variety of traditions from many cultures and many periods in history.

For example, the Christmas Tree was introduced in England in the 1840s by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria.  It had long been a tradition in his native Germany.

Medieval days send us the tradition of the Yule Log, which is burned each year for health and prosperity, ignited from a sliver of log saved from the previous year, for continuity.

Traditions differ from house to house, most of them special and specific to the family that treasures them, and this includes the holiday foods that are eaten.

There are countless vegetarian dishes that we can enjoy, and no animal need lose its life to satisfy our appetites.

Here are a few of my favorites for the holidays.

Non-Booze Party Punch

This is a drink that you don't have to keep from the kids.
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 12 inches of stick cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 3 cups chilled apple juice
  • 1 twelve-ounce can of chilled apricot nectar (or pear nectar, if you

    prefer)

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • two 28-oz bottles of lemon soda

Combine sugar, cinnamon, cloves and 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan.

Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for tem minutes.  Strain out the spices and discard them.  Chill the remaining mixture.  Add apple juice, apricot (or pear) nectar, lemon juice and lemon soda.  Serve in a punch bowl.

  • Yields: 22 servings
  • Preparation Time: Under half an hour, excluding chilling time.

Cranberry-Apple Stuffing

  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp rosemary leaves
  • 2 cored and chopped red tart apples
  • 1 1/4 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp fresh grated orange peel
  • 4 cups unseasoned dry bread cubes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.  Melt margarine in a skillet; add celery and onion.  Sauté 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in everything but the bread cubes.

Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and stir in the fruit mixture.  Add broth and toss to combine.  Place in a 9x13 inch dish, cover and bake 35 to 40 minutes.

  • Yields: 8 cups
  • Preparation Time: about 1 hour

Corn Bread and Faux Sausage Stuffing

  • 6 tbsp margarine
  • 1 cup each chopped onion and celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 10 cups cooked and crumbled cornbread
  • 1 pkg vegetarian sausage substitute
  • one 13-oz can of vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 350F.  Melt margarine in a large skillet.  Add onion, celery, and bell pepper.  Sauté for 5 minutes.  Stir in the poultry seasoning, thyme, and garlic powder.

Combine corn bread, vegetable mixture and vegetarian sausage substitute. Add broth.  Toss gently.  Spoon into 13x9 inch baking dish. Bake 30-35 minutes.

  • Yields: 10 cups
  • Preparation Time: about 45 minutes

Merry Christmas Cookies

  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup of honey
  • 1 tsp lemon flavoring
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix shortening, sugar, egg, honey, and flavoring thoroughly.  Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting.  Stir together flour, soda, salt.  Blend in. Chill.

Heat oven to 375F.  Roll dough out 1/4" thick.  Cut into desired shapes. Place 1" apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Ice and decorate as desired.

  • Yields: 5 dozen 2" cookies
  • Preparation Time: about 30 minutes, excluding icing and decorating time

Eggnog Pie

  • Pastry crust mix for 9-inch pie, prepared Graham or crumb shell
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs separated, (or substitutes)
  • 1/4 cup light or dark rum,
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Nutmeg

Prepare and bake the pie shell, or chill the prepared crust.  Soften the gelatin in 1/4 cup of water; set aside.  Bring the milk and 1/2 cup of sugar to a boil.  Beat the egg yolks.  Add 1/2 cup of hot milk and sugar to the eggs, stir, and return the egg mixture to the remaining hot milk and sugar mixture.  Cook, stirring but not boiling, until the custard coats a metal spoon.  Stir in the gelatin and rum.  Chill in the refrigerator until the mixture begins to set.  Beat the egg whites with 3 tablespoons of sugar until soft peaks form.  Fold into the custard.  Whip the cream and fold in 1 cup.

Spoon into the pie shell.  Beat 1 tablespoon of sugar and the remaining whipped cream and spread on the pie.  Sprinkle with nutmeg and chill until ready to serve.

  • Yields: 1 nine-inch pie
  • Preparation Time: about an hour

Black Forest Cake

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 ounces grated unsweetened chocolate

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.  Cream the margarine and sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. When all eggs have been added, beat for one minute or until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Sift the flour with the salt.  Mix the baking soda with the buttermilk and add alternately with the flour to the creamed mixture.  Add the vanilla.  Melt the chocolate in 2/3 cup of boiling water; stir until smooth. Blend the chocolate into the cake mixture.  Pour into three prepared pans (for 3 layers) and bake at 325F for 1 hour, or until cake tests done.  Cool in the pan.

  • One 17-oz can of pitted dark, sweet cherries
  • 2 tbsps cornstarch
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/3 cup kirsch, divided
  • 2 cups prepared chocolate frosting
  • 1 bar semi-sweet chocolate, grated
  • maraschino cherries, stemmed

Drain the liquid from the cherries into a small saucepan.  Set the cherries aside.  Bring the liquid to a boil.  Mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and stir it into the juice.  Cook until clear.  Add the cherries and cool.  Whip the cream until soft peaks form.  Sprinkle sugar over the cream and continue beating until firm peaks form on the beater when it is lifted from the bowl.  Pour in 1/4 cup of kirsch, a little at a time, beating until it is taken up by the cream.  Place one layer of the cake on a large cake plate.  Use a plain 1/2 inch tube or cookie press nozzle to form 3 rings of chocolate butter cream frosting on the bottom layer, leaving about 1 1/2" between the rings.  Chill.  Fill in between the rings with the cherries.

Place the second layer carefully and gently on top of the cherries.  Prick the top all over and sprinkle it lightly with kirsch.  Spread it with 1" of whipped cream.  Put the top layer on, gently.  Spread the sides and top with the remaining whipped cream.  Garnish the top with chocolate curls, whipped cream rosettes and the rinsed and drained maraschino cherries.  Chill until served.

  • Yields: 12-14 servings
  • Preparation Time: about an hour

Holiday Vegetarian Lasagna

  • 3 (8-oz) cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 (8-oz) bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 slices of mozzarella cheese
  • 1one 8-oz box of lasagna noodles
  • 1 package of vegetarian ground sausage substitute
  • a little olive oil

Open the tomato sauce and pour all of it into a measuring cup.  Add the defrosted package of vegetarian sausage substitute. Boil the noodles for 15 minutes, or according to the directions on the box.

Cool the cooked noodles under running water.  Put a layer of noodles in the bottom of a pan which you have coated with a thin layer of olive oil.  Add the "meat" sauce.  Add another layer of noodles, shredded cheese, more noodles, more "meat" sauce, and continue until you run out of stuff, or until the pan is filled.  If you have enough, fill another pan.  Add the oregano, garlic powder, salt, and the rest of the cheese.  Top it with sliced mozzarella, and cook in the microwave, on high, for 12 minutes, or until very hot, and all the cheese has melted.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: about half an hour

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