A Very Vegan Christmas: Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen
by Rebecca Henry
Genre: Holiday Cookbook
Publication Date: November 8, 2019
Now that January has arrived, many of you are busy making those pesky resolutions and wondering how to keep them.
I have an easy #MealIdea to help!
I developed this wrap at the restaurant one spring when the tree planters were in town. They could eat like, well, tree planters, lol.
I only had room for fifty guests and a grill no more than three feet wide, but none of that mattered when those kids came to town. They would fill the booths and had no problem with pitching in to help my girls serve them.
One young man even took off his boots at the door because they were muddy! They were the best of customers and I really miss their smiles. They loved their breakfasts and especially liked my place for the cooked to order items. No pre-made sausages or bacon in my restaurant!
The wrap I’m sharing today was a favorite with my customers.
3 large eggs
chopped mixed peppers
Grated cheese mix (Cheddar, mozzarella, swiss or gruyere)
2 slices cooked bacon
12 inch tortilla (tomato, spinach, whole wheat)
In a medium bowl mix eggs, tomato, peppers and onion, then scramble until cooked in medium-low frying pan.
Once the egg sets up, you can lay the tortilla over the top to warm, then remove it to add cooked bacon and cheese mixture to the eggs and cover until cheese melts.
Lay egg mix down the center of the wrap, fold up from the bottom until tortilla cradles the eggs, then fold in left and right sides until covered (like a baby’s diaper 🙂 )
I used to leave mine open on top and seal with a toothpick through the middle, but you can also close both ends and cut through the middle. The choice is yours!
Growing up, Christmas for our family often meant trips to Wilmore Park for a day of tobogganing with our cousins, hot cocoa and shortbread cookies with our grandparents, and… Christmas morning gift opening!
Years later, after my dad passed away, DH (darling hubby) and I slowly took over the Christmas Day festivities. One of the things my brothers and daughter looked forward to was a big holiday breakfast.
I was lucky enough to have the use of an industrial kitchen (my restaurant) and would prepare platters of bacon, sausage, and ham the day before. Then, Christmas morning, while the meat was warming in the oven, I cooked up pancakes, eggs, toast, vats of coffee 🙂 and waited for the hordes to arrive.
One of the family favorites was Eggnog French Toast. It’s easy and delicious!
1 dozen lrg. eggs
1 litre eggnog
2 loaves of bread (French loaf works well)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
Heat skillet med/hot with a dash of olive oil.
Mix eggs, eggnog, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla together in a large bowl until smooth. Dunk bread in mixture to evenly coat, then add to hot pan. Flip after a couple of minutes and remove when golden brown. Repeat process until you have enough for your family.
I average approx 1 egg for 2 slices of bread and cook 4 slices for the men. You can easily suit this to your needs.
The Christmas season is my favorite time of year. An air of festivity takes hold as stores bring out their holiday decorations and old time favorites play on the television.
One of my favorite Christmas recipes came from my grandmother- Waldorf salad. Every year I’d look forward to seeing that fancy glass bowl filled with chopped up apples taking pride of the place on our dining room table. It was Grandma’s donation to our holiday dinner.
We’ve kept the tradition going, even though she passed away a few years ago. Now, when I look upon that simple bowl of salad every year, I feel her presence among us and smile.
1 cup Mayo
4 tbs. milk
2 tbs. sugar
Whip Mayo, sugar and milk together to form a loose dressing.
6 Spartan or Mac Apples
1 cup Chopped Walnuts
3 Stalks Celery
Use lemon juice or citric acid to whiten apples.
Peel and chop apples and celery into bite-size pieces, sprinkle with lemon juice. Add walnuts. Stir in dressing and refrigerate until use. Enjoy.
With Christmas just a few short weeks away, I thought I’d share a family favorite recipe with you today-Oriental Chicken Wings
When I went into the restaurant business in 2001- January 1st :)- I had no concept of what it would entail. I’d been a waitress- server as they’re called these days- for most of my career, so I had a good idea of the day-to-day work, but it turned out that’s just the tip of a very slippery iceberg!
My plan (and you know what they say about plans) was to continue serving while the previous owner, a long-time family friend, would stay on in her capacity as a cook. This worked fine for the first two months, then the doctor told her she had to get off her feet (too many years on cement floors destroyed her knees) and I was suddenly on my own.
I had two options; try to find a fitting replacement I could afford in our town of seven thousand, or take on the job myself.
Now you have to understand something; I was previously known as the KD (Kraft Dinner) queen, I kid you not. I had a basic knowledge of cooking, enough to keep my family alive, and that was all. And little or no interest in learning. But… I had no choice.
Stubbornness, will power and a hunger to succeed got me through those early days, along with the support of my mother, who taught me how to make killer soups. 🙂
I had the restaurant for thirteen, mostly happy, years and if there’s one thing I learned, it’s to go after your dreams- you never know if you’ll succeed if you don’t try!
Okay, on to the recipe. This was a favorite at the BlueJay (my place) and will be a hit at your next holiday function.
3 pounds chicken wings (either whole or split wing- I use whole)
3/4 cup soya sauce
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp garlic salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add wings to pan and set aside. In small bowl mix soya sauce, sugar, water, ginger and garlic until well blended. Carefully pour over wings. Use a serving spoon to turn wings over in mixture to coat both sides, then set uncovered in oven for 1 hour.
After 1 hour remove wings and turn them in pan to cook on other side, then return to oven for approx 1/2 hour longer (should be a rich, dark brown when done)
Now you can start the rice.
When cooking rice expect it to double its size. I vary between long grain white rice and some really nice multi-grain blends.
Rather than measuring everything out I use a medium heavy duty steel pot. Add approx. 1 inch of rice to the bottom, then place your index finger on top of rice, nail down like you’re pointing. Add cool water up to the first knuckle of your finger:
Bring water to a boil, then cover with lid and simmer on low for half an hour, but DON’T lift the lid!
Your dinner is ready- enjoy 🙂
My family didn’t have a lot of extra money when I was growing up, but there always seemed to be enough to get by.
My dad would hunt and fish to fill the freezer, and Mom canned all kinds of fruit and vegetables for the pantry. I remember jar after jar of peaches and pears, jams and jellies. Dad drove truck for a big grocery chain and would get the damaged stock at discount prices, which was great, but it had to be immediately processed so Mom had her hands full.
We had two big canners, those blue enamel ones with the metal jar lifter that looked way too flimsy for the weight of those steaming jars. I imagine she suffered some nasty burns providing for her family.
This rice pudding recipe reminds me of those days. Times filled with the scent of baking and the kitchen counter filled with delicious treats. It’s like a warm hug in a mug 🙂
Servings-4/ Prep Time-45 min
2 cups cooked long grain white rice
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup sugar
2 tsp Corn Starch
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla
½ cup golden raisins
Add 1 cup rice to 2 cups water, bring to boil in sturdy pot. Turn heat down to simmer, cover with lid and cook 25-30 minutes. Don’t lift lid!
Set rice aside in medium-sized bowl to cool.
Add milk, sugar and corn starch to emptied pot and cook on medium heat until mixture thickens- approx. 5 minutes. Stir often to avoid scalding milk.
While milk is heating, crack eggs into small bowl and whisk lightly with fork.
When milk has thickened to a sauce consistency, pour approx. 1 cup into egg mixture, (set pot aside off of heat) and stir briskly together with fork. Place pot back on heat and slowly pour egg mix into the pot, stirring constantly.
Cook for 1 minute longer.
Pour over rice in bowl. Add cinnamon, vanilla and raisins. Stir and set aside to cool.
Have you ever been at the end of your rope, ready to walk away from it all and give the world the big one finger salute?
My week has gone that way. It’s raining cats and dogs and our RV has developed a leak (over our bed!), I had an issue with a book I’m publishing in December, and the glass shower door shattered over my head and shoulders when I was trying to fix it the other night!
Luckily, I only received a couple of nicks and a sore head- it could have been much worse!
But enough of my whining, we’re starting a new week and I want to share a family favourite recipe with you- Lazy Man Cabbage Rolls
When my daughter was born, DH and I decided it was important for me to stay at home with her until she started school. This strained our finances, so I decided to join my mom and grandma at the local Farmers Market to raise extra cash. Problem was, me and crafts don’t get along. Mom has been taking baking in and Grandma had doilies. They suggested I try my hand at a lunch table, and the rest as they say, was history.
I started with soup and sandwiches and gradually added chilli, shepherds pie, stew. Whatever I made at home seemed to sell well at the market, but the most popular dish was my Lazy Man Cabbage Rolls and perogies.
2 pounds med ground beef
2 cups uncooked long grain rice
1 large head green cabbage- chopped
1 med onion- chopped
3 cans cream of tomato soup ( choose a good brand)
Salt and pepper
1 Dutch oven
Preheat oven to 350
In large bowl, mix hamburger, chopped onion, rice, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Using the Dutch oven, place a layer of chopped cabbage in the bottom, then add a layer of hamburger/rice mixture. Continue in this order until ingredients are used, ending with a layer of cabbage on top.
Open two cans of soup and pour into the bowl you used for the hamburger mixture. Add a can and a half of warm water, stir until combined. Gently pour over the cabbage in the Dutch oven.
Place lid, or tin foil if you don’t have a lid, on pot and set in oven for 2.5 hours.
Remove pot from oven, uncover, and spread remaining can of soup over the top.
Return, uncovered, to oven and cook for half an hour longer.
Maybe it’s because I owned a restaurant for thirteen years and as chief cook and bottle washer, made a LOT of soup, but I’m very fussy when we go out to eat. It amazes me how so many cooks can’t create a decent soup!
I’m trained in the house of mom 🙂
She took pity on me and taught me the rudimentary necessities needed to make a delicious base that will work for 99% of the soups you cook.
Onions, carrots, celery. Yep, it’s that easy.
Today, I’m going to share my recipe for Cream of Potato Soup.
Start with a good-sized pot, either a dutch oven or slow cooker if you prefer.
1 large onion chopped fine
3 med carrots chopped
3 med celery chopped
1 tbsp margarine or olive oil if preferred
Salt and pepper
Simmer together on med-low heat until onions are translucent
5 pounds potatoes- russet
1 litre milk
2-3 tbsp chicken soup base
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups flour
shredded cheese (if preferred)
Meanwhile, peel and chop into bite-size chunks 5 pounds of russet potatoes and rinse in pan of cool water. Drain.
Add potatoes to pot, then fill to 1-1 1/2 inches above potatoes with water. Set pot to boil, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer for approx. half an hour or until potatoes are cooked.
In a separate bowl, add 3 cups cold water and salt and pepper. Slowly mix in the flour stirring with a wisk to blend.
Add chicken powder base and milk to soup. Stir and return to slow boil before adding the flour water until soup begins to thicken. Simmer ten minutes more for flavors to bind.
Serve with a little shredded cheese on top.
The best thing about this soup is how easy you can change it up.
Add a can of clams for clam chowder
Frozen seafood medley for seafood chowder
Frozen fancy vegetable mix for Cream of vegetable soup
Cooked, chopped bacon for bacon and potato soup.
2 Cans creamed corn for corn chowder
The choices are only limited by your imagination 🙂
Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet get sugar water from the Sugar Crystal Caves to make delicious goodies for their shop. Unfortunately something is making the crystals melt. What can Sir Chocolate do? Includes four lovely new recipes.
Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.
Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.
Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books.
This book is a culinary delight!
Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet use water from the Sugar Crystal Caves to make delicious treats, but this trip they encounter something very worrisome- the crystals are melting!
In order to save their precious cave they must help a dragon in need of a friend.
This story was sweet (pun intended :)) and teaches us all the value of kindness. The pictures are a fantastic accompaniment to the creative prose, and there is a bonus of some family-friendly recipes at the end.
I give Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Caves Story and Cookbook 5 well-deserved kisses!
Over 450,000 books have been sold by this two-time USA Today Bestselling Author. This is the ninth book in the Liz Lucas Cozy Mystery series. Free with Kindle Unlimited.
It was just a doll, wasn’t it?
It didn’t have powers, did it?
Powers that could kill?
New Orleans is famous for its pralines, beignets, jazz, Bourbon Street, and the French Quarter. But there’s a darker side to the Big Easy, one that involves voodoo and gris-gris.
Nicole was from New Orleans. When she found voodoo dolls in her gym locker, work desk, and on her front porch, she was scared. She knew what they meant. She was right. A few days later, she was murdered. A voodoo doll was next to her body.
Can voodoo dolls kill? Liz, an amateur sleuth, is determined to find out and catch the killer. On a trip to New Orleans to attend a Cajun-Creole cooking school she meets with a gris-gris doctor who specializes in voodoo, hexes, spells, and superstitions.
Join Liz and her dog Winston as they search for the killer.
As always, plenty of mouth-watering recipes!
To get your free books from Dianne, just cut and paste: http://ow.ly/wgVG304NU9N Enjoy!
USA TODAY bestselling author and seven time Amazon All Star Author, Dianne Harman, draws her stories and characters from a diverse business and personal background. She owned a national antique and art appraisal business for many years, left that industry, and opened two yoga centers where she taught and certified yoga instructors. She’s traveled extensively throughout the world and loves nothing more than cooking, playing backgammon with her husband, Tom, and throwing the ball for their dog, Kelly.
Being a dog lover and having attended numerous cooking schools, she couldn’t resist writing about food and dogs. Dianne is the author of several cozy mystery series: Cedar Bay, Liz Lucas, High Desert, Midwest, Jack Trout, and the Northwest. Each of these books contains recipes from her travels. Alexis, the first book in the Midlife Journey Series was also recently published. She’s the author of the award-winning suspenseful Coyote Series.
Murder in the Pearl District was chosen by Amazon to be one of their Mystery books in their October, 2016 homage of great writing by independent authors and several of her books have been chosen by them as PRIME books!
This book freaked me out!
I guess if you’re from the New Orlean’s area voodoo might not make the hair stand straight up on your arms, but I’m a northwestern girl and this is scary sh*t!
When Liz’s friend mentions receiving dolls with pins sticking out of their bodies, Liz is intrigued. But when her friend turns up dead- strangled the same as the last doll she received- things get serious.
Liz takes a trip to New Orleans and learns about black magic from a gris-gris master. The danger circles closer to home and Liz must pull together all her sleuthing skills to solve the crime before anyone else gets hurt.
An entertaining who-done-it with a surprise ending!
I give Murdered by Superstition 4 lovely kisses
For the past year, talented chef Millie has been consumed with running her new catering business with her sisters, Dru and Tasha. It isn’t until Jackson walks through their door that she realizes something may be missing in the recipe of her life.
For the past year, Jackson has been dealing with the fallout of his wife’s abandonment. He’s had to learn how to be a single father to their eight-year-old daughter, and will do anything to fill the void her mother left. It isn’t until he commissions Millie for his daughter’s birthday party that he realizes he’s forgotten that he’s not only a father, but a man.
They both think they’re content in their lives, but sometimes the right amount of spice can turn an okay dish into a magnificent one. A Pinch of Salt may be all that’s needed to bring Millie and Jackson the flavor they’ve been missing.
“Fine,” I said with mock exasperation,” I’ll give you the cliff notes.”
Tasha kept her eyes on me as she waited expectantly. She’d recently cut off her long black hair that had matched mine and Dru’s in length into a cute bob, and dyed it a bright red. It totally suited her.
“The party was great, fantastic even. I had a blast decorating, and the girls loved it. I took pictures to show you guys, and for the website,” I began, but Tasha waved her hand, encouraging me to get to the good stuff. “Jackson asked me out,” I said with a shrug, then teased her by saying, “But, I said no.”
“Wha?” Tasha cried, standing and putting her hands on her hips. “Why’d you do that? I thought he was your diary dream man. At least, that’s what Dru said.”
I raised my eyebrow at my twin, who just stuck out her tongue at me and continued stretching her quads.
“He’s also married, and still wears his wedding ring,” I replied, then sighed and added, “But, he assured me that the marriage is very much over, the ring was just an oversight, and we’re going to meet up for coffee this week. So, not a date, just coffee.”
“A coffee date,” Dru said with a grin.
“Shut up,” I replied, but couldn’t hold back my answering smile. “I don’t know, you guys, he scares me.”
“Why?” Tasha asked. “Because you’ve been so focused on the business, and before that, Mom, that you haven’t met a man for coffee, let alone had one between your legs, since you and Dru were at USC?”
“That’s not true,” I argued, offended and a little embarrassed about how right my younger sister was. “There was Joshua…”
“Ewww,” my sisters groaned in unison.
“You mean that creeper guy who kept taking you to Anime movies and trying to get you to give him a handy in the theater?” Dru asked. “You really want to count that guy?”
Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. She’s a lover of all things romance: books, movies, music, and life, and she incorporates that into the books she writes. When she isn’t reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible. Some of her favorite things are: Kristen Ashley Books, coffee in the morning, and In N Out burgers.
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Rebecca York joins us for a yummy post about the Cooking With the Authors of Summer Heat cookbook, edited by Rebecca and including recipes linked to the 16 stories in the Summer Heat: Love on Fire boxed set that’s out now. Authors in the set include Caridad Pineiro, Nina Bruhns, Rebecca York, Jennifer Lowery, Taylor…
Easter dinner is serious business. Most other nights you can get away with anything from Hamburger Helper to Spaghetti and your family won’t complain. They don’t dare.
However, tonight is all about family. It’s special, and the meal you serve needs to portray this.
A lot of houses will be serving ham, scalloped potatoes, hot cross buns and while this sounds great, at our house we do things a little differently.
When my daughter was young there wasn’t a lot of money so I began cooking lunches at our local Farmer’s Market in order to help out. This way she could go to ‘work’ with me.
Needless to say she was a hit with both the other venders and the buying public. Who can say no to a cute little two year old?
One of my most popular dishes was something we called Lazy Man Cabbage Rolls, served up with potato and cheddar pirogues covered in fried onions, sour cream and bacon bits.
We usually sold out long before market ended. 🙂
My daughter developed a taste for these and throughout the years, regularly pestered me to make them up for her.
That’s how it became our Easter Tradition.
I thought I’d share my recipe here, and maybe it’ll become a tradition in your home also.
2 pounds of med ground hamburger
2 med heads of green cabbage
Approx. 4 cups of uncooked long grain rice (no minute rice )
3 cans of a good brand of Tomato soup (I use Heinz)
Salt and Pepper
Start by mixing together in a fairly large bowl, your hamburger, rice, and a small handful each of salt and then pepper. Mix until the rice has mostly been integrated into the beef.
Wash hands thoroughly.
Cut the cabbage up into slivers similar to what you’d use for coleslaw.
Using a good sized Dutch oven, start with a thin layer of cabbage, about an inch thick, in the bottom of pot.
Spread a layer of rice-beef mixture loosely on top of this.
Repeat procedure until you reach the top of pot. You want to end with cabbage on top.
Open 2 cans of the soup into the bowl you used for beef mix, (it’ll pick up residual spices) then take each can and half fill with water and swish before dumping into bowl. Stir until mixed.
Slowly pour this mixture over the pot of cabbage rolls, spreading it across the top.
Put a lid on and cook in pre-heated 350 oven for 2.5 hours.
Remove lid and spread last can of soup undiluted over the top of your casserole.
Leaving lid off, replace in oven for half an hour longer.
Remove and Enjoy. 🙂
Hope you give this a try one day. Let me know how it turned out for you.
Any special traditions you do in your homes that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about them.
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