FindingVegan Holiday Link Round-Up!

Another round-up! This one is even bigger and better, and features dozens of the best FindingVegan bloggers on the web. From cookies to gingerbread houses, mouthwatering main means and edible gifts, there’s bound to be something in here for you to enjoy with your family this holiday season.

Vegan Link Round-up!
There are some amazing vegan recipes, books, features and more out there on the internet, but it can be challenging to track down great content sometimes! That is where FindingVegan.com comes in. FV features recipes and more from the best vegan-friendly bloggers on the web! And this year, we FV asked some of its contributors to share their best content in a MEGA-amazing vegan round-up! Check out all that is going on in the vegan community!..

1. Kathy Patalsky, of HealthyHappyLife and founder on Finding Vegan is sharing:
* 12 Days of Vegan Christmas Giveaway + YouTube Series – $2700 grand prize!
* Kathy’s cookbook to kickstart a healthy New Year: 365 Vegan Smoothies
* Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

*photo credit: Kathy Patalsky

2. Rachael Renee of RawHighLife is sharing:
* Amazing raw vegan cinnamon rolls PERFECT for holiday brunch!
* Easy fruit and veggie recipes in her ebook
* The RAW High Life Facebook page

*photo credit: RawHighLife

3. June Burns of Philosophy and Cake is sharing:
* Chocolate Macarons recipe, gluten free + vegan
* Momofuku-Inspired Carrot Layer Cake
* Salty-sweet pecan pie bars with bourbon!

3. Kelly of ThePrettyBee is sharing:
* Vegan Holiday Treats
* Gluten Free Gifts in Jars

*photo credit: Kelly, the pretty bee

4. Aimee of TheVegLife is sharing:
* Her eBook of vegan Christmas Cookies. 25 exclusive cookie recipes for 2014, and more, 50 recipes in total!
* Cranberry Orange Muffins

5. Natalie Thomas of feasting on fruit is sharing:
* Chocolate Peppermint Cookiewiches
* Gingerbread Snack Cakes
* Caramel Hot Chocolate the Fruity Way

*photo credit: Natalie, feasting on fruit

6. Carolyn Murphy of PeaceMeal is sharing:
* Mulled Wine
* Salted Toffee Peanut Butter & Caramel Macchiato Cheesecake Cups
* Garlic and Sun Dried Tomato Cheese Ball

7. Lisa from Healthy Nibbles & Bits is sharing:
* Peppermint Bark Popcorn with Toasted Coconut
* Butternut Squash, Hummus & Guacamole Dip

8. Trinity of Trinity’s Kitchen is sharing:
* Festive Seed Roast Loaf (gluten-free, vegan and super healthy)
* Christmas Fruit n’ Nut Truffles

*photo credit: Trinity’s Kitchen

9. Ginny from Vegan in the Freezer is sharing:
* Delicious Party Food – Spicy Tortilla Rollups
* Homemade Kahlua sounds like a holiday in itself
* Spiced Rum Balls – no kidding!

*photo credit: Ginny, vegan in the freezer

10. Tia from Tia’s Kitchen is sharing:
* vegan hot chocolate
* vegan eggnog

11. Danielle Levy of DanielleLevyNutrition is sharing:
* Asian inspired Yuba Roast Chestnut Stuffing
* Classic comfort food: Walnut Crusted Tofu with braised chard and butternut squash

photo credit: Danielle Levy

12. Vanessa of Becomingness is sharing:
* Caramel Macadamia Chocolate Cups
* BecomingSweet!
* 15 Best Raw Desserts

13. Aurora of TheIndieBroccoli is sharing:
* Christmas Loaf with Lentils and Quinoa
* Rutabaga Fries with vegan lemon basil mayo
* Carrot Juice with Turmeric and Ginger

*photo credit: Aurora, the indie broccoli

14. Bianca of Elephantastic Vegan is sharing:
* Festive Holiday Recipe – Pink Beet Cupcakes
* Her website and facebook page!

15. Cate from A Traveling Cook is sharing:
* Vegan Christmas Pudding

16. Clemence of The Vegan Cookie Fairy is sharing:
*Her ebook of Vegan Christmas recipes, The Vegan Cookie Fairy’s Christmas Recipes
the vegan cookie fairy's christmas recipes
* Her ebook of Vegan Chocolate recipes, The Vegan Cookie Fairy’s Little Book of Chocolate
the vegan cookie fairy chocolate ebook
* Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares with Chocolate Drizzle

photo credit: The Vegan Cookie Fairy

17. Jennifer of VeggieInspiredJourney is sharing:
* Vegan Dilled Ceviche
* Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Bars
* Maple Cinnamon Cranberry Pear Sauce

18. Dana of VanishingVeggie is sharing:
* Her website
* Her Facebook page
* A bright, citrus salad, perfect for any gathering

19. Sophia from VeggiesDontBite is sharing:
* Layered Pumpkin Caramel Pie in a Mason Jar: one of my most favorite desserts for this season!
* Frothy Pistachio Milk Hot Chocolate: Cozy up this winter with this indulgent treat.
* The new Veggies Don’t Bite Overnight Oats Jar: Breakfast just went from easy to easier. A healthy, quick and delicious way to start your day!

*photo credit: Sophia, veggies don’t bite

20. Christina of TheBeautifulBalance is sharing:
* Soft and Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies
* Maple Apple Scones
* Pear & Raspberry Frangipane Tart

21. Stacey of SouthernVeganKitchen is sharing:
* Lumberjack Date Cake
* Peanut Butter Chocolate Dream Pie

22. Shannon of The Glowing Fridge is sharing:
* Candy Cane and Marshmallow Peppermint Fudge
* The Glow Effect Guide
* A Holiday Gift Guide for Her

23. Jessica of TwoGreenPeas Website is sharing:
* Chocolate Candy Cane Pretzel Bark
* Vegan Gingerbread Houses: Recipe & How-To
* Starry Night Cinnamon Okra Masala

*photo credit: Jessica, TwoGreenPeas

24. Majda of BreadOlives is sharing:
* Walnut Date Truffles

*photo credit: Majda, BreadOlives

25. Vicky of MayIHaveThatRecipe is sharing:
* Eggnog Sticky Toffee Pudding
* Vegan Tiramisu
* Roasted Veggie Tofu Pot Pies

*photo credit: Vicky, MayIhaveThatRecipe

26. Dora of Dora’s Table is sharing:

* This is a recipe for Garabatos or scribble cookies. These cookies are very popular in Mexico city, and you will fall in love with them too. Who can resist two coconut shortbread cookies, sandwiched in a smooth chocolate filing, and drizzled with warm chocolate? The best part, they’re 100% vegan.

*photo credit: Dora’s Table

27. Kelly of Trial and Eater is sharing:
* Foodie Gift Guide
* How to make vanilla extract – Fun holiday gift idea!
* Sunflower wrap – Healthy holiday snacking!

28. Michelle of Healthier Steps is sharing:
* Vegan Broccoli and Rice Casserole
* Sweet Potato Souffle
* Jamaican Pumpkin Soup

Bonus a few recipes I personally adore from FindingVegan contributors!..

29. Cara of Fork and Beans makes Healthy Reindeer Cookies

30. VeggieAndTheBeast Ginger Cutout Cookies

31. VeguKate’s Superfood Hot Cocoa

…and SO many more on FindingVegan.com. Sign up for the Finding Vegan Monthly Newsletter here.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas! There is one more recipe coming from me before Christmas Day as part of the the Festive Vegan Blog Crawl I’m hosting with Fab, Ceri, Lane and Hedi. If you need more inspiration for the holidays, just check out their delicious recipes!

Psst — there are only 5 days till Christmas! Get my ebook THE VEGAN COOKIE FAIRY’S CHRISTMAS RECIPES on Amazon to have the best vegan Christmas ever. Don’t forget to sign up for email updates and follow me on InstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest and Tumblr! You can also follow my blog through Bloglovin‘.

Love and cookies,

thevegancookiefairysignature-2

Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinée

When my friends talk about their childhood they mention things like when Opal Fruits became Starbursts, the Broons, Beatrix Potter and The Tales of Peter Rabbit

I remember Tintin, Spirou and Astérix et Obélix.

Of the latter, we had all the comic books in the series, and for some reason unknown to this day, they were all in the bathroom, right next to the toilet. If someone disappeared in the bathroom for hours on end, you needn’t worry they had digestive issues – it was more likely they were simply reading in the loo. Because why the hell not. 

Which brings me to this recipe (quite a jump, I know, but just keep up, will you). French onion soup, topped with crusty, buttered bread and shredded, grilled cheese. 

Or my mother always calls it: «soupe à l’oignon y crouton»

This, my good friends, is Soupaloignon Y Crouton, from Astérix et Obélix en Hispanie (Asterix and Obelix in Iberia). His English name translates to Huevos Y Bacon, which is not even half as funny as his French name and is completely different anyway. 

Photo credit: Gallerie Collin
 

Food is always nourishing to me. ‘Nourishing’ means many different things. At times you need to nourish your body, to provide it with energising food; sometimes you need to nourish your soul, to nurse your heart’s wounds until time heals them; and at other times you need to nourish your inner child. I will often make this soup on a Thursday or Friday night, at the end of a tiring week at university. It soothes me, it makes me feel warm all the way into my toes. Sometimes that’s all you need from food. 

Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinée

  • Servings: 2-3 large servings
  • Print


Notes: 
* You can easily make this soup without wine, though the flavour won’t be quite as rich. Add more vegetable stock if omitting the wine and make sure the onions are well caramelised, otherwise you won’t get any good flavour out of your soup at all. 
* The vegan butter makes all the difference. Olive oil will work fine in a pinch, but please, pleeease use butter if you can. The depth of flavour it provides is magnificent. 


4 medium onions
1 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
750ml (3 cups) vegetable stock
about 2 glasses of white wine
a pinch of dried thyme
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp vegan butter + extra to butter the bread
3 slices of sourdough
shredded vegan cheese, to serve (optional)
nutritional yeast, to serve (optional)

First things first: peel and chop the onions in half. Slice each half very thinly.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sweat the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic, salt and dried thyme. Cook for approximately 10 minutes; the onions need to be thoroughly softened and translucid (the salt will prevent them from burning).

Pour the stock into the saucepan, slightly lower the heat and cover with a lid. Leave it to gently simmer for 45 minutes for best results. Add the wine and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. You want some of the alcohol to burn off, but not completely. 

The soup should now be a dark, coppery brown, the onions fall-part soft and caramelised.

Pre-heat the oven grill to 200ºC. Ladle the onion soup into 2-3 soup tureens (depending on their size, you may be able to serve more or fewer guests). Cover the soup with a slice of buttered sourdough bread, sprinkle over some vegan cheese or nutritional yeast. Place the tureens under the grill for about 3-5 minutes, or until the bread is toasted and the cheese, if used, is melted.

Serve immediately, but beware of burning your tongue.



What’s your favourite childhood memory?

Love and cookies,

My new favourite winter soup: sweet potato, leek & carrot

I have found another way to consume the gargantuan stack of leeks I get in my weekly delivery. You will know of my dislike of this vegetable, but necessity (also known as hunger) is indeed mother of invention. 

I had sweet potatoes. I had carrots. I had a big pot to make soup and a loaf of sourdough begging to be sliced, toasted, buttered and dipped. 

Soup was born.
Note: This soup is very easily adaptable. Don’t have sweet potato? Use regular, or more carrots, or turnips. Add more garlic if you like, or change up the herbs. Cumin might be just the thing. If you need warming on a cold winter night, try adding a little bit of fresh ginger.

Serves 2-3 as a main meal with bread

1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 leek, washed and roughly chopped (green ends removed)
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp mixed herbs (I used sage, thyme and rosemary)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 cube of vegetable stock
water

Boil some water in the kettle (enough to fill a saucepan). Wash, peel and prep your vegetables. 

Place all the vegetables and garlic in a large saucepan and cover with just enough water. Throw in the vegetable stock cube. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes. 

Add the herbs and turmeric. Remove from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes. Puree to a smooth soup in a(n immersion) blender. 

Serve hot with a few slices of crusty, rustic bread, and a swirl of cashew or soya cream if you have any on hand.


What is your favourite soup at the moment? I’m always looking for new recipes to try. 


Apple & Celeriac Soup

This was not the recipe I’d promised today – I’m sorry! I was planning on giving you a mouthwatering hazelnut mocha baked porridge recipe but I’d forgotten that the photos for that one were on my old laptop, which has now gone to heaven. I’m going to Glasgow next Wednesday to get the old hard drive put into the new laptop I got this week. Delays, delays…

 So instead I give you this comforting soup. Believe you me, in the last few weeks, comforting soups are probably the one thing that have got me through assignments, a dying laptop and cold weather. (Well, a few hot whiskeys may or may not have helped…) A couple of thick slices of bread are mandatory, naturally.

I made this per Emma‘s recommendation as I sent a call for help this Thursday on Twitter: I’d just received my brand new (well, second-hand) Vitamix and didn’t know what to make with it first. I had celeriac – I had apples. As Nigel says, ‘What grows together often goes together.’


Notes
* I’m not sure which apples I used for this recipe. They were half green, half red, if that helps? I suspect Braeburn or Cox. You want a kind that is not too sweet, but not too tart. I detest Granny Smith apples with a fiery passion, but you can use them if you like. 
* I don’t like specifying amounts of water when making soup as it’s really a matter of personal preference. I tend to pour enough water into the pan that the vegetables are covered by half an inch above their top layer… if that makes sense? Sometimes more, sometimes less – depends whether you like a thick or thin soup. 
 
2 apples (Braeburn, Granny Smith, Cox will do), roughly chopped
1 head of celeriac, peeled and roughly chopped
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp vegan butter
1 cube of vegetable stock
water from a recently boiled kettle
1cm or 1/2″ chunk of fresh ginger, unpeeled

Place a large pot on medium heat. Melt the butter in the pot, then toss in the chopped onion. Let it sweat for a few minutes until the onion has gone translucid. Sprinkle in the sage.

Add the chopped celeriac and apples to the pot, cover with hot water and throw in the stock cube. Cover with a lid and let simmer on lowest heat for 30 minutes until the vegetables and fruit have gone fall-apart-tender.

Transfer to a high-speed blender , add the chunk of ginger and puree until smooth. Serve with some pepper, an extra sprinkling of sage and thickly sliced brown bread.


How have you been lately – busy and struggling, or lucking forward to the holidays?

Black Bean Mushroom Soup. Hearty & Comforting.

The very first time I tried mushroom soup it came from a tin, and unsurprisingly, it was repulsive. I couldn’t fathom why people would want to eat this stuff, but despite my unequivocal feelings on the matter, the tinned soup aisle was full of this stuff! Inconceivable. 

Flash-forward three years later, late September 2013. I was back in London for the weekend; just before I had to catch my train, the Cookie Monster took me to lunch at this lovely pub. The soup of the day was mushroom, and that was pretty much the only vegetarian option. I asked the question I have asked a hundred times since I went vegan: ‘Is there any dairy or egg in the soup?’

And then came the answer I always yearn for but so rarely get: ‘Nope, no dairy, no eggs.’

My eyes went KA-TCHING and I asked for the soup pronto, only barely conscious that it was mushroom soup and my only encounter with mushroom soup had been a total disaster. But the soup came, served with crunchy, toasted, un-buttered sourdough bread, I spooned it into my mouth and –

It was the best damn soup I’d ever had. 

Fresh, homemade soup is always a winner, especially when it’s at a local pub. But you know what’s even better? If you throw some black beans in there for added protein and texture. Now this is the best damn soup you’ve ever had. 


Serves two

1/2 cube vegetable stock, preferably organic
1x tin 400g (14 oz)organic black beans
300g (10.5 oz) mixed white cap and chestnut mushrooms, also preferably organic
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
400ml (1 + 2/3 cup) hot water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 tsp dried thyme
4 slices of sourdough bread, to serve
vegan butter, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pot. Fry the garlic and onions until they have become translucid, for about five minutes on moderately high heat. 

Add the dried thyme and mushrooms. Sweat for another five minutes, until they are more or less evenly browned. Pour over the boiled water, drop in the stock cube and beans, and gently simmer for 20 minutes, until the mushrooms have gone soft. 

Transfer the cooked vegetables and liquid to a blender; pulse till liquid but still ‘grainy.’ (You can also do this with a hand-held blender.)

Serve steaming hot with a couple of slices of freshly toasted sourdough bread and a generous slab of vegan butter. 


Which meal do you absolutely love now but used to hate?


Goodbye Meal – Simple Courgette Soup with Almond Pesto

I have been imagining what this night would be like ever since I moved to London. When I was just two weeks over eighteen, and really frightened and really lost. I hadn’t ended up where I was supposed to. I had applied to the University of St Andrews and got rejected, and it stung. London was too big, too noisy, too crowded, too rushed, and far too much in-my-face. I wasn’t ready to be propelled out of my comfort zone like that. But maybe I never would have been. 

A year and two months ago, I couldn’t wait to leave. I had lived two painful years in the big smoke – two years of heartbreak and eating disorder, of loneliness and unrelenting self-doubt – but the one thing that kept me going was this night: the eve of my moving far, far away, to the safety of the Highlands where the rough winds are gentler than the smog of the city and the hills call to something ancient deep within your bones. It was a mighty long detour, but I would finally make it to Scotland, away from all that had hurt me, and I would be happy. Finally. I would go to a small town and live as a recluse, because I’m good at that. Not telling my feelings to others, bottling them up and screwing the cork shut so tight you’ll never open the damn thing again. I am an excellent hermit. 

But one day a charming young man sat down in my café, and I took his order, and he asked for my number. I almost said no. Because I saw in that pair of blue eyes that he would mess with my plan. Don’t let him, my frail heart pleaded. You can’t handle this and you know it. Do you want to repeat the last two years? I didn’t. 


But I said yes anyway. 

Tomorrow was supposed to be the happiest day of my short life so far. 

But you know what? It’s not. I am sad – I am really fucking sad, but I still want to go, and it’s hurting me and other people, but I cannot help my heart. It wants to wake up to emerald hills and moody skies. One of my favourite quotes says: ‘You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy, and to be, and to do.’  


I am not good at uprooting myself. It took me two years to settle into life in London, and I don’t think I could have done it without my Irish Cookie Monster. And now I have to do it all over again, without him. And after these twelve months are up, the whole circus starts again. And after that, who knows. I hadn’t planned on moving across the country, five and a half hours (by train) away from my baby nephew, my mother and boyfriend. At least I get to take the cat with me. 

And I hope a certain Cookie Monster won’t mind the treck up to raid my cookie jar every once in a while. 

So you won’t see a whole lot of posting around here for the next two weeks or so. I have to pack up all my stuff – which I know is just stuff, but I am a homebird, and only human, so forgive my weakness – and pack up my heart and take myself away from here. There won’t be any Internet for a wee while. 

See you all in a bit. 



Courgette Soup with Sourdough Bread

This was one of the few things my granny could manage to feed me when I was a kid. I was a really finicky eater. She and my mum tend to make mono-veg soups – just one particular vegetable for the flavour, then onions for a bit of substance, a cube of vegetable stock and water. That’s it. We hardly measure, and it always turns out perfect. It’s easy, quick, nourishing food for the nights when you don’t have the heart to wait for your bowl of warming goodness to be ready. 

Remember that there is nothing – nothing, not even chocolate – more comforting in the world than a bowl of hot soup and a couple of slices of sourdough bread. It cures anything. Eventually.

Serves two

1 medium-sized courgette (zucchini), sliced
1 brown onion, peeled and chopped
1 cube of vegetable stock
water
almond pesto, to serve (optional) (see below for recipe)
a loaf of sourdough bread, to serve (most definitely not optional)

Boil some water in the kettle – about 2 cups or so. You mightn’t need it all.
Place a medium pot over high heat. Place the vegetables and stock cube in it, cover with water and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. 
Blend or puree the whole lot till smooth. Serve with a couple of thick slices of toasted, shamelessly buttered sourdough. 
I think many soups are nicely complimented by a dollop of pesto. You don’t have to add any pesto to this if you don’t like it, or you could just dip your bread in it. 

Almond Pesto

100g (3.5 oz) toasted slivered almonds (I bought mine like this, mostly because there just wasn’t anything else in the shop, but you can use raw almonds or toast them yourself)
150 ml (2/3 cup) olive oil
30g (a big handful) of fresh basil
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
a pinch of salt and pepper


Process all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until they become a grainy paste. Store in a jar in the fridge up to 3 days. Slather it onto toasted bread, mix it into a bowl of pasta, use as a dip or try drizzling it over your soup. 


Homemade Cashew Butter

And the cashew obsession continues. You saw this coming, right?

I’ve read that if you just keep your food processor whizzing for up to half an hour you get perfect creamy nut butter using only nuts. They contain lots of healthy fats so the process would naturally release them without the need to add any other oil(s). 
But alas, I don’t have a food processor; I only have a blender that’s already suffered quite a bit at my hands. It stopped dead for about a week not so long ago and I was sure it was a sign to buy a Vitamix (but alas, funds are low. My birthday’s August 24th, btw *wink wink*)

So I’ve added quite a bit of super-healthy, super-good for you coconut oil. You don’t have to. But I swear it’s yummy. And your skin will thank you.

Makes 375g (1 + 1/2 cup)

250g (8.8 oz) raw cashews, soaked overnight
5-7 tbsp raw coconut oil, melted (more or less depending on the speed and strength of your blender or food processor)
1/2 tsp vanilla paste (optional)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

Place the cashews in a powerful food processor or high-speed blender such as a Vitamix. Blend with a few tablespoons of coconut oil for 10-15 minutes. Every few minutes stop the processor or blender to scraped down the sides with a spatula; this helps the machine not getting stuck.
Add the vanilla paste and/or cinnamon and keep blending. 
Store in a jar in the fridge for up to 3 days.