It’s time for giving thanks, spending cozy time with friends and family, and, of course, enjoying a lot of lovingly prepared holiday fare.
G R A T I T U D E ! It’s a lot more than an annual event. Rather, let us keep an attitude of gratitude every day, and welcome blessings in all forms, all things great and small, “good” and “bad”, past, present, and yet to come. Who are we to judge the gifts and lessons life brings to us? I love this saying, “Nothing in life happens to you. Everything in your life happens for you” (origin unknown). Yes, every relationship, encounter, obstacle, tragedy, event, and stroke of “luck” carries a lesson to learn, a way to enrich and deepen our inner wisdom, compassion, and understanding.
So let us give thanks for every breath and, especially at Thanksgiving time, every bite!
BTW, the photo above is from Christmas 2013, when my family shared a week together in a cozy VRBO home near Yosemite. On the plate, starting at 1:00 and going clockwise, are: Maple Roasted Kabocha Squash, Marinated Baked Tofu with Fresh Herbs, Green Beans with Almonds and Butter, Southern Greens, Mashed Potatoes with Wheat-Free Mushroom Gravy, Bread Stuffing with Apricots, Walnuts & Cranberries (added raisins too), and Cranberry-Orange Relish. And that’s just what fit on the plate!
My easy stuffing always gets raves and tastes a lot more fancy than it really is. I usually bake it in a 2-quart casserole dish, but any baking dish, bread pan, dutch oven, or the like will do. You can easily double the recipe and it’s perfect for a community or large family meal. Made vegan/vegetarian style, the only thing that gets stuffed is all our tummies with the fabulous holiday meal!
This stuffing recipe I am sharing today gives you a sneak “preview” of one of the new recipes you will find in my cookbook, From Vegetables with Love: Recipes & Tales from a Yogi’s Kitchen, coming out in Spring 2015. Deelish!
Bread “Stuffing” with Apricots, Walnuts & Cranberries
Yield: 6 Generous Servings
When I double it I use one box of whole grain stuffing and one box of cornbread stuffing mix.
1 stick butter (or 1/2 cup Earth Balance spread)
5 stalks celery, diced
2 onions, diced
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate
1 12-oz pkg. wholegrain or cornbread stuffing mix
4 oz. chopped walnuts
2 oz. dried cranberries
2 oz. dried apricots, chopped in thin slices
1½ cups hot water (or follow directions on box for water amount)
Olive oil spray
Sauté the Veggies: Melt butter in large heavy skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions, celery and mushrooms, sprinkle with a little salt, and sauté 20-30 minutes until soft and translucent (do not brown). Most of liquid should be cooked out. Add orange juice concentrate and mix well.
Make the Stuffing: Meanwhile, put all the stuffing mix into a large mixing bowl. Add chopped nuts and dried fruit and combine. Add 1¼ cup hot water and mix until evenly moistened. Add cooked onions-celery-mushrooms and mix well. Add a little more hot water if needed. It should be a pleasant moist, fluffy consistency, not mushy!
Now Bake It: Put all into a 2-quart casserole or 2 loaf pans that are lightly buttered or sprayed with oil. Do not press down or squish the stuffing. Cover with foil or lid and bake at 350° for 45-60 minutes. Then remove foil and bake another 15-20 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven and cover again to hold heat until served. It will stay hot enough to serve for about 2 hours.