And what a Merry Christmas it was! Christmas is my favorite holiday, my favorite day of the year, and something I look forward to all year long. Some would say I’m still a 5 year old when it comes to Christmas and I love being the one to still run into my family member’s rooms to wake them up on Christmas morning (earlier than they would like.) Our family has many Christmas traditions that I always look forward to, and I love knowing what fun we’ll have at each event. The holidays are full of fun, food, cheer, excitement, and love and that’s why it’s the BEST time of year.
This year would be a little different in the food department. No longer could I go to the Christmas Eve party and have Chickfila nuggets and brie bites, so I wanted to come up with a menu for all of our Christmas events that would keep us satisfied and feel included in the foodie festivities. I wanted some of the traditional elements that make it feel like Christmas and just adjust the ingredients to a recipe that we could enjoy as well. Thank goodness mimosas are vegan! I tried to not let this menu planning, cooking, and adjusting stress me out so I did what I had to do and enjoyed the results. Here’s the recipes we had this year for Christmas, and I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!
Annual Christmas Eve Party- Spinach, Mushroom, and Tofu Ricotta Wreath
This was a beautiful, festive, and delicious party appetizer. It impressed with it’s flavor and it’s eye appeal and it went a long way so a lot of people got to try it out. Did you know crescent rolls are vegan?! I know, what a wonderful surprise. These add a decadent and guilty pleasure feel that you need at any holiday party. Forgive the picture, I forgot to take one once it was moved to a pretty tray and topped with torn basil, surrounded by fresh parsley, and added a bowl of my favorite marinara sauce (Rao’s) in the middle for dipping. Believe me, it was more appealing at the party, but I was really pleased with how it turned out.
3 cans of Pillsbury Crescent Roll dough
1 bag of chopped, frozen spinach
8 oz baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 lb container organic firm tofu, drained and pressed
8-10 leaves of fresh basil, torn
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350*. In a food processor, add tofu, garlic, Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend on high until smooth and set aside.
- In a skillet, add the spinach, sliced mushrooms, onion and salt and pepper and sauté until vegetables are tender.
- Add the tofu ricotta into the skillet and mix with vegetables to make the filling for the wreath. Let cool in the refrigerator.
- On a large flat lined cookie sheet, add the crescent roll triangles into the shape of a sun. The wider part of the triangles will be overlapping as the base of the inner part of the wreath and the pointed ends will extend out. I used 3 cans of dough to make a large wreath, but you can make it different sizes depending on how many triangles you use.
- Once your filling is cool, start adding heaping spoonfuls to the overlapping section of the triangles until you have a good amount of filling and then fold the pointed ends of the triangles over the filling and tuck under the inner section of the wreath. I used the leftover few triangles to make a bow for the top of the wreath.
- Bake for 25 minutes and you have a perfect festive appetizer!
Christmas Morning – Mini Blueberry Muffins
I used my previous post recipe for easy blueberry muffins and baked them in a mini muffin tin, perfect for popping muffins while opening presents. I wasn’t super prepared to make them because I realized I didn’t have oil so I used the Earth Balance butter baking sticks, and for the eggs I used a mashed banana. They were eaten faster than the store bought muffins sitting next to them!
Christmas Morning Brunch- TJ’s Cinnamon Rolls, “Sausage”, Tofu Scramble, and Cantaloupe
Every Christmas morning, my family hosts a brunch with a few family members at our house and we have the same thing each year. We have Eggs Mornay (hardboiled eggs in a creamy mornay sauce), turkey kielbasa, cantaloupe, biscuits, and Sister Schubert’s cinnamon rolls. Needless to say, I had to come up with some alternatives and I didn’t feel as miserably full and sick this year after a huge brunch.
Guess what? Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Roll dough in a can is vegan! No Sister Schubert’s for us this year, but these were a delicious and fluffy replacement. We baked these and topped with the given icing.
I told my mom to get Morning Star “Sausage” patties for our meat replacement, and didn’t know that they did still include eggs and milk. Sorry we ate them anyway, but I’ll know in the future.
I made a savory tofu scramble with sautéed asparagus and grape tomatoes (Christmas colors, of course!) I sautéed chopped asparagus, halved grape tomatoes, and salt and pepper until soft. I crumbled extra firm tofu into the mixture and then sprinkled with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and turmeric for color. It’s a healthy alternative that still gives you the protein to balance out the mass quantity of sugar and carbs, but doesn’t leave you feeling bloated and sick.
We also had chopped cantaloupe. I took a picture of my plate yesterday morning and then somehow lost the picture during my Christmas phone transition, so just picture it in your heads for now. Here’s a picture of my leftover scramble and I sprinkled TJ’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning on top. Looks kind of like scrambled eggs?
Christmas Dinner- Vegan “Beef” and Wine
Beef and Wine was one of my favorite recipes that has come out of my grandparent’s kitchen. It’s something we always have for big family special occasions and it has a rich, hearty flavor filled with filet, bacon, and red wine. Again, I needed to make an alternative but I still wanted the flavor that I loved and wanted to fit in and still have this dish with the rest of the family. I called my grandma for the recipe and then adjusted it to fit our needs. This is what I came up with, and I actually loved it! It had the same rich flavor from the wine, but didn’t have the greasiness from the bacon and meat. I served ours over bowtie pasta instead of egg noodles. I might add a splash of liquid smoke next time to get the smokiness from the missing bacon. My cousin did a taste test with the two versions, so it’s Allison approved, and I chased many people down with a spoon to have them try it out and they liked it as well! Sweet success!
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 bags of Quorn beefless strips, or your favorite replacement
few tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 c. dry red wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp minced garlic
1-2 cups of carrots, sliced
1 lb baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
4 c vegetable broth, low sodium
2 tbsp Vegetarian Better than Bouillon “Beef” flavor
few tbsps of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
- In a large dutch oven over medium heat, sauté onion, carrots, mushrooms in olive oil for about 5-7 minutes and remove from pan.
- Toss beefless strips into flour to coat and then dust off excess. Add to a few tbsp of olive oil to dutch oven and add strips and brown. Once browned, remove from pan as well.
- Add tomato paste, bouillon, and garlic to the pan and stir for a few minutes to deepen flavor, and then add the veggie broth and wine for the sauce. Dump vegetables and strips back into the pot and stir.
- Simmer 2-3 hours until sauce has thickened and vegetables are tender. Serve over pasta and it’s drool-worthy and makes even better leftovers.
I also made Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies and Dark Chocolate bark that I brought to all of our events. They were a big hit, and I didn’t have any to take home with us. They got eaten faster than “regular” Christmas cookies and everyone came to me raving about the bark! I posted the recipes already to the blog.