Hello! And Happy New Year! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve last posted—I hope you were all way too busy doing fun things with friends and family to even notice. I certainly was busy! My entire family was in town for Christmas, which meant daily meet ups with “just the 13 of us.” I had lots of fun visiting with my siblings, my new nephew who is just 3 months older than Jonathan—BFFs for life!—and my own boys! It seems like it flew by and that time stood still all at once. Tomorrow Irving is back to his grind at work, David is back to school, and all of our regular activities are starting up again. I’m ready for it.
While I haven’t been typing I’ve been writing in my head. I have lots of ideas to post about in the new year. I have a new baby recipe for you, a new cookbook giveaway later this month, and a few family recipes too!
Did you set any resolutions or goals for yourselves this past week? I celebrated my vegiversary times two on New Years Day—5 years ago my resolution was to become vegetarian and 3 years ago on NYD I became vegan. They are probably the only two resolutions I’ve ever kept! This year my goal is to get back to cleaner living. Less processed foods, less sugar, less coffee drive thru, less vino. More exercise, more walks with my boys, more whole veggies, more green smoothies, and more homemade treats.
The past two years have been doozies for me in terms of sticking to good eating habits and exercise—starting with a pregnancy in April of 2013 that ended in a miscarriage, and then Jonathan’s pregnancy just 8 weeks after that going all the way through his birth and infancy, and his continued inability to/dislike of sleep through the night consistently—I feel like I have had one fairly legitimate excuse after another. But Jonathan will be 9 months in two weeks (please tell me that’s not true) so the excuses are done and I’m ready to put my health/food habits first! Less Gardein nugget meals (but oh how we love them), more whole foods!
So let me start with this meal for you—my mom’s veganized Cranberry Beef-less Stew. This is a total stick to your ribs meal. It is hearty, warm, and comforting—a total winter go to. Seitan stands in for the Beef in this stew—I’m considering it a “whole-ish” food, as we make ours at home with just a handful of ingredients. If you wanted to be really hardcore you could probably make it with just vegetables too—maybe mushrooms would work for a meaty sub? I hope you enjoy this as much as we do—we’ve already had it several times this winter.
Cranberry Beefless Stew
1 T oil
1 large onion, diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
5 carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ t paprika
1 t salt
½ t garlic powder
2 t worsteshire sauce (vegan—I use Annie’s Naturals)
1 16 ounce can whole berry cranberry sauce (not cranberry jelly, or sub with fresh cranberries, but compensate with a small amount of sweetener as they may be too tart)
1 bay leaf
3 c water (optional—replace half of the water for red wine)
1 pound seitan (1 quarter batch of my homemade recipe, or store bought—I like Upton’s Naturals)
Optional: 1-2 c diced red potatoes (These can be cooked right in the stew, added with the carrots. Alternately, I like to roast some potatoes in the oven to serve along side of the stew.)
Place oil in a large pot and warm over medium heat. Add onions and begin to brown. Add celery, then carrots as you chop, giving it a stir with each addition. Let brown for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and brown quickly. Lower heat. Add paprika, salt, garlic powder, worcestshire sauce, and cranberry sauce. Give the whole mix a good stir. Add in the water, bay leaf and the seitan and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down heat and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, until all veggies are fork tender. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf. Serve!
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