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In the cold winter months when the house is closed up and I am chilled to the bones (I am an absolute sissy in cold weather!), there is nothing better than the anticipation of a yummy warm-me-to-the-core pot of goodness that is simmering away on the stove, perfuming the kitchen with its aromatic flavors.

This Fennel Mushroom Ragu is, in its simplicity, precisely one of these meals. Adorn it over pasta, or as the crowning glory atop grilled polenta cakes or tofu, or toss with pasta and vegan ricotta for a baked pasta casserole. Add a protein—such as beefless tips or chickenless strips for a heartier, stick-to-your-ribs dish. Possibilities abound…enjoy!

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So, yes, I have to admit that I am one of those people that have been terrified, and I do mean terrified, for years at the sight of a pressure cooker. Visions of it exploding on the stove, dousing ceiling to floor with the pressurized contents gone awry abound aplenty.

It wasn’t until about ten years ago, when a dear friend introduced me to using a pressure cooker to make Daal, Indian lentils, that one of those contraptions made its arrival into my kitchen arsenal. What a score! I embarked on my journey of using my pressure cooker, albeit still somewhat trepidatiously, cooking a variety of beans. But, alas, my journey pretty much stalled at that point….well, that is, until JL Fields’ “Vegan Pressure Cooking”. A whole new world of culinary skills and delights entered my gastronomic sphere.

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I am fortunate to have whom I consider to be the absolute best neighbors in the world. They live across the street from me. For the first six years, I did not reside in my home, but rather, visited several times each year. During the first six years, we became friendly with one particular couple. And then finally, on September 1, 2015, it happened! I was able to semi-retire and move to my dream house in my fantasy world, although it was neither a dream nor a fantasy. It was real life. Ah, so much to be grateful for today. Since then, we (my partner, Richard, and I) have become endearing friends with Skip and Cynthia. But, I am digressing here just a bit. Back to being on point….

If you’ve been following this blog, you might have realized by now that I not only love to cook, but also have a real passion for baking as well. Coupled with that, it positively feeds my soul to gift my baked treats to those I love.

Skip is diabetic, so I tweaked my original carrot muffin recipe (which was not vegan) into a delicious (and quick and easy) sugar-free carrot-apple muffin in his honor.

I just finished baking these muffins as part of my Holiday gift to Skip and Cynthia. I will be presenting these baked goodies to them on “The Giving Plate”. The giving plate reads: This special plate is yours today. Its purpose is very clear. It comes to tell you that you’re loved and someone holds you dear! Savor all the plate contains and fill it full again. Then send it on renewed with love to family and friends.

So, here’s my new, veganized recipe. At the very end, I will include my former original non-vegan recipe, since after all, this blog is “veganification”, celebrating the journey of becoming and being vegan. That includes recipes in addition to us sentient beings.

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I recently had the extreme pleasure of presenting a cooking demonstration at Verde Valley Olive Oil Traders in Cottonwood, Arizona, a town located just outside of Sedona, Arizona. The class was entitled, “Holiday Hor D’oeurves” and was presented to twenty mostly-omnivores. I knew I needed to step up my game and be creative and inventive with what I was preparing.

I absolutely LOVE Thai summer rolls and got my inspiration from that absolutely yummy delight. However, it’s not summer, it’s winter (or at least it will be when the holiday actually arrives). So, it got me thinking….how could I transform a summer roll into what I will now call a “winter roll”?

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Today is a day dedicated to giving, not just dollars but also our time, our knowledge, our experiences, our love and compassion for the benefit of all sentient beings and for the environment.

There are so many ways that we can support the precepts of our vegan lifestyle.

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Vegan Black Friday

Vegan Black Friday

With today being the official kickoff of the Holiday Shopping Madness (oops, I meant Season), we are presented with an outstanding opportunity to use our dollars as our voice, letting others know that we will not use our dollars to contribute to the suffering of other sentient beings, to the expansion of global warming, and to the negative health consequences of friends and loved ones.

Each dollar we spend, each gift we give, is a chance to practice dynamic harmlessness.

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About Linda Voorhis

I’ve always had a love for cooking and read cookbooks and cooking magazines the way other people read books. They inspire me to create my own recipes and have taught me the ‘science’ of cooking, most especially baking.

Julia Child (definitely nothing veg about her, but probably the greatest skills technician) and my maternal Italian grandmother, Mary, were my first mentors. With the advent of the celebrity chef and abundance of television cooking shows, inspiration continued to be placed before me. Food, its preparation with love, and the creativity it sparks within me, became a passion of mine.

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