Monday, January 02, 2012

Celebrate Vegan Review and Giveaway

Happy New Year! A new beginning, and a year full of opportunities to show your family and friends just how delicious eating vegan can be! Unbelievably, there are still folks out there who still think that eating vegan is tantamount to some sort of deprivation, when in fact, eating vegan is truly a celebration of taste, texture, and color! To my burgeoning collection of fabulous vegan cookbooks that illustrate this point, I recently added Dynise Balcavage's new book, Celebrate Vegana spectacular collection of the most delicious, celebratory vegan recipes you'll find anywhere! 


With 200 sumptuous, recipes for every occasion, Dynise invites readers to "use holidays—both our own and those of other cultures, as a conduit to affirming life and to savoring and sharing its pleasures." She writes, "Life, after all, should be a celebration. And vegan food certainly celebrates life in every sense of the word." I couldn't agree more!

Check out the Table of Contents, and you'll find some fascinating holidays represented! There are recipes for Diwali (the "festival of lights" in India), Barbados Independence Day, Eid al-Fitr (an Islamic feast that marks the end of a month-long period of fasting called Ramadan), Earth Day, and even Festivus! Some of the yummy recipes for the aforementioned holidays are respectively, Clementine-Sweet Potato Halwah, Farfalle with Shallots and Chard, "Conkies" (a mildly sweet cornmeal-based pudding), Muhammara (a lovely sweet and spicy dip), and Prismatic Wild Rice Salad. Of course, the book is filled with dishes for more familiar holidays and celebrations like Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Passover, and St. Patrick's Day. But I can't tell you how much fun it was learning about international celebrations with names like Vesak and Timkat! 

While I received this book just before the winter holidays, I wanted to sample a wide variety of dishes, so I didn't limit myself to recipes designated to Hanukkah, Christmas, and the New Year. One dish that was a part of our Christmas eve dinner, was EZ Tzimmes. While this sweet side dish is normally associated with the the Jewish New Year (celebrated in September), it paired fabulously with the Celebration Roast, stuffing, and gravy I served on Christmas eve. As Dynise points, out, there are as many recipes for tzimmes as there are cooks. But I love her citrusy-sweet medley of carrots, parsnips, sweet potato and fruit, which brought back some very warm family memories.


I like to include greens with our holiday dinners, because they are usually pretty heavily laden with starchy foods. Sicilian-Inspired Kale (for Columbus Day), is a brilliant fusion of garlic-infused olive oil, raisins, and pine nuts which cling lovingly to gently wilted kale. This tasty dish gave our dinner just the right balance. 


It was really chilly here just before the holidays, and I had a hankering for soup. (Did I mention the recipes for tailgate parties, slumber parties, and snow days you'll find in Celebrate Vegan?) Dynise's Minimal Pastina with Spinach Soup sounded like just the ticket to warm my cold bones. (It gets awfully chilly inside our house when it's cold, wet, and gloomily grey outdoors.) This tasty soup made with itsy-bitsy pasta and a hint of lemon was a snap to prepare, and was satisfying, warming, and nourishing—just the kind of dish you'd enjoy, even when you're not feeling well!


Since I've talked to so many people lately who are feeling a bit under the weather, here is the recipe for Minimal Pastina with Spinach Soup from Celebrate Vegan reprinted with the kind permission of Dynise Balcavage ©2011. 


Ingredients:


4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup pastina (or any small pasta like orzo or ditalini)
1 cup spinach, shredded or cut (frozen is fine, too)
Nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper to taste
Splash of lemon juice (optional, but I highly recommend it!)


Directions:


In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Add pasta, lemon juice if desired, and spinach. Cook according to pasta package directions. Adjust seasonings, and serve. Yields 4 (very yummy!) servings.

When Kwanzaa rolled around, I was still craving soup, and the recipe for Tanzanian Curried Chickpea-Banana Soup sounded intriguing. Boy, were we ever in for a treat! Coconut, tomatoes, chickpeas, and bananas came together to create a happy dance of flavors right there in our bowls! I was so glad that I made a huge pot, because I ate this soup for lunch every day for a week, and with each new slurp, I fell ever more deeply in love with it!


Back in November, I visited Palm Beach County, Florida. As some of you know, for very personal reasons, it wasn't a fun trip. But while I was there visiting with family, my nephew and I dined at a vegan restaurant called Darbster. My nephew's favorite dish there is the Hearts of Palm Cakes, and he urged me to try it. I never ate crab cakes, which is what they are reminiscent of, but holy WOW these were great! So when I spotted Dynise's recipe for Old Bay Cakes (think 4th of July picnic!), I couldn't wait to try them. Made with tofu, instead of hearts of palm, these babies were every bit as tasty as the cakes at Darbster!


Dynise's recipe for Thai-Centric Cheezy Mac takes a classic American comfort food dish and infuses it with my very favorite ethnic cuisine! Made with red bell pepper, carrots, So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer, and just the right amount of nooch, this is the cheesiest, creamiest, most delicately spiced mac 'n cheese ever to cross my lips. It's so good, I almost feel like licking the screen when I look at this photo:


As you can see from the book's beautiful cover, you'll also find lots of taste-tempting dessert recipes in Celebrate Veganfrom Mexican Wedding Cookies to Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan Crust! You can bet I'll be delving into all of them!

Now, you can certainly wait for the next holiday to roll around to start celebrating vegan, but I say that everyday is the perfect day to celebrate eating compassionately and deliciously. So, get yourself a copy of Celebrate Vegan, and make every meal a festive occasion and every day a holiday!


Update: Congratulations to Ashley! She won a copy of Celebrate Vegan! Ashley, please send me an email with your postal address so I can send you your book! Thank you to everyone who made this giveaway such a great one! Stay tuned for more great giveaways in 2012!

Would you like to win a copy of Celebrate Vegan? All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me what your favorite holiday is.* (Please make sure I have your email address to contact you when you win!) If you'd like to earn additional entries, please do any or all of the following, and leave a comment for each item you complete:

1. Follow this blog by clicking the "follow" link in the upper left-hand corner of this page, subscribing via email, or through NetworkedBlogs.
2. Tweet the following message: Win a copy of @theurbanvegan's Celebrate Vegan via @Vegiegail and make everyday a holiday! http://bit.ly/tJBteh #vegan #cookbook #giveaway
3. Like The Urban Vegan on Facebook.
4. Follow @Vegiegail on Twitter!
5. Follow @theurbanvegan on Twitter!

Good luck!


*Sorry international friends. Giveaway is only open to readers with a valid US postal address.

122 comments:

Mandy said...

Fave holiday: in our home, it's my son's bday!

mreid14 at hotmail dot com

Mandy said...

I follow you!

h. mcnaron said...

I love Thanksgiving-- it's a holiday about being grateful, and you can't get better than that!

thanks
hmcnaron at gmail dotcom

h. mcnaron said...

Following the urban vegan on facebook now, My fb name is A marie hj saver.

hmcnaron at gmail

Gabriella said...

My favorite holiday is the 4th of July. I'm a sucker for fireworks.

Gabriella said...

I follow you on Twitter.

Gabriella said...

I follow @theurbanvegan on twitter now!

Gabriella said...

I tweeted the message!

VeganMarr said...

Wow, all the recipes look DELICIOUS! Makin me hungry!! :-)

lvl5vegan said...

Returning to Veganism for 2012 :) I need this cookbook! Favorite holiday is 4th of July!
just look me up on facebook so I don't get spammed lol!
Amanda Clarice Torrez

Hil'Lesha said...

I love Easter, because it is in Spring.

HilLesha@gmail.com

Hil'Lesha said...

I like Urban Vegan on Facebook (Lesha Anderson).

Hillesha@gmail.com

Hil'Lesha said...

I'm following via Networked Blogs (Lesha Anderson).

HilLesha@gmail.com

Hil'Lesha said...

I'm following @Vegiegail on Twitter.

@HilLesha

Hil'Lesha said...

I'm following @theurbanvegan on Twitter.

@HilLesha

Hil'Lesha said...

I tweeted at https://twitter.com/#!/TalihinaNight/status/153939319411838976

angielee said...

i follow the urban vegan on facebook.

i also follow this blog via NetworkedBlogs. :)

Suburban Snow White said...

Christmas Eve is my favorite, I think! It's all about celebrating and anticipation! :)

I follow you via email and liked you on Facebook.

This book looks incredible.

Vegyogini said...

My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving! Thank you for the giveaway!

Vegyogini said...

I follow Urban Vegan on FB!

Sally said...

Thank you for the awesome post and for getting the word out about Dynise's great writing! My favorite holidays are the Solstices, and celebrations of Light from any tradition.

sallytinker AT gmail

Sally said...

I have subscribed to the Hungry Vegan and follow the Urban vegan on Facebook. I'm not yet a Tweeter. Happy 2012!

sallytinker AT gmail

Shear Sensations said...

I would love to have that book...sign me up.

rivka said...

my favorite hholiday is thanksgiving!

rivka said...

I follow your blog!

rivka said...

I like you on FB!

Anonymous said...

Count me in please! I like Thanksgiving the best.

-Britt T.

fieldofbread(at)aol(dot)com

Helen said...

This book sounds wonderful! And of course, you make all the recipes look so delicious! My favorite holiday is the harvest festival, Samhain!

Helen said...

I follow Hungry Vegan!

Rebecca said...

I follow Hungry Vegan (through Google Reader).. not sure if that one counts!

Rebecca said...

My favorite holiday has to be Christmas because it's when family's all get together, eat, have a good time & hangout. It's cold outside so everyone loves to stay inside, have a fire going & keep warm :)

Rebecca said...

I'm following The Urban Vegan on facebook by "liking" her page!

Rebecca said...

I'm following @vegiegail on twitter!

Rebecca said...

I'm following @theurbanvegan on twitter!

Rebecca said...

I just tweeted about this giveaway! @rebeccaablock

Jennʻs Adventureʻs said...

I follow your bloggity blog!!

Jennʻs Adventureʻs said...

I tweeted about this giveaway!!

https://twitter.com/#!/JennsAdventures/status/154028949704409088

Jennʻs Adventureʻs said...

I follow you on twitter!

Jennʻs Adventureʻs said...

I "like" The Urban Vegan on facebook!

Jennʻs Adventureʻs said...

I follow @theurbanvegan on twitter:)

Portugal said...

This is one of my favorite cookbooks. I tried many of its recipes and they are as delicious as they are healthy. The great thing is that you don't have to feel guilty after eating these meals. It is a great cookbook to have. I gave a copy to all my friends for Christmas and they all loved it.

EmeraldandJade said...

My favorite holiday is "Buy Nothing Day" :) All the other holidays- even spiritual ones- seem to all involve buyin more stuff!

EmeraldandJade said...

I liked the Urban Vegan on facebook
dangchristine{at}hotmail{dot}com

Martha said...

My favorite holiday is MLK day!

leafynotbeefy.com said...

My favorite is Christmas :)

leafynotbeefy (at) hotmail (dot) com

leafynotbeefy.com said...

I follow you via email :)

leafynotbeefy.com said...

I like The Urban Vegan on FB

Boi Polloi said...

Ooooh Favourite Holiday that's a tough one. I think maybe Thanksgiving. So much food!

Boi Polloi said...

Already subscribed to your blog by email :)

Boi Polloi said...

Made a twitter post - username Spookeriffic!

Boi Polloi said...

Following vegiegail on Twitter, username Spookeriffic :)

Athena said...

Christmas is my favorite holiday.
cereza25 at yahoo dot com

Athena said...

I follow you on Twitter.
cereza25 at yahoo dot com

Athena said...

Tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/GoddessFoodie/status/154221932177391619

cereza25 at yahoo dot com

Athena said...

Following @theurbanVegan on Twitter.
cereza25 at yahoo dot com

Mary said...

My favorite holiday is my anniversary with the love of my life!

marygouthro (at) Gmail (dot) com

Mary said...

I follow your blog!

marygouthro (at) gmail (dot) com

Mary said...

I tweeted!!

marygouthro (at) gmail (dot) com

Mary said...

I follow you on twitter!

marygouthro (at) gmail (dot) com

Mary said...

I follow @theurbanvegan on twitter!!

marygouthro (at) gmail (dot) com

Mary said...

I like the Urban Vegan on FAcebook!

Lizzie Bordello said...

I love Halloween - I'm a big fan of all things spooky, so I love spending the whole month watching horror flicks.

Lizzie Bordello said...

I already follow Hungry Vegan in my Google Reader. :)

Lizzie Bordello said...

I just tweeted the giveaway.





https://twitter.com/#!/wickedliz/status/154254374993002497

Lizzie Bordello said...

I already follow you on Twitter.

Lizzie Bordello said...

I also already follow The Urban Vegan on Twitter.

Lizzie Bordello said...

And I just liked The Urban Vegan on Facebook!

PurpleLarkspur said...

My favorite Holiday is the 4th of July. We always host a vegetarian BBQ. Inevitably, the non veg people who come are shocked at how good the food is!!

larkspurpurple (at) gmail.com

PurpleLarkspur said...

I follow via email

larkspurpurple (at) gmail.com

PurpleLarkspur said...

Tweet! https://twitter.com/#!/PurpleLarkspur/status/154267279843000320

larkspurpurple (at) gmail.com

PurpleLarkspur said...

I follow you on Twitter. I am @purplelarkspur

larkspurpurple (at) gmail.com

PurpleLarkspur said...

I follow @theurbanvegan on Twitter. I am @purplelarkspur

larkspurpurple (at) gmail.com

Eva eidwriter@aol.com said...

My two favorite Holidays are Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July Thanks for the chance to win this book

Eva eidwriter@aol.com said...

I subscribe to your blog via e-mail

Terri Cole said...

My favorite holiday is Samhain (Halloween for the non-pagans)

gaia (at) cinci (dot) rr (dot) com

Terri Cole said...

I follow this blog

gaia (at) cinci (dot) rr (dot) com

Terri Cole said...

i am following the urban vegan on FB

gaia (at) cinci (dot) rr (dot) com

Angel said...

Love, love, love all the recipes in this post! I have been wanting soup to find some tasty new soup recipes to warm up with, so thank you for sharing the one for pastina and spinach! My favorite holiday is Hanukkah. There's something very lovely about lighting the candles. I'm sure I would love Diwali, too!

Angel said...

I follow Hungry Vegan! And Happy New Year!

Christie said...

Christmas and birthdays. I love that kind of celebrating. And I would love a copy of this book! Thank you for the great giveaway!

Christie said...

I follow this blog. (natch!)

Cassandra said...

That mac and cheese looks really really good! Thanks for posting the soup recipe. I woke up with a cold this morning and I actually have all the ingredients for the soup. :) Go figure!

My favorite holiday - Christmas. I love the reminder to celebrate Christ's life. My love language is gifts so I have a lot of fun giving and receiving. Plus the food is wonderful! Such a great time of year. :)

Christie said...

I liked Urban Vegan on Facebook.

Cassandra said...

I follow your blog via Opera's in-browser RSS feed. I can take a screen shot to prove it if necessary! :)

CuteVegan said...

Following your blog!

CuteVegan said...

Tweeted!https://twitter.com/#!/billiejeanie327/status/154394701213089796

CuteVegan said...

Following The Urban Vegan on FB!

CuteVegan said...

Follow VegieGail on twitter! @billiejeanie327

CuteVegan said...

Following the urban vegan on twitter too!

MarkTwain said...

Favorite holiday is either Halloween or 4th of July.

MarkTwain said...

1. I follow your blog!

MarkTwain said...

2. I tweeted! @martielou

MarkTwain said...

3. I like "urban vegan" on FB!

MarkTwain said...

4. I follow veggiegail on twitter!

MarkTwain said...

5. follow urbanvegan on twitter!

Thanks for the giveaway!

kaos127 said...

Favorite holiday is Halloween

kaos127 said...

Following Urban Vegan on Fb--and planning to make all the recipes in her book this year!

kaos127 said...

Following the blog!

kaos127 said...

Following Urban Vegan on Twitter!

kaos127 said...

And following you!

Vegenista said...

It's a nearly a tie between Thanksgiving & Christmas, but Chirstmas it is. I love the warmth & cheer of the season!

Vegenista said...

I like Urban Vegan on Facebook

Vegenista said...

I follow Urban Vegan pn Twitter.

Vegenista said...

I follow vegiegail on twitter

Vegenista said...

I susbcribe to Hungry Vegan by email

Vegenista said...

I tweeted! https://twitter.com/#!/vegenista/status/154612070883667968

Hannah said...

You are a life saver! I had a ton of extra spinach and no clue what to do with it. This simple yet comforting soup will fit the bill beautifully. :)

tina said...

i think its my birthday..i get to pick a vegan friendly restaurant for dinner, even though my friends are not vegetarian..everyone goes and has a good time.

Ashley said...

My favorite holiday is definitely Christmas, so now I have a long time to wait for the next one! Thanks for the giveaway :)
ammauceri@gmail.com

Ashley said...

I subscribe!

Ashley said...

I tweeted!

Ashley said...

I like the Urban Vegan on FB

Ashley said...

I follow you on twitter :)

Ashley said...

I follow urbanvegan too!

swallace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
swallace said...

St. Patricks day!

Carol M said...

My favorite holiday is the 4th of July!
mittens0831 at aol dot com

Carol M said...

I follow on GFC.
mittens0831 at aol dot com

Carol M said...

https://twitter.com/#!/CarolAnnM/status/166281299894607872

mittens0831 at aol dot com

Carol M said...

I like the Urban Vegan on Facebook - Carol Mintz
mittens0831 at aol dot com

Carol M said...

I Follow @Vegiegail on Twitter - CarolAnnM
mittens0831 at aol dot com

Carol M said...

I Follow @theurbanvegan on Twitter - CarolAnnM
mittens0831 at aol dot com