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Hoppin' John Soup ♥

For a double-dose of good luck in the new year, try a hearty soup version of Hoppin' John, the traditional food of "good fortune" in the American South. It's packed with lucky black-eyed peas and for extra measure, lucky collard greens too. Low carb and Weight Watchers friendly!
Now's The Time to Shop for Collard Greens!Check your grocery store this week: it'll be selling big bunches of collard greens, it's a promise. That's because greens, especially collard greens, are traditional for New Years' – who wouldn't mind a little more "green" in the prosperity department?! Hoppin' John is a traditional beans 'n' rice dish, so that makes this Hoppin' John in a soup bowl, with collard greens for good measure.

Soup for the Break Between Christmas and New Year'sHoppin' John Soup is a great soup for that long pause between Christmas and New Years, the one where we catch our breath and remember what the heavens must ca…

My Favorite Sweet Potato Recipes
Hint: They're Not Just for Fries Anymore!

Finally! It's a veggie evangelist's dream come true, sweet potatoes named a food trend for 2011. In honor, I hereby present my best and favorite sweet potato recipes.
Finally, there's a food trend for vegetable lovers. And it's a vegetable that's found in every grocery store in the world (I'm betting) not an obscure plant grown every third year on a certain hillside in the far reaches of Outer Mongolia reachable only to people who trek in on yaks. And it's affordable not the price of an orthodontist visit. And yahoo, get this -- it's healthy! And maybe famous! Will 2011 be remembered as the Year of the Sweet Potato?

On Monday, Food News Journal (a great source of well-organized and timely food tidbits from both mainstream media and food blogs, best way to follow is via a free e-mail subscription) linked to Food Trend Predictions for 2011 from Tanya Steel at Epicurious. And right there, at #8, were "sweet potatoes". Yes, imagine sweet potatoe…

This Year, Let's Give Salads with Abandon: A Simple Dandelion Salad ♥

Today's holiday respite: A simple but elegant dandelion salad, a concept, not a prescription. The gift of a salad, let it soothe the stress of the season.
Shopping before the holidays, it's good to avoid the seasonal gift-buying trap. You know the one, it goes one for them, one for me. But a salad is a gift you can give yourself or gift wrap for those we love – this year, let's give salads with abandon!

But let's save the staid old every-day salads for another time, those are the socks and the screwdriver sets of gifts, appreciated but fast forgotten. Instead, let's imagine simple but splendid salads, perfectly dressed greens and a sprinkle of festive salad savories, as bright and enticing as the beribboned boxes beneath the tree. No shaking the salads!

It worked for me, a gift not soon forgotten. It was November not December and we were shopping for a birthday not Christmas. But there we were on a Friday night, hungry for supper but foraging the aisles of the Ta…

Healthy Red & Green Green-Bean Salad ♥

A heathy green bean "concept" salad for holiday buffets, potlucks and special meals, a pretty red and green salad that looks as festive as it is healthy. How healthy? Well, Weight Watchers, a full serving is just half a point using the old WW point system, the new Weight Watchers PointsPlus value is 1. (More on PointsPlus at the bottom of this page.) It's low carb, it's high in fiber – and naturally, it tastes great. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
Around here, cookbooks spill off shelves, stack up on the floor, rest on the coffee table waiting for a look-see. Long-ago favorites take up shelf space in a guest room. The sentimental favorites are the church-style cookbooks of my grandmother's and mother's generation. I shake my head when paging through the so-called "salad" section. You know what's coming, right? All the recipes call for a box of Jello. A third call for cream cheese, a third for mayonnaise and the remaining third ge…

Vegetarian Entrée Recipes for Thanksgiving

Welcome to A Veggie Venture's collection of vegetarian entrée recipes for Thanksgiving!
When it comes to Thanksgiving vegetarian main dishes, it's a bit of a balancing act, especially when there are both meat eaters and vegetarians at the same table. Over the years, these have become my goals, considering the needs of the hosts and the guests, both:

Thanksgiving is a special meal, a vegetarian entrée should feel special too, not an afterthought.
A vegetarian entrée should appeal to vegetarians and carnivores alike, the main course for the vegetarians, a side dish for the meat eaters. In this way, a quiet word can be said to those who don't eat meat but diet preferences need not become the subject of table conversation.
The vegetarian dish must have a substantial feel, not just be a larger portion of a traditional vegetable side dish.
It must use fresh and seasonal vegetables and be prepped mostly or entirely in advance.
VEGETARIANS, PLEASE NOTE: A Veggie Venture feat…

Savory Sweet Potato Casserole ♥

A savory sweet potato casserole, yes, that's right, a sweet potato casserole without marshmallows! Instead, the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes is mellowed with goat cheese and green chile salsa.
It's November at A Veggie Venture! That means the focus is adding new recipes to Favorite Recipes for Thanksgiving's Favorite Vegetables, a five-year collection of more than three dozen seasonal, delicious vegetable recipes perfect for Thanksgiving.
So we're turning orange around here. Our skin, our eyes, our lips, our teeth ... ... ... ... ... kidding! But if we are what we eat, then we are turning into sweet potatoes because I've made one savory sweet potato casserole recipe after another for the last couple of weeks. Because this is a classic concept recipe, mostly the casseroles have been variations on a theme:

Sweet potatoes cooked and then mashed with a fork, mixing in something creamy like goat cheese, ricotta cheese, even sour cream.
Then thinned with a little…

For Green Bean Casserole, Just Say NO!
to Canned Green Beans & Mushroom Soup

How to make a green bean casserole from scratch with fresh green beans and fresh mushrooms. Below are step-by-step photos showing how to make the fresh green bean casserole recipe so many cooks have made (and loved!) since 2006. It's an adaptation of a Cooks' Illustrated recipe so good I dubbed it the World's Best Green Bean Casserole.
SAY YES! The green bean casserole is America's favorite casserole for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter (and even Father's Day, Labor Day and other special family occasions). It's worth saying 'yes' to!

SAY NO! to CANNED GREEN BEANS & CANS OF MUSHROOM SOUP But it's the 21st century and cans of more-gray-than green beans and cans of goopy gloppy mushroom soup just don't cut it any more. Making a green bean casserole with fresh green beans and fresh mushroom takes a little more time but it's not hard, not in the least. But the taste difference is so worth the extra effort. If you want to be a star at Thank…