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Silky Smooth Corn Pudding ♥ Recipe

Today's extra-easy Thanksgiving vegetable recipe: An oh-so-smooth custardy corn pudding that takes all of ten minutes to throw together. Now don't turn up your nose that it starts with a can of creamed corn. The resulting custard is slightly sweet, oh-so-smooth that I promise, no one will know. Everyone will think you are a kitchen magician!
Have you developed your own style, a personal preference for taste and timing? I sure have. When it's supper for one or two, my style is to make it fresh, eat it asap, no setting the slow cooker in the morning, no putting aside meals for the freezer.

But for parties and family gatherings? I am the make-ahead queen. That's why virtually every single Thanksgiving recipe here on A Veggie Venture includes tips for making a dish the day before. Last year's Thanksgiving, I cooked and prepped so much on the Wednesday that by Thursday morning, all that was left was to "cook" was the turkey my grandmother's butterhorns …

Quinoa Pilaf with Kale & Corn ♥ Recipe

What a favorite new kale recipe! It's no more than quinoa and kale cooked together in one pot, then tossed with a bright lemon vinaigrette and a few kernels of corn. You might serve it on the side, you might choose it for Meatless Monday! Easy Weeknight Supper. Very Weight Watchers Freestyle Friendly. Vegetarian. Naturally Gluten Free.
So. Confession time. You know that household chore you put off and put off and put off some more and then when you finally buck up and just do it, well, it takes all of ten minutes start to finish? (Except for the four months it took to get around to it in the first place.) Kale is like that for me, it's a bit of a chore, something I ought to buy/cook/eat more of but always put off. Then when I finally do, I'm half surprised to realize all over again, that "Hey! Kale is really good stuff!" And no chore at all!

Enter this quinoa, just quinoa and kale cooked at the same time in the same pot – yay, just one dish – then tossed with r…

Fried Zucchini Sticks vs Baked Zucchini Sticks ♥ Recipe

<< Today's vegetable recipe: My friend Helen's recipe for Fried Zucchini Sticks (what she calls just "Fried Zucchini") plus my test of the same recipe, but baked, so Baked Zucchini Sticks. It's a face-off, Fried vs Baked in taste, calories and Weight Watchers points. Which recipe wins out, the Fried Zucchini Sticks or the Baked Zucchini Sticks? You might just be surprised. >>
Are fried vegetables the "gateway" technique for vegetable haters? I admit a weakness for fried plants: fried onions, fried green beans, fried pickles, fried okra, fried eggplant. Fried eggplant? Yes, it's been known to turn self-proclaimed "we are not eggplant people" into fried-eggplant fiends.

So why no fried vegetables on A Veggie Venture? Well, it's a healthy-eating thing. Because we all know that fried food is bad, right? Right?

Well maybe it is, maybe it isn't. These Fried Zucchini Sticks were fried in a skillet that started with 8 tables…

Baked Oatmeal with Pumpkin & Pears ♥ Recipe

Today's healthy breakfast recipe: Oatmeal baked with pumpkin plus fall fruit, pumpkin-pie spices and nuts. There's just enough pumpkin for color and moisture without making the oatmeal dense and heavy.
Come October 1, American-based food blogs take on a fevered orange tinge – pumpkin orange, that is – as we go cra-zee for pumpkin recipes. I have my own collection, My Favorite Pumpkin Recipes but am always happy to add another! "Never look a gift pumpkin in the face," I say, especially when it's a healthy pumpkin recipe. :-)

The last few weeks, I've been made one pan of Easy Baked Oatmeal after another, twice with blueberries and bananas, twice with apples and pears (and the all-important bananas), then twice more with pumpkin and pears (and more bananas). It took some tweaking to get the right amount of pumpkin and pumpkin-pie-type spices and the baking time right, but the last batch was just excellent.

Roasted Whole Red Onions Recipe ♥ with Sweet Potatoes & Rosemary

<< Today's colorful vegetable recipe: A double punch of vegetable color from small whole red onions and the cubes of sweet potatoes, roasted together in a sherry-sweetened broth with pungent rosemary. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". >>
Wow. Talk about a flavor pop, both the onions and the sweet potatoes, roasted in a hot oven. Plus I love cooking two vegetables at the same time, fewer moving parts getting dinner on the table.

The trick is to find small red onions, I don't see them often, these came from the garden of our Minnesota friends the Rassmussens. But once you have small red onions, they're so pretty, it seems a shame to just cut them up. So this was a really special way to use small red onions, showing off their shape and color, really making the onions themselves stand out. If you had enough, you could do a dish with all red onions too, no sweet potatoes. Either one would add color to a buffet table, say. Plus people really like cooked …

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash with Ginger & Dried Fruit Recipe ♥ Recipe

Today's Thanksgiving recipe: A plain-looking but anything-but-plain tasting butternut squash side dish, bright with ginger and slightly sweet with orange and dried fruit. It's cooked in a slow cooker, oh-so easy and oh-so good.
On Saturday, I stood in the detergent aisle at the Walmart, already confounded by too many choices only to be blasted by a perky Jingle Bell Rock from the sound system. As if the detergent decision wasn't enough, to hear, you know, Christmas music in September, I could have melted into an anything-but-red-and-green puddle right then and there.

But an early Thanksgiving? Bring it on! American Thanksgiving is early this year, which actually makes the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas almost manageable. But the Canadians are even more sensible with an October Thanksgiving, this year a week early too, on October 8. Most years, I cook a turkey for Canadian Thanksgiving, a sort of prelude to the big family gathering in November: not so this year, …

Pennsylvania Dutch Green Beans with Bacon ♥

Today's vegetable recipe: A hearty late-summer or fall side dish. (Thanksgiving? Yes that too, especially Canadian Thanksgiving which falls in mid October when it's often still quite warm.) The beans are topped with a sweet 'n' sour sauce, crispy bacon and a chopped egg.
Cookbooks are always welcome gifts but The Farm: Rustic Recipes for a Year of Incredible Food by Ian Knauer was an inspired choice. For starters, these inscriptions were penned by two of my favorite cook's grandchildren. Yes, they brought tears:

Dear PopPop, I like gardening with you. Teach me how to cook from the garden. I love you, A.J.
Dear Grandpa, I like your garden! Here's a book on how to cook with it! Love, E.

Two days later, "PopPop" aka Grandpa and the kids selected recipes from the cookbook, shopped for groceries and set up to cook dinner. What a feast! A venison loin rubbed with mustard, oil and fresh herbs. Homemade biscuits, light as air! Green beans topped with a sweet-s…