Friday, December 13, 2013

Grandma's Molasses Cookie Recipe Contest: White Chocolate Chip & Dried Cranberry Molasses Oatmeal Cookies

Grandma's Molasses Cookie Recipe Contest

When I was contacted by a representative from Grandma's Molasses about creating a cookie recipe for a contest I immediately headed straight to the store to pick some up!

White Chocolate Chip & Dried Cranberry Molasses Oatmeal Cookies
 
 

Makes: about 15
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 8-10 minutes
 
1 c. flour
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. white sugar
1/4 c. Grandma's Molasses
1 egg
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. white chocolate chips
1/2 c. dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl sift together flour, allspice, baking soda and salt. Stir in oats and set aside. Using a mixer cream together butter, sugars, molasses, egg and vanilla. While mixing slowly add dry ingredients to wet just until combined. Stir in white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough onto a lined baking sheet and cook just until golden about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on sheet a few minutes before transferring to a baking rack to continue cooling.
 
* For more Grandma's MOLASSES-LICIOUS recipes visit www.grandmasmolasses.com!!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cookies for Kids Cancer Cookie Swap 2013: White Chocolate Chip and Lime Sugar Cookies

Cookies for Kids Cancer Cookie Swap 2013

I am honored to participate, for the second year in a row, in the charitable Cookies for Kids Cancer Cookie Swap. Not only is there the opportunity to help support kids fighting cancer but also a chance to share and receive delicious cookies as well as food blogs. Thank you to all the sponsors and fellow cookie swappers!

White Chocolate Chip and Lime Sugar Cookies

1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. white sugar, plus more for coating
1 c. powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cream of tartar
1 t. salt
6 oz. white chocolate chips
1/4 c. lime zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. While mixing slowly add dry ingredients to wet just until combined, then stir in white chocolate chips and lime zest. 
In a shallow dish add enough sugar to cover bottom. Roll cookie dough into small balls and coat with sugar. Place coated cookie balls on a baking sheet and I using a glass with flat bottom press cookies 1/4 inch thick. 
Bake just until slightly golden but still soft to the touch about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Store in air tight container for best results. 

If you're interested in participating in a future cookie swap visit 
www.cookiesforkidscancer.org








Friday, November 15, 2013

Blueberries Meet Their Match Blogger Recipe Contest: Salmon Spinach Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Grapefruit Tarragon Dressing

Blueberries Meet Their Match Blogger Recipe Contest
 
In this contest bloggers are challenged by the Blueberry Council to create a recipe matching fresh or frozen blueberries with one of the four ingredients: coconut, balsamic, bananas or rosemary. Here is my entry matching blueberries with balsamic...
 
Pan Seared Salmon Spinach Grapefruit Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Tarragon Dressing
 
 
 
Serves: 1
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
 
 
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 T. red onion, diced

1/2 grapefruit, zested

1/4 grapefruit, juiced

1/4 grapefruit, segments

1 T. balsamic vinegar

1/2 c. frozen blueberries, thawed

1 t. fresh tarragon, minced

1 salmon fillet

2 c. baby spinach leaves

2 T. goat cheese crumbles

3 T. walnuts, chopped



For sauce heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low in a small sauce pan and add onion. Cook until almost tender about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in grapefruit zest and juice, balsamic and blueberries. Continue to cook for flavors to meld, another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in tarragon.

    In the meantime heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high in a small non-stick skillet. Season both sides of salmon with salt and pepper and add to skillet top side down. Cook until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes on one side and 2 to 3 minutes on the other, depending on size of fillet.

    For salad toss spinach with remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Also toss in grapefruit segments, goat cheese crumbles and walnuts. Top with salmon fillet and spoon on blueberry grapefruit balsamic sauce.

Blueberries Meet Their Match Blogger Recipe Contest: Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Citrus Blueberry Balsamic Sauce

Blueberries Meet Their Match Blogger Recipe Contest
 
In this contest bloggers are challenged by the Blueberry Council to create a recipe matching fresh or frozen blueberries with one of the four ingredients: coconut, balsamic, bananas or rosemary. Here is my entry matching blueberries with balsamic... 
 
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Citrus Blueberry Balsamic Sauce
 
 
Serves: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
 
Sauce:
2 c. frozen blueberries, thawed
1/2 c. cranberry juice
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 T. agave nectar
1 orange, zest and juiced
 
1 T. Herbs de Provence
 
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
 
1 pork tenderloin
 
1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste
 
 
Preheat grill over medium heat. For sauce combine blueberries and juice in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a medium sauce pan and add remaining ingredients. Stir to blend well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low boil and simmer until it reduces by half and thickens, about 30 minutes.
 
In the meantime generously season pork tenderloin with salt and pepper and grill just until cooked through, turning often for even grilling, about 15 minutes total. Remove from grill and let rest about 5 minutes for juices to redistribute throughout loin. Slice and top with blueberry sauce.

Marx Foods Grass-Fed Steak Review

Marx Foods Grass-Fed Steak Review
 
 
Any given chance to sample Marx Foods products, I jump at the opportunity. And this one just may have been the tastiest yet...Marx Foods Grass-Fed Steak!
 
Bold and beautiful, with the perfect trails of marbling fat throughout, rendering into a blissfully, succulent deliciousness. Simply seasoned with sea salt and cracked black pepper then seared in a blazing hot cast iron skillet to a perfect crisp on the outside and a perfect medium rare to medium on the inside is the only way to go. Paired with mashed potatoes and Caesar salad with a red wine demi glaze, prepared using the left over bits from where the steaks were seared, is what was on the menu for dinner. The aroma still lingered in the air the next morning and the steak was again enjoyed as a classic steak and eggs breakfast.
 
To give these quality grass-fed steaks a try yourself visit www.marxfoods.com!!!
 
 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Marx Foods Shrooms for Soup Recipe Challenge: Herb French Onion and Mushroom Soup


I am always so excited to be chosen as a participant of any Marx Foods recipe challenges. For this contest participants were provided with Marx Foods dried mushrooms and were given the task of creating a marvelous soup with them. Here is my marvelous mushroom soup...

Herb French Onion and Mushroom Soup
 


 
Serves: 4 ( 12 oz.) servings
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 35-40 minutes
 

2 c. water
1 oz. Marx Foods Black Trumpet mushrooms
1 oz. Marx Foods Matsutake mushrooms
1 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. butter
1/4 c. flour
4 c. beef broth
2 c. mushroom broth, reserved from soaking mushrooms
1 t. fresh thyme
1/2 t. fresh tarragon
salt and pepper, to taste
4 slices sour dough bread, cut in circles to fit bowls and toasted
4 slices Swiss cheese
 

Bring water to a boil and pour over dried mushrooms in a medium bowl. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain mushrooms, reserving mushroom broth, chop mushrooms and set aside.

In the mean time heat oil in a large pot over medium and add onion. Slowly cook until almost caramelized about 20 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, garlic, butter and flour and cook for another few minutes.

Add beef and mushroom broths, thyme and tarragon. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer until soup thickens slightly about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Portion soup into four 12 ounce bowls and top each with a slice of toasted sour dough bread and Swiss cheese.

Place into an oven on broil for a few minutes to slightly brown cheese and serve.
 

* To vote for my mushroom recipe visit: http://marxfood.com/shrooms-for-soup-challenge/

Monday, October 21, 2013

Legends from Europe Market Basket Recipe Contest for Bloggers: Pumpkin Raviolis with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce with Sage, Pomegranate Seed and Parmigiano Reggiano

Legends from Europe Market Basket Recipe Contest for Bloggers
 
Who are the “Legends from Europe”?
Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Montasio, Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Daniele are five PDO products from Europe that have obtained special funding from the European Union to partner and execute a three-year campaign in the U.S. to increase awareness. Titled Legends from Europe, the campaign celebrates the legendary quality, tradition and taste of these five world–renowned PDO products. To learn more about these products and the PDO system, please visit: http://legendsfromeurope.com/about/
 
Each blogger was assigned one of the Legends from Europe to create a recipe with and my ingredient was Parmigiano Reggiano!
 
Pumpkin Raviolis with Pumpkin Alfredo Sage Sauce with Pomegranate Seeds and Parmigiano Reggiano
 
When creating this dish I was inspired by the autumn colors and gentle breezes in the air. It's the perfect pasta dish, celebrating this time of year, with a savory and mildly sweet pumpkin ravioli with tart, refreshing pops from the pomegranate seeds and a salty bite from the freshly grated peels of Parmigiano Reggiano that brings the dish together.
 
 
Serves: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
 
1 package (about 12 raviolis) pumpkin raviolis
1  (8 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 (16 oz.) jar Alfredo sauce
1 T. brown sugar
1/8 t. pumpkin pie spice, or to taste
1 T. fresh sage, minced
20 pomegranate seeds, more or less as desired
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, or more if desired as it's hard not to!
 
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add raviolis. Cook just until tender being careful to prevent them from exploding about 8 to 10 minutes.
 
In the meantime combine pumpkin puree, Alfredo sauce, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and sage in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer to warm through and for flavors to meld.
 
Assemble dish by plating raviolis in a bowl, spoon on sauce then garnish with pomegranate seeds and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

SactoMoFo's Trucktoberfest 2013


SactoMoFo's Trucktoberfest 2013
 
 
Yup...another FOOD TRUCK EVENT hosted by SactoMoFo! My boyfriend
made a joke calling me a, "food truck groupie", I guess he's not too far off. We made a family affair out of the day with my boyfriend and our two girls, my parents and my brother. Because my hands were full with the baby...oh okay, and some beer...I'm still kicking myself in the butt for not getting around to more of the food trucks than I did which included Smoothie Patrol, Simply Southern Foods, Krush Burgers, Drewski's Hot Rod, Chando's Tacos, Bacon Mania, Swabbies, Volkswaffle, Dave Dawgs, Gameday Grill, Dave Pops, Green papaya, Tula Churros, Slightly Skewed, Big Red Bus, Rich's Ice Cream, Gyro King and the two food trucks all the way from San Francisco that I saved my taste buds for since we had never met...KOJA KITCHEN and THE CHAIRMAN!!!

 
Koja Kitchen's Teriyaki Zen Kamikaze Combo...(not my photo)
 


...and Kaia approves!
 
 


 
The Chairman's Coca-Cola Braised Pork with Savoy Cabbage & Preserved Yellow Mustard Seeds and Tender Pork Belly with Turmeric Pickled Daikon & Green Shiso both on a STEAMED bun...or you can order them baked...
 



...and again, Kaia was very satisfied!!!
 

 
But her favorite part of the whole day was playing with her friend Aubrey in the bounce house!!!
 
 
Also at Trucktoberfest was a Gourmet Potato Recipe Showdown hosted by Tasteful Selections which a handful of the food trucks participated in...and the winners...
 
 
... Tasteful Selection People's Choice Award went to Slightly Skewed! The Grand Prize winner of $1,000 was Swabbies' blue potato gnocchi, congrats winners!!!
 
For more information about upcoming SactoMoFo events visit www.sactomofo.com!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Introducing Claire Mewer: Learning From the Best: New Cooking and Science Course at Harvard

Learning From the Best: New Cooking and Science Course at Harvard

Ever thought about turning your kitchen in a Harvard science lab? Probably not. However, a new online course from the prestigious university will do just that as it seeks to teach the mysteries of the kitchen – and not just how the world's best chefs create their award winning dishes but also the science behind these cuisines. Harvard is launching the new online course this month and the best news is it is free to anyone in the world. Called Science Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science the class brings together some of the best minds in the lab with some of the best minds in the kitchen and dinning room, with an impressive total of 21 science and food experts assembled. The massive open online course will use internet videos – much like those featured on My Kitchen Kreations To You – combined with Harvard's interactive massive open online course edX system to teach and promises to be an experience like no other.
 
Using Science to Understand Cooking
The obvious first question why is does science matter in the kitchen where recipes and measuring cups rule? Hold on – doesn't this sound a little like a science lab all of a sudden. As course founder and Harvard Applied Mathematician Professor Michael Brenner explains in a promotional video; ultimately science attempts to better understand the world around us. In other words it can help us to understand why you favorite recipe work and why your cooking mishaps occur. “Cooking is something we've all experienced everyday in our lives and when we cook, when we go to the kitchen to cook, sometimes our recipes work and sometimes they don't work,” Mr Brenner exlpains. “The hope is that by combining these two different perspectives, you will gain a unique insight into how recipes work. Not just the fancy recipes, but the recipes you make in your own kitchen.” Makes sense. It's almost like science taking the guess work out of the kitchen.
 
Turning a Kitchen into a Science Lab
Classes are run twice a week, revolving around what Harvard dubs an “equation of the week” to link science and cooking. The equation aims to capture a core scientific concept which people will learn about. Participants will then run experiments in their laboratory – or kitchen – by creating the recipe of the week, taking measurements and making observations. Much like a scientist. Or a cook, to be precise. Your kitchen will become a lab where you will conduct experiments such as making molten lava cake – all the while making observations. Alongside this you enter the unique world of Harvard's edX, where you can interact with fellow students from across the globe online, discuss the experience and what you have learned, and ask questions. The content promises to be entertaining, enlightening and most of all digestible (both mentally and physically), meaning the course could be great for children. A chance to spend time with them, while teaching them how to cook and engaging in real-world science. With American children increasingly turning away from science and, according to Licensed Prescription, cooking with kids becoming a bit of a dying art, Harvard's new course is a perfect chance to mix up a recipe for fun and learning for your children.

Kitchen Experiments: From Firm Steak to Aioli Sauce
A quick look at the topics covered in the course might leave you feeling slightly nervous. Harvard lists the curriculum as including “soft matter materials, such as emulsions, illustrated by aioli” and “elasticity, exemplified by the done-ness of a steak”. Sounds pretty technical, but don't get too worried. Because the course is designed for a massive global audience you won't need lab coats, thick science tombs or even immersion blenders. It is tailored for an everyday home kitchen. In fact, the course is being fine-tuned after a large number of people living in India signed on - ovens aren't common in India so changes are being made to ensure people can still follow the classes. Therefore, an everyday American kitchen and education is going to be more than enough.

World's Top Talent Already On Board
A veritable feast of kitchen, table and laboratory talent has been pooled for this course – Harvard's first foray into science and cooking in the online hemisphere. Chefs such as David Chang, the man behind the Momofuku restaurant group, including New York's two Michelin starred Momfuku Ko, have signed up. They will combine with professors of science, engineering and mathematics, and culinary experts from Harvard. Such a pool of talent ensures that even if some of the science goes over your head – at least you'll get the chance to learn tips from some of the world's top chefs. And with some of the classes being conducted from the famous restaurants of the celebrity chefs involved if you learn nothing at the very least you'll get a peak behind the scenes of some of the world's top restaurants.

The course starts on October 10, with registration open now.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Canadian Pure Maple Syrup "Think Outside the Griddle" Recipe Contest: Maple Thyme Butternut, Garlic Cauliflower and Ground Beef Casserole

Maple Thyme Butternut, Garlic Cauliflower and Ground Beef Casserole
 
 
When I received an email from Canadian Pure Maple Syrup about their, "Think Outside the Griddle" Recipe Contest, I knew it was one this foodie blogger could tackle! The rules included using at least one tablespoon of pure maple syrup, using only one cooking vessel to prepare the dish and lastly to suggest a way to repurpose the leftovers. I'm a huge fan of using maple syrup in my dishes other than your typical pancake or waffle...take a look!
 
 
Serves: 6-8
 
Prep: 15 minutes
 
Cook: 1 hour
 
 
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
 
2 T. pure maple syrup
 
1 pinch pepper, to taste
 
¼ c. unsalted butter, divided
 
1 T. fresh thyme
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
1 ¼ lb. ground beef, browned
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 c. water
1 c. freshly grated parmesan
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine maple syrup with 2 tablespoons melted butter and pepper then drizzle over squash placed in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Toss to coat evenly and bake until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove, transfer to a large bowl and add thyme and blend until smooth. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine cauliflower and garlic with 2 tablespoons of melted butter, toss to coat evenly and set aside.
Using the same 9 x 13 baking dish spoon browned beef into the bottom, next cover beef with cauliflower florets then smooth pureed squash over the top. Finish with grated parmesan and bake until golden bubbly, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Let cool about 10 minutes to set before serving.
 
 
* My suggestion for repurposing this dish would be to smash all the ingredients into patties, using some flour and/or egg to bind if needed, then pan frying them on each side until golden...a traditional British dish known as "bubbles and squeaks"!
 
 

 
 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pure Canadian Maple Syrup "Think Outside the Griddle" Recipe Contest: Maple Glazed Chicken Stuffed with Peaches, Ricotta & Basil Topped with Brie


Maple Glazed Chicken Stuffed with Peaches, Ricotta & Basil Topped with Brie
 
When I received an email from Canadian Pure Maple Syrup about their, "Think Outside the Griddle" Recipe Contest, I knew it was one this foodie blogger could tackle! The rules included using at least one tablespoon of pure maple syrup, using only one cooking vessel to prepare the dish and lastly to suggest a way to repurpose the leftovers. I'm a huge fan of using maple syrup in my dishes other than your typical pancake or waffle...take a look!
 
Serves: 2
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
 
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pocketed
¼ c. pure maple syrup
¼ c. peach juice or nectar
1 c. frozen peaches, thawed
½ c. ricotta cheese
2 T. fresh basil, minced
2 pieces brie, sliced ¼ inch thick
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a small bowl, combine maple syrup and peach juice and set aside. 
Stuff each breast evenly with peaches, ricotta and basil then seal shut using tooth picks.  Place breasts in 9 x 13 baking dish and top with slices of brie.  Using a pastry brush slather breasts with maple and peach mixture.
Bake until temperature reaches about 180 degrees and cheese is melted about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove toothpicks before serving.
 
* My suggestion for repurposing this dish would be to cut the stuffed chicken up into pieces and toss with some cooked penne pasta, or whatever pasta is your favorite!!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Marx Foods Sweet to Savory Recipe Challenge: Vanilla Cola Braised Short Ribs over Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes and Green Beans

Vanilla Cola Braised Short Ribs over Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes and Green Beans
 
 
I was so excited to be chosen by Marx Foods to participate in their Sweet to Savory recipe challenge. All the contestants were mailed vanilla beans, fennel herb crystals, coconut sugar and granulated honey. The challenge was to use at least two of these four ingredients in not a SWEET dish but a SAVORY dish. The prize is $100 credit to Marx Foods! Click on the "Sweet To Savory" link to vote for my recipe. Here is what I came up with...
 
Serves: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
 
Short Ribs
¼ c. vegetable oil
3 lbs. beef short ribs
½ c. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. cola
½ c. soy sauce
1 Marx Foods vanilla bean, split
1 T. Marx Foods coconut sugar
1 t. garlic powder
½ t smoked paprika
¼ t. cayenne pepper
Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes
Water, for boiling
8 medium red potatoes, halved
½ c. milk
1 clove garlic, minced
½ t. salt
¼ t. black pepper
 4 c. green beans, trimmed
 In a pressure cooker, heat oil over medium high heat until almost smoking. Add short ribs and cook until golden about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove and set aside. Drain almost all the oil from cooker and add onion and garlic. Cook until tender about 5 to 7 minutes stirring often.
Deglaze cooker with cola and soy sauce scraping any bits from the bottom. Stir in vanilla bean, coconut sugar, garlic powder, smoked paprika and cayenne. Return short ribs to the cooker, place on lid and close to lock.
Cook on medium high for about 30 minutes or until the short ribs are fork tender. Reduce heat to low, stir in heavy cream and keep warm.
While short ribs are cooking cover potatoes with water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cook until tender about 20-25 minutes, drain and return to pot. In a small sauce pot, combine milk, garlic, salt and pepper then bring to a low simmer and let flavors meld while potatoes cook. Pour milk over potatoes and using a hand held mixer beat potatoes until smooth and creamy.
While potatoes are cooking place green beans in a large pot with a bit of water and steamer basket. Cook just until tender but still slightly crisp about 8 to 10 minutes.
Assemble dish by placing mashed potatoes onto the center of the plate, spoon sauce around potatoes, place short ribs on one side and green beans on the other.
 
 
*For more information about Marx Foods and their gourmet, sometimes exotic food products, visit www.marxfoods.com!!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Introducing Claire Mewer: Enjoy Comfort Food to Celebrate World Vegetarian Day 2013

Enjoy Comfort Food to Celebrate World Vegetarian Day 2013

Ask most people about comfort food and they'll likely think hearty meat stews or creamy sausage pastas or fried chicken or cheesy pizzas and nachos. A lot of meat, right? Simple home-cooked comfort foods are often associated with meat dishes. However, with World Vegetarian Day fast approaching on October 1, maybe it's time to think outside the box and find some comfort in vegetarian cuisine. Why not try an eggplant parmigiana, bean-based taco mixture or a vegetable pasta bake with white sauce for a change? There are plenty of tasty recipes about to try so you don't worry about giving up flavor, comfort value or your favorite type of cuisine when going veggie on October 1.
 
A Day to Celebrate Vegetarians
About 5 per cent of Americans are vegetarian these days. Back when World Vegetarian Day was established by the non-profit North American Vegetarian Society in 1977, there were far fewer. The day was suggested as an annual celebration to promote the “joy, compassion and life-enhancing possibilities” of not eating meat. It was a celebration encouraging more people to give up meat. The International Vegetarian Union endorsed it the following year, kicking off its life as an international event. Since the 1970s vegetarianism has certainly grown. These days most restaurants will offer multiple vegetarian options, something that was rare even 10 years ago.
 
Getting Involved
Each year it's easy to get involved in World Vegetarian Day celebrations, remembering it's as much a celebration of food as it is of abstaining from meat. Meat eaters encouraged to take a pledge to abstain from meat, fish and fowl for a day (or a month). Go online and sign the day's official pledge and you can win $1000 prize money. Vegetarians may find the eating part of the day markedly easier as it won't require any change, however they are encouraged to take up the mantle of vegetarian crusaders for the day at least and reap the benefits of giving up meat. In fact, organizers want meat eaters and vegetarians alike to do this. Begging the question, why go veggie? The direct benefits of giving up meat, according to the Vegetarian Times, ranges from warding off disease and keeping your weight down to easing menopause symptoms, saving you money and having more energy. Before leaping, or encouraging your friends to leap, into vegetarianism as a way to lose weight it is important to recognize that there are links between vegetarianism and eating disorders and to be aware of the support available. Outside of personal reasons, giving up meat is good for the environment (a 2006 UN report found that livestock created almost a fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions), could help reduce famine and spares the lives of animals doomed for slaughter. So there is plenty to think about when it comes to going veggie.
 
Hold an Event and Get Involved
World Vegetarian Day is technically the annual kick-off of Vegetarian Awareness Month (a whole month? I know!). Enthusiasts are encouraged to celebrate the day with promotional material from the website such as a free poster to display around the house, school or office. There are events on throughout the world to celebrate both food and vegetarianism, such as San Francisco's World Veg Festival on the weekend of September 28-29, which includes a children's corner, healthy food demonstrations, live entertainment and vegan vendors. Similar events are held everywhere so keep an eye on your local paper and events guides for details. World Vegetarian Day is as much a celebration of food as it is of not eating meat so people are encouraged to hold events and get-togethers – particularly dinners – to celebrate meat-less food.
 
What to Cook?
Keen to hold a vegetarian-themed dinner and stumped for what to serve? There are plenty of warm, comforting veggie food options out there from summer garden grilled vegetables to roasted pumpkin and sweet potato soup. However, if one country knows how to master comfort foods it would have to be England. The often rain-drenched country surely needs it more than most. The BBC's Good Food has a great list of comforting vegetarian recipes. They range from Mexican bean enchiladas to Italian mushroom pesto pasta to Japanese vegetable pancakes, making it the perfect place to start looking for recipes to host a veggie-themed dinner this October in support of World Vegetarian Day. Just because it doesn't have meat doesn't mean it can't be comfort food.
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