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Feeding People over the Holidays

The T-Shirt says: Well Fed. No Animals Dead! Thanks to our Volunteers (more than pictured here) for cooking a great Vegan Meal!

November top of mind for most of us is: Feeding People over the Holidays.

Unexpected guests and yummy leftovers can easily happen by adding simple things like more bread to stuffing, more sweet potatoes to sweet potato pie. You will find yourself cooking for not the 12 coming, but the imaginary 24, giving you a chance to let people take home leftovers. When you plan for it (buying ‘to go’ containers), it is much appreciated.

In my case, Holidays are a time to cook for others and give back to the community.

Over the years, I have honored many people who can’t help themselves by giving them a hand up: kids who fell through the cracks of the foster care system, living in shelters or on peoples couches, giving them a skill to thank their hosts (by cooking for them) and maybe even using their new skill to find a job at a restaurant, doing work for the Food Bank (cooking with other chefs at their gala), and now spending a Sunday at Kitchens for Good to Feed 120 people for Thanksgiving.

Here’s why I picked them: Kitchens for Good aims to break the cycles of food waste, poverty and hunger through innovative programs in workforce training, healthy food production, and social enterprise.

Healthy meals are provided to hunger relief agencies, senior center and commercial outlets. A food rescue partnership for us was Be Wise Ranch, suggested by meetup member Susy Cervantes and even though she could not make the cooking day on Sunday, she was a tremendous help for our cooking day by making that suggestion. The owner could not have been nicer. Just like Susy, Marcela could not make cooking day, but she donated $50. A big time Thank You goes out to her, which we used for ingredients.

Jimbos Del Mar donated $100 for ingredients, Ralph’s Del Mar Heights gave me a ‘chef’s discount’ $20 off the bill. Earth Balance sent me a couple of $1 off coupons (hey! every contribution counts)! And last minute Cheryl C not only worked Sunday brought 25 or 26 cans of cranberry sauce, that we needed. Veena brought friends on Sunday and also brought carrots, celery and broth. And I paid for our short fall (and was happy to do so because so many people and companies had kicked in).

Do you want to see what we made?

YES CHEF!

Well, alrighty then.

Organic and Vegan unpackaged

These people eating are in for a Paul Bocuse treat. Do you know what Michelin Star Chef Paul Bocuse does?

NO CHEF!

He hides food below food. And I think that’s really cool!

So hiding below the Spaghetti Squash is the Field Roast Stuffing. Below the Pumpkin/Sweet Potato Pie are Graham Crackers and within the Carrots some of them are carved as flowers.

That will be nice for everyone eating the food we created!

Organic and Vegan packaged

So that certainly makes me happy! I should give a big Thank You to Nina who organizes the volunteers at Kitchens for Good and provided such a great team of sous chefs! And even more, the thank you directly to her for working with me by email, phone and text continuously over the many months to bring me into the space of being able to create these wonderful meals.

So as far as recipes go, I am always determined to feed everyone Organic and Plant Based. No chemicals, no hydrogenated anything are going to get in the way of creating good flavor profiles. I’m committed to that! And people are going to feel good after their meals.

So let’s talk more about how it’s done.

Arrowhead Mills has the basis of a good stuffing. You can add a loaf of good bread, squared and baked to that recipe and stretch your stuffing. You can sauté a Celebration Field Roast, (who donated 40 pounds of grain/meat to us), by using Earth Balance to keep it moist and flavorful in the pan. You can caramelize onions, celery and carrots (a Mira Poix) mixed together with fresh organic chopped sage and fresh organic parsley at the end after you have mixed in your toasted bread squares and followed the directions of the Arrowhead Mills Stuffing, to give your guests an incredible plant based protein dish for the holidays, that is way better than just Tofurkey.

Here’s another tip: buy organic pumpkin filling that is ONLY PUMPKIN (no chemicals, no nothin’) and add that to cooked sweet potatoes and that, along with a pint of soy or almond creamer, salt, pepper, a small amount of nutmeg and equal parts of cinnamon and coconut sugar….. with crumbled graham crackers on the bottom and Dandies Vegan Marshmallows on top for an easy tasty dessert.

Look though this blog for carrot carving and all kinds of fruit carvings. It makes the meal fun!

And last and easiest… take a microplane and shred a thumb of ginger. Add as much cinnamon and sugar as you think it needs. Use apple juice to cook on a stove top. And top with lemon. Ginger Cinnamon Glazed Carrots. EZ Peezy.

If you have great recipe ideas of your own email mm@chefmarian.com and we will feature them right here through the holiday season.

Happy Healthy Cooking & Living,

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