Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sweets to the Sweet!

It was a presentation of treats that rounded out the 2008 year of the UUFF Veg Group! I was lucky enough to be the presenter this time, with tips on how to veganize your desserts, from replacing eggs to swapping out dairy products. With general baking tips and cool cooking implements, everyone was ready for the holiday baking season! (Thanks to everyone for being kind despite my nerves!)

Here are the Peanut Butter Chocolate No Bakes from The Joy of Vegan Baking, which didn't last long....(all recipes will be on the wiki, remember?). This is a great book overall, with recipes from bar cookies to biscotti to pies! But these particular gluten-free (vegan) treats are certainly the easiest (although not the lightest!) treats in the bunch.

Also tempting palates were the Fudgy Wudgy Blueberry Brownies, from Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romano (also authors of Vegan with a Vengeance and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World). You can't taste the blueberries much but they definitely are fudgy!
Unfortunately, I didn't have time to take a picture of the Sparkle Ginger Cookies, from Vegan with a Vengeance, because they were gone so quickly! The last sweet was a veganized box mix of spice cake from Duncan Hines. Nothing easier than subbing Ener-G-Egg replacer for the eggs! You can even find vegan canned icing, if you so choose, right on the supermarket shelves.

Other members brought equally enthralling delights for our potluck. Featured here, organic chocolate chip cookies from Nature's Path. Perfect and pretty!

Another sweet treat: an apple-fruit bake! A great, warm dish to say good-bye to fall.

A warm salad of greens and turnips says hello to winter!

One of the favs of the day: a sesame noodle salad brought by a brand new visitor. Beautiful presentation! (recipe on the wiki!)

You can never get enough greens! A salad with dried fruit and nuts rounds out the meal.

Warm casseroles of rice and veggies are always hearty and popular!

What is more comforting than a dish of pasta and sauce? Ummm.....

And of course, no Veg Group meeting is complete without Bob's rosemary bread....
I apologize for not having everyone's dishes photographed! Presenting and eating and talking make it a bit difficult - I'll do better next time! Speaking of which, we'll see you in the new year, with a viewing of Diet for a New America, by John Robbins. This incredible film is credited with changing many of our own members' lives (turning them veggie or just opening their eyes to their health and the food industry). Join us in our new location at the downtown Central Rappahannock Regional Library's headquarters building, practically next door to the UUF (which we are saying goodbye to as we move to new digs!). Same time (11:30-1), same great people, and more great food! See you in 2009!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November Feast!

We celebrated Thanksgiving a little early this year, with our own holiday meal, vegetarian-style, of course! The presenters this month were five Veg Group members who veganized (or made vegetarian) traditional Thanksgiving dishes or ones that were family favorites.

First up was this beautiful homemade stuffing, made just this morning with real bread cubes (toasted) and a variety of other seasonings, spices and fruits. Delicious! This was presented after a discussion of the "unsavory" ingredients typically found in a bag of ready-to-make store bought stuffing. The member who made this also brought two Quorn meat-less rolls for us to try (vegetarian, not vegan), which were quite a hit for their meat-like texture. (I forgot to get a photo of them - sorry!)

The second presenter is famous for her "off the cuff" dishes, which always amaze us. This time, she described how she caramelized onions as the base for this dish using wild rice and barley. She typically adds whatever other leftovers she has around when she is cooking at home, such as chickpeas. Slivered almonds were later scattered across the surface for a beautiful display.

The third presenter talked about her father's famous potato salad, and how everyone always begged him to make it every year. Thankfully for them, he always relented! Here is her version of a German potato salad, with far less mayonnaise (Nayonnaise, this time) than her father might have used. Fresh and comforting!

The fourth presenter, a certified chef and local restaurant owner, brought in this dish to share: an apple-flavored stuffing. Soft and creamy! There was plenty to go around! She discussed how she had grown up avoiding meat at Thanksgiving anyway, and we all agreed that side dishes are the best part of any holiday meal!

The fifth and final presenter ended the sharing time with desserts, of course! Here is her Nana's famous apple crisp. The recipe is direct from the school cafeteria where she used to work (although cut down in size!).

She also presented her Nana's easy peanut butter-chocolate no-bake cookies. In fifteen minutes, with no special ingredients, these can be in your mouth (I mean, on your plate) and ready to take to your next holiday gathering!

Of course, all the other Veg Group members (and some newbies - welcome!!) brought their special dishes, too. Everything was devoured!

Here is a rice, bean and corn dish, comforting on a cold fall day!

This rice dish (we make a lot of rice dishes because we have several Celiac members) had a twist of dried fruit and diced veggies.

Our raw foodist of the group brought an amazingly creamy zucchini dip. We can't wait to see what he'll make when he presents in April!

Butternut squash is a fall favorite at many Thanksgiving meals. Mixed with a little sweetener and chili powder, this was another perfect dish!

What would our meals be without Bob's famous rosemary focaccia bread?

A bright and cheery beet salad/slaw gave us fiber and vitamins with every crunchy bite!

A bean and pepper salad was a cool contrast to the other warm dishes.

Of course, what would a feast be without a salad and homemade salad dressing?

(I apologize if I missed taking photos of anyone's dish! I really tried to get them all.)

Then, we all chowed down. See you next month for a presentation on vegan desserts! (N.B. - we may be meeting on the second Saturday in December (the 13th), instead of the first. We'll keep you posted!).

Happily absent was the ubiquitous turkey. Perhaps she was wandering around Farm Sanctuary?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thanksgiving is Coming!

Not quite as exciting as this year's election, Thanksgiving is also around the corner for most people! Are you prepared for your family meal? Consider trying a delicious Tofurky this year, available locally at Ukrop's. The "whole meal" comes with an incredible gravy (the stuffing is inside the roast), or you can just buy the roast and make your own extras. Meat eaters will salivate over this meat-like roast, stuffing and gravy - all authentic-tasting, organic, cheaper, and definitely cruelty-free!

If you don't know what else to make (because really, it's all about the sides!), come to our next meeting, Friday, November 1st at 11:30a.m. A few Veg Group members will be bringing their family's favorite Thanksgiving dish ... veganized or made vegetarian, of course! They will share the background of the dish, as well as the recipe and lots of tastes! From apple crisp to wild rice, you won't be disappointed. Bring your own favorite holiday dish (vegetarian or vegan, of course!), or anything your heart desires, and join us for good times, good eats, and happy animals!

And, don't forget to adopt a turkey from Farm Sanctuary while you're at it! The photo above is Feathers, from last year. Below, is Serendipity from this year's crew. You can choose from several beautiful birds, and get an adoption photo and info to grace your table as well. Cheers!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Neither Wind nor Rain nor Hurricane

Despite the remnants of Tropical Storm Hanna blowing visitors around, we still managed to have a good turnout for our first meeting of the year! Our presenter was Debbie Bennett, a well-known vegetarian speaker and cook, who does monthly presentations (also including meditation) at one of our local library branches. The topic was, "Meals on the Go," and Debbie didn't disappoint with her great ideas! From fruit on a lunch-box sized skewer, to quick hummus spreads for sandwiches, to health information about proteins, we sure were hungry after she finished! Everyone shared their ideas for lunch or quick meals as well as some recipe ideas and restaurant discussion. Here are the delicious dishes we shared today!

H. began the festivities by slicing up her watermelon, straight from the local CSA - juicy!

Tabouli - what beautiful presentation! (Vegan)

A vegan pesto-pasta made from just-picked basil and a secret ingredient - miso!

A crunchy Waldorf salad (vegan), with yogurt on the side (vegetarian). MMmm...we're getting all the fresh fruit we can while the season hangs on!

A nice whole grain bread - rye?

A gluten-free, vegan chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting (natural PB, not the sugary kind!) with chocolate ganache.

A gluten-free, vegan corn and bean casserole. Nice spices!

A hot bean and tomato dish - great on a rainy day! (vegan)

A pretty shell pasta dish (with pesto?)

Bob's famous rosemary focacia bread! Some of us come to the meetings just for this! (vegan)

Tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil - Caprese! (vegetarian)

Can't go wrong with chocolate chip cookies! (vegetarian)

Rice and beans - a vegan staple!

Gluten-free, vegan chocolate cake with Coconut-Pecan frosting - sweet!

One of the questions that came up this week was what to eat here in Fredericksburg when you're going out to eat. There is a great website called the Happy Cow (click on the words for a link) that can show you veggie places around the globe and everyone knows about Sammy T's, but perhaps readers of this blog could leave some comments about other good local places? For one, I love the Guru, an Indian restaurant where the waiters really know their stuff, can tell you exactly what's in each dish, and know what "vegetarian" and "vegan," mean! Thanks for a great first meeting and don't forget to go to our wiki to post your recipes! See you on October 4th for our next meeting, with speaker Gloria from the Two Kings restaurant here in Spotslyvania, with a topic of vegetarian and vegan soups - yum!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

September Meeting!

Next Saturday, September 2nd, is our first Veg Group meeting of the season! Non-UU members are ALWAYS welcomed with open arms! 11:30-1p.m. at the UU Fellowship, downtown Fredericksburg.

The topic will be "Lunch and Meals on the Go," with guest speaker, Debbie Bennett, who has been teaching vegetarian cooking and meditation for years. With our children back to school (and some of you teachers back to!) and with people eating lunch on the run so many days, why can't it be yummy, healthy and vegan, too? This is a shot of Tuna-Free Salad, from VegNews magazine (sorry, no link to the recipe!), which really mimics the taste and texture of tuna fish spread! With all kinds of wrap breads and lunch containers available nowadays, I know that everyone will have something delicious to share on Saturday. Of course, if you can't contribute vegetarian food (doesn't have to be with the theme) to the potluck, you are welcome to bring a cash donation - hope to see you there!

Monday, August 11, 2008


The Fredericksburg Universalist Unitarian (UU) Vegetarian Group was formed three years ago, as a way to bring UU members together, share the joys and trials of vegetarianism and veganism in today's world, and most of all to enjoy good food!

We have a number of Veg Group members who are by no means vegetarians, but enjoy the company and food that each month's meeting brings. From newbies to life long vegans, we each have something to share and learn from each other.

Monthly meetings begin with a guest speaker or topic of discussion, ending with a potluck lunch. Those who can't bring a dish are welcome to contribute a few dollars towards the cost of the speaker and/or food.
There will be much more to come on this delicious and fun blog, so stay tuned!