A Vegetarian Thanksgiving

The original Thanksgiving was not a banquet of turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie with whipped cream and…and…and whatever else you can cram down your gullet before collapsing into the recliner in a food coma. It was a three-day harvest celebration (and not repeated for many years), attended by the early American settlers as well as the natives who initially welcomed them and helped them adapt to and survive in a harsh and unfamiliar landscape.

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Recipe: Greek Tyropitta

Traditionally, Tyropitta is a small, handheld cheese pie encased in phyllo pastry. This less portable but just as delicious version originated in the Sporades Islands region of Greece.

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Native American Food in the Vegetarian Diet

Many of the foods we consume today were introduced to the early European explorers and later settlers by the native inhabitants they soon displaced.

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Why Vegetarian?

There are several reasons why people decide to become vegetarian.

1) Animal welfare. Factory farming is insanely cruel, not to mention dangerous for those of us who consume the end-product. Even organic, free-range animals that are killed as humanely as possible are still being killed for our consumption. If you have a problem with that, becoming vegetarian makes perfect sense.

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Recipe: Spicy Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Soup with Homemade Croutons

…and you thought pumpkin was only good for pie or bread!

Au contraire!

This is a sweet-and-savory harvest soup with a kick that will take the chill off of any Fall evening. Serve it with fresh-baked Pillow Biscuits and a mixed-greens salad livened up with some dried cherries, walnuts, and crumbled blue cheese.

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Hidden Animal Ingredients

Reading the ingredients list on prepackaged foods can be a nightmare, particularly if you have no idea which of those ingredients might be a hidden source of an animal product, much less how that product was taken from the animal itself. As a vegetarian, you will have to decide what level of animal product consumption you are comfortable with.

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Recipe: Black Bean & Corn Salsa

This is a recipe I came up with recently after cleaning out my kitchen cupboards and refrigerator. I still have no idea why I had creamed corn in my cupboard – I won’t touch the stuff, so what on earth did I buy it for? Did it end up in my grocery cart by accident somehow? I once got home with Chinese Five Spice seasoning that had not been on my shopping list – it must have rolled into my area of the belt from the person ahead of me in line at the cashier. Those little dividers don’t quite go across the whole belt.

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Who is a Vegetarian?

There are varying degrees of vegetarianism, and much like the numerous hyphenated Americans (i.e. African American, Japanese American, Native American, etc.), there really are no “just plain vegetarians.”

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Legumes – The Beans

Beans are an excellent source of carbohydrates, fiber and protein, as well as other vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy diet. Paired with grains, they provide all of the essential amino acids necessary for complete protein in the vegetarian diet. There are many bean varieties to choose from:

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Recipe: Grilled Stuffed Eggplant

Who says the only thing a barbecue grill is good for is meat?

Of course, if you don’t have a barbecue grill (or find it too much of a hassle), this recipe can be prepared using the broiler in your oven with no harm done.

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