If there was a contest of cheesy blog post titles, you bet I would win first place! But before I start, I just recently noticed a rather large surge in followers, subscribers from all sources (Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, etc.) and I would be lying if I said it didn’t bring a few tears in my eyes. Even though this is not a job that brings me a paycheck, but it is nice to know that I am doing what I love and other people are enjoying it in the process. Not many blogs I have read even talk about the increase in their audience but I felt I needed to because it’s all of you who keep me going and inspire me to talk about more topics. My dream is to one day be able to travel and talk to other people, especially families about making the transition into the vegan lifestyle. So for all of this, I want to thank each and every one of you!
Now on to a topic that some of you know all too well at this time of year…Football. I don’t know much on the sport but my husband definitely does and if there is one thing I understand about watching football is that having a nice array of snacks is a must! For all of you out there who know about the “Game Day Spread” already get the idea that it’s really, really, really unhealthy. And if you are watching football at someone else’s house, vegan options are pretty slim, if not very bland 🙁
Even though the football season is coming to a close, a lot of the bowl games are happening right now on the college level and in a few weeks, everyone will be watching the Super Bowl-whether for the game or the crazy over the top commercials that get just as much recognition as the event itself! But never fear!!! I have some recipes up my sleeve for the survival process that will not have you blowing away your New Year’s Resolution.
Before I start posting some recipes, I figured I should give you a background story of how this blog post came to be. My husband (Chuck) went to Virginia Tech and during his time there he was a cheerleader so watching the Hokies play is a pretty big deal to him. The other day we watched the Sugar Bowl and I basically made all of Chuck’s favorite “football food” for this special event…Faux Buffalo Wings with vegan Ranch Dip, Vegan Pimento Cheese Dip (from The Vegan Slow Cooker) with baguette bread. Oh, and I made a Spinach Strawberry Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette (this recipe is in a couple of Sarah Kramer’s works but also available on her Go Vegan app– a must buy!). All in all, the food was great but I walked away thinking that I could have done better in making it healthier. I was proud that I reduced a lot of the oil in the dressing for the strawberry salad and that the ranch dip was probably the best and healthiest ranch dip recipe out there. But I wasn’t so proud of the wings or the Pimento Cheese Dip. They were both off the charts delicious but not exactly something you would eat if you are trying to lose weight 🙁
So in order to make things right, I am taking advantage of this second chance I have and to make my Game Day Spread for the Superbowl to be a healthy one to remember. Although I have no menu set in stone, I wanted to share a couple recipes with you that I have tried (one being my own original!) that will be the talk of all of your non-vegan friends. In fact, you might want to have a few recipe cards handy because there will be a lot of requests about the awesome food you made!
Now without further delay. This is my favorite chili recipe I created and before my vegan journey became a healthier one, this recipe already fit the bill. It’s full of veggies and it’s very versatile to suit your tastes or whatever you have handy. But this is the true blue original and it will knock your socks off!
Salt (or salt substitute) and pepper to taste
In a large pot over medium heat, water saute onion and garlic until translucent. Add serrano pepper, jalapeno, yellow squash, and green zucchini and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Combine rest of ingredients and cook until a slow-medium boil occurs. Then lower heat to simmer for at least an hour or longer. Season with salt (or salt substitute) and pepper to taste. If chili gets too thick, you can always thin it out with water or additional vegetable stock. Enjoy!
This next recipe is the Ranch Dip I made recently and it was better than my old unhealthy version. The recipe originated from the cookbook, Vegan Celebrations by Alicia C. Simpson (and technically I’m sure this is considered a raw recipe!). In this book, Alicia never uses any processed faux meats and keeps the processed stuff to a VERY bare minimum so I found her recipes to be easy to adjust and also very satisfying. However, I found her Ranch Dip recipe to have too much dill so I toned it down. So here’s my version with the adjustments made, but I do recommend Alicia’s book and encourage all of you to check it out! Since this recipe is nut based, if you do not have a high speed blender like a Vitamix or a Blentec, it is suggested you always soak the nuts for 2 hours in water (enough to cover the nuts) and drain before using it in the recipe to soften them up.