A few weeks ago I sent in a picture I took of the girls at zoo this summer to our newspaper for consideration for the “Our Towns” section.
Low and behold it showed up today’s paper! I positively squealed when my dad called this morning to tell me. When I showed Ava she said “I’m in the newspaper! Finally!”
It’s been 5 1/2 long years since her birth announcement, I guess she’s been waiting.
So I’ve been inundated with bread lately. I’ve also been staring at an acorn and winter squash on my counter for a couple weeks now.
Tons o’ Bread + Lots o’ Squash = all the makings for a fall themed dinner tonight.
When we went vegetarian a few years ago, you don’t immediately think about how it will impact things like holiday meals that are centered around a cooked bird or pig. Or at least I wasn’t thinking about the holidays, but then again I made the official vegetarian plunge at the end of January 2007 when holiday meals were just a memory and visions of sugar plums were now a reality on the thighs.
But when I really sat down and thought about it, I don’t miss the turkey at all. My favorite Thanksgiving food is stuffing! Last year I made my own vegetarian stuffing and brought it with us to our omnivorous Thanksgiving dinner.
When I surveyed the packaged bread crumbs used for making stuffing from scratch, I discovered they are almost all made with white bread and the fiber and nutritional content leaves much to be desired. Even when I found wheat breading it still had all sorts of additives and fun stuff that I just wasn’t interested in eating.
I finally realized I could just use the wheat bread I usually buy, dice it up and bake it in the oven for a little while and voila – whole wheat bread crumbs for stuffing.
Fast forward to today and lots of extra bread, it’s like someone was begging me to make this. Oh yeah, that was me doing the begging.
Homemade Vegetarian Stuffing
5 – 6 pieces whole wheat bread cubed (I used Nature’s Pride!)
2 – 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 – 2 cups of vegetarian broth
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1 cup of mushrooms, diced
1 cup of Craisins
1 cup of pecans (or walnuts) chopped
1 Tbsp (give or take) of Bell’s Stuffing Seasoning – or your own combo of sage, oregano, thyme and rosemary
S & P
Spread out bread pieces on a cookie sheet and bake bread pieces at 375 for about 5 – 10 minutes, flipping once half way through.
Move toasted pieces to a separate bowl and added craisins and pecans. (Walnuts are a great option too – or a mix! Or leave nuts out completely.)
In a pan, saute diced onions (mushrooms and celery are listed too, but I only had onions tonight) in a little extra virgin olive oil until soft. Once onions are soft, add chopped apple and added to the onions. When the apples have softened some, add veggie broth and stuffing seasoning and salt.
I use about a tablespoon of Bells stuffing seasoning because it’s easy, but really all you need is rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano – whatever herbs you prefer in stuffing.
Pour veggie broth/onion/apple mixture over bread, nuts and craisins and stir until well combined and bread is evenly moist. Bread should be wet but not soaked. Add more broth or water if necessary – again personal preference comes in here with how moist or dry you like your stuffing.
Baking dish coated with a little olive oil, (gently) smash in your stuffing. Cover and cook now at 375 for about 20 minutes, or refrigerate and cook later.
Before I got started on my stuffing, I sliced my acorn and winter squash in half, removed seeds and placed face down a cookie sheet to cook at 375. They continued cooking as the stuffing went in and everything was done at about the same time. You know the squash is done when you can easily stick a fork through their skin.
Tell me this acorn squash wasn’t built to be stuffed with veggie stuffing. I dare you!
Yup, I knew it. So happy together.
I’ve got an identical one in the fridge right this moment waiting for Zak when he gets home.
This vegetarian stuffing is so versatile, you can easily tweak it to your tastes and preferences, make more or less depending on how many people you’re feeding or how much left overs you want.