By Beverly Kehe-Rowland
RANDOLPH - 'Tis the season of weight gain and unhealthy eating, but not so with Erin Van Gelder as she eats a healthy, vegan diet year round.
Erin Van Gelder proudly displays Seitan Roast Stuffed With Walnuts, Dried Cranberries and Mushrooms and Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust.
"Both sides of my family get together for Thanksgiving and the majority of both sides come for Christmas, four generations in some cases," she said.
Because she, her mother and her aunt are vegan, they each try to take vegan recipes to the family meals.
"Since becoming vegan we kind of break tradition and bring recipes that aren't traditional," she said. "We say 'Oh, this recipe sounds good,' and make it. I always look forward to the pies my aunt brings. She likes to cook and always brings something different."
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
4 oz mushrooms, sliced or chopped
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
2 slices of whole wheat bread
1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp ground flax seed
1 TBS Braggs Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
1/2 cup water
2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp rubbed sage
1 tsp marjoram
1/3 cup quick oatmeal
1 tsp ground flaxseeds
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup great northern beans, cooked
2 TBS Braggs or soy sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 TBS tahini
cup vegetable broth
1 TBS Braggs or soy sauce
Stuffing: Saute the onion and celery in a non-stick skillet until onion is becoming translucent. Add the mushroom, thyme, sage and cover. Cook until mushrooms exude their juices, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients along with enough water to moisten the stuffing but not make it soaking wet. Remove from heat and keep covered.
Seitan: In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (vital wheat gluten through flaxseed). Place the 1 1/2 cups of broth, white beans, soy sauce, and garlic in blender and process until liquefied. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the bean mixture, and stir until gluten is completely moistened. Drizzle the tahini over the top and knead it into the dough. Keep kneading until dough holds together in a ball. Set aside while you make the broth.
Broth: Heat all ingredients until hot but not boiling. A microwave works well for this.
Assemble: Preheat oven to 400. Lightly oil an oval or rectangular baking dish, 11-13 inches long and 6-8 inches wide. (Your seitan will expand to fit it, so try not to use a very wide dish.) Line your work surface with plastic wrap, parchment paper, or waxed paper. Place the dough in the center, cover it with plastic wrap, and roll out the seitan, making sure that it is the same thickness in all places, until it's about 9-by-13 (an inch or so either way doesn't matter, but make sure it's not longer than your pan). Spread the stuffing evenly, leaving a 1-inch margin on all sides. Lift up the plastic wrap on one of the long edges and roll the seitan up like a jelly roll. (Alternatively, arrange the stuffing in a horizontal line across the middle of the seitan and bring one long edge up and over it to the other side.) Pinch the ends sealed first and then pinch well to seal the long seam.
Take care to make sure that the edges are completely sealed and no gaps or stuffing shows. Lift the seitan roll carefully and place seam-side down in the prepared casserole dish. Pour the baking broth over it and cover tightly. If the dish doesn't have a cover, use aluminum foil to cover tightly. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, baste with broth, recover tightly, and bake for another 25 minutes. Baste again and return to oven uncovered for about 30 minutes. Baste 2 or 3 times as it's cooking. Seitan is done when top seems firm and brown and the broth has evaporated. You can test it by cutting a small slit in the middle; if it is doughy rather than firm, return to the oven. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Transfer carefully to a cutting board or serving platter and cut into 1/2-inch slices.
Adapted from blog.fatfreevegan.com
1 cup rolled oats, processed into a fine flour
2 cups raw pecans
2 TBS sugar
3 TBS ground flax
1 tsp ground cinnamon
tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 TBS Earth Balance, melted
2 cup canned pumpkin
cup natural cane sugar or brown sugar
cup almond milk
1 TBS Earth Balance, softened
cup pure maple syrup
3 TBS cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
tsp ground ginger
Pinch of allspice
Crust: Grease a 9inch pie dish very well and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a blender, process your oats into a very fine flour. The oat flour needs to be very fine in this crust, not flaky or chunky. In a food processor, add 2 cups pecans and process until it starts to clump and oils start to release (about 35 seconds), but don't make pecan butter either. You should be able to make a ball with the pecan dough. Melt Earth Balance with maple syrup for about 1 minute in microwave. Stir. Transfer clumpy pecan mixture into a large bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Using your hands, squeeze the dough over and over to combine very well. You should be able to form a ball with it. If it's too dry add a bit more oil. Spoon the pecan dough onto pie dish and smooth out evenly. Press down firmly with fingers to form a crust, bringing it up along the sides.
Press as firmly as you can. Prick base with fork 1213 times. Prebake at 350 degrees for 9-12 minutes, watching closely so it doesn't burn. Remove and cool for 10 minutes.
Filling: In a large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and arrowroot powder (or corn starch). Now add all ingredients and whisk together, adjusting spices to taste.
Bake: Scoop the filling into crust and smooth. Cover crust with crust shield (or tin foil). Bake for 5055 minutes at 350 degrees. Place on cooling rack for 1 hour. Transfer to fridge to set for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight. (This step is very important.) Do not slice pie until it has set in the fridge for 3 hours minimum. Slice with a very sharp knife, very slowly and carefully for best results. A bit of crumbling may occur but that is OK because it tastes amazing.
4 cups of roasted squash
1 large apple, peeled, cored and cubed
of a large yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp. coconut oil
to 1 teaspoon curry
3 cups vegetable broth
cup almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk.)
1 tsp salt plus a few extra dashes
A few dashes of cinnamon
Cut the Butternut squash in half and roast in the oven at 425 degrees for an hour or until soft. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute apple and onion in coconut oil with curry powder and a few dashes of salt for about 10 minutes and until softened. Add broth, milk, and squash to the large skillet with the apple and onion and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes. Stir in salt to taste. I used 1 tsp of salt. Use an immersion blender or transfer soup to a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until soup is smooth and creamy.
2 cups lukewarm water
1/8 cup active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups whole wheat
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 TBS ground flaxseed plus 3 TBS water
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, add warm water, yeast, honey, salt, and olive oil, quickly mixing with a spoon. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until yeast gets foamy. Add in flour gradually with the mixer on low speed. Knead with the dough hook (I used the two lowest speeds for this) for 10-12 minutes, occasionally pulling the dough off with your hands and placing it back in the bowl. Remove dough from bowl when it's elastic and no longer super sticky. Oil a bowl with olive oil and place the bread in the bowl, flipping it to coat. Cover and set in a warm place to rise for 1.5 hours.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. After 1.5 hours, punch down dough and form into a large round, using more flour if needed to decrease the stickiness again. Cut the round into 4 equal pieces and roll them into balls. Place on a baking sheet, cover and let rise for 20-30 more minutes. Take the dough balls and roll them into tighter balls again, then brush each with beaten egg. Gently score the top of each loaf, then bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden. Let cool completely, then using a serrated knife, cut a round out of the middle and fill with soup.
Massage the kale by taking a handful and mashing it together between your hands until the kale is nice and wilted looking; this does not take long. Once all the kale is in the salad bowl take a peeled carrot and peel it with a peeler. Mix that together and top with pomegranate seeds and Tahini Tang Dressing*
cup lemon juice, or to taste
1-2 T honey
1 tsp salt
1 garlic clove
Blend all of the ingredients in a blender. Enjoy!
Foods For Thought
1 (12 oz) bag cranberries
1 medium orange
2 3 TBS honey, to taste
Place all fruits in a food processor and chop. Add the honey and mix together. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
cup all-purpose flour
2 cups water
1 TBS olive oil
1 medium onion, quartered and sliced thin
2 tsp mustard seeds
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cooked pinto beans or 1 can drained and rinsed
2 pinches ground cumin
2 pinches paprika
1 pinch dried thyme
1 pinch dried oregano
1 pinch dried coriander
3 TBS Braggs Liquid Aminos
1 lemon, juice of
cup nutritional yeast
Mix the flour with 2 cups of water until the flour is mostly dissolved. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion and mustard seeds; cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are browned and the mustard seeds are toasted. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes more. Add the pinto beans; use a potato masher to mash them. Add the herbs and spices, Braggs, and lemon juice. Scrape the bottom of its of onion. Lower heat and pour the flour mixture into the pan. Stir constantly until a thick gravy forms. Stir in the nutritional yeast. If it looks too thick and pasty, add more water and mix well. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance
1 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
9 cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
cup maple syrup (Optional, I don't usually add the syrup as apple cider is already sweet.)
Stick the cloves in the orange. Pour the apple cider in a Crockpot and add the syrup, clove studded orange, and spices. Turn dial to low to heat the cider. Serve warm. (It can also be made on the stove top, heat through but don't boil.)
1 cups of soymilk
4 TBS corn starch
1 cups of solid-pack canned pumpkin or cooked pumpkin
cup sugar (preferably raw or Turbinado) or other sweetener
1 tsp cinnamon
tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together the soymilk and cornstarch until smooth. Stir in pumpkin, sweetener, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Pour into either 9 large ramekins for individual servings or a 9-by-9 Pyrex baking dish.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until firm. Start checking custard at 45 minutes to prevent over baking. Filling should be set, but the center still a bit jiggly.
1 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup honey
cup flax meal
cup peanut butter
Mix together and roll into balls. Refrigerate or eat immediately.
She says that her mom's side is "hardcore" always having to have their meat and potatoes, but is always willing to try everything. She remembers three varieties of stuffing being present on the holiday table.
"There was the stuffing from the bird, a vegetarian stuffing with cheese and a vegan recipe with no cheese," she said. "I look forward to having stuffing. It was always my favorite."
"We already had Thanksgiving once before my sister and brother-in-law left for Africa. My pinto bean gravy was sitting next to the turkey," she said, smiling.
Even though the family had an early celebration, they are planning another on Thanksgiving Day.
"For as far back as I can remember my grandfather has always made French onion soup. After my aunt became vegan he changed it by using vegetable broth instead of beef broth," she said. "Last year on Christmas Eve we had vegetable sushi."
Our featured cook teaches Bible studies for the Randolph Seventh Day Adventist Church as well as healthy cooking classes that are open to everyone. She is currently discussing brain health and nutrition and demonstrating healthier versions of traditional holiday dishes, as well as new dishes that could be added to the holiday.
"Increasing evidence indicates that if we subject our brains to abuse early in life or do not protect them sufficiently, we put ourselves at risk for illnesses later in life. This abuse can be in the form of psychological trauma or it can be in the form of nutritional insult (i.e. caloric deprivation or phyto-chemical insufficiency). The components to creating a healthy brain environment are wholesome diet, mental challenges, physical activity, positive attitude and proper rest. Brain cells in a healthy environment grow bigger and better."
She will also offer ideas for healthier New Year's appetizers. She also offers home health studies, with one of the lessons about how to have good digestion.
Although she is currently living in Steamburg, she is from Bath, where her parents and both sets of grandparents reside. She shares her apartment with her pet guinea pig, Eugenius. In her free time she likes to go backpacking and hiking. She enjoys reading, crocheting and playing the clarinet and is currently teaching herself linear algebra.
"I like to learn and I like math problems," she said.
Everyone is invited to free weekly Healthy Cooking classes which are held at 7 p.m. at the SDA Hall located at 50 North Washington St. in Randolph. Not only do the participants receive new recipes, but get to enjoy generous samples of the evening's cooking projects. Everyone seemed to enjoy this week's Seitan Roast Stuffed with Walnuts and Dried Cranberries and Mushrooms with one man in particular having several servings. The Pumpkin Pie with its very generous Pecan Crust was delicious and the fact that it is a healthy recipe, made it taste even better.
Van Gelder explains that by massaging the kale in the Massaged Kale Salad, some of the bitterness is removed. She hopes readers will try some of the following recipes this holiday season and hopes to gain new participants in the cooking classes.