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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

UrbanVegan's Celebrate Vegan Cookbook: with Recipe and Giveaway!

Oh my stomach is so full and happy as I write this. And my heart is happy and full of the fact that I can share with you!
Once upon a time, like, almost a full year ago, I volunteered to be a tester for Dynise Balcavage's (The Urban Vegan) second cookbook. After a whirlwind time, we find ourselves here and now and Dynise's cookbook, Celebrate Vegan: 200 Life-Affirming Recipes for Occasions Big and Small is out! My copy came in the mail a few days ago, and it should be in stores soon, if it isn't already.

I'm proud to have been a part of this lovely book! The theme is food for all sorts of celebrations, from the typical New Years and Easter holidays to Martin Luther King Day and Diwali! As international celebrations are also included, there is a nice assortment of world cuisine.
As with her first book, The Urban Vegan, Dynise's intelligent and feisty banter carries a conversation throughout the book. Alongside the recipes, she includes travel anecdotes, wine pairings, factoids ("What's in Your Food Coloring?") and recipe variations or ways to use up leftovers.
There are no photographs in the book, but the descriptions are so colorful and procedures so well articulated that the final product is easily imagined.
Here, though, are a couple photos from my testing process:


                                                      Lemon-Olive Tempeh Tagine

                                                          Prismatic Wild Rice Salad

                                                             Sesame Seed Cookies

                                           Zucchini Linguine with Lemony-Spinach Pesto
                                        (yes, there is a raw celebration section in the book!)

And there is so much more! Here's my dinner tonight, steamed kale, sauteed mushrooms and onions, and Dynise's Rutabaga-Fennel Clapshot (from the Thanksgiving section, of course):

This is creamy like everyday mashed potatoes, but the inclusion of rutabaga lends a slight sweetness, and the fennel seeds are also sweet, licorice-y little bursts of flavor. This dish was easy and a lot of, well, fun, for lack of a better word. Dynise is allowing me to share the recipe with you!

Rutabaga-Fennel Clapshot (Serves 8)
1 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 TBS fennel seeds, soaked in hot water for about 5 minutes, then drained
3 TBS Earth Balance
1 TBS olive oil
1/4 cup soy or nut milk
salt and pepper to taste

-Boil the rutabaga and potatoes in a large pot of salted water for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until soft.
-Drain well and mash in a large bowl with fennel seeds, Earth Balance, oil, and milk. Adjust seasonings and serve.

AND, as a lucky fluke, I actually received two copies of the cookbook in the mail! Sooo I'm passing a copy along to one of you! To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling me your favorite food to celebrate with. (Popcorn for birthday sleepovers? Vegan wedding cupcakes? Noodles on Chinese New Year?) The contest will be open from today until next Wednesday, Nov. 23, 9pm EST. I realize this is too late to send the book out for Thanksgiving, but think of all the new holidays you'll get to celebrate with the book! And if you don't win, I still highly recommend Celebrate Vegan. I remember loving every recipe I made.


  1. I would have to say my favorite food to celebrate with is raw german chocolate cake.

  2. Wow the book sounds amazing! I would love to be a tester for a cookbook one day, it seems like fun but also a big commitment and time consuming. Maybe one day though!

    It is so hard to pick just one favorite celebration food. I guess I would have to say it is either roasted brussels sprouts with caramelized onions on Thanksgiving (I eat a large pile of these...mmm) or some good ol' fashioned birthday cake. My fav celebration meal is a brunch though and bagels are on the top of that list :)

  3. I don't think I should be in the giveaway since I also tested recipes and have my own copy waiting for a review, but I wanted to comment anyway. We tested completely different recipes! It was definitely fun trying Dynise's clever dishes, but I wouldn't have been able to try the clapshot since fennel is still on my omg avoid list, though I'm trying to overcome my aversion.

  4. Andrea, I'm curious as to what you did test! I know we both made that eggplant dish with raisins and cumin... Haha I like that it's an "OMG AVOID" food, well, not like like - but that's a funny designation. Haha.

  5. How fun to be a recipe tester! I have her other cookbook, and I loved her voice (as a writer)! I hope you get to experience recipe testing again in the future.

    Celebration foods: vegetable stew in shepherd's bread (hollowed out, treating the bread as an edible bowl) on Christmas Eve. Scalloped potatoes on Easter (still working the kinks out a good vegan version!).

  6. Brownies! Not common, I know, but I love them and they're my favorite birthday celebration food

  7. hurrah for lucky flukes!
    my favourite celebration food would have to be potato latkes on christmas morning. my dad is jewish and he loves christmas, and well... everyone loves latkes!

  8. Being a tester is super fun! And I'm all about perogies, be it Thanksgiving or Christmas. One of the best foods that came outta the Ukraine, methinks.

  9. Roasted brussel sprouts for Thanksgiving!

  10. Sounds like a great oookbook! favorite celebration food would have to be Oatmeal, Walnut and Dried Plum Cookies for b-days.

  11. You made cookbook writing a pleasure, FF. Thank you for everything. xoxo

  12. I looove making's double layer pumpkin cheesecake. It is so delicious and gets a festive mood going immediately!

  13. Dynise's first book is hands down in my top 3 or 5 favorite cookbooks on my shelf. I've been itching to get my hands on this one, but haven't found room in my budget yet. Would LOVE to win a copy!

    Pecan pie scream "celebration" to me :)

  14. Banana Muffin Wednesday. The celebration of reaching mid-week by eating something soft and molasses-y.

  15. I love soba noodles and anytime my mother wants to congratulate me on anything (like getting into college, my first job, etc), she knows what to make. :) For some reason whenever someone else makes you a meal, it always tastes a thousand times better than if you made it.

  16. I like a good, old-fashioned crockpot full of veg chili. When I was a kid, we always had chili on Halloween and the excitement of the night is mingled in my bones with my mom's yummy recipe.

  17. It looks like an awsome book. Celebration foods...tough question- I first thought of summer barbecues and big bowls of grain, fruit and nut salads,grilled veg skewers and bean burgers, and homemade coconut ice cream to finish up!

  18. Banana cake with chocolate frosting on my hub's bday!

  19. Fried rice balls...a special treat that always brings back happy memories. :)

  20. My latest obsession is pumpkin pie. When I am eating it, I can think of nothing better. I guess we use cupcakes a lot around here to celebrate because we can use theme-y toppers. Good job showcasing her recipes; sounds like a great book!

  21. love the lemon olive tempeh and the sesame seed cookies! hmmm i think i love eating oatmeal cookies or indian sweets!

  22. tofu potpie from vegetarian times with stuffing in a crock pot....

  23. My favorite is traditional cinnamon buns homemade for xmas morning- a few years back i started making them vegan and no one even noticed! Haha they just thought i was "slipping up"!

  24. My favorite food to celebrate with is alternative baking companys pumpkin spice cookie.

  25. Pumpkin scones with dried cranberries - flaky deliciousness!


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