Are you still deciding on your Thanksgiving menu? (I won’t judge.)  I’m not preparing the whole meal, because we’ll be at my parents’ house this year, but I am bringing a couple of dishes. Since I’m a vegetarian, I’ll be skipping the turkey and gravy. I’ve never felt deprived on Thanksgiving, though. My family’s traditional sides alone (buttermilk biscuits, cheesy broccoli and rice, mashed potatoes, salad, etc.) would be plenty of food for me, but I always bring at least one vegetable-based dish as my contribution. This year we’re making cauliflower mash and mushroom gravy, and maybe roasted Brussels sprouts, or green bean casserole instead, if Steven decides to make it.


While trying to figure out what to make, I came across a ton of ideas, and I thought I should share a few in case you’re looking for vegetarian ideas for yourself, or a dinner guest. They may not be “traditional,” but if you ask me, there’s always room for another dish on the table, and you might even help convince a meat-and-potatoes type that green vegetables aren’t so bad.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Dried Cranberries, Toasted Hazelnuts, and Orange Zest

Pumpkin Biryani with Pistachios

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad

Miso Sesame Winter Squash

(I just made this last night. It was outstanding!)

Baby Spinach and Garlic Bread Pudding

Roasted Delicata Squash and Radicchio Salad

Kale and Wild Rice Casserole

Moroccan Sweet Potato Salad

Eggplant Walnut Ricotta Rolls

Roasted Root Vegetables with Tomatoes and Kale

Hungry yet? What are you making for the big day?

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Are you ready for Thanksgiving? I’m not, but I’m looking forward to it! Here are some ideas that might help you get prepared.
11-21-15 links
1. Get your guest room ready for visitors by making this stylish upholstered headboard.
2. If you’re willing to part with your pie, make these printable to-go pie boxes.
3. Make your home smell festive with these mulling spices.
4. A great idea for an inexpensive Thanksgiving centerpiece.
5. Get a jump on your Christmas decorating by making these stamped metal ornaments.
6. Organize in style with these leather and rope storage baskets.

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circle barrette
One of the side effects of being a DIY blogger is that I’m always looking for ideas for new projects. So I try to stay on top of trends, and one I came across recently that seems like it would be perfect for the holiday season is circle barrettes. Simple and elegant, it turns out that they’re also really versatile, especially if you have two.
circle barrette Clockwise from top left: Express-o, Le Fashion, Celine S/S 2015, Nasty Gal (sold out)

You could buy one from Urban Outfitters, but if you already have most of the supplies, like I did, making your own is a cinch. I already had brass tubing, and a tubing cutter left over from various projects (like my himmeli gems), so if you’re thinking of doing some crafting with brass tubing for the holidays, you might as well make a couple of these. I’ve already found a couple of lovely ways to wear the two I made, and I’m guessing they’ll get plenty of use for holiday festivities.
circle barrette
hair circle 5

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double chocolate zucchini muffins recipe

These muffins are a perfect collision of two activities. First, I was cleaning up leaves in our yard and I found some hidden zucchinis, just lurking in the garden, surreptitiously growing into giants. After harvesting and eating a bunch of zucchinis this summer, and then harvesting, storing, and throwing away a few more (oops), I had been ignoring my plants for the past few months, thinking that they were done producing and I was done eating. Yeah, I guess I was wrong on both accounts. There were actually a couple more zucchini recipes I hadn’t gotten around to trying, so after a break from zucchini, I was glad to have them.
double chocolate zucchini muffins recipe
The other thing that played a part in the baking of these muffins was that we started watching The Great British Baking Show (actually The Great British Bake Off, everywhere else). A bunch of friends had been talking up this show, and this weekend’s dark, rainy weather seemed like a perfect time to give it a try. It’s delightful, but it has the unfortunate side effect of making us very hungry for baked goods. Surely we can’t be the only ones with this problem. After we watched the first episode or two on Netflix and discussed how we were both craving cake, I asked Steven what I should bake. He suggested zucchini bread, and that’s when I remembered that I’d been wanting to try making chocolate zucchini bread.
double chocolate zucchini muffins recipe
And so here we are. I wasn’t even planning on putting this recipe on the blog, but they turned out so good that I figured I should share in case the universe is sending other people sneaky zucchini. Even if you think you don’t like zucchini, as long as you like chocolate, you’ll like these, because the zucchini is barely noticeable. But you can feel virtuous for eating a serving of vegetables along with your chocolate. That’s a winning combo as far as I’m concerned.

After I’d already started making this recipe, I realized that I didn’t have the right size of loaf pan, so I used this recipe’s muffin adaptation. But it can also be made in loaf form.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

2 large eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, or 3/4 tsp instant coffee, optional
1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini, gently squeezed to remove liquid
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C) degrees and spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, honey, oil, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

Add the salt, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder/instant coffee, cocoa, and flour, mixing until well combined.

Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.

Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffins, filling each to the top.

Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425°F. Then, keeping the muffins in the oven, lower the temperature to 350°F (177°C) and continue to bake for an additional 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (They may need additional time, depending on how wet your zucchini was.) Makes 12 muffins.

To make it in bread form instead, lightly grease a 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. Bake the bread for 65 to 75 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven, and let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a rack. Cool completely before slicing.

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Like every human with a heart, I feel terrible when I hear about tragedies like the one in Paris yesterday. They happen way too often, and I always want to express my sympathy and solidarity, but this just doesn’t seem to be the proper place. Yet it doesn’t seem right to just carry on as usual without acknowledging the awful thing that has happened. We are all Parisians today.
11-14-15 links
1. Who knew leaf-printed textiles could look so elegant.
2. The simplicity of this candle holder is perfect.
3. Match your lamp to your walls with this wallpaper lampshade.
4. Recycle leather garments with these fun leather pouches.
5. This peppermint mocha candle seems like it would smell heavenly!
6. I love these cute creature coffee cup cozies.

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