Christmas Dinner…better late than never

This year, Christmas was a little different for us, as we celebrated just the two of us in Denver.  My mom usually flies out from New York to spend the holiday with us, but this year she decided to stay back east and come in the Spring.  Unfortunately, flights back east around this time of year are insanely expensive, so we just couldn’t swing it.  It was a really awesome day filled with gifts, movies, chats with the family, cuddles with the pooch, and of course food!

Mike has been extremely supportive of me on my new venture of going back to school and now doing this blog; I couldn’t ask for much else.  But when discussing what we wanted to do for dinner, he’s the one that offered eating a full vegan meal, “so you can put it on your blog” he said.  Now, he comes from an Italian family that does the traditional seven fishes, pasta with gravy, meatballs, the whole nine yards, so it was a pretty big deal for him to give up that tradition to help me with my blog.  I’m a pretty lucky gal and I think he was even happier with the end result.  Husband approved!

We started with steamed artichokes with a roasted garlic and lemon aioli.  After, we had two bowls of curried butternut squash soup and for the entree, mushroom risotto with roasted winter vegetables.  And of course Mike’s favorite part, dessert.  Raw key-lime cheesecake.

Steamed Artichokes

  • 2 whole artichokes
  • 2 lemons
  • 8 cups of water


  1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot
  2. Trim the tips off of the leaves on the artichoke and using a pearing knife trim off the skin on the stem up to the base.
  3. Once water is boiling, juice 2 lemons into the water, throw in rinds and add artichokes.
  4. Cover and let it cook on medium for about 45 minutes
  5. When you can easily pull off a leaf, you’ll know it’s done

Roasted Garlic and Lemon Aioli

  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup Veganaise
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut the top off the bulb of garlic
  3. Coat in olive oil and roast for 45 minutes (I did mine at the same time I roasted the butternut squash)
  4. Once it’s turned a nutty brown, let cool and then sqeeze out the garlic into a food processor.  Add veganaise and juice and zest of lemon; puree until smooth
  5. Enjoy by dipping the leaves and scraping the meat off-make sure not to eat the choke, it’s the furry looking part that is inedible.  Scoop that part out and eat the delicious stem and heart.  Sooooo good.

Curried Butternut Squash SoupIMG_3752

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 of large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, leave whole with skin on
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable stock


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Place first 4 ingredients on baking sheet tossed in melted coconut oil with salt and pepper
  3. Roast for about 30 minutes or until overly soft
  4. Place roasted vegetables in a pot over medium high heat with curry and cumin powder until coated
  5. Add coconut milk and half of stock-using an emulsion blender, blend soup until smooth adding extra stock until you reach desired consistency.
  6. Top with chili rubbed pepitas, kale chip and/or “sour cream”

Mushroom Risotto with Roasted Winter VegetablesIMG_3754

  • 1 turnip, peeled and sliced into half moons
  • 1 small yellow & red beet, peeled and sliced into half moons
  • 1 cup cauliflower, separated into small florets
  • 1 cup shitake mushrooms, halved
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees-if cooking full meal you could cook vegetables right after squash is done
  2. Toss first 4 ingredients in olive oil, salt & pepper and spread evenly over baking sheet.  Roast for about 20-30 min.
  3. While vegetables are roasting, add diced onion, garlic and buttom mushrooms to a large saute pan with coconut oil and cook until onion is translucent.
  4. Add 1 cup of Arborio rice and toast for about a 1 minute
  5. Start adding 1 cup of vegetable stock at a time, stirring continuously, so that the Arborio rice starts to release its starches.
  6. Keep adding stock and stirring until the rice is fulling cooked and begins to have a creamy texture, stir in parsley
  7. To Plate-Add a heaping amount of your risotto to a plate.   Top with a couple of pieces of the roasted vegetables

*Optional: Drizzle with quality olive oil-my mom got us this delicious    sage and wild mushroom oil that paired perfectly and/or add some nut-parmesan.

Key-Lime Cheesecake

  • 3 cups raw-unsalted cashews,  soaked in water overnight
  • 1 cup cashew or almond milk
  • 1 cup pure lime juice and zest of all limes
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melte
  • 2 cups raw walnuts
  • 6-8 Mejool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the Crust

  1. Using a food processor, process the walnuts, dates and vanilla until sticky and well combined
  2. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan.

For the Filling

  1. Using a food processor, blend the cashews, cashew milk, lime juice, maple syrup and vanilla until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Pour into the springform pan with the crust. Gently tap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
  3. Place the finished cheesecake in the freezer to set, about 2 hours, or until the middle of the cheesecake is firm to the touch. Top with coconut whipped cream







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