Cranberry Orange Jelly: Gluten Free & Vegan

Cranberry and Orange Jelly is really simple to make, and is absolutely delicious!

Cranberry and Orange Jelly is really simple to make, and is absolutely delicious!

I’m done.  I am finally done.  After a marathon wrapping session yesterday (while watching Jonathon Taylor Thomas’s classic I’ll Be Home for Christmas), I think I’m good.  I mean, I still need to make sugar cookies, but those are fun!  And, of course, a present I’d forgotten about just got delivered.  But still.  Let’s just pretend that I’m done, okay?

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Christmas Tree Cookies: Gluten Free & Vegan

A family tradition, these classic spritz cookies got a vegan update this year!

A family tradition, these classic spritz cookies got a vegan update this year!

For my entire life, Christmastime has been synonymous with baking.  A tradition my mom started when she was in college, every year our lives are turned upside-down as we crank out tons of cookies.  At this point, I’m thoroughly entrenched in cookie baking.  A batch of mint meringues are in the oven as I write this, and I have containers of three different varieties of cookies sitting on my counter.  It’s a bit time consuming and stressful, but it’s Christmas!

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Who-Hash (with Delicata Squash & Potatoes): Gluten Free & Vegan

"Then he slunk to the ice box.  He took the Who's feast!  He took the who-pudding!  He took the roast beast!"

“Then he slunk to the ice box. He took the Who’s feast! He took the who-pudding! He took the roast beast!”

Last week, I made a dinner inspired by the movie Elf.  This week, I decided to keep up with the holiday spirit and create another Christmas inspired meal.  As I’m sure most of you know, there was this Grinch who had a heart that was two sizes too small.  And he hated Christmas…the whole Christmas season (please don’t ask why, no one quite knows the reason).  This Grinch, well, he decided to steal Christmas.  After sneaking down to Who-ville, he stole everything…why that Grinch even took the last can of who-hash!  Fortunately, the Grinch came to his senses and decided to return his haul to the Who’s.  But even if he hadn’t, I wasn’t too worried about the who-hash; you see, I have a recipe for a homemade version!

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Pantry Raiding Corn Chowder: Gluten Free & Vegan

Corn chowder, made from ingredients you probably have in your kitchen already!

Corn chowder, made from ingredients you probably have in your kitchen already!

I don’t know about you guys, but my life is starting to get hectic.  I mean I absolutely love Christmas, but as we enter the last week of preparations, life is getting a little bit busy.  Between shopping and wrapping and baking and figuring out our celebrating schedules, time has become a somewhat precious commodity.  And with time at a premium, something has had to give; for us, that has meant food shopping.  Yet, while trips to the food store may not be happening, eating is still a necessity.  So, I’ve been doing a lot of pantry raiding in an attempt to keep us fed.

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Salted Pecan Caramel Sundae: Gluten Free & Vegan

Just as penicillin was a happy accident, so too were these sundaes!

Just as penicillin was a happy accident, so too were these sundaes!

On this blog, I post my culinary successes.  Things that taste delicious, photograph at least decently, and turn out just as I had planned them.  I’ll admit, though, some things aren’t as seamless as I’d hope for.  Yesterday, for instance, I was faced with one unmitigated disaster after another in my quest to develop my latest gluten free and vegan treat.

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Elfin Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta: Gluten Free & Vegan

"It's just nice to meet another human that shares my affinity for elf culture!"

“It’s just nice to meet another human that shares my affinity for elf culture!”

As I’ve mentioned before, I absolutely love Christmas movies.  My whole family does.  The other day over breakfast, we actually sat and analyzed the merits of various Christmas movies and specials, rating them as good, bad, or craptastic (so bad they are good).  Some movies we all agreed on: The Santa Clause was good, The Santa Clause 2 was craptastic, and The Santa Clause 3 was just bad.  Others, such as Holiday Inn and pretty much all of the ABC Family movies, caused some controversy.  One movie, though, was universally and unequivocally loved: Elf.

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Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies: Gluten Free & Vegan

These dark chocolate peppermint brownies taste like Christmas!

These dark chocolate peppermint brownies taste like Christmas!

This past weekend, we had a big family party to celebrate my aunt’s birthday and the start of the holiday season.  I know for most people, family parties are kind of hum-drum, with a handful of relatives sitting around a table and falling asleep in front of a football game.  My family, though, is a little bit different.  My Grandma is one of six siblings, and to this day they all gather for all of the holidays.  Instead of one giant family reunion, this group gets together regularly.  Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, Thanksgiving dinners were regularly a sit-down dinner for forty-plus.  Although the whole sit-down thing only happens once a year, this gathering was still absolutely full of people.

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Spicy Eggplant Pasta: Gluten Free & Vegan Friendly

Spicy tomato sauce and grilled eggplant make for one tasty dinner!

Spicy tomato sauce and grilled eggplant make for one tasty dinner!

Today, I have something a bit different for you guys.  I’ve teamed up with fellow food blogger Kathy from Herbs and Spice and Other Things Nice to do a little culinary swap.  Instead of sticking with our own recipes, we each sampled from the other’s recipe log, and from my standpoint it was a huge success!  The hardest part was deciding what I wanted to make — there were so many delicious looking options!  I was really interested in both the Mushroom & Leek Risotto and the Vegetarian Lasagna.  However, my husband is not so much into the mushrooms (oh, the sacrifices we make for love!), so I settled on this fantastic eggplant pasta.

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Elvis Cookies: Gluten Free & Vegan

Much like Santa, Elvis would come out of hiding for these cookies

Much like Santa, Elvis would come out of hiding for these cookies

I don’t know about you guys, but we’re still swimming in Thanksgiving leftovers.  Well, we finished the pie.  And there was a bit of a battle over the last serving of stuffing.  But for the most part, we’re still sustaining ourselves on leftovers.  While I’m getting a little tired of this Thanksgiving themed Groundhog Day, it does have one major advantage: I’m free to use the kitchen for non-dinner pursuits.  And as Christmas season is officially in full swing, what better pursuit than cookies?

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