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Holidays and Entertaining Tips

Read these 20 Holidays and Entertaining Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Vegetarian tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Pleasing Your Non-Vegetarian Friends

Cooking meals to satisfy both vegetarians and meat-eaters isn't as difficult as you might imagine.. It's very possible for vegetarians and meat-eaters to dine together at the same dinner table. Many meals are a combination of grains, veggies, and meat. The trick is to serve each thing seperately or to leave the meat as the last ingredient and remove a vegetarian portion before adding it.

Some suggestions include: a pizza that only has meat on one side, tacos or fajitas (have each person prepare their own), pasta with meatballs served on the side, or barbecued meals with a mixture of burgers, hotdogs, veggie kabobs, veggie burgers and vegetarian hot dogs. Some other really great meatless options are breads, beans, potatoes, couscous, rice, veggie casseroles, and desserts.

   
What does a vegetarian eat for Christmas or Thanksgiving?

Festive Roast

A great vegetarian center for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Prepare ahead of time and freeze uncooked. Simply thaw in the fridge overnight before cooking.

2 tbsps sunflower oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups finely ground cashew nuts
2 cups whole-wheat bread crumbs
2 beaten eggs or egg substitute
1 heaped tsp mixed herbs
2 tsps vegetable bouillon powder
1-1/4 cups boiling water
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic until soft. Place the onions and garlic into a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Grease and line a 9X5 inch loaf pan with wax paper and spoon in the mixture. Cover with a double thickness of foil and cook in 350 F oven for 1 hour 20 minutes until firm.

   
How do I cook for non-vegetarians?

Skip the Entree

There is no rule that says you must have an entree at all meals. Another option for adapting holiday meals or meals for entertaining is to simply not have a specific entree at all. Instead, serve several interesting dishes, such as casseroles, quiches, or savory pies, along with salads, breads and desserts. Chances are good that no one will miss that piece of meat they are used to.

   
What is a recipe for a healthy vegetarian pumpkin pie?

Tofu Pumpkin Pie

A great healthy version of this holiday favorite.

1-1/2 pkg firm silken tofu
1-3/4 cups pumpkin canned
2/3 cup maple syrup or honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp each ground nutmeg and cloves

Blend tofu in a food processor or blender until creamy smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Pour into prepared crust and bake at 375 F for one hour or until the middle of the pie is set.

(Try this with the Crumb Crust in the recipes category and the non-dairy whipped cream in the Omitting Dairy category for a great holiday dessert!)

   
What do I cook for a vegetarian holiday meal?

Thanksgiving Squash

In place of a turkey, you might serve a large, baked squash stuffed with an apple-cinnamon-nut filling or any number of favorite stuffing recipes. Stuffed squash is very much in keeping with the spirit of a late autumn meal, it makes an eye-catching centerpiece, and it tastes good.

   
What is a holiday vegetarian drink?

Hot Apple Cider

An aromatic and festive drink that is perfect after a winter outing.

2 cups apple juice
1/4 tsp each ground cinammon and nutmeg
1/8 tsp each ground cloves and allspice
2 cups cranberry juice

In a small jar with a lid, combine the spices with 1/4 cup of apple juice. Shake until well blended. Pour into pot and add remaining juices. Heat just to boiling.

   
What vegetarian foods make entertaining easier?

Easier Entertaining

Keep prepared foods on hand for easy appetizers. Good bets include: marinated artichokes, jumbo olives, a good spread or vegetable pate, pita bread, a selection of crackers, etc.

   
What do I cook for a vegetarian holiday meal?

Tofu Turkey

If you wish to honor the turkey tradition during the holidays, serve a tofu "turkey". Some people use a seasoned tofu mixture to make a loaf in the shape of a turkey. It is baked, and may be served with stuffing on the side.

   
What do I cook for a vegetarian holiday meal?

New Traditions

No matter what the holiday or special occasion, it helps to take the point of view that you're creating new traditions. What's new today, with time, will become tomorrow's tradition. You'll look forward to it just as you did the turkey, ham, or any other meat.

   
What is a recipe for fruit cake?

Fruit Cake

3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups currants
3/4 cup golden raisins
1-1/4 cups soy milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
Sift together flour, spice, and baking soda in a large bowl. Rub in the margarine until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Leave the mixture overnight. Turn into a greased loaf pan, bake in 325 F oven for 2 hours. Freezes well.

   
How can I prepare for entertaining or having a party?

Prepare in Advance

Do as much advance preparation as possible when entertaining to avoid last-minute jitters and free up your time to enjoy yourself. Make croutons and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Rinse, trim, and cut vegetables (wrap in damp paper towels in plastic bags in the refrigerator); prepare salad dressings, etc.

   
What is a recipe for a holiday casserole?

Pueblo Corn Pie

A festive casserole fit for any holiday meal.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green or red bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
2 1/4 cups canned or cooked pinto beans
2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes,
or 14- to 16-ounce can diced, tomatoes, lightly drained
2 teaspoons chili powder, or to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt to taste

1 1/4 cups cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese, or 1 cup grated cheddar-style soy cheese, optional

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté until it is translucent. Add the garlic and bell pepper and continue to sauté until the onion is golden brown. Add the corn kernels, pinto beans, tomatoes,
and seasonings. Stir well and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Remove from the heat.

Bring 5 cups of water to a rolling boil in a heavy saucepan or double boiler. Slowly pour the cornmeal into the water in a thin, steady stream, stirring continuously to avoid lumping. Add the salt and cook
over very low heat, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a shallow, 1 1/2- to 2 quart baking dish and line the bottom with half of the cooked cornmeal. Pour over it over the skillet mixture and sprinkle with the optional grated cheese. Top with the remaining cornmeal, patting it in smoothly. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cornmeal is golden brown and crusty. Let stand for
10 minutes, then cut into squares to serve.

   
How do I cook for non-vegetarians?

Entertain Out

There are times when it may work well to entertain guests at a restaurant rather than in your home. That's especially true if you think that people's food preferences may be difficult to accommodate. At a restaurant, everyone can choose what they want.

   
What is a recipe for fast vegetarian pumpkin pie?

Easy Pumpkin Pie

2 cups well-baked and mashed pumpkin

3/4 cup silken tofu

2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Mix 9-inch graham cracker pie crust Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the pumpkin in a food processor with the remaining ingredients. Process until velvety smooth. Pour the mixture into the crust. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the mixture is set and the crust is golden. Let the pie cool to room temperature. Cut into 6 or 8 wedges to serve.

   
How do I entertain my non-vegetarian friends?

Presentation Counts

If you make your food look good, people will expect it to taste good, too. They'll go into the meal with a positive attitude. That's especially important when people are trying foods they are unfamiliar with. If you're serving a vegetarian meal to friends, it pays to "put your best food forward".

   
How do I entertain my non-vegetarian friends?

Think Ethnic

Many of the vegetarian foods that non-vegetarians like are ethnic. Most people like bean burritos, bean tacos, Chinese stir-frys, Italian pasta dishes, or Greek spanakopita. Look through ethnic vegetarian cookbooks for ideas. Planning a meal with an ethnic theme can be fun. If the foods are new to your guests, they may enjoy trying something different.

   
What do I cook for a vegetarian holiday meal?

English Plum Pudding

A traditional end for your Christmas dinner.

1 cup wholewheat flour
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 cup vegetarian suet, margarine or butter
Grated rind of one small lemon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 cup golden raisins
2 cups raisins
1 cup candied citrus peel
1/4 cup chopped almonds
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsps clear honey
2/3 cup milk

Combine the flour, baking powder, and suet, add the lemon rind, nutmeg, fruit, peel and almonds. Beat the eggs and whisk together with the honey. Add to the dry ingredients with the milk and mix well. Place into a greased heatproof bowl and cover with wax paper, then foil. Place bowl in saucepan with 1 inch of water and steam for 3 hours, adding more water when necessary. Cool and wrap in clean kitchen towel. Store for 4-6 weeks in refrigerator. On the day of serving, steam for 1 1/2 hours before serving.

   
What do I cook for a vegetarian holiday meal?

Observe Other Vegetarians

Take opportunities to share meals for special occasions and holidays with other vegetarians. It can be helpful to see what others serve. Many local vegetarian societies hold covered-dish get-togethers, restaurant gatherings, or catered events for holidays.

   
How do I prepare party appetizers or hors d´oeuvres?

Bite Size is Best

At a party, foods for the hors d'oeuvres tray should be small enough to be eaten in one bite (or easy to dip).

   
How do I entertain my non-vegetarian friends?

Catering Your Get-Together

Many large cities have caterers that specialize in vegetarian cooking. Depending on budget and time constraints, having a special meal catered can be convenient. Most caterers will set up and use their own equipment, or you can pick up and serve the food yourself.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Kristle Jones