Let the festivities begin

by Jemma on December 23, 2011

in Recipes

Hello lovelies! It’s so close now that I can smell my Christmas lunch already! Only 2 days to go!

Unfortunately I’m working tomorrow, my first Christmas Eve in 4 years.  But, so is Alfie so I guess it’s not so bad!  I think it’s going to be ridiculously busy so I’m going prepared and wearing my super comfy Uggs.

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Since I’m working this Christmas Eve it’s meant that I’ve had to be in the kitchen all day getting all of the vegetables prepared from my vegetable box that arrived the other for the big day.  I’ve peeled, chopped and par boiled them all and will add the final flourishes on the day.  Washing and peeling brussel sprouts isn’t how I envisioned my Friday afternoon, but it will all pay off in the end.

This morning when I woke up it was pouring down with rain and the wind was howling and my gym is closed for the holidays now, so I didn’t go on my planned run.  Instead I decided to do a mixture of yoga and pop pilates for a really nice workout.  It has been hard to motivate myself this week, but I think I have done pretty well.

Monday: 5 minute warm up on the bike,30 minutes of intervals across the cardio machines, strength workout 1

Tuesday: 5K HITT tread mill run, 30 minutes of intervals on the bike, cross trainer plus an ab routine.

Wednesday: 5 minute warm up on the bike, strength workout 2, 10 minute cool down on the cross trainer

Thursday: 50 minutes of HIITS on the step machine, cross trainer, bike plus  abs and core work

Friday: 1 hour of Cassey Ho’s Blogilates  and yoga podcasts.

This week I increased the weights again in my strength workouts to make them more challenging, which also meant decreasing the number of reps too. I cannot wait to change up my plan in the new year.

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But, before all that lots of yummy food will be eaten.  I made some lovely home-baked snackies for impromptu visitors.  It’s always great to have something on hand when people visit especially during the festive season. I got the idea for these Danish pastry style mince pies from Lorraine Pascale’s show last night.  I hope they go down well! :D

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Then my creativity hit when I made up the hamper for my Nan…

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I even created a centre piece for the Christmas lunch table…

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It was really easy to make!  I picked up a plain reef form Hobby Craft and some decorative ponsettia pieces to adorn it with.  The candles are from Morrison’s that I picked up cheap.  I think the whole thing cost me less than £5 to make…bargain!

Before all this I was already prepared for my alternative to Christmas lunch…

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*Festive Veggie Loaf*

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Festive Veggie Loaf

adapted from Angela’s Ultimate Vegan Lentil Loaf and Lyndsay’s Fat-Free Vegan Meatloaf

  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 1 cup of brow rice

  • vegetable stock

  • i medium onion finely diced

  • 1-2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

  • 2 sticks of celery finely sliced

  • 1 apple finely diced

  • 1/3 cup of dried cranberries

  • 2 tbsps of linseeds

  • zest and juice of 1 clementine/satsuma

  • 1/4 cup of chopped cashew nuts

  • 2 tbsp of tomato puree

  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce

  • 1/3 tsp of ground cloves

  • 1 tsp of dried mixed herbs

  • 1/2 tsp of thyme

  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

  •  1/3 cup of oats on stand-by

First cook the brown rice and red lentils in vegetable stock, drain and put aside.

Preheat the oven at 190 degrees and grease and line a loaf tin.

Heat a little canola oil in pan and on a medium heat sauté the onion for 5 minutes, until it softened.  Stir in the garlic being careful not to burn it and cook for a few minutes.  Next add the celery and and apple and cook until tender and the apples are soft.  Add the pre-cooked lentils, brown rice and chopped cashew nuts and mix through until everything is well combined.

Add the dried cranberries, linseeds, zest and juice of the clementine, tomato puree soy sauce and the herbs and spices and mix until everything is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.  If you think the mixture is too wet, use the trial and error method of adding small amounts of the oats bit by bit.  The mixture should be quite dry. 

Once the right consistency has been produced, with the back of a spoon squish down the mixture on the side of a sauce pan. I like my loaf to have a lot of texture, whereas some people like their loaf’s to be smooth.  If you would prefer a smoother texture then put the mixture into the food processor.

Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and with the back of a spoon making sure that it is compact in the tin with no air pockets.  Cook the loaf for around 50-60 minutes (depending on your oven) until the top becomes crisp and golden brown.  Once cooked allow it to cool down in the tin for 5-10 minute and then remove and place on a wire rack.

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This tasted really great and I loved the texture.  I served mine with steamed broccoli and maple syrup glazed parsnips with ketchup.  I’ve put some in the freezer and left some slices in the fridge for Christmas lunch.  I think that this would be great broken down in a stuffed pepper or squash or even to make veggie enchiladas or tacos too.

Do you prepare most of your Christmas meal the day before?

What are you looking forward to eating on the big day?

Well other than a bit of cleaning I think I’m all set for Christmas. The only thing left to do is to wish you all a…

Merry and Blessed Christmas!

Jem x

…enjoy every moment and eat lots of yummy food! :D

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria December 23, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Andy’s mum was telling me today about those mince pie things that she made on the TV yesterday- yours look so pretty (and remind me to have a look for it on i-player). Your creations are so fantastic too- very artistic. We still do not have any decorations up! Although now I do have a festive tablecloth (white with silver holly leaves) and some nice red placemats! :)Have a lovely Christmas.

kabochafashionista December 23, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Those mince pies look so cute!! Love them!! And the veggie loaf sounds absolutely yum!
We eat our christmas dinner at a carvery pub with with me being vegan I prepare my own stuff to take along to go along with the veggies that I can get there. I’m taking a stuffed kabocha (of course hehe!) with nuts, dried fruit and chickpeas. I’m most looking forward to eating my weight in dark chocolate hehe! :)

Laura Agar Wilson (@keephealthstyle) December 23, 2011 at 6:28 PM

I’ve made a wonderful stuffed Seitan roll for my Christmas lunch and have prepared most of my dishes today, cooking puts me in the festive mood! Hope you have a great one :-)

~Jessica~ December 23, 2011 at 9:00 PM

Yum! I am looking forward to trying out lots of different nut/lentil loaf recipes over xmas and new year, after discovering how much I like them when I tried out Laura’s version.

Have a fabulous xmas!

xxx

The Quirky Kitchen December 23, 2011 at 11:28 PM

go u! you rocked this week – kitchen, gym….everything! I can’t wait to mix up my workouts in the new year too :-) MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! :-) xoxo

IHeartVegetables December 24, 2011 at 1:38 AM

So much creativity!!!! I’m impressed!

And that veggie loaf looks AWESOME :)

Have a fantastic holiday weekend!

Lyn @ FueledBySalad December 24, 2011 at 2:05 AM

The veggie loaf looks amazing! Have a great Christmas. :D

Shannon from Healthiful Balance December 24, 2011 at 7:59 AM

That veggie loaf looks great!
I’m looking forward to all the cookies! :)

Sarah(everydaysapicnic) December 24, 2011 at 9:34 AM

It’s such a good idea to make a hamper – I will definitely try to remember that for next year. I’m afraid I’m very lazy over Christmas and I like relaxing. My Dad is cooking Christmas dinner, but he’s a pro!

eatinglikeahorse December 24, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Ooh, hope work wasn’t too stressful! Your mince pies and centrepiece look so good, have a very merry Christmas x

Kate December 24, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Major bummer that you have to work today! Ugh. I worked in retail all through high school and I always got stuck working holidays :(

Jocelyn @ Peace.Love.Nutrition December 24, 2011 at 9:22 PM

My Aunt’s hosting Christmas this year so that means no cooking for me! I’ll help clean : )

HAppy Holidays!

xo

Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover! December 25, 2011 at 2:13 AM

That veggie loaf looks amazing! I’ve been traveling for the past few days, so it’s nice to finally settle down. Merry Christmas!

Nada (One Arab Vegan) December 25, 2011 at 5:40 AM

That veggie loaf sounds so delicious! Love that you used clementine juice in it – very festive :) Merry Christmas Jemma!

The Teenage Taste December 26, 2011 at 7:22 PM

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas, Jemma! That veggie loaf looks fabulous! I made vegan lentil loaf before and it was good, but seriously it is no match for this. I love your additions of cranberries and cashews!

Errign December 27, 2011 at 11:19 PM

Happy Holidays Jemma! hope you’re Christmas was fab :)

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