A Vegetarian Dinner (Recipe: Leek & Mushroom Bake with Polenta Crust)

We tend to eat at least seventy-five percent vegetarian during the week, yet for some reason when I entertain on the weekends, I often feel obligated to serve up a big slab of meat. It might be a roast chicken, filet of salmon, or lamb curry, but seldom is it vegetarian fare.

As I was assembling this mushroom and polenta gratin, I wondered to myself why I always chose a protein as my main dish and why didn’t I indulge my friends in some of the healthier and more adventurous dishes that we eat day to day?

Whatever the reason – expectations, tastes or tradition – it became apparent as I dished up this gratin around our dinner table that I had created something well-worth sharing. Meat-lovers, or no meat-lovers.

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Weekend Links

Have a wonderful weekend!

Weekend Giveaway: Tattler Reusable Canning Lids

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Michelle, who said:

“I’ve canned pickles, peaches, applesauce, apple butter, strawberry jam, blackberry jam, raspberry jam, and just finished two half-pints of blueberry jam!”

Happy canning with your Tattler lids, Michelle!

Today’s weekend giveaway is from Simple Bites sponsor Tattler Canning Lids, who make reusable, BPA-free plastic canning lids.

Suitable for all types of home canning, Tattler lids are guaranteed to last a lifetime when using USDA approved canning practices.

Many people do not know that the flat metal lids that come in a box of jars are good for one batch of preserves and then should be discarded. Standard lids are recyclable, but with Tattler lids, I can reuse year after year and they’re a recyclable product.

Plus, Tattler reusable canning lids can be used with all the same methods of food preservation that you would use a traditional lid such as a pressure canner, water bath, and pickling.

I learned recently that the standard flat metal canning lids contain Bisphenol-A. It was disheartening to think that in my efforts to remove BPA from my families food, my home canning projects were still tainted.

I use a combination of Tattler lids and regular lids for my canning projects. I make a lot of jam to swap with others or give as gifts and am not parting with my reusable canning lids, so the preserves with Tattler lids are for my own use and the others are to give away.

You can get connected with Tattler via their Facebook page and Twitter account, and be sure to enter the giveaway below.

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Blissdom Canada 2011 Conference Recap (video)

Blissdom Canada very well might be remembered as fun weekend away with girlfriends instead of a working conference. If it wasn’t for the follow-up emails that keep dropping into my inbox from well-known Canadian magazines, networks and companies, I’d wonder if any business was done at all during the event.

But of course there was; it just wasn’t the uptight, intimidating sort. I mean, where else but a woman’s blogging conference could I find myself talking shop with the managing editor of Today’s Parent: her dressed as a zombie bride and me as a knocked-up flapper?

Yeah, it’s a long story, but it includes a costume party and a surprise appearance by a NKOTB pop star. Like I indicated above, anything can happen at Blissdom.

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Seasonings and Spices for Fall Cooking {Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Blend}

Written by Kristen of Dine and Dish.

With fall comes the yearning for food, which brings overall comfort and warmth to those who eat it. We retreat into our kitchens, hoping to provide our family with a meal that will “stick to their ribs”, bringing them warmth from the inside out. Hearty, rich dishes, full of flavor and made with spices and seasonings reminiscent of the season adorn our tables as we gather together in celebration of the cooler days.

There are certain spices and seasonings associated with this season. We draw on their use to provide essence to our favorite comfort foods, add them to our most beloved beverages and use candles reminiscent of their aroma to bring us refuge from the chilly temperatures outside.

Among the most common autumn spices and seasonings, cinnamon, ginger and cloves seem to be firmly associated with the season, making appearances in many of the recipes we associate with this time of year. [Read more…]