Winter Solstice Orange Garland

The winter solstice officially begins on Saturday, December 21st. It will be the “shortest day” of 2019, and is a celebration of the longest hours of darkness, or the rebirth of the sun. It is believed to hold a powerful energy for self-reflection and renewal and is a time to celebrate the beautiful Earth we inhabit. I love that it is even more of an excuse to adorn my home with nature! While scrolling Pinterest the other day, I came across some beautiful crafts with dried citrus. I immediately texted the first person to come to mind who would understand my excitement, my friend Julianne, and we both decided to dry naval oranges in the oven (these were my favorites!) at once.

Today was a day of yoga, cleaning, and making orange garland. This is the first garland that I made, which I looped around my living room mirror with some fresh pine that I had picked up a few weeks earlier at Acme (super affordable!).

I was so happy with my first orange garland that I was then inspired to experiment with other citrus varieties. So, Julianne and I returned to the local produce market (Riverwards ), to pick up a variety of citrus fruits including blood oranges, grapefruit, and pink lemon. After again allowing them to dry out in the oven… which takes a long, long time and plenty of dedication, we made yet another garland. This time, I chose to display it on the wooden shelf behind our television. This craft was time consuming, but it was incredibly worth it and not only does it smell incredible, but it brings such a beautiful warmth to the space. I also made a few ornaments to hang on our tree! I’ve shared the process below if you are also interested in making your own orange garland / winter solstice crafts. It’s also such a great opportunity to spend time with those that bring you joy, and perhaps even take part in some yule tea. Happy crafting!

The second garland I made with a variety of citrus fruits including blood orange, grapefruit, pink lemon, and more.

Materials

  • Variety of citrus: My first garland is entirely naval oranges… I think they work the best! But you can also choose any citrus you can find like blood orange, lemon, grapefruit, etc.
  • Kitchen twine – I found mine in the kitchen section at Target!
  • Cinnamon sticks – optional (I used these at the ends of my garland)
  • Scissors
  • Sharp point – I used a large brass pushpin, but you just need something to help make the holes when you are ready to string
  • Large baking sheets

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 175 degrees
  • Make thin slices of the citrus and place in a single layer on the baking sheets
  • Flip every 30 minutes as you bake (I kept resetting Alexa timers!). The time it takes to bake depends on the thickness of the slice and the type of fruit. My lemons took the least amount of time, about 3 hours, and the grapefruit took about 4 hours. Just keep an eye on them as you keep flipping them and you will know when they are ready. Just be careful to not let them burn!
  • Allow slices to cool
  • Poke small holes on opposite ends of each slice
  • String twine through both holes of each slice to allow it to display flat
  • Optional: Cut a cinnamon stick in half and tie to each end of the twine
  • Hang your beautiful creation and enjoy!!! 🍊

Please let me know if you give this a try and don’t forget to tag @PhillyVegalGal on Instagram if you share!

Sticky Sesame Ginger Chickpeas

Honestly, chickpeas are a superfood of their own. They are a super rich source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, and are thought to help improve digestion. Also, these little cuties are high in protein and make an excellent, filling addition to any plant-based dish! What makes these tasty treats even more amazing is that they are super versatile so they can accompany a variety of dishes… and they are incredibly cost effective! Obviously I’m a big fan and love incorporating them into our meals.

Tonight I got a little adventurous and made a new dish! I was craving some sort of Asian inspired dish but I didn’t want to go out to the market (it’s cold + rainy here tonight!). I drew upon my knowledge of a previous dish I made with a similar sauce, and decided to give it a go with chickpeas. This is the result and let me tell ya… you’re going to want to save this one! My fiancé and I ate the whole dang dish!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos
  • 3 tbsp natural maple syrup
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1.5 tsp cornstarch

🌱 Recommended: serve with basmati + quinoa blend and steamed broccoli

Recipe:

  • Rinse and drain chickpeas, set aside
  • Warm olive oil in your pan and saute the chopped garlic until it becomes fragrant
  • Add sesame oil, coconut aminos, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and ginger – mix thoroughly on low-medium heat
  • Mix in cornstarch until mixture smoothes out and becomes thick
  • Add chickpeas and ensure that they are coated fully, saute for another 5 minutes on medium heat stirring occasionally to ensure that the sauce does not burn

Serve with your quinoa + rice and broccoli and ENJOY!!

🍃 Please let me know if you try this recipe and don’t forget to tag @PhillyVegalGal on Instagram if you post! 🍃

Three Cheese Chickpea Pasta Lasagna

Well, I finally did it! It only took me 1/2 year… but PhillyVeganGal.com is up and running! I’ve wanted to create this for a while now to offer a more user-friendly platform to share recipes + content. Instagram is great, but I would love for that to be the springboard where I can provide a catalog of images with the primary information being shared here. Please keep an eye out for when I launch my newsletter so that you can subscribe and stay up to date with all my latest posts!

I’ve got some big plans for this page including a vegan starter guide, vegan kitchen essentials, how to cook with tofu, and so much more! I’d love to hear your suggestions as well, so please drop a comment to let me know what content you’d like to see.

Ok, now on to the good stuff… Three Cheese Chickpea Pasta Lasagna! If you didn’t know already, I am obsessed with Banza pasta. It’s gluten free, vegan, non-GMO, and has a low glycemic index. Compared to “average pasta” it has 10 more grams of protein, 5 more grams of fiber, and 21 less net carbs!

I think one of the best things about this pasta is that you don’t need to boil them before you layer your lasagna! Super convenient. This recipe was prepared, cooked, and on its way into my stomach with 1 hour! I also had an all star lineup of cheeses including Kite Hill Foods ricotta, Miyokos Creamery fresh mozzarella, and Violife Foods parmesan. My fiancé isn’t always the biggest fan of plant-based cheese, but he LOVED this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Banza lasagna noodles
  • 1 package Kite Hill ricotta
  • 1 package Violife Foods parmesean
  • 1 package Miyoko’s Creamery fresh mozzarella
  • 2 jars of your favorite marinara sauce (I used Trader Joes!)
  • 1 handful chopped basil
  • Himalayan Pink Salt
  • Pepper

Recipe:

  • Preheat Oven to 375
  • Combine ricotta + Parmesan + chopped basil + Himalayan pink salt + pepper
  • Spread marinara sauce in the bottom of your dish
  • Alternate layers of Banza | ricotta mix + mozzarella
  • Top final layer with the rest of your grated Parmesan
  • Bake for 40 mins covered with foil
  • Remove foil & broil for another 5 mins to brown your topping
  • Add a few fresh basil leaves once you’re ready to serve to be extra fancy 🙂

    ✨ STUFF YO FACES, #pastapals!!✨ 

♡ Disclaimer ♡
Banza kindly sent this pasta to me, but I chose to post about it because I am truly, 1000% obsessed! I choose which products that I wish to represent, and would never share something that I did not fully support.

🍃 Please let me know if you try this recipe and don’t forget to tag @PhillyVegalGal on Instagram if you post! 🍃