We are cloistered away in one of our favorite spots in the world: Lake Tahoe. Back home, family is keeping an eye on the house, the dogs, the garden, the lawn … but here, we barely glance at the clock. Our biggest challenge of the day is trying to decide whether to read on the couch or on the balcony. You can probably guess which usually wins out. Last year, while staying in this same condo (a gift from the owner. “Come stay whenever you like,” she said five years ago. And we do.), we went off our vegan diet, which we’d been faithful to for six months. “Just during vacation,” we agreed. But once we started back in on pizza and burgers and casseroles (all laden with meat and cheese), we just couldn’t stop.
So this year, back at the scene of the crime, it seemed fitting to switch again. Although this time, we’re not going to be as extreme about it. We’re aiming to be 80% vegans. This is a new favorite dish. I saw it on Giada’s show and tweaked it just a bit. So, so good. Unless, like Dave, you’re not crazy about squash. He took one polite bite. One. My friend, Shari A., pointed out that my arrangement of vegetables was “Lithuanian approved.” Good eye, Shari.
- About 2 cups butternut squash, cut in small cubes
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 2 zucchini, cut in thin rounds
- Optional: 1 onion, cut in strips (or other veggies you like)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 TBSP granulated garlic
- 1+ TBSP Tony Chechere's Cajun blend (or a cajun blend of your own)
- olive oil
- FOR SPICY CASHEW CREAM
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 2 tsp white miso
- 1 garlic clove
- 3 TBSP chili paste (I used Sambal Oelek)*
- 2 TBSP Ume plum vinegar (can substitute for another vinegar)
- 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
- enough water to make it spreadable
- About a cup of sour cream or nonfat Greek yogurt
- FOR VEGGIES
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Cut all vegetables and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil and stir around with your hands to coat the veggies.
- Sprinkle with seasonings.
- Bake 30-50 minutes. I lean toward the longer time because I like to caramelize the butternut squash.
- FOR CASHEW CREAM
- In Vitamix or other powerful blender, combine cashews, miso, garlic, chili paste, vinegar and lemon juice.
- Pulse to blend.
- If needed, add water in small increments until you reach a spreadable consistency.
- Take a scoop of the cashew cream and blend with sour cream or Greek yogurt to make a light cream.
- Roasted veggies can be served plain with a dollop of cream, or tucked in a wrap alone or with roasted chicken, or over rice. Or whatever else you dream of.
The cashew cream recipe makes more than you will need for this, but that's not really a problem. This will keep a long time in the refrigerator, and makes a great spread for sandwiches or a base for Spicy Vegan Slaw
I just added what looked like a good amount of cashew cream to what looked like a good amount of sour cream. This is a taste-as-you-go deal. (Note: Giada’s recipe used a different cream topping. She mixed 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 TBSP lime, 1 TBSP agave, and 1 small chipotle in Adobe, diced. I have made hers several times and like it as well.)
This is where we spend a bunch of our time.
While driving around the lake a few days ago, we stopped for ice cream in King’s Beach. They have the nicest little grassy area next to their shop, with a covered swing and a bunch of tables and chairs. It was really beautiful sitting out there with the lake just across the street. This is growing right in the center of the sitting area:
Sunday we went to church at Calvary Chapel Carson City, the home of our dear friends, Pat and Kelly Propster. Kelly has a beautiful voice and I always love hearing her worship. Also serving on the worship team Sunday were Adam and Sara Palmer of the band I Am They. Sara is without a doubt one of the most creative people I know, and is responsible for nearly all the decorations at CCCC. I would like to spend a week in her brain. 🙂 This was the first time we had a chance to talk to Adam, and we really enjoyed getting to know him a little. Check out their music if you haven’t heard it yet.
Pat gave a great message from Isaiah 43 on why we need not fear. Who doesn’t need a reminder on that subject? We love the Propsters and their church family. So many dear faces there, and when we walk through the doors we feel like we are in our own church. That’s always such a nice thing. I love that the Body of Christ is family wherever you go.
And then … there was the heat. But I don’t want to be a whiny baby, so this is all I’ll say about that: