Hello Everyone! I hope your holiday celebrations are off to a good start!

Friday the 21st James (aka Bookman) and I celebrated Solstice. As many of you know, James does the cooking all year but the Solstice belongs to me. This year it was like old times when James had to spend the day at work and I was left to my own devices in the kitchen. I have gotten lazy these last number of years because he has managed to have the day off and could help me in the kitchen. Meals got elaborate and complicated. Without his help this year I scaled waaaay back.

green salad of deliciousness

The main meal was a simple green salad and green bean with onion rings casserole. I have never had green bean casserole before in spite of it being a midwestern thing. It requires cream of mushroom soup and everyone uses dairy. The homemade non-dairy cream of mushroom soup in this recipe was incredibly easy and took hardly any time at all. About a third of the green beans we used came from our garden; we had them in the freezer from summer.

When I told people what I was making for Solstice they would look at me expectantly and want to know what else was going with the casserole. All these folks ate meat and are used to having this dish as a side, but you know what, there is absolutely no reason why it can’t be the main course! It was not only delicious but filling as well.

Green bean and onion ring casserole

About those onion rings on top. Wow. We’ve made our own baked onion rings before and they were good, but these, oh these are now going to be our go-to onion rings. Made with a flour and non-dairy milk batter and then dipped in panko bread crumbs spiced with garlic and smoked paprika, you bake them for thirty minutes and they come out of the oven wonderfully crunchy.

Sooo good!

Now dessert, baked bananas. Sweet without adding sugar, and oh so tasty. I used homemade hazelnut butter in the batter and fresh chopped medjool dates sprinkled on top. Then, because this dish begs for ice cream, I topped it with chocolate sweet potato nice cream. Yup, I know that sounds really weird and I had my doubts as did James because he is not a fan of sweet potatoes. BUT, get white sweet potatoes and you will have no regrets. This was chocolatey and creamy and made enough so we had leftovers, which did not last long. Best of all, because the whole dessert was naturally sweet fruit and vegetables with only a tablespoon of maple syrup added to the nice cream, it is 100% guilt-free and doesn’t leave you feeling heavy and sorry for the indulgence.

Peace and love to everyone this holiday season!