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In this weekly series we have been discussing the benefits of a vegetarian diet including: better health, animal rights, frugal living, food safety, global food crisis and the urgency of global warming.

On a global scale the meat industry generates nearly 1/5 of the man made greenhouse gases that are accelerating climate change, more than the entire transport sector. Livestock accounts for 9% of global CO2 emissions, 37% of methane and 65% of nitrous oxide emissions.

Methane is 21 times more powerful than CO2 and nitrous oxide is 310 times more powerful than CO2. Methane remains in the atmosphere for 9 to 15 years; nitrous oxide for 114 years on average and is 296 times more potent than CO2 – the gases released today will continue to be active in degrading the climate decades from now.

I was inspired to create this series by former Beatle and vegetarian advocate Paul McCartney (Macca) who partnered with the Meatless Monday campaign to promote less consumption of meat. We don't just talk about the benefits of a vegetarian diet we also do some cooking, share recipes and listen to some great Beatles/McCartney Music.  On with the fun!

Hi all! I am still on blogging sabbatical so this is a redux of my holiday edible gifts from 2009, it also includes a link to my holiday edible gifts from 2008. I miss you all!

This time of year can be hectic with holiday preparations. One way I try to simplify is to slow down and get back to basics by giving homemade gifts with a personal touch. For me that means getting into my kitchen and making some treats for my family and friends that perhaps they don't have time to make for themselves.

                                         gingerbread house Pictures, Images and Photos

To me the ultimate homemade edible gift is a gingerbread house. It is as much a joy to make as it is to receive one.  Here are some video instructions that should make making your own gingerbread house a fun and simple project.  The recipe I use for the gingerbread dough is at the beginning of the vid.  It makes a dough that is much like a cookie dough and very easy to work with.

A traditional favorite from the south US

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 1/4 cups pecan pieces (5 ounces), toasted

Special equipment: a candy thermometer with a clamp

Butter a 9-inch square metal baking pan.

Sift granulated sugar through a sieve into a bowl to remove any lumps or large crystals, then rub brown sugar through sieve into bowl. Pour sugars into a 2 1/2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan, being careful not to get sugar on side of pan.

Add cream, butter, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook over very low heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon and washing down any sugar crystals on side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, until sugar is dissolved (do not let simmer), 10 to 15 minutes.

Clamp on candy thermometer, then boil syrup over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until it registers 236°F and a teaspoon of syrup dropped into a small bowl of cold water holds a very soft ball when pressed between your fingers, 3 to 6 minutes.

Remove pan from heat, leaving thermometer in place, and cool, undisturbed, until syrup registers 220°F, 1 to 3 minutes. Stir syrup with cleaned and dried wooden spoon until thickened and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes, then immediately stir in pecans. Working very fast (syrup hardens quickly), pour into baking pan, scraping sides of saucepan with wooden spoon.

Let mixture harden at room temperature, about 45 minutes. Cut and break into pieces. Yummy
                                        Limoncello Pictures, Images and Photos

This traditional Italian liqueur looks beautiful in decorative glass bottles that show off its bright-yellow color. For added effect, tuck in some lemon leaves, which are available at many florist shops (just be sure to wash them well before blanching). If you're giving the limoncillo as a gift, you'll want to start it well in advance, since it requires four days of steeping. It's best drunk cold, so you may want to refrigerate the bottle before handing it over, in case the recipient wants to crack it open on the spot. It's also delicious poured over fresh strawberries.

10 lemons

1 (750-ml) bottle vodka

3 1/2 cups water

2 1/2 cups sugar

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.

Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.

This is like an almond joy bar..what could be better :)

7 fluid ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
14 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted
16 ounces milk chocolate or coating chocolate

Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with foil and coat it with nonstick cooking spray.

  1. Combine condensed milk, vanilla extract, and salt in a bowl.
  1. Add confectioners' sugar 1 cup at a time and stir with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated.
  1. Add coconut and stir until combined.
  1. Pour the mixture into the baking pan and press it into an even layer. Then press the almonds into the mixture in even rows. Chill candy in refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour.
  1. Using a sharp chef's knife, cut the candy into small rectangles.
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
  1. Melt and temper the chocolate, or simply melt the coating chocolate.
  1. Dip the bars into the chocolate, covering completely, and place them on the prepared sheet.
  1. Refrigerate candy for 30 minutes or until the chocolate has set.

"From Me To You"   The Beatles

In memory of John Lennon
"Here Today" Paul McCartney

What have you all been cooking? Today and next week I will focus on edible gifts, baking and holiday dishes. Please share your fave recipes and Beatle/McCartney music here.

Here is last years holiday MMM..last minute holiday gifts

Originally posted to beach babe in fl on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 03:01 PM PST.

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