Monday , August 8 2022

Healthy Eating – Holiday Nibbling


By Betsy Bruns

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for nibbling.  Whipping up favorite family recipes, creating new foodie traditions, noshing on coffee cakes and candy canes, baking cookies, and serving appetizers are popular pastimes of the holiday season.

Food can be an expression of who we are. We associate certain types of food with certain cultures and religions. Food brings people together. Serving food to others is a gesture of care, of love, and lets them know they are welcome.

I recently spent the night at a lifelong friend’s home. We had not seen each other in a couple of years, and I was really looking forward to catching up and spending time together. This friend is not plant-based, but she is an amazing hostess and made me the most delicious vegan food and goodies. I felt so welcome and so cared for.

Through all of the challenges and tribulations in 2021, much has changed. Many of us now have different beliefs, addresses, employers, and friends. So much has transformed in my life and the way I view the world.

It’s been a painful process and a struggle to maintain healthy habits, yet I’ve never wavered in my vegan lifestyle.  It is the very essence of my soul, which means I will always place the life of another being ahead of personal pleasure. Expressing who I am through food is a way of life.

The holidays are a delightful time of the year to express yourself and how you feel through food. Wishing you the best of nibbling, noshing, and a most wonderful time!

 BBQ “Chicken” Meatballs

I wanted to bring something vegan yet meaty to my friend’s house. I was short on time and ingredients having just recovered from hosting a dinner party the evening before. Being short on time and supplies doesn’t mean these “meatballs” are short on flavor or texture.  They turned out pretty darn good!

Makes 2 dozen meatballs

6 ounces dehydrated soy curls (equates to 1 pound of chicken)

2 tablespoon chia seeds + ⅓ cup water to make 2 vegan eggs

1 cup vegetable broth or water

⅓ cup of your favorite barbeque sauce, plus more for brushing

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped; or 2 teaspoons minced

3 tablespoon parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

¼ cup vital wheat gluten


Soak soy curls in warm water for 10 minutes. Once rehydrated, drain and squeeze out excess water with cheese cloth or paper towel. Once liquid is drained, finely chop or pulse in food processor, leaving no large chunks.

Make 2 vegan eggs by adding ⅓ cup of water to 2 tablespoons of chia seeds in a small bowl. Mix and let set for 15 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, mix together chopped soy curls, vegan eggs, and broth/water. Once mixed, add ⅓ cup of your favorite barbeque sauce, onion, garlic, and parsley, and combine.

In a separate small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and vital wheat gluten. Add to the soy curl mixture to combine, then knead the mixture with your hands for 3 to 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To make meatballs, roll 1 tablespoon at a time into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or copper mat. Alternatively, grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Brush meatballs with barbeque sauce and bake for 40 – 45 minutes.

Optional – serve with vegan blue cheese or ranch dressing and celery.

Smoky Tomato-Almond “Cheese” Ball – PCRM recipe


Makes 6 Servings

2 cups soaked almonds

⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoon chickpea miso or other mild miso

1 ½ tablespoon natural ketchup

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon sea salt

3 tablespoons finely chopped raw or toasted almonds, or pumpkin seeds for coating

1-2 tablespoon chopped fresh chives for coating

1 pinch sea salt for coating


In a food processor, pulse the almonds until crumbly. Add the remaining cheese ball ingredients (excluding the ingredients for the coating) and process until the mixture becomes sticky and forms a mound on the blade. If the mixture isn’t coming together, add a teaspoon or two of water, as the almonds may be dry. Transfer to a container and refrigerate for one hour.

Combine the coating ingredients on a sheet of parchment paper. Form the cheese mixture into a ball with your hands (you can lightly oil your hands to make it easier), and gently roll around the parchment paper to pick up the coating. Return to the refrigerator in a covered container until ready to use. Keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Sun-Dried Tomato Note: If using prepackaged sun-dried tomatoes that are dry, reconstitute in a bowl of boiled water for 5-10 minutes, then drain and pat dry.

Recipe and photo by Betsy Bruns

Recipe and photo PCRM

Betsy Bruns is a plant-based health coach and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) practitioner. When she isn’t making healing food taste like comfort food or helping clients tap away stress and cravings with EFT, she’s soaking up nature and dreaming of ways to make life more delicious for all beings. Visit

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