This weekend Chuck and I hosted our (soon to be) annual neighborhood Open House

Since decorating for Christmas is a HUGE thing around here we decided to invite over "a few neighbors" and "the gang from the neighborhood dog park"

YA, OK… like 60 people later…

So the first question is: "What can we bring?"

Chuck is a really good cook, and I'm a former chef/ caterer…so the answer is we have enough food for a small army…

And, Chuck and a number of our local gang are vegetarians – so opening up the doors to all kinds of meat dishes becomes uncontrollable.

So we decided to ask people to bring non perishable foods to be donated to a local charity


SHARE – a non-profit food cooperative organization. They support over 500 local food cupboards in the region

Additionally they offer groceries to individuals/families in need for a reduced rate and two hours of some kind of community service!

Our friends were MORE than generous! I have literally filled the car with food to donate to this really worthy local cause…

If you are doing any kind of holiday party, something at work and are interested in helping a very worthwhile cause….this is a personal favorite.

For all the readers in other parts of the county – visit their site as they also list similar organizations in other cities!

I also wanted to share a recipe from yesterday which is easy, hearty, vegetarian and was really popular yesterday!

(Truth is this was the easiest way to get it to everyone who asked for it!)

This recipe is from: Food and Cooking of Africa and the Middle East by Josephine Bacon and Jenni Fleetwood.

Cameroon Vegetable Soup

½ tablespoon butter
½ red onion, finely diced
6 ounces each – turnips, sweet potato, pumpkin- peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon green onion
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 fresh red or green chili, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons coconut cream
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) to garnish

Melt the butter in a large skillet and fry the onions 4-5 minutes

Add the vegetables and fry for 3-4 minutes

Add the marjoram, ginger, cinnamon, green onion, salt and pepper and sauté over low heat for about 10 minutes- stirring frequently

Add the vegetable stock, almonds, chili, and sugar – stir well and simmer 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are tender

Stir in coconut cream

Spoon into warm bowls and garnish with chopped coriander

This soup is sure to be a hit!

Keep checking back for more fun holiday recipes!