Five-Year Anniversary and New Southern Greens Recipe

by on January 9, 2011
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Happy 5th Birthday, FFVK!

On this day in 2006, I decided to start a blog.  At the time, I barely new what a blog was, but it seemed like a way to personalize my website, so I decided to give it a try.  I had no idea that simply recording what I was cooking would very quickly evolve into creating and sharing my own recipes or that snapping quick photos at the dinner table with my point-and-shoot would eventually lead to a dining room filled with photography equipment and “props” (formerly known as dishes).  I’ve written three anniversary posts now (years one, two, and three are in the archives, but I somehow missed last year), and it feels like I’ve said everything there is to say about the occasion, but one thing bears repeating: Without you readers, this blog would not exist.  Knowing that there are people out there reading what I write, cooking what I cook, and being (I hope) entertained by the photos that I take has made me strive to be a better writer, recipe developer, and photographer.  I never cease to be educated and inspired by your comments and emails, and I know that recipes aren’t created in a vacuum: It takes a village to raise a mini tofu quiche, in all its myriad variations.  So thank you all.  I really couldn’t do it without you–and wouldn’t want to.

As a token of my thanks, I offer you this bouquet of red mustard greens that I bought last week at Rainbow, the natural food co-op here in Jackson.  Todd in the produce department graciously answered my “What the heck is this?” with information on both the greens and their grower, a local tomato farmer who is growing several varieties of greens for the winter.  Todd advised cooking the mustard greens with turnip greens, to balance out their peppery bite, so I bought a bunch of each.  Some of the turnip greens even had tiny turnips attached:

Baby Turnip

Traditionally, Southerners cook greens by simmering them in ham-seasoned water until very tender, often an hour or more, and with older greens, I do a similar, vegan version using caramelized onions and hickory salt to get the smokey seasoning without harming a pig.  But these mustard and turnip greens were young, very tender, and thin-stemmed, so I opted for quick-cooking them in just a little broth.  I cut the tiny turnips into slivers and added them to the skillet with the onions and tossed in a little ginger for fragrance and bite.  But the real excitement is provided by the handful of dried cranberries I added to the greens just before serving.  Their sweet and tangy flavor complemented the peppery greens just perfectly.  This Southerner, at least, has a new favorite way to prepare greens.
New Southern Greens

Five-Year Anniversary and New Southern Greens Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 3
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (I used Imagine’s No-Chicken broth)
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • *10 ounces greens (about 2 small bunches mustard, turnip, or collard greens), stemmed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  1. Prepare your vegetables beforehand because this recipe moves fast. Wash greens well, remove and discard large stems, and coarsely chop leaves.
  2. Heat a large, deep non-stick skillet. Add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable broth and the onions. Cook until onions soften, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and another splash of broth, if needed. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of broth and stir in the paprika. Add the greens and stir quickly before covering tightly. Cook until greens wilt but retain their vivid color, stirring and adding more broth as needed to keep them moist. Stir in the vinegar, cranberries, and salt to taste. Serve hot.
*Greens weighed after trimming and chopping.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/3 of recipe Calories: 61 Fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 13.5g Sugar: 6.5g Sodium: 100.5 Fiber: 4g Protein: 3.2g


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{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Valerie @ City|Life|Eats January 9, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Happy Blog Anniversary!! YOur blog was one of the first ones I found when I wanted to modify my diet and eat more vegan meals. Thank you for all the inspiration you have provided 🙂

This greens recipe looks fabulous. I love greens in all different forms 🙂


2 Vegfery January 9, 2011 at 4:43 pm

I will bookmark this recipe until next fall when the greens are ready locally again.


3 wendy (healthy girl's kitchen) January 9, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Thank you for all of your hard work and inspiration. Your sites are such an invaluable resource to the entire Plant-Strong, Nutritarian, Vegan community. Keep up the great work!


4 Lisa A. January 9, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Thanks you maintaining such a beautiful blog and your website. 4 years of continuous blogging is a big deal. I have made many of your recipes and sent other people your way. Keep up the good work!


5 aleonard January 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm

You also inspire people to cook a healthier and more diverse diet – which is why I keep coming back! Smoked paprika has a permanent home in my spice rack as a result of this blog. Thank you, Susan!


6 gwenb January 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Congratulations on your 5 year anniversary, Susan! I’ve been enjoying your posts for quite a few of these years and am so thankful for you and your giving spirit! Cook on – the Food Network should call you for a show !!!!


7 Carolyn @Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well. January 9, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Congrats on 5 years. Your recipes are wonderful, and I drool over your pictures.

Thanks for keeping the vegan (and non-vegan) community eating healthy.

be well,


8 skye January 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Happy Anniversary! Even though I’m not vegan, I love your healthy recipes and also the really nice photos that accompany them.


9 Ricki January 9, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Happy Blogiversary, Susan! I love your blog and your recipes and you’re an inspiration for all of us food bloggers who’ve come after you. I look forward to the next five years!


10 dizzy5 January 9, 2011 at 6:34 pm

New product (at least to me) alert!! Brand name “PB 2”-Powdered peanut butter product with far less fat and more than satisfactory flavor-the cook merely adds water and,uh,like they say,..Presto! Other than the 90 mgs per tablespoon of sodium/salt added,it’s all peanut.Have you tried this stuff?


11 Lizzie @ Infectious Chatter January 9, 2011 at 6:38 pm

happy blogiversary!

Thank you for the yummy greens to cook. i can’t wait 🙂


12 Moonwatcher January 9, 2011 at 6:51 pm

What beautiful greens, Susan. And the little turnip. These scrumptious photos make me pine for Spring, and the little tiny turnips and their greens I hope to turn up in my own garden, which is currently covered with snow. And I have giant red mustard that reseeds itself all over the place. So when they show themselves again,either at my co-op or in my garden, I will try this recipe–the cranberries are an inspired addition!

Happy Anniversary to you, and to all of us who love your blog–thank you for five years of wonderful recipes, writing, photos and slices of life.




13 sandrajayne January 9, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, for your five years of hard work. I have made too many of your recipes to count and they have all been delicious. A lot of them are in weekly rotation 🙂 I just bought a pressure cooker so tomorrow I am making your split pea soup. I can’t wait!!!! Thanks again.


14 Pat January 9, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Hi Susan,
I subscribe to your blog from Australia and always look forward to receiving your latest recipes from FFVK, or just browsing your site for new inspiration.

Congratulations on your anniversary. I hope you continue.


15 Stef January 9, 2011 at 7:42 pm

I hear ya – blogs are much more fun (and personally rewarding/fulfilling) when people read and comment. Thanks for blogging consistently for multiple years!


16 Georgia January 9, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Your website was the first I found after reading Eat to Live as an unhealthy omnivore and deciding to explore more plant-based recipes. Being from Mississippi, I had been struggling with how to move away from the diet I had grown up with. When I saw that you are able to follow a low fat vegan diet while still living in Mississippi, I thought, “Hey, maybe it’s not as hard as it seems.” Fast forward a few months and I turned into a full-fledged vegan, and now two years later, I have started my own blog about eating vegan. None of it would have happened without my being inspired by you! Keep up the amazing job!


17 Johanna GGG January 9, 2011 at 9:00 pm

happy blogiversary – am glad you are keeping on blogging as this was one of the first blogs I discovered and so has a special place for me in the blogosphere


18 Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn January 9, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Can’t wait to try it! I’m trying to incorporate more LEAFY green veggies, not just broccoli, green beans, and brussels:) Slash I love balsamic and this is PERFECT


19 katy January 9, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Happy anniversary! This recipe sounds right up my alley. However, could I use regular old balsamic vinegar? is there a big difference in taste? I’ve never tried white balsamic.


20 SusanV January 9, 2011 at 11:04 pm

White balsamic has a lighter taste and (obviously) color, but you can use regular balsamic if you don’t have it.


21 bjwiley January 10, 2011 at 7:51 am

I too want to add my “Happy Anniversary ” wishes to you!! Your creations FINALLY got me over my “belief” that food has to have SOME fat in order to taste good! Your recipes are universally fantastic tasting; I am comfortable using ANY of yours for company, even before I’ve tried them myself, simply because they all universally come out great!

Your photography is also something I very much admire. In fact, the photo at the top of today’s post is one of your best … I love how you captured the light filtering through the greens’ leaves.

Thanks for ALL you give to us … your generosity with your recipes is amazing!


22 laloofah January 10, 2011 at 10:46 am

Happy 5th Blogging Anniversary! Here’s hoping we celebrate many more with you!

Everything about your blog is inspiring, delicious, entertaining, helpful, informative, amusing, and/or beautiful. Thank you yet again for all the amazing time, effort, energy and creativity you invest in it!

Your blog has been a favorite of mine since I found it five years after my husband and I became vegan, but we’ve come to absolutely rely on it since becoming “McDougallers” after I attended the 10-day live-in program in 2007. You’ve given me the inspiration and knowledge to come up with my own recipe variations and even my own original creations (something I’d never had the know-how or chutzpah to do), and though I’ve got a looooong way to go, you’re also responsible for my improved food-photography skills.

We can’t thank you enough, and can’t wait for your cookbook!

Happy, happy anniversary – may you blog on and prosper! 🙂


23 Krista January 10, 2011 at 11:24 am

Thank you for the dedication you have given to this blog! I have made many of your recipes and always recommend your site!


24 Sandi January 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Congratulations and thank you for you wonderful blog, Susan!


25 April Mast January 10, 2011 at 3:51 pm

This was really good! I used Lacinato kale, yellow onion and regular balsamic vinegar and followed all directions. Yum! Thank you!


26 Kelly January 10, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Happy 5 year anniversary! Having just started a blog this year, it’s exciting to hear you didn’t really know too much when you started (so maybe there’s still hope for me, lol!) I just love reading your recipes, and your pictures actually make me want to try the recipes! Thanks!


27 Abbeygirl January 10, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I too would like to say Thank You! For without your blog, we (my husband and I) would have had a hard time eating healthier. Most of the cookbooks I was looking at, to help us eating healthier, may have used vegetables or fruits in their recipes, but also LOTS of fat. Then one night, when I couldn’t sleep, cuz of hot flashes, I was searching the web and found your site. It has been earmarked as a favorite, and I have to say, we love the recipes I have made. So THANK YOU again, and keep up the good work. And your pictures are beautiful, you really have an eye for seeing beauty in the little but greatest things in life!


28 Liz @ IHeartVegetables January 10, 2011 at 9:08 pm

I just love your blog 🙂 You always have such tasty recipes, and I love that they’re all HEALTHY! Happy blog anniversary 🙂


29 Julia (The Veggie Side) January 11, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Happy Anniversary! Great blog!!!!


30 Kum January 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Happy blog anniversary!

I just adore your blog. Thanks again for sharing so many yummy recipes!


31 Jen January 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm

As an Eat-to-Live(er), I am so grateful for your blog!! I use it to do all my meal-planning for the week and it is my go-to site for recipes. My family loves your recipes! I think you should conisder it a great public service that you are doing to provide so many free, nutritious recipes for all who are striving to live a healthy, fat-free, animal-product-free life. I too can’t wait for your cookbook! I’m going to buy one for everyone I know:-). Thank you!


32 Mark January 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Congratulations on your 5-year blogging anniversary! It’s been fascinating to watch your blog grow and get even better with, ahem, age.

Have also enjoyed getting to know you a bit better between the blog, your website, the fat free list, and e-mail over all this time. At least now, we don’t get laughed at as much over “no-added fat…”

Thanks for all you do! Best regards, Mark


33 Courtney January 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Oh, Susan, congrats on the 5 years! Yours was the very first blog I ever looked at/found/read and I was hooked 🙂 Thank you for all of your posts and beautiful recipes! I look forward to each and every one of them. I know it must take a lot of time to photograph and write about what you eat, but it is much appreciated!!



34 La'Shon Cannon January 11, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Congratulations on your Anniversary! I would like to say that your blog is awesome! I just started looking at Vegan blogs because I am planning on starting my own. I have to say that I have been impressed and so far you are at the top of my lists. I hope that one day I can obtain as much success as you have with your blogging endeavors. Peace and Blessings!


35 Angela January 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Congrats on 5 years! What a huge accomplishment. I adore your blog and have enjoyed so many of your recipes.


36 Kylie January 11, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Love the blog and look forward to each post!


37 Elena January 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Congratulations on your anniversary! Time flies, doesn’t it?! I just recently celebrated 4 yrs being vegan and I can’t believe that it’s been so long.


38 Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day January 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Just beautiful. I absolutely adore mustard and turnip greens.


39 Vyolet Blue January 12, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Hi Susan, Congratulations on the 5th year anniversary of your wonderful blog ^_^ I have been an avid ( and hungry! ) reader for 2 years now and I enjoy it very much. You have such skill as a photographer and I looove your recipes. My omni family has enjoyed your scrumptious Pumpkin pie cheesecake for 2 Thanksgivings now 🙂 Keep up the great work, and thanks for a great blog!


40 Fiona January 12, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Thank you for your AMAZING blog! I can’t wait for your cookbook!!


41 Cassandra January 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Happy blog anniversary!!


42 Jennifer H January 12, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I am really excited to find your site and especially the recent post on top vegan recipes.


43 J January 14, 2011 at 11:16 am

You know, I think you’re blog coincided with me turning vegan, because I remember around the time looked up fat free vegan recipes and there you were, ‘Fat Free Vegan Kitchen’, I just assumed you had always been online way before that! I’ve tried lots of your recipes over the years and every time I make something from here I always get rave reviews – keep up the amazing work!


44 Angela January 15, 2011 at 1:38 am

Hi there,

I understand now how you feel after you have created something soo awesome and healthy too! I have played around today and created “cajun burgerz”.. I am soo proud of myself! lol… I enjoy your recipes and they inspired me to try and create my own! thank you


45 Eric January 15, 2011 at 9:10 am

Running a blog for five years takes dedication. Congrats and here’s hoping you have many, many more years of blog success!


46 RunLonger January 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm

So pretty! I love the picture of the final product! And Happy Anniversary to you. Your blog (and Web site) have been the source of many great dinners in our house for several years now; it’s the first place I check when I’ve bought a vegetable I don’t cook with often. I think, “Hmmm, I wonder what Susan’s done with this.” And you almost always have an answer. Thanks!


47 Alicia January 17, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Happy Blog Anniversary! Thank you for all your delicious recipes and inspiring blog posts. Your Mexican Lasagna was one of the first vegan recipes I tried and it’s still a favorite of mine 🙂


48 Virginie January 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Happy anniversary to your blog !


49 JJ January 19, 2011 at 5:25 am

Just wanted to say BIG THANKS for the hard work on your blog. Recently found it and am also recently following a nearly-vegan diet. You and your site are a tremendous resource!!


50 Dryer January 26, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Vegetable is always my diet, only the green colour make me want to eat it.


51 Diane February 1, 2011 at 11:43 am

Susan, I found you through Eat To Live, but continue to follow your blog because of your creative talent in the kitchen and the dining room! (your photography studio!) Congratulations to you for producing a high quality blog that keeps getting better every year. ‘The best to you and your family –


52 SusanV February 1, 2011 at 11:47 am

Thank you, Diane!


53 Anna February 7, 2011 at 7:51 pm

I just found your blog (searching for wheat free vegan cookies) and have spent the last half hour looking through all your recipes – they look SO delicious – I can’t wait to try!

Anna (Toronto)


54 Get Skinny, Go Vegan. March 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Happy 5th!!
Thanks for bring us all of these “real food” recipes!


55 Christopher Kandrat March 7, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Awesome southern style recipe.


56 Nancy Muller November 24, 2011 at 11:09 am

I just tried this recipe, and it is as good as southern greens with ham hocks — the smoked paprika was inspired. I have missed old fashioned greens, and this is the first recipe to give me a BETTER alternative. Each bite provides me with a depth of flavor that I just couldn’t figure out when I tried other options. On this Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for your website and willingness to share your recipes. Lovely!


57 Lauren January 12, 2012 at 10:33 am

These greens look delish! Happy blog anniversary-your blog was the first one I stumbled upon on my journey to veganism, so I thank you for your inspiration. I celebrated my 3 year vegan anniversary in December. 🙂 Keep up the great work!


58 Sue baker March 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm

This is absolutely delicious! I used kale and red chard but otherwise followed the recipe. We give it 6 stars out of 5.


59 janet @ the taste space March 2, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Not sure where I went wrong, Susan, but this is probably my first flop from your site. I didn’t think the ginger worked too well with the greens along with the smoked paprika. I added a lot more balsamic and ended up cooking the collard greens a lot longer because they were too bitter for my liking. Added black eyed peas to make a complete meal. Next time, I may use oil to get more flavour from the onions.


60 Suzanne N. December 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Hi Susan, I come to you from HealthyGirlsKitchen. I’m always looking for a good, easy greens recipe, and this offering of yours deliciously fills the bill. I subbed 2 bags of TJ’s Power Greens (young kale, chard & spinach) and it’s now in my regular rotation. Thank you!


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