Thanksgiving!

Doesn’t matter that I no longer eat turkey. Thanksgiving is still a fantastic holiday, perhaps even more so because my approach to it is so new and wonderful and I have more ownership and pride in my feast than ever before.

This was my second plant-based Thanksgiving, so a few things remained the same as last year as I dined with my omnivorous family in Olympia. Mom set aside some potatoes and stuffing for me to load with veggie broth instead of chicken broth and cream. I also brought my own pie, made my own gravy and threw together an appetizer and salad to share.

However, I tried a few new things. Whereas I drew most of my inspiration from Isa last year, this year I turned to the newest Happy Herbivore book, Holidays and Gatherings.

I had been paging through my H&G book for a few weeks now, but this was my first time using it. It is so great! It collects a lot of recipes from books past, so there aren’t tons of surprises for someone like me who has all of Lindsay’s recipe books. However, it organizes the recipes into the perfect holidays and occasions to cook them (even though I took from other chapters to work into my Thanksgiving) and also brings in some new delights.

When all was done, I was so pleased with the results. Check out the highlights:

What were some of your Thanksgiving revelations/highlights this year?

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A not-horrible experience at a barbecue joint

Last weekend my grandma wanted her birthday dinner at Famous Dave’s in Tacoma, a veritable temple of barbecued meat.

I was pretty prepared to order like a baked potato and find that for some reason the restaurant only had pre-buttered potatoes in their kitchen (I don’t even know if that’s a thing).

So I came in still full from the brunch I had at about 1 p.m. that day (the Five Point was crowded and having a slow time of it).

And you know what? I wish I hadn’t come there full. More

Easter candy

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I can’t believe weeks have passed by since Easter already.

Easter used to be my favorite holiday. I loved dyeing eggs, hunting for them the next morning and gobbling up Cadbury creme eggs and jelly beans.

Pretty much all of that is out for me now. (RIP my longtime love affair with Cadbury creme eggs.)

I didn’t want to go completely candy-less when I went to my parents’ house for Easter, so I whipped up vegan versions of two of my favorites: peanut butter cups and peppermint patties.

(True story: My Christmas list every year used to be headlined with “a peppermint patty.”)

They’re a smidge labor-intensive (but I’m also Miss Can’t I Just Put Everything In A Pot and Let It Go?) and it’s hard for me to make them pretty (follow the links to the recipes for pretty), but what do you know – they worked beautifully! And tasted every bit as good as their commercial counterparts, but with little to no added sweetener. They did have to be kept frozen or refrigerated, but don’t most good things?

My whole family loved them. My boyfriend, well, he preferred the big, fat Reese’s peanut butter egg in my parents’ candy dish because it’s sweeter, he said. I mean, who DOESN’T like the big peanut butter egg, but I was glad to have my yummy peanut butter cups. And they were made out of pantry items!

I think I have to make these for Christmas, too.

Now if only I can find an easy Cadbury creme egg alternative.

How do you substitute traditional holiday sweets?

You’re a lucky vegan when …

… your parents visit and decide to bring you a salad, but when the salad they bought for you unexpectedly was covered in cheese, your dad picks out all the grated cheese for you.

My parents are your run-of-the mill omnivores, but they support me.

Talking about your new hippie lifestyle

I’m not a loud vegan. I’m not preachy about it. I don’t judge others’ dietary decisions because I don’t want people to judge mine. I hardly even bring it up, ever, unless someone else does.

Basically, I don’t want to become the subject of that “You know how to spot a vegan at a party?” joke.*

But I wish I were more eloquent in discussing it when people ask questions or try to give me advice.

I enjoyed a recent conversation I had with a dude in my social circle.

Him: “So, why did you do it? Was it the health thing, the ethical thing … ?”

Me: “Kind of a combination.”

Him: “Word.”

Thankfully, I never get any resistance or judginess from the people in my world. A lot of them, rather, have expressed admiration or acknowledge that it’s a cool thing to do, but they just don’t feel they could do it, themselves.

The people I feared receiving the most questioning from were my parents, namely my mother. However, they wonderfully did not question my decision and do whatever they can to accommodate me, even if they make occasional mistakes or make an incorrect assumption. They just need more education, that’s all. They’ve been super awesome.

As I guessed, however, my mom is still the person who worries about me, and does so out loud. She’s a mama bear. She worries about me for five million other reasons than my plant-exclusive diet. This is just another thing for her to worry about.

So I try to tell her that yes, I’m getting enough protein and calcium and vitamins and that I’m getting them all in better forms than I could ever get with meat and dairy. She still worries. More

Oh yeah, holidays

I have 5 million posts in my head, but I moved right after Thanksgiving, so whenever I’m home and not cooking or sorting through my crap, I’m binge-watching MasterChef.

ZOMG I HAVE MY OWN KITCHEN NOW.

But! Thanksgiving!

People thought it would be super hard for me to have my first vegan Thanksgiving, but literally the only thing that was different this year in terms of a dish I didn’t have was turkey. And my parents make excellent turkey. But I didn’t miss it.

Instead I made myself a stuffed Thanksgiving burger patty and that was my main dish. Then my mom set aside stuffing and potatoes for me that were mixed with veggie broth and almond milk (respectively) instead of chicken stock and milk. I also made myself the scallion gravy from Happy Herbivore Abroad for my alternative to the stuff made from meat juice.

Also, I made vegan pies. Isa pies.

More

Boo.

After three months of complete, committed veganism, I consumed dairy today.

It wasn’t intentional. It wasn’t, “Oh, I’ll cheat just this one time because I need this right now and it won’t hurt.”

I just happened.

And now my stomach is like this:

If I’m ever tempted to cheat, I’ll just remember that nothing tastes as good as shitty feels.

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