Saturday, December 28, 2013

Holiday Happenings

Happy Holiday Times to You!

 Mom, Nephew and Footie, playing kitty games on the sofa.

On the Winter Solstice, my not-so-young-anymore nephew came over and spent the afternoon with us. It had been a while since we hung out with him, and it was great. We took the doggies for a walk along the coast, right at the sunset, and it was so beautiful.

 Afterwards, my parents came over and joined us all for dinner. I made the Tomato, Rice and White Bean Soup from Veganomicon. I love this soup, and it was even better the next day! I wanted to make something that wasn't too weird or exotic for my nephew's tastes, but that everyone could enjoy, and this definitely fit the bill!

 I had some recently-made Gingerbread Men hanging out in the freezer just waiting for their big moment, so I had my nephew decorate these guys for our dessert while I was making dinner. :)

My family usually has a big family dinner on Christmas Eve, and this was the first year of my entire 40-years life that we didn't have the dinner at my parents' house! My brother and his girlfriend wanted to host this year, and so off we went into a brave new frontier!

Many years ago, when our family gatherings were much larger, sometimes there were as many as 6 vegans and 1 vegetarian at family meals. Often we outnumbered the non-vegans! Well, how the mighty have fallen. This year I was the only veggie in attendance. I was about to make life easy for myself and just bring some Field Roast, but Mr. Vegan Eats & Treats talked me into making a lasagna. Actually he said "Let's do it together, I'll help you!" - and then he went off and played tennis for a few hours while I made lasagna. Ha ha. Love that guy. But - actually - the lasagna was super delicious and now I haven't had to make dinner for a few nights in a row, because no one else ate any and we basically came home with a huge tray of Christmas Lasagna. YUMZ. The gift that keeps on giving.

 My brother's girlfriend got out her fancy china for the dinner, and the whole table looked so elegant and pretty.

For dessert I made a Holiday Galette with Apples, Pears, Spiced Quince, Spiced Rum, and Tangerine Zest. It was super delicious. I love this sparkly picture. There were so many candles on the table, it was very beautiful. The evening was both new and familiar. There were a few of my brother's friends there too and it was nice to meet some new people as well as be with family.

Snoopy looking out the window on Christmas Day, beyond the paper snowflakes.
Despite the optimism of the paper snowflakes, it has been about 70 degrees here, which is both nice and weird.

 Footie hiding behind our presents.

Even though we did Christmas Eve dinner somewhere new this year, one important tradition was maintained: Christmas Morning Waffles at my parents' house! Apparently, I was so happily in-the-moment that I never even took a single waffle picture. So, I've re-created Waffle Time in doodle format. For many years, my dad would resist my vegan waffles, and we would have to make one batch of vegan waffle batter and one batch of non-vegan waffle batter... But when I discovered the Raised Waffles from Vegan Brunch, I just knew that this would no longer be an issue. They are so delicious and everyone loves them!

This year the waffle party included my parents, my two awesome nephews, and Mr VE&T and me. As you can see, we use two waffle irons to expedite the yumz. Also, we always have two types of syrup on the table: real maple syrup (for snobs like my parents and me) and "fake" maple syrup for the plebeians (like Mr VE&T). I'm not sure where my nephews fall on this important issue. It was probably my favorite part of the whole holiday - sweet and quiet and cozy. Afterwards, we exchanged a few humble little gifts, though the emphasis was most definitely on togetherness more than on gifts.

 The Doggies near my parents' Xmas Tree. You can see our abundant supply of gifts under the tree - ha!
I got the doggies all matching Christmas bandanas with little jingle bells on them. SO cute.

One of the gifts I did make this year was a nice Chocolate Panforte for my mom and dad. We all share a love for this dense, delicious Italian treat, and over the years I've combined a few recipes to come up with one that I love. It's packed with walnuts, almonds, candied citron, dried figs, and loads of warming holiday spices. So good!


  1. I love the doglets and the paper snowflakes! It looks as though you had a lovely time.

  2. Sounds like a delightful time all round. :)

  3. I would love to have your recipe for Panforte.

  4. Sound like the perfect foodie Christmas! It's been far too long since I've made lasagna, but you're right that it's the gift that keeps on giving :)
    The panforte and Christmas fruit galette sound wonderful too.

  5. What a wonderful Christmas!! I can't believe people were able to resist that gorgeous lasagna, but that's how our holiday gatherings often go too. Most of the time David and I are the only ones eating the food I made. That doesn't keep me from making enough to share in case anyone is interested, but more often than not it becomes leftovers for us.

    I like the idea of a waffle breakfast for Christmas! Do you make the batter ahead of time or do it on Christmas Day itself? I may have to do that next year!

    Great picture of the doggies! They're all decked out in the holiday spirit. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  6. your pups are so cute!! hope you had a wonderful holiday!

  7. Your family holiday celebrations sound just about perfect, from the dinner (and leftover lasagna!) to the waffle morning party to the panforte. I can't understand, though, why no one ate the lasagna. LASAGNA! I once made a chocolate cake that no one ate because it was vegan, but lasagna? I thought everyone loved lasagna. I'm a big fan of having cookies or other sweets in the freezer, and your gingerbread cookies reminded me that it's time to bake again — my freezer supply is gone, gone, gone. The pups look beautiful in their bandanas.

  8. What a lovely Christmas!
    I usually bring home most of my food too, although yesterday I had some success! I took two vegan cheeses from Leigh Drew's "Veganissimo" to a lunch, and they were gobbled down so fast while the dairy cheeses were left unfinished. Yes!
    I love your snowflakes! did you make them yourself?
    And your doggies are adorable xx

  9. I love this blog. I just found it today (I'm a vegan too!) and fell in love with the photos of your family and animal companions.

  10. Fake maple syrup?! No Mr VE&T, don't do it!! I love your snowflakes and your pretty galette picture and all of your awesome family traditions. I wanna try that waffle recipe now too and I have no idea why I've never made that soup, it looks SO good!


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