Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Festive Family Dinner

Recently we had a very festive family gathering to celebrate a few special events:
my brother's birthday ~ my niece's birthday (16 years old!)
my aunt being home for a long visit
and... my nephew getting into all seven of the colleges he applied to!!
That's a lot of good news, right? 

You may recall from previous posts that feeding my extended family is no small task -- to put it mildly, we have a very wide array of dietary preferences between the lot of us. ha ha. Everything from "I would rather die than eat a vegetable" to "no fat, no salt, no oil vegan." So, usually we settle on taco night - in fact, we kinda figured out that taco night is one of the only solutions to this crazy situation, where everyone can eat according to their preferences and still have it feel like we are sharing a common meal. 

Tabbouleh, Turkish Salad with White Beans, Bowls of Hummus

But! My brave and clever mom came up with a great new menu idea: Mediterranean Feast! And, my mom did all the work of cooking dinner - with such an incredible spread. First up, two beautiful salad options: a big bowl of my mom's tabbouleh, which is always great... and a big bowl of the salad that my mom calls "Turkish Salad." This salad is based on the salads that my parents enjoyed on their trip to Turkey. I love it too - tomatoes, cuke, olives, red onion, white beans, and vinaigrette. 

Big basket of bread choices, more hummus

My mom is a highly skilled hummus practitioner and she has been making homemade hummus long before it was a hip thing to do. Everyone in our family loves her hummus and so she had a few generous bowls of hummus out on the table. And, where there's hummus, you're gonna want a big basket of bread - regular pita, whole wheat pita bread, and a special olive bread. A basket of bread is pretty much my happy place. 


These are actually the dolmas straight from the can at Trader Joes. Have you ever had them? They are surprisingly delicious! I often buy them for Mr. VE&T as a treat. He is huge dolma fan, and is actually quite picky about his dolmas. So we were both happy to see a couple plates of these familiar friends on the table. Mmm. Just thinking about the dolmas makes me wish I could be eating them again right now! 

Veggie Kabobs!!

Deliciousness on a pointy stick! Of course there were non-vegan kabobs on offer, but I averted my eyes! My sweet mom made a platter of vegan kabobs for the vegans in the family, and a plate of non-vegan kabobs for the others. I am so lucky. These were marinated veggies roasted in the oven, and they were so delicious! 

My plate of gorgeous yumminess

Here's my beautiful dinner plate, the first pass at least - kabob, tabbouleh, Turkish salad, rice pilaf, hummus, and dolmas. What a lovely dinner! 


I was in charge of desserts -- which is so super fun for me! I haven't been baking much lately, but I love it so much. My brother's not a huge desserts fan, but he is a fan of chocolate chip cookies - and he and his family are all crazy about my vegan chocolate chip cookies. I use the Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies recipes from the Aquafaba Cookbook. If you don't have that cookbook, check out Somer's similar and amazing recipe online. 

So, I made a big double batch of birthday cookies, and they got to take home all the leftover cookies after dinner. Their special cookies were presented on a plate with a candle stuck in the cookie and their names written out in chocolate frosting. Fun! 

And a college cake! 

And I really wanted to recognize my nephew's amazing accomplishment of getting accepted to all seven schools that he applied to. We are all SO proud of him, and I wanted to make sure that he got some very special recognition of his own. I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, and he asked for chocolate. Ask and ye shall receive! I made some mini chocolate chip cookies to decorate it, which is a trick I learned from the fancy people on Instagram! We all had a little piece of cake, and then he had several pieces! Ha ha. Good to know it was appreciated. 

I hope there's a little good news in your life too! 


  1. That is amazing that he got into all the schools he applied to, definitely worthy of special cake!

  2. What a wonderful post & a delicious meal! I agree that those Trader Joe's dolmas are surprisingly good. When I didn't have a Trader Joe's in my town, I'd buy 6 or 7 cans at a time whenever I had access to one.

  3. Looks delicious! And I love the cake - what an accomplishment getting into all those schools!

  4. This point allowed me to relive that lovely evening several times over. XXOO!

  5. typo: post, not point

  6. Sounds like such an amazing family time! And man, that cake is gorgeous. Nice job, nephew!!!

  7. What a tasty looking spread of food! And I LOVE the green acorn platter, so beautiful!


I love comments, they really make my day! Thanks for reading my blog!