Today I started to wrap my Christmas gifts and my cat, Toulouse, decided she would help me out. She does this every time I try and wrap gifts. She usually walks on the paper and sits down, watching me.
But today she thought to inspect inside the wrapping paper, you know just incase there was something good in there. She also bit the paper, just incase it was alive and tasty.
Then she decided scissors would be a great toy to bat at.
Which developed into a fearlessness with the pair of scissors. Usually chopping down the paper is enough to send her running. But she has to move eventually right?
Then the cut paper itself was fun enough to play it. Eventually she got up and left so I could finish the wrapping. But she was pretty darn cute so I couldn’t be mad.
Another week goes by, and it is another week pretty far from the kitchen. I don’t mean to, but my husband and I keep getting leftovers! First it was Thanksgiving, which was a little brutal on our tummies. SO MUCH STARCH! Then my husband had his office Christmas party and we took home the all vegan antipasto trays. It was pretty cool since we could do so much with it- wraps, grilled vegan cheese sandwiches, pizza, etc. But I thought about it, I hardly had to chop anything all week. Very weird.
This weekend I got almost all my gifts bought and wrapped. There are a few stragglers, and gifts that still need to arrive. So now our Christmas tree is overflowing with gifts. Our apartment is small so our tree is on a table, our gifts are under the tree, next to the tree, and on the floor because we ran out of table. I am really hoping this is our last Christmas in this apartment, which might mean a full size tree next year.
I think any blogger can relate to this article. Alexa and I have had our fair share of “slash this” type of jobs. Alexa- baby sitter/illustrator/toy sales clerk/blogger and I was up until recently was line chef/framer/food blogger. I think what I really like about this article is that it sheds light on millennials as hard workers. People from this generation are viewed as lazy moochers. Truthfully, there is a lot of blocks stacked against us, and the debt is scary and overwelming. Because most people aren’t able to find the jobs they wanted when coming out of school, many people are pursuing their dreams as a side job. Truthfully, there are lots of businesses that start out that way, so there is nothing new being said.
I remember flipping through the Williams-Sonoma catalog when I was little (like 6th grade to high school little) and dreaming up my kitchen. I didn’t give two shits about what the house looked like. I am pretty sure my kitchen would of been 30% of the house, and I am fairly certain I would still be happy with that arrangement.
But as I got older, parts of me started to shy away from the company. I mean I still love my all-clad, vitamix, and kitchen-aid mixer, but do I need a separate pot of chocolate milk? Maybe I shy away from specialty cooking equipment because I had to get so creative in college. No square pan for brownies? No problem! This pie pan will work just fine.
I think every vegan has nutrition bar in their purse or pocket when they walk around. I know I do. Why? Because if I get hungry when arrands are taking longer than expected I know I have something to eat, and don’t need to buy something before getting home. In a way it is the whole idea that I am eating a bar that costs a dollar instead of buying a five dollar or more sandwich, drink, burrito, whatever.
So when I read this article about how nutrition bars are marketed to women I found it amazing. Yes, I know there were lots of gender stereo-types but this article made it more more clear. Does the article change my buying habits? Probably not, I will still buy clif bars, the company that owns Luna bars. But it is a great way to be aware of how companies are trying get your attention.
I love ice cream. I love This Rawsome Vegan Life. So this was a great post. I love Emily’s down to earth raw recipes. No coconut meat in her recipes! And when she does call for more expensive items, she is realistic about if people can buy them. I particularly liked the writing in her post. It made me smile, and lately the news in America is far from sunshine and rainbows. Go read, smile, then think “Why doesn’t Emily become a newscaster in the US?”
So I bought Apple Brandy for my almond nog, and it was kind-of a mistake. Now I am trying to find some recipes that will highlight the flavors in apple brandy. I have an idea for a yummy toddy, but I would love to try out this really complicated Horchata. I mean TWO DAYS! It takes TWO DAYS to make! I have to try it.
Remember how I mentioned I’ve been a little bummed lately? I am trying to be a little proactive about it. Tonight I am going try out a run in Philadelphia with my friend. Hopefully all goes according to plan, it is suppose to snow on and off all day. I am a little nervous since my running has been pretty null lately. I’ve been much happier sleeping in or lifting weights inside.
This granola is a great way to add a little bit of a christmas flair to any normal dishes. Add a little granola on yogurt, now you have GINGERBREAD yogurt. Add a little to your chia pudding, BAM Christmas-a-fied. I have big plans for this granola, and if all goes according to plan, I will posting the recipe on here.
This recipe was a big labor of love. It happened to use a lot of Thanksgiving leftovers, so there were lots of pecans, walnuts, and cashews in there. There is also home dried apples. I figured I would give it a try since my husband picked 16 pounds of apples before our local orchard closed down for the year. I couldn’t even tell you what types of apples are in there. I just kind-of grabbed a bunch from our bags, diced and dehydrated. They are pretty yummy in oatmeal or chia pudding. If you don’t feel like making your own diced apples, you can easily just chop up dried apple rings.
I’ve been pretty down, and I felt like the best remedy was to be 100% superficial. I wanted to make a fantasy wish list for Christmas. These are things that I wouldn’t of even asked for Christmas since they are so over the top and impractical. I have been so careful about my money and not buying any clothes it is driving me a little nuts.
I’ve been all about golds and skeletons lately. I love these three pieces, having a cutesy top with a collar and rib cage on it. I could either pair it with a flared (and discontinued) skirt to make it more feminine. Or I could pair it with a gold pencil skirt to add more of the leg bones. Although my bosses wouldn’t prevent me from wearing bones on my clothing, I think they would prefer if I didn’t.
I love running but I hate being told that I should be wearing $200 pair of running pants. You can usually find me running in a pair of galaxy leggings with a giant Jet’s shirt on top. As far as I’m concert workout gear isn’t everyday clothing, which gives you tons of space to have fun and do something crazy. Which makes me wonder why there isn’t more gold and silver involved. I am loving these gold leopard leggings, and they look really warm. I’ve also been swooning over these gold shorts for the summer. Side note- am I the only one who loves how unhappy all the American Apparel models look? Like that guy, his face looks like “Yeah, buy these shorts if you fucking idiot. These shorts are lame man.”
I think this collection items I want for my house is a great example of my collect taste. Actually it is more about being obsessed with animal themed decor. I mean humans are animals right? So that skull goes in the animal category. I would love the skull to keep little knick-knacks in in the living room. The hippo would be great since I am always picking flowers from my CSA, or I could keep some herbs in him for the kitchen.
I love the look or sequined shorts, but they are usually expensive and itchy. So I never actually get them. But I can’t help love the idea of pairing them with a polar bear sweater-shirt. Some tights would go under the shorts so I could keep warm during the winter, with knee high socks going over them. But lets face it, out of all articles of clothing I need, sparkly winter shorts is not on that list.
The last thing I want? To dye my hair. I’ve been pretty down lately, and I kind-of wish I could wake up with bright and happy head of hair. I remember in college I use to go brown for the summer, and bleach out blonde in the winter. I kind-of liked having that happy bright burst in the morning. I particularly love how Kaylah from The Dainty Squid has her bright orange hair creeping out of her comfy hat.
Sadly, I don’t think my bosses would like my brightly colored hair. They are just put off by “punk” appearances and very old fashioned that people with colored hair, holes in their faces, and tattooed are mean people. I feel like if I stop working retail I would go through a colored hair phase, which would be pretty fun.
What impractical dream gift are wishing for this Christmas?
This week has been pretty depressing. It seems like the news is really getting under my skin, and it probably has to do with how close everything is to me. Riots in Ferguson are riots in Ferguson. Horrible things are happening in an area far away, surely things are different in parts of the US where there is so much racial diversity? Apparently not. Perhaps this makes me feel unmotivated to post anything. Sure it helps that I am spending time buying gifts, and working more at work. I think the thing that horrifies me the most is how people are still denying that Eric Garner’s death is a problem. The excuses and explanations are troubling.
At first I thought I wouldn’t talk about it on the blog since I don’t think I am the most qualified person to talk about it. Then I read the most recent post from She Loves Dress- Let’s Talk. If you are unfamiliar with the blog, Jenny wears beautiful vintage dresses, and does tackle personal issue from suicide, race, and anorexia. So it was amazing to me that someone would post something on a fashion blog about the death Eric Garner.
I would check out her post, because I think she brings up a great point, you can talk and talk, but money helps. No, it can’t solve everything but there are hard working people trying to make a difference. Money is the way that they can pay lawyers, or take unpaid time to educate people. Jenny lists some projects, but not all.
I don’t think anyone could summarize it any better.
I think I mentioned that Bite Size Vegan is a great source of information. Emily does a lot of research to bring you small videos packed with information. But I think she is fun, and is doing this just to spread the word of veganism. She started a Patreon page on her website, to help raise money so she can go full time on her YouTube channel.
I am not saying you NEED to donate money, but at least watch some her videos. Give her a chance, and if you feel like you love it, this is the month to donate. If she raises $1,000, a donator is going to match it.
This post made me really want to take a nice warm bath, unwind just a little. Then I remembered that my tub is a little too small. So you know, when I buy a house maybe I will get a really big and fancy bath so I can relax, and read a book in the tub. Then I thought about how much my apartment is horrible, and I really need to get out. Man, I’m feeling really stressed, I should take a nice relaxing bath.
I’ve been so busy with work lately. I’ve started to feel a little stressed. Oddly, since I am stressed I decided to start walking to work again. Which is weird since it cuts out a total of 40 minutes out of my day, but it really just clears my mind. I can think, get a little exercise, and some fresh air. Plus, I haven’t been running lately in part that I don’t have adequate running gear for the winter. *crosses fingers for Christmas* But all that walking cuts into time that would normally be used for the blog.
Since I’ve been in a weird writing funk I haven’t posted anything from my trip to Florida. I visited my Nanna and Pappy for their 60th wedding anniversary. They live in Sebring Florida, which I am sure 99.9% of my readers are going “huh, where?” It is 2 hours south of Orlando, or 2 hours east of Tampa Bay, pretty much in the middle of the state.
There isn’t much in Sebring. It is a pretty small town. There use to be a big botanical garden named Cyprus Gardens but it was bought out and turned into Legoland. I was little sad since I remember loving their winter light displays, and I always wanted to dress up as a Southern Belle. I remember the gardens being particularly cool since it had flowers AND animals.
I know I would go to Disney World with my Grandparents, but oddly I have more vivid memories of Cyprus Gardens, the Everglades, and Hammock State Park. I remember getting on a boat in the Everglades and being terrified about falling out and being eaten by an alligator. My sister and I both got close to a manatee, we just watched him bob in the water.
When I was little, I remember walking around Hammock State Park. Most of the trails are boardwalks that go over swampy areas. At one point I remember having to turn around because there was a mother alligator, and my Nanna thought it wasn’t smart to walk by a mother alligator and her babies, which was probably a smart idea.
Coming back to the park as an adult was pretty exciting. Jon had never been to Florida for anything outside Disney World, so it was fun seeing his reaction to the wild life. The landscape is very different from the deserts of Utah or the temperate forests on the east coast. Jon described it as being in Jurassic Park, which isn’t entirely wrong.
I remember all the citrus when I was little. My Nanna and Pappy pointed out every citrus orchard we passed, and they even had a lemon tree in their backyard. The lemons weren’t smooth like the ones you buy at the grocery store. It was bumpy and huge. As I got older, I learned a lot about citrus (like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit are all the same species) so I was a little perplexed by this citrus plant. It was growing in the park, and makes me wonder if some one planted a tree, or if maybe a seed started to grow. There were two “wild” citrus trees growing in the park.
Jon and I saw this written on the trail, and thought it pretty interesting. It had our initials (I mean how many J + J’s really get together?) and 55 years on it. We were at my Nanna and Pappy’s 60th wedding anniversary, so the numbers were really close.
I don’t think I’ve seen so many spiders in one spot in awhile. It probably makes sense that there would be a large amount of bugs that spiders could catch. Autofocus always tries to focus on the trees and not the spider and it’s web, so I was proud how focused I got them with manual focus.
No alligators this trip, but we did see a bunch of cool lizards and a snowy egret. The lizard just plopped from the sky and down on the leaf while we were admiring the scenery. He didn’t seemed to freaked out about us. Jon and I have seen snowy egrets in New Jersey before, but it was magical seeing it in a totally different surrounding (and not in a backyard). I tried to switch lenses but he flew away before I could get a good snap.
I think convincing my husband to make another trip to Florida won’t be hard. It is beautiful and completely different than what we are use to. I wasn’t thrilled by my photos, so that gives me even more incentive to go back down, maybe to the Everglades.
I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving- or a good weekend for any non-Americans. My weekend? Has been awful. I mentioned in my last post that I had the world itchiest allergy eye, then got the worst migraine. I laid down in my bed for two and half hours with my eyes closed and my brain feeling like a horn was trying to grow through it. So that’s why my “Sunday Reads” are a little late, and to be honest they might not be happening for the rest of year. You know how it is, retail = super busy. And my weekend might be busy making gingerbread cookies and sneaking in vegan ingredients. “What do you mean? I used butter. You are just miscounting the butter in the fridge!” *hides earth balance and flax seeds*
But I had the joy of finding out that Corey Booker is going vegan for the rest of the year. Which is pretty cool. Alexa and I both are NJ natives and have lots of pride in the state. But I am not going to lie, it does seem a little weird that Booker becomes vegan shortly after Chris Christie vetoes the bill banning gestation crates in NJ. Although his motives are true, but it probably gives me great timing for the public eye.
And I think this just blew Alexa’s and my minds. This beers sounds like a disaster, but we will be riding that train wreck when it happens- vomiting our gingerbread cookies and almond nog. But let’s move to the articles that have a little more substance.
Part of my struggle with veganism hits a rather funny bone. Sure there are traditions that are hard to change, but I’m not talking about serving turkey for thanksgiving dinner. No what really makes me want to break veganism are the far flung history and practices. I honestly would love to try really old fermented japanese fish. Or even haggis, or black pudding. I still have that “don’t knock it till you try it” attitude about food. I also have a weird fascination with using all the ingredients of an animal (I mean I just mentioned haggis and black pudding)
Well, the article isn’t vegan, but it does talk about ingredients and techniques that are. A bunch of chefs are exploring cooking with the uncookable. Although molds and fermentation are making a comeback, there is still a fair amount of still traditional application to them. Sure we have hempeh, but nothing close to the chimp root, “licorice root, whittled down and brushed with juniper-wood-infused honey, and stuck with herbs, seeds, nuts, fruits, and two types of ants.”
Although the creations might be high end and impractical for daily consumption it might yield some good results. Most artistic movements are from people who were playing around. Some things worked, some didn’t. But it might get one small thing right, which would be borrowed by other artists.
Veganism with my diet seems to be widely accepted. But when I say I try to avoid wools and animal based beauty products I get a weird look. I think everyone knows that animals are needed for experimentation, but most test animals are for cosmetics and inaccurate testing. Science have proven that mice love getting cancer. (So for the love of god stop citing lab tests where mice get cancer. Know what gives mice cancer? Everything)
Two movements are featured in Sayward’s blog: The Beagle Freedom Project and The Cruelty Cutter App. The Beagle Freedom Project works with and helps test animals and try to find them homes. What animal is being tested on for your eyeshadow? Beagles duh! Most people imagine bunnies and guinea pigs are normal test subjects, and they are more likely to bite and be jerk pets. So when people know that man’s best friend is also man’s best test subject it gets peoples attention.
The Cruelty Cutter App makes finding cruelty free products easier. I love this idea to have something in your hand as you go shopping. I love Logical Harmony since she makes cosmetics easy. Honestly, I just dropped way too many links. Check them all out guys, they are really interesting.
Even though I had a wonderful spread, I really don’t like Thanksgiving. People are usually in two parties for Thanksgiving, people who spend their day cooking, and people who watch football. Okay that is an over simplification, but after many year my husband started to understand why Thanksgiving and football are a bad idea. If you are cooking you can’t watch the game. So growing up my family made more a tradition of watching the parade.
So I like this fun idea of having a T.Hanksgiving the day before. Maybe next year there will be Splash showing Wednesday night while serving cheesy shit like octopus dip. Or maybe I can make some vegan dish and call it “Mermaid Purse.” Simple and easy, and everyone can love it.
There are a few songs appearing that embrace curves or being a big girl. There is something great proclaiming “I’m fat, I love it, and fuck you if you don’t like it” Even my boss in her late 50s loves the song All About That Bass. But I am loving this new song Decent by Elly Kellner. It is less “I’m LOVING MY BODY!” but more about the type of guilt tripping that happens. I recommend watching the video and lyrics and reading the post on The Militant Baker. She has a great story to go with the song, which I think anyone of any size can relate to.
Eating vegan or healthfully on a budget is a big topic. I hear people saying how they want to eat more healthfully but don’t have the money. I am a firm believer that eating well can be cheaper or about the same cost of junk foods. But the Slate investigates the new Whole Foods that opened in Detroit, one of the poorest cities in America. It goes from it’s noble goals, and benefits it creates for the city.
Then the article goes to the big question- can Whole Foods change the eating habits of the poor? The evidence says no. The article paints the picture of why health is associated with the rich. Reading the article I kept thinking that there were better ways to help the consumer. I am sure most everyone knows how to shop smart, but don’t know healthy and cheap eats.
Overall it saddens me that there is more focus on no-GMOs, organic, and grass-fed cows as being healthy over which fats you eat, and how much sugar is consumed. Perhaps it is because meats, sugar, and dairy can get easily pulled out of our diets and people are trying to find ways to keep them there. Or it is hard to admit that maybe if something is expensive, we just should eat it.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I know this post is a little late, but I’ve been busy in the kitchen and busy being sick. My allergies reared a new, ugly head that was both horrible and obnoxious. My eyes swelled up and became horribly itchy. I started to wonder if I was getting pink eye. Wonderful timing as I had to prepare many sides for our Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws. Terrified of being contagious, I asked Jon cook most of the sides.
I wanted to share my Thanksgiving, because it was probably the best Thanksgiving I had (well food wise). Every year I almost always break my veganism, because my choices ranged from veggies swimming in butter to veggies playing hide-n-seek between bacon bits and cheese. This year, my Mother-in-law cooked everything vegan with the exception of turkey, gravy, and one side. This gave me the freedom of choice.
My Mother-in-law loves decorating a dinner table. I wish I could put forth such effort in my own home. When I read blog posts for “easy Thanksgiving centerpieces” I always wonder: who has space on their table for centerpieces? Then I think that maybe I could just sucker any future kids I may have into making the centerpiece so I don’t have to think about it. Crafts are fun right? Kids should love making a paper turkey. And no one is going to say how crappy it is, because no one wants to shatter kids’ dreams. Point is that I may have figured out a way to decorate my table without actually doing anything. Sadly though, my husband can’t cut paper in a straight line and is far too old for a poorly made hand turkey to be “endearing.” So instead, his Mom took care of the decorations and made her table stylish.
Jon’s Brother and Sister-in-law drove up from Virginia with their massive black lab, Duke. Duke is the friendliest, most well behaved, and most docile of any labrador that I’ve met. He is also spoiled rotten as he gets home cooked meals ever since being diagnosed with a long list of allergies. I know lots of humans who don’t get daily home cooked meals. I hope this pup knows how lucky he is. He spent most of Thanksgiving day bouncing from person to person in search of attention or just a hug.
As mentioned our spread this year was the best I experienced. There wasn’t a single dish I didn’t enjoy. So I will go food by food providing links (if they exist) to recipes. I hope this spread inspires your future holiday dinners.
Has anyone heard of stuffed onions before? I hadn’t until this Thanksgiving. This was a recipe from my Mother-in-law’s friend, so there isn’t a link to share. She had to take off the outer shell of the onions, cook it, and stuff in a similar manner as stuffed cabbage. The onions were stuffed with tomatoes, breading, and feta cheese, but she left a few without the cheese for me.
Every year simple boiled carrots make it to the dinner table. It is my Father-in-law’s favorite and is pictured above in the covered dish. Next to it is a turkey-based gravy. I made a mushroom miso gravy for myself, but it didn’t look as nice as it tasted.
I am actually not a fan of Cranberry sauce. Is that a little odd? I usually find it too sweet, and may be better as a garnish instead of a side. However, this year’s cranberry sauce seemed to be an exception. The secret? It was cooked with port wine. This gave the sauce a robust and complex flavor. Although I am not sure if it is the same recipe, Cookin’ Canuck has a port wine cranberry sauce that looks pretty good.
I have no idea what was in this stuffing. I am not fully even sure what the point of stuffing is. Sure it was bread put into a turkey, but now there are so many recipes that don’t involve the stuffing to be stuffed into something. This is one of them. I can say it tasted amazing with my mushroom miso gravy. It was so good, I am actually thinking about eating some of those leftovers right now.
Unfortunately the photos of the actual brussel sprouts didn’t turn out well enough for the blog. They were all blurry. But this was a really tasty dish. They were shredded brussel sprouts that were sautéed with a small amount of apples and apple cider vinegar to give it a little tang.
I made these lentil balls with only one person in mind- me. But it seemed that other people enjoyed the dish, and I was asked to leave some behind for others to take home as leftovers. It is definitely a dish I would make again, but the beauty is that they freeze well. So make it ahead of time, freeze it, and bring it out any day of the week for a meal. The recipe is over at Oh She Glows.
These green beans already made an appearance on the blog, and it didn’t have burn onions on top. I made some last minute changes (like I thought burn onions would be more crispy, right?) by adding some cashews to the mushroom like gravy. I had soaked some cashews with the intention of making “rad whip” but ran out of time. I figured it could only enhance the green beans so I blended them in. It created a very rich and creamy sauce.
On my green beans post I mentioned how I hated green bean casserole so much, I felt like there had to be a better version out there. The same thing can be said about sweet potato casserole. So many times I had tried making a sweet potato casserole and just found it to be too sweet. So when a recipe was posted on Oh She Glows for a Sweet Potato Casserole, I knew I would give it a try. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll try a different recipe in the future. It made a crispy granola like topping that was perfect to go on top of a lightly sweetened sweet potato.
Then comes dessert. I can safely say that my husband pretty much made the entire pecan pie. I blended a few ingredients together, but nothing else outside of that. We used The Post Punk Kitchen’s Maple Pecan Pie, which is tasty. But I joked it was pretty much a shoo-fly-pie with some pecans in it. There was also a very not vegan pumpkin pie. It is just what my Father-in-law makes every year. He also praises his crust every year, or any time he makes it.
What was the highlight of your Thanksgiving?
This post today isn’t directed to vegan or vegetarians. No, it is for the hosts who are expecting a guest with a restricted diet to come to their dinner. It could be Thanksgiving, Easter, or a Christmas dinner. I am talking less about what to serve and talking more about how to really make your vegan guests feel welcomed. Anyone who has to restrict their diet knows a thing or two about going to friend’s houses for food. It pretty much involves bringing their own food, and sneaking in a cliff bar.
So I made a list of the less obvious ways to serve an omnivorous dinner for anyone who have food restrictions. These are some of the things that I wish other people would do for me (or stop doing). Some are easy. Some steps are harder. Some break “normal” rules of politeness, but can cause a lot less stress in the end. It is also worth noting that these rules apply to vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or allergy sensitive guests. Since this is a vegan based site, I pretty much just use the word vegan more than any of the others.
Don’t Apologize for the Turkey
No one is telling you to take away the turkey, or the ham, or the gluten. If your family member or friend is a vegan, they know that you are not one. Any vegan is aware that other people eat meat, and know that dinner time is not the time to start sharing the terrors of factory farming. Pointing out that you are serving food that person can’t eat is sort of like saying “Sorry you can’t eat the better food.”
On the same note, don’t keep asking if the person got enough to eat. Ask once, then let it be. Because let me tell you, there is nothing that is more annoying than being singled out like that. I’ve had many well meaning hosts ask if I had enough to eat, then proceed to list things they could give me. Most of the time those foods are not actually vegan.
Don’t Make Two Versions of a Dish
Many people modify dishes for my dietary needs for family get togethers. That’s nice, except they make one version for themselves and one version for you. Here is an example, at a party a person decided to make an dish which was pretty much eggplant, onions, and feta cheese. They decided to put a small amount of eggplant and onions off to the side, for me, and then tossed the rest with the feta cheese. This situation made me feel like the vegan version was so boring and bland that no one would want it. So I was stuck eating the dish no one wants. The second part of the problem is that I now feel pressured to eat all or most of the dish. Because now everyone can see how much or how little I ate of it. Then the worst thought comes to mind- I might not have enough to eat!
The simple remedy is to just pick some vegan dishes. This might be a challenge but you can find tons of recipes online. Or you can see if you local library has a vegan cookbook. I view it like this- you can either make brussel sprouts and bacon and leave some plain brussel sprouts on the side. Or you could make balsamic vingared roasted brussel sprouts that everyone can eat and enjoy.
Ask Your Guest to Bring Something!
I know this is considered by conventional rules to be rude. But if your guest is vegan or has food allergies, they might understand that you might not know what you are doing. And they might be happy to supply a vegan cake or a protein rich vegan dish. Truthfully, your guest might be relieved and will be happy to bring a dish they know would convince people that vegan food is good food.
If you are afraid of coming off as rude, simple tell your friend that you are afraid that you might mess up, and you would feel more comfortable that they would have a “back up” dish they know they can eat. It is likely that your friend has a go-to dish to bring to dinners.
Do Research and Ask Questions
I kind-of hope when I am invited to parties and dinners people will look up veganism to learn about it. Not many people do. This can be an inconvenience to vegans, but it can be deadly when people have allergies. I have a friend who is allergic to gluten, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and many other foods. Even simple seasonings would contain all of those ingredients. So don’t be afraid to ask about some specifics.
And no one is asking for you to google videos of cows being slaughtered. Nope, just to take a look at lists of forbidden ingredients. Heck, not many people know that veganism isn’t the same of vegetarianism. The easy answer is that a vegan doesn’t eat meat, cheese, or eggs. It might slip your mind that it would include fish, honey, gelatin, or lard.
Your Guest Will Forgive You for Slip Up
No matter what, if you try and make a vegan meal your guest will give you A for effort. You might mess up a step. Fine. You might accidentally grab chocolate chips with milk fat in them. Know what? It happens to vegans all the time, even people who have been doing it for years. We use pretty much everything in animals, and in ways you wouldn’t even think of. Did you know that secretions of beavers are used for vanilla flavoring/scents? Probably didn’t. No, not every bottle of vanilla extract have beaver juices. Some red dyes are from bugs. These are the things I wouldn’t stress about, especially since your Vegan guest might not know about it yet.
Don’t Sneak in Meat to “Prove a Point”
Your vegan guest might be annoying. But it isn’t cool to try and prove that meat is delicious. Or that Katie REALLY isn’t allergic to peanuts. No one is denying that bacon and peanuts are not delicious. They are. But trying to put your guest in a taste test is pretty much wrong. To make things worse is that vegan meat replacements are getting better. Some are obviously different, some are down right near exact.
By sneaking in meat, gluten, or an allergen you could be harming a person, giving them horrible night on the can, or just defying their trust. It is one thing to not know any better, and ignoring someones request.
Plan 3-4 Vegan Sides
Not sure how much to make vegan? Think about making 3 vegan or allergy friendly sides. It is understandable that you might have a hard time finding things, or don’t want to buy too many new ingredients. Generally I find blogs like Oh She Glows really good for recipes with no-fussy ingredients. You don’t need to buy faux cheese or soy meats.
There are even foods call “accidentally vegan.” That means the producers didn’t intend for the products to be marketed to vegans. PETA has a large list of foods, that you could buy and skip having the cook from scratch. Some examples are oreos, Pillsbury original crescent rolls, Sara Lee cherry pie, and more.
An easy way to find foods you need? Certain stores label their brands as gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free etc. And some common allergens will be listed on the back. If you see “may contain traces of…” that means you should be fine, unless your guest tells you otherwise (IE extreme allergies or someone with celiacs)
Enjoy the Night!
We vegans don’t bite. And we really aren’t terrible people. You putting forth the extra efforts to include us in the meal is greatly appreciated. If you want to talk about animal rights, then we will. But if you don’t that’s fine too. We won’t judge and we know not to be preachy. Some stereotypes are true, but some are not.
I’ve been wanting to share this portrait for awhile now. I kept forgetting because I am a terrible person. I love Floral Prints and Common Sense, and I have a link on the side. Rachel has a no fuss blog where she posts her outfits, and talks about (at least currently) about her life out of college. I dig her style since she unapologetic for what she chooses to do- lipstick yes, shaving no.
I also dig her art, so I entered a free portrait contest on her blog, AND WON! I was pretty excited to be transformed into a character of my choosing. I was at first thinking about Sailor Jupiter but then thought, no. I asked Alexa for ideas and she mentioned Battle Royale. I loved the book and the movie. Alexa and I even dressed up as Mitsuko and Chigusa for Otakon. I wanted to be in the film costumes but have the ice pick like Chigusa in the book.
I recommend everyone check out Rachel’s Art Flickr account to see all her different works. She also has an etsy shop where she sells both prints and custom portraits. I don’t see a character portrait option, maybe she stopped doing that. But she has custom couples doodles, blog banners, and solo portraits. Her prints are pretty awesome, my favorite being Robot Babe Eating Floating Pie (cuz that’s the future, floating food).
It is worth noting this is not a paid blog post. I just really want to share my picture with every. single. person. that. I can.