Today I got not one, not two, but three lovely shots in my left arm. Yeah, I sang “shots shots shots” the whooole time, whateva. I’m not squeamish about needles and I don’t mind a dull ache in my bicep so it wasn’t much of a to-do but I did, however, get some weird looks flailing my arms around on the street like I was doing the macarena. They say you’re supposed to move your arms! Can’t blame a girl for groovin’.
This set of shots marked the last of my immunizations necessary for Russia. (!) This is probably a bigger relief to the University Health Services than it is to me. I’ve been all up in their business for the last several weeks and they’re undoubtedly tired of my million daily calls and clogging up their waiting rooms. I needed the shots because I am studying in St. Petersburg next semester and they don’t want me to contract polio or anything. The whole Russia thing is still not entirely hitting me. The closest thing to recognizing my imminent departure was a call from my mom today, in which she said that she thinks I should bring a flashlight and batteries with me “just in case.” Duly noted.
So that marks the end of a hectic *officially immunized* week. I can finally get at y’all with the last of my Swanksgiving recipes. Isn’t she gorgeous? I am proud to boast that this was one of the first desserts finished even among her dairy and egg-containing neighbors. I’m definitely making this again, possibly with another fruit next time. Plums, anyone? Also not a bad idea if you’re trying to woo someone…
Crust from Vegan Yum Yum!
1. Add the flour, salt, sugar, shortening, and margarine to a food processor.
2. Pulse until the mixture looks like wet sand and has small, pea-sized clumps. Slowly drizzle ice water in and blend until the dough forms a cohesive (but not sticky) ball. Smush the dough into a patty-like disk and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or a few hours until you’re ready to bake.
3. Preheat oven to 400º. Peel and slice the pears into thin pieces, removing seeds. Brush lightly with lemon juice.
4. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out on a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Insert the dough over a tart pan and shove the edges down a bit to fit the pan. Layer the pear slices as shown (feel free to make it perdy or just smoosh ‘em in), then sprinkle generously with brown sugar. Pop that sucker in the oven for 15 minutes then reduce the temp to 350º for the next 40 minutes, or until the pears are tender and the crust is golden.
Combine 1 teaspoon liquid sweetener + 1/2 teaspoon boiling water in a small bowl to make a glaze. Brush over the fruit and crust and allow to cool slightly before devouring. ENJOY.
While my tart was in the oven I was impatient and had a bit extra dough so I made one of these little nuggets in a ramekin. SO GOOD. Next time I might just make a bunch of these and enjoy my leetle individual-sized desserts one at a time…
La la la love it.
Thanksgiving is a time to ‘preciate. It’s a day to gather with friends, family, loved ones, strangers, enemies, and long-lost children (it probably happens somewhere) to give thanks for all that we are lucky enough to enjoy in our lives. In my family this translates to my sister, dad, and me making endless fun of my mom, throwing back a few glasses of wine with my aunts and uncles about five times over my normal college student alcohol budget, petting my grandma’s face (88-year-old skin is the softest), talking about Life Plans with my cousins then abruptly switching to topics like Big Sean, or going on several semi-drunken tangents about one or more of the following: 1) Russia 2) veganism 3) Putin 4) how underrated Wisconsin is 5) #occupyyourmom jokes. Don’t make me explain #5.
The one of the best things about Thanksgiving is leaving and realizing that as all of the children in my family get older (I’m the middle of nine), this holiday gets exponentially better. We’ve become—or are ast least in the process of becoming— real people, which is wobble-dy wobble-dy wawesome. That was a Big Sean reference. OK.
This year I walked away from Thanksgiving with another realization:
My family is THE SHIT.
I mean, I’ve always kind of realized it in an obtuse way but now I can see that everyone is not only interesting, smart, funny, and overall great, but in a setting surrounding food I felt lucky to have so much support for my veganism. I was given creative freedom to make a vegan appetizer, two side dishes, and a dessert, and people not only tasted my concoctions but complimented them and asked for seconds. I recognize that “fake butter” is not everyone’s cup of tea so I appreciated the open minds and positive feedback more than my family could know.
For what I’m calling my ”Swanksgiving” meal I tried to make dishes which were not only delicious but erred on the side of “just so happen to be vegan,” since tofu and fake cream cheese are not two of the things which make me most proud to not eat meat or dairy. The first of these dishes Poppy Seed-Crusted Butternut Squash with Kale and Pomegranates with a recipe adapted from My New Roots. This blog is loaded with awesome recipes using delicious, wholesome ingredients. Czech it out!
Poppy Seed-Crusted Butternut Squash with Kale and Pomegranates
1. Preheat oven to 400º. Peel, de-seed, and cube squash. Pour on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and toss with garlic, coconut oil, poppy seeds, and a generous sprinkle of sea salt. Roast 30-40 minutes until soft but not mushy.
2. While the squash is in the oven, make yourself useful by shredding the kale, slicing it in thin strips and removing the spines. Add the juice of 1 lemon, a pinch of sea salt and massage into kale to wilt. Set aside.
3. Remove the pomegranate seeds. Fill a bowl with water, cut the fruit in half, then roughly pry out the seeds with your fingers and let them fall into the water. The seeds with white pith will float to the top – remove the pith as much as possible leaving the seeds, which will then sink. Drain them and set aside.
4. For dressing, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, and dijon mustard. When the butternut squash is done, remove from oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Add to kale and pomegranate seeds and mix. Top with dressing and mix well to coat. Season to taste and serve!
Now that’s something I’m thankful for.
If I had to choose one word to describe Thanksgiving it would be FREAKINLOVE. If you know me at all/read this blog you may have gathered that there are few things I like better than food, family, friends, excuses to eat endless amounts of squash, time off from school, petting my grandma’s face and telling her it feels like a peach, and coma-inducing eating bouts.
Aside from my impatience to get home and enjoy all of these things I also have a hard time being in my apartment alone when my roommates go home. I like to think of myself as a Strong Independent Woman Who Can Deal With Any And All Adversity Especially Staying In Empty Apartments (SIWWCDWAAAAESIEA, clearly) and normally don’t mind being home alone at all. There’s something about being left here this year, in this specific apartment, however, which makes me super lonely. My theory is that it’s because little dawg named Bruse is home with my roomie for the holiday and I don’t hear his little collar jangling around all hours of the day. Fizz and Grace I GUESS I miss you guys too.
Anyway, to cope with my empty house syndrome tonight I had a pre-Thanksgiving dinner with a few friends who are still hanging around Madison. I improvised this stuffing (or “dressing,” if you prefer, since it’s not stuffed into anything but my mouth) and it turned out really well. Paired with roasted squash, herby potatoes, sautéed kale, an awesome sweet potato-kale gratin-thing, cranberry sauce, chocolate cake, pomegranate, pumpkin pie, and more (thanks Taylor, Ali, Ben, Anya, Ranna)! The whole thing was deeeeelish and totally filled the house with dat holiday cheer.
Cranberry, Rosemary & Thyme Sourdough Stuffing
1. Preheat oven to 400º. Pour bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown (15 minutes or so). Remove from oven and set aside.
2. Place a skillet on medium heat and add the olive oil, onion, and carrot, and sauté 4-5 minutes, until sizzling and browned. Add the vegetable stock, cranberries, and fresh herbs. Reduce heat and simmer 7-10 minutes, until soft. Remove from heat.
(DOES THAT NOT LOOK GORGEOUS? THINK HOW IT SMELLED.)
3. Pour the toasted bread cubes into a shallow casserole dish. Add the herbed cranberry mixture to the croutons, mixing to incorporate. You want bread to be moist, but neither mushy nor dry. Add a bit more vegetable stock if necessary to loosen it up a bit. Cover and bake for 25-30 minutes. Optional: uncover and bake an additional 15-20 minutes until crispy on top!
Now that is what I FREAKINLOVE.
Dinnar Pardy nomsicles as promised. Side note, basically that entire last sentence is underlined with red squiggles. YES THAT’S WHAT I MEANT TO SAY, GODDAMN IT SPELL CHECK.
This pumpkin pie was the first (and best!) I’ve veganizz’ed to date. Remember how I said I shamelessly ate chunks of tempeh off of peoples’ plates at the party? Same went for this guy. I really couldn’t be bothered with forks, plates, or manners. I gobbled slices of this pie up with my bare hands. With my bear hands. High five!
If you’re American and will be celebrating Thanksgiving in two weeks (or even if you’re not and just like things that are good) I totally recommend this as a sneaky vegan addition to the dessert table.
Veganizz’ed Pumpkin Pie (π)
Flaky pie crust
1. Make the crust. Begin by combining flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the margarine and mix until crumbly. Add the oil and water and mix well, until a nice smooth dough forms.
2. Cover the dough and chill in the refrigerator 30-60 minutes. Once cool, roll out on a lightly floured surface and fit to a pie pan.
3. PIE TIME. Preheat the oven to 350º. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Pour into pie crust and put in the oven. Bake for 1 hour.
Allow to cool before serving, as hard as it may seem. The consistency improve a lot as it cools down.
Woah! A two-for post!
Sage, Rosemary, and Lavender Roasted Potatoes
Note: while it may seem pricey it’s SO worth it to use fresh and not dried herbs. This is a good dish to make when you have the opportunity to splurge a little bit— Thanksgiving, anyone?
1. Simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat the potatoes. Pop in the oven at 400º for 45-60 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice during that time. Serve toasty!