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What did your Christmas look like?

I think this photo sums up ours pretty well.

That’s my sister-in-law with her two dogs, Fawkes, and Chester.

We managed to have a really nice Christmas this year. Obviously, Brian and I had a bad one last year and the memory of Christmas is a blur of misery. Combine that with my sister-in-law getting a divorce, and I think we were all determined to bring the awesome. I got my tree and pulled out my ornaments (I buy 50% off nerdy Hallmark ornaments the day after Christmas every year, they make me giggle). We do our festivities on Christmas Eve because we do the day itself at grandma’s, so I made a nice dinner that we all enjoyed, we opened presents, and Lauri and I painted our nails while watching a great Christmas movie: Die Hard. We were supposed to make cookies but we never got up, and the only vegan things at grandma’s are the leftovers I bring with me, so I managed to not go into a sugar coma this year! Purely out of laziness, though.

I really liked all of my gifts this year. The first thing I got was two days before Christmas. I almost cried when I opened a package to find cookies, chocolate, a Lunabar, and these ornaments from Panda With Cookie.

And here is my horrible photo of dinner, stuffed tofurkey roast, potatoes and gravy, steamed veggies, Joanna’s butternut squash lasagna, and wheat rolls.

I did not get a single non-vegan thing this year (well, except an Urban Decay primer potion set from Lauri, but she graciously took it back to use herself)! My father-in-law got me a cowl from Treewool Knits and the Spork-Fed cookbook. My sister-in-law and I both put a ton of larabars in each others stockings. Oh, vegans and the people who love them. Brian had bought me a bunch of stuff to upgrade my computer so we could play Dead Island together, and he made me wait until Christmas to install them. So he did that, and we played and either by random fluke or our very bad in-game driving, I got incredibly nauseous, violently threw up my whole dinner, and spent the rest of the night watching reruns of The Office and waiting for my nose to stop burning. And yet, it was still the best Christmas we’ve had in years!

posted: December 31, 2011
under: family, food, holidays, life, pictures

My very belated Thanksvegan post.

Thanksgiving goes the same for me every year: I dedicate myself to trying new recipes, bookmark lots of things…and then make the exact same shit I make every other year. Some of the recipes I make, I have literally been making for over ten years (now veganized), it’s just so easy to make something when you have the process memorized. But this year was different! I actually made a few new things. And all of the old things. For just Brian and I. We ended up with a ridiculous amount of food, and I didn’t even roast the broccoli and cauliflower I bought!


Now, we made a lot of stuff (Brian actually made about half the food) the night before and managed to eat while the sun was still out (unlike last year) so it wasn’t too stressful. I do regret not scaling down the stuffing, sweet potatoes, and green beans though, because I was eating them for a week. The dogs ended up with their fair share of sides because of this, but eventually we tore through it all.

I made a video saying what each dish was and where it’s from, but I never uploaded it from Brian’s camera (new recipes tried are starred):

Mashed Potatoes (from everywhere)
Potato Rolls (Veganomicon)
Tofurkey Roast (Bryanna Clark Grogan)
Roasted Ginger Sweet Potatoes (me)
Apple Pecan Cornbread Dressing (me)
Green Bean Casserole (Fat Free Vegan)
Sage Gravy (basic roux method)
Cranberry Sauce (back of the bag of cranberries)
Smoky Mountain Cheese Spread (not pictured, Vegan Diner)*
Pumpkin Pie (Bryanna Clark Grogan)
Apple Pie (Vegan Pie in the Sky)*
Graham Cracker Cake (Hearty Vegan Meals)*

Obviously i’ve made apple pie before, but the Smoky Mountain Cheese Spread was a big hit, Brian and I ate it on our rolls and mashed potatoes and with a spoon a few times…and the Graham Cracker cake is INSANE. Clearly I used too many marshmallows, but underneath them is a super rich cake with chocolate chips, that one cake will easily serve 10-12 people.

As usual, I was too hungry to care about pictures so they came out bad, but here’s my plate:

And here is a better picture of the over-marshed cake:

posted: December 20, 2011
under: food, holidays, pictures

Vegan Eats in Decatur, IL!


Usually being ill prepared is a bad thing, but if I had actually had the smarts to eat lunch or bring something before Brian and I went to a (not vegan) cake and punch birthday party, I wouldn’t have discovered Donnie’s Homespun in Decatur, IL. Decatur is a medium-sized town in central Illinois that is mostly known for smelling funny because of the soybean factory.  They also have a  university, which is usually the reason one finds vegan/vegetarian friendly establishments in places you probably wouldn’t expect.


Brian and I pulled over in a parking lot and soaked up some free wifi to check Happy Cow, and Veg Illinois to see if there was anything for me besides Subway.  Nothing!  Luckily, we went to Yelp and we found one review for Donnie’s that mentioned vegan options.  I was a little nervous because, I have been burned so many times by people saying some place has vegan stuff, and then I get there and they’re like, “Oh, we never sold any of that so we stopped making it!”

So imagine my delightful surprise when I opened the menu and saw the word ‘vegan’ staring me in the face! Specifically, a vegan antipasto platter and a vegan sweet potato wrap.  I decided to get the wrap, Brian had a pizza that he was excited about because one of the topping options was black beans!  My wrap had chickpeas , sweet potato, spinach, tomato, and onions in a coconut curry sauce with a side of hummus, all on pita bread.  Not only was it interesting, but it was really delicious.

I emailed Donnie’s to ask if anything else was vegan, like if you get a cheeseless pizza, and this is what I got back:

“Katie, our pizza dough and tomato sauce are vegan.  Other vegan dishes include falafel, vegan antipasto, sweet potato wrap, and hummus dip.”

So there you go!

posted: September 29, 2011
under: food, pictures, vegan in illinois

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