Wednesday, December 26, 2007

'Tis the Season to be...Glutonous

First off, I hope everyone had a happy holiday filled with (as cheesy-or should I say noochy- as this sounds) good family, good friends, and good food!

Alright, I'm going to start with Xmas Eve and the day before that. My mom took me to Whole Foods to grab some last minute things for Xmas dinner, but I can never leave without grabbing something from the bakery section.

I'm very lucky in that my local Whole Foods carries desserts and baked goods from the Chicago Diner in the city. I usually grab either the Cookies and Cream Cake or the Chocolate Chip Cheesecake (those and the Carrot Cake are all that I've seen there), but as I saw the display of cookies and muffins, I knew I had to grab one instead! I got a peanut butter cookie (though it has some random spots of chocolate on it- weird....) and it was sooooooo good! Perfect texture and just enough peanut butter flavor. It's the kind of dessert you need with a glass of soymilk. I was only able to finish half of it, but that's ok. Now I got half stashed away for another time!

One of me and my mom's favorite holiday desserts is gingerbread cake with lemon sauce. I was thinking about the cupcakes in VCTOTW, but I just thought it wouldn't be right on Xmas Eve without the warm cake and gooey sauce, so I used the recipe from the Vegan Lunchbox blog. It was perfect. I had a recipe I used in my pregan days, but this one was almost identical except for the use of oil instead of butter and no eggs, plus this recipe came with an already vegan sauce recipe, so I just used it. It was just like I remember last year.

Onto the big day, now! Christmas for my family has absolutely no r
eligious meaning (as I explained earlier) but it is a celebration of being together and showing our appreciation for one another, so yes, we do all still get presents and set up the tree and everything. I actually got some GREAT gifts this year from "Santa" (this is the first year my little brother knows the sad). I got some CD's (Rise Against and 30 Seconds to Mars) that I had been wanting, some new converses, a Nightmare Before Xmas calender, Alba lotion and chap stick (all vegan), along with some other great stuff. However, two gifts were really special to me and very appropriate for this blog:

A panini press!! I have been making on my stove with a can of tomatoes weighing down a pan until now, but my daddy was very smart this year and bought me this. I'm soo happy and as soon as I opened it, my family began asking for paninis for lunch. Mine was one of my black bean burgers I had made and frozen the day before (more on that in my next post), some salsa, and Galaxy vegan mozzarella on whole wheat bread. Yum! I cannot wait to use this even more in the future and get some great pictures.

I also got...VEGANOMICON!!! I was shocked because I hadn't even mentioned to my mom that I wanted this. She must be psychic or something.....but I don't care! Well, actually she just knows that I love VWAV and VCTOTW, so as soon as she noticed that this was written by Isa and Terry, she grabbed it for me. By lunch time I had this thing bookmarked and written in and paper-clipped like crazy. I will definitely be using this very very very soon (by this weekend). When I went to my grandparents' house, my cousins from Wisconsin mailed my siblings and I our presents there, so we got to open them before dinner. Guess what I got from my cousins! Nope, you're all wrong!! I got another copy of Veganomicon! Hahaha. What are the odds, eh? That's fine, I'm just going to sell it online at Blue Rectangle for $10.64. Not quite the $27.50 I should be getting, but I can use it towards another cookbook.

Ok, onto the food. I'd say this year was a success food-wise, especially since this was my first vegan Xmas. I ended up making the Seitan Roast I planned, some green beans, maple-roasted potatoes and carrots, and Fatfree Vegan's Eggnog Cheesecake. Being the loser I am though, I only got pictures of the cheesecake :( I remember as I was removing the roast from the crockpot thinking "Take a picture, take a picture," but I somehow got distracted and the next thing I knew it was sliced up in bags in the freezer. It was so pretty, too
.......damn. And by the time dinner came at my Muma Sissy's house (my name for my mom's mom- when I was a baby I couldn't say "grandma" so I called her "Muma." Add on "Sissy" because that's what her brothers called her growing up and there you have it!), I was so hungry that I didn't even think to take a picture of my plate. Let me tell you, it was rather boring looking. I was counting on the green beans to brighten up my plate, but they were a little overcooked, so I had a big plate of blah-looking food. It was very delicious however, so I was happy. I did, however, get a kick-ass picture of this DELICIOUS cheesecake!! Notice how I just happened to position the cheesecake by the centerpiece in time for the picture? Hm.....

I followed the recipe ALMOST exactly (I rarely ever do). I just subbed the brandy or rum with about 1/2-1 t. rum extract. I also made a sort of last-resort crust, but honestly, it was the best crust I've ever made. I couldn't find any vegan graham crackers, so I used the Whole Foods brand of animal crackers that I crushed up, added some cinnamon, agave nectar, brown sugar, melted Earth Balance, and the tiniest bit of water and baked at 350 degress (F) for 10 minutes. While I was making the crust, I hated it with a passion because it did not want to get even along the sides, but it was so worth it. It was very crisp and crumbly, but still soft and complimented the filling's texture. Speaking of which, this cheesecake recipe is amazing. It has just the perfect eggnog-y flavor, a great texture, and is light and refreshing while still being creamy and decadent. I do suggest, however, making it the day before you plan on serving it. This really allows the flavors to blend together. This cheesecake was actually a huge hit with everyone. Half of it was eaten, which was more than the other four pies my grandma had combined! Granted, most people didn't eat dessert, but those who did loved my cheesecake and couldn't believe it was vegan! It made my Xmas just that much more special.

Well, that's all I have for now. I will post some more stuff tomorrow, along with some recipes of actual food, not just pure, yummy sugar.

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