Friday, December 26, 2008

The Holidays Have Ended

Every year I always feel so relieved when the holidays are over, but this year it never felt like the holidays! Maybe I was just too distracted with some other things to think about the winter holidays- who knows? I did, however, manage to quickly plan and throw together a meal and dessert to bring to my grandparents' house for Xmas.

First, let's start with Christmas Eve. I wasn't planning on making any cookies for Santa, but I decided that I might as well just for the heck of being festive. I tried the Glutton-Be-Gone Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies from ED&BV and did my best to make them completely free of any of my food sensitivities. I used the amaranth flour option, substituted the sugar with agave nectar, and used Enjoy Life brand vegan chocolate chips (which, unfortunately, do contain evaporated cane juice which I am sensitive to but I don't think I'll find any chocolate chips without it, so I went with it and gave myself a break). The cookies turned out really well, but I think subbing agave nectar for the sugar made the cookies a little thinner and caramel-y tasting than they otherwise would be, but it grew on me and I quickly began loving these cookies! I plan on going to the store this week to fine some all natural beet sugar so I can make these cookies again to see if there's a difference.

I didn't really ask for anything year, so I wasn't expecting much come Xmas morning, but I was pleasantly surprised. I got a bunch of small gifts (a t-shirt, some yoga equipment, tea, candles) but two gifts were really special this year. The first was a new cookbook to help a little more with my new diet- Gluten-Free Vegan. A lot of the recipes sound delicious and, while some do use rice or soy, they can easily be adjusted and I can't wait to get cooking! My main gift this year was especially exciting because my dad picked it out himself and has been talking about it for a few weeks now- an AeroGarden indoor herb garden! I set it up immediately and will be growing oregano, basil, mint, thyme, dill, and chives. Expect regular updates throughout the next few months about the growth of my herbs!

Alright, the real highlight of this post- the meal! I had planned making some sort of stuffed squash like many of you had suggested, but when I came across this recipe for a gluten-free, soy-free, vegan nut roast on Diet, Dessert and Dogs, I knew that I had to try it out (don't worry, I have stuffed squash planned as one of meals within the next week or two, so you will read all about that later)! I changed only a few things: I left out the garlic, replaced Brazil nuts with walnuts, omitted the oats, used gluten-free bread from Rose's Wheat-Free Bakery in Evanton for the bread slices (the bread will be featured in another post), used vegetable broth instead of wine, and baked the roast in muffin tins so I could have some individual nut roasts. I don't know how these ingredients came together to be so delicious, but they did! I am in love with this recipe and am so happy I have extra mini roasts to freeze! I can imagine that these would make an awesome "meatloaf" topped with some agave-sweetened ketchup......yum! I topped it with a garlic-free, gluten-free version of the gravy I had at Thanksgiving from the Chicago Diner cookbook. I brought some beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and sliced onions roasted with thyme and rosemary for everyone to enjoy along with my own cranberry sauce (using the recipe from ED&BV- this recipe is great! I love how it's sweetened with maple syrup). Everything was so good that I had this exact meal again for dinner tonight (which is actually the picture you see above since I didn't bring my camera to my grandparents' house). I'm also happy to report that this meal contained none of my food sensitivities, so I didn't have to take a digestive enzyme- yay! I purposely did this since I knew I'd have to take a pill before the dessert I had planned (and it was worth it!):

A classic chocolate tofu mousse pie with my own little twist- I added some peppermint extract and topped it with some Soyatoo whipped soy cream and crushed candy canes. My gosh, was this awesome! I was nervous about using the boxed Soyatoo for the first time, but after adding about 1/4 t. xanthan gum to stabilize it along with some confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract, and a splash of peppermint, it tasted great! I put it in the fridge for 24 hrs. before piping it onto the pie to make it a little stiffer and it worked really well. This pie was super rich but really lovely- not overly sweet and neither the chocolate nor peppermint overpowered each other. Only about 3 out of the 12 people at dinner had dessert (what's up with that? It's the holidays, people!), but those who did were sure to try my pie and loved it :) My dad did mention, however, that he would prefer this pie without the peppermint flavor which is fine since that's what the original basic recipe is for, so you can bet I'll be making this again!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and I am wishing you a happy new year- my gosh, it's almost 2009 already! Pretty soon the 90's will be almost 20 years ago- ah!!


ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Merry Christmas! I KNOW you had a good Christmas, because how could you have not, with that chocolate mousse pie?

VeggieGirl said...

I hear ya 100% - the holiday season this year didn't even seem to occur!! It was all a blur to me.

Lovely gifts and food, girl!! Fabulous job!!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree, it did not feel like Christmas this year and now it's already gone =(

But those eats sound amazing!!! I want to try that cookie recipe now.

Dawn said...

That nut loaf looks yummy! glad you were able to enjoy a good meal AND no allergies problems

Ricki said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the nut roast and could adapt it for your own needs! And your pie looks spectacular--love the peppermint option. Happy belated holiday!

PS If you're looking for chocolate chips that are sweetened with natural sweeteners (not sugar), try the Sunspire grain-sweetened ones(with barley malt). They're a little pricey, maybe a bit less sweet than those with sugar, but I love them.

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Mandee said...

I hope you love the Gluten-Free Vegan, it is a great cookbook and thanks for linking that nut roast, I will give it a try because I need more gf and sf recipes!

Vegan_Noodle said...

How cool about your herb garden!!

And that chocolate tofu pie has me craving chocolate again...

Sounds like you had a great holiday. And I can't believe it's almost 2009!

Kristen's Raw said...

Aerogarden - cool!