Monday, December 22, 2008

Home For the Holidays, Part 1

It can be pretty tough going home for holidays to a non-vegan household. Not only do you have the anxiety of "what will I eat" but you also often have to to deal with the odd looks, comments, questions, etc. from inquisitive (yet loving) relatives. And you thought it was bad answering questions about whom you are dating!! But it doesn't have to be as difficult as it may least for the food problem! There's a few simple things you can look for in your family's pantry that they already have, which you can throw together and eat!!

For example, we had a family Christmas this weekend, and I was able to make this Holiday Quinoa Salad without getting anything special from the store! Holiday flavors and good nutrition are a combination that's hard to beat! While your parents may not be stocked with quinoa, you could easily substitute rice or any grain for the same tasty creation!This is simply quinoa my mom had, and I added a holiday-spiced teabag to the boiling water to cook with the quinoa. This really added a nice, mild flavor to the quinoa!! When the quinoa cooled, I tossed it with canned mandarin oranges, parsley, toasted almonds, spinach, red onion, and dried cranberries. I made a simple dressing to put on it of dijon mustard, olive oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and some spices, including chili powder and cinnamon! It was really good and easy, too! I just dug through the cupboards and put random things together that seemed like they would taste good!

There are some easy rules/things to look for when at a family member's house who is non-veg, and you want to whip up some grub to please your tastebuds and possibly even impress your family!
1. Canned fruits and veggies....maybe not your ideal choice at home, but work really well when away! Canned tomatoes are seriously soooo versatile!! Fresh produce is obviously even better, if you can find them, but don't hold your breath :)
2. Dried or canned beans...a staple in kitchens, even of the non-veg variety! Rice and beans, anyone?
3. Dried fruit...essential for snacking, salads, etc. Always at your family member's house who is "trying to eat healthier." When are they just going to go vegan already???!! ha.
4. Nuts or seeds...protein is key for keeping up energy during the stress of the family holiday gatherings! Look for them in peanut butter, too!! Best eaten by the spoonful, of course!
5. Oatmeal....the perfect breakfast in a non-veg house: no cereal labels to stress over, no soy/rice/hemp milk required, easy and quick to make, warm and delish!! Try drizzling with some maple syrup and cinnamon, which pretty much everyone has! mmmm....

See, you too can not starve or stress when you are away from home, in a country bumpkin town, with a bunch of carnivores! hooray!

Here's the whole dinner my veg mom and I made (yes, I am really lucky my mom is veg and goes out of her way to buy me vegan stuff and wants me to cook for her when I come home! she is awesome!!!) The Holiday Quinoa salad from above, Tofurkey roast with stuffing, and Steamed Green Beans with Caramelized Onions. So good!!! God bless Tofurkey, seriously.
I even made a pie for dessert! Pecan Pie (Bryanna's recipe from the Vegan Feast Kitchen). Pecan Pie is the best pie fyi. Best when topped with some Soyatoo whipped topping and a big mug of hot coffee. This is Christmas in a crust.Before I left, my mom requested her favorite breakfast: scrambled tofu! She even went out and bought all the veggies for it! Bonus! This is probably the best scram-fu I've ever made!! It is onion, garlic, red and green bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, yellow and zucchini squashes, seasoned with Bragg's, hot sauce, turmeric, and salt 'n pepper. Served with whole wheat toast...and black coffee, of course!! I'm glad she requested this, because it was amazing!
For my first night back to my real house in Columbia, I wasn't much in the mood for cooking after having to try and be creative for a few days, so I made an old favorite: Soba Noodles with Veggies, Baked Tofu, and Homemade Peanut Sauce! This dish NEVER fails! perf.
More holiday posts to come!! oh joy! Also, Happy Hanukkah to those celebrating!! :)


Susan said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Susan said...

zee pie! zee pie!
I have a one-track mind when it comes to dessert, that evil sweet tooth of mine.
happy holidays!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

You HAVE been able to feed yourself well even in a non-veg friendly place. That is really awesome that your mom is veg and tries to have vegan supplies for you.

I hope you have a fantastic rest of your holiday! Stay safe and warm!

Joanna said...

that pie looks rockin. i made bryanna's carrot cake and it's amazing, too. that girl can bake!!

nobody in my house is vegan, so i usually have to buy my groceries. it's definitely tough because they are all against me!!!