Lookin’ Back: Christmas 2012

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m really lucky to have such a veg-friendly family. This past Christmas, our dinner table was overflowing with a variety of delicious vegan options. They were supplemented by a cheesy lasagna and some sort of meat in sauce that my aunt brought, but we won’t talk about those. ;) Let’s focus on the animal-free stuff!

But first, our traditional Christmas morning breakfast: cinnamon buns and grapefruit (not pictured)! Mom used the same Vegan Yum Yum cinnamon bun recipe she’s used for the past three years, and these were as heart-stoppingly decadent as ever. This year, I could barely manage to eat a quarter of mine, it was that rich! Here’s the buns pre-eating on Christmas morning:

A glass pan of baked cinnamon rolls being topped with a cream cheese icing.

Buns!

After a morning of intimate immediate family present opening, our guests arrived and it was time for dinner. Mom had a bit of a panic because we were running late with our preparations, but my brother and I stepped in and made sure we were on track. We were a good team!

Our first course was a Mexicali Chopped Salad I prepared. My mom ended up whipping up the dressing based on an internet recipe I can no longer find, but rest assured that it was cilantro-y, lime-y, and absolutely delicious. The salad included romaine lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, corn, pinto beans, diced avocado, and homemade tortilla strips.

Small bowls of a choppe salad topped with thin tortilla strips.

Christmas salad!

Our next course was even greener than our salad. My brother took advantage of Mom’s Vitamix (oh how I covet it!) and created a spinach-y, spicy blended soup. I don’t know what he put in it, but I recall a curry spice blend and lots of flavor. It might not have been the prettiest soup, but it packed a tasty punch. My uncle described it as “like drinking a salad” – he meant it as a compliment, too!

A large ceramic tureen filled with a silky, olive-green soup.

Green soup.

And then – finally! – we set to work on the main course. My (non-vegan) aunt had an old paper copy of a recipe for something called African Rabat, a veggie-laden stew laced with all sorts of comforting, warming spices. (We started calling it “rabbit” eventually, a very non-vegan name for a very vegan dish!) The recipe made an insanely huge amount of stew, so we cut it down some – but still managed to fill my parents’ large wok precariously full. We ate leftover rabbit for days! To serve the stew on Christmas, though, Mom picked up some sourdough bread bowls from Panera for herself, my brother, and me, so our vegan main course was super filling. We managed to stuff ourselves with side dishes, too – I gently seasoned and then roasted three varieties of colorful cauliflower, and my sister made a vegan version of the classic sweet potato casserole dish. She used a liberal hand with the Earth Balance and brown sugar and then she topped it with a thick layer of Dandies, so it was a super sweet dish – really more of a dessert! I’ll excuse her, though – she is pregnant, after all! ;)

In the foreground is a small plate with roasted cauliflower and sweet potato casserole. In the background is a bowl filled with a bread bowl filled with stew!

The main event!

Needless to say, we were STUFFED after dinner! I barely ate a third of my bread bowl, and I was still full. (Don’t worry, I ate my leftovers the next day.) A few hours later, after the exertion of distributing and opening gifts, we were ready to fill our bellies with even more food – this time of the sweet variety! Besides the multitude of non-vegan desserts, we had three veg options. First up is my dad’s cheesecake. Apparently Dad has been quite the vegan cheesecake-maker; he’s experimented with both cashew-based and nut-free varieties because my sister is allergic to nuts. This particular cake was cashew-based, and it was fantastic. The bottom layer was a simple vanilla, and then he topped it with a sweet orange layer. Finally, he covered the whole thing in a sweet, tangy cranberry sauce. Delicious!

A tall, multi-layer cheesecake topped with cranberry sauce.

Non-cheesy cheesecake of deliciousness.

My contribution to the dessert table was this Candy Cane Bundt Cake from Meet the Shannons. Filled with more sugar and Earth Balance that I’ve cooked with in a long, long time, this pound cake was rich and dense, with a fun swirl of peppermint-y cake in the middle. The crushed candy cane topping finished it nicely.

A bundt cake with a slice or two cut out. In the middle of the cake you can see a pinkish colored layer.

Candy cane cake!

Our final vegan dessert (other than the vegan date balls and candied nuts my aunt brought) was a pumpkin-banana-chocolate-chip quick bread my brother made. You can’t go wrong with that combination, and this yummy bread was perfect with a hot caffeinated beverage.

A loaf of dense, dark orange-brown bread studded with chocolate chips.

Bread of many ingredients.

Whew! I’m full just looking at al this food (or maybe from the dinner I just finished). This was truly a wonderful Christmas, both thanks to the food and the company. I have a pretty great family. :)

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway before Sunday! I’ve got three gently used books up for grabs.

Cake and Crafting, Christmas-style

Holy holly – we’re already one week into December! A quarter done with perhaps my favorite month of the year. I can’t help it – I am a sucker for the holiday season. Pretty twinkling lights, an abundant supply of vegan nog (seriously, my fridge overfloweth), and pine-scented things? Sold! My parents created many holiday traditions when my siblings and I were young, and we still carry many of them out to this day, even though my siblings and I aren’t exactly children anymore. But those memories – and the new ones we make every year – always make the holiday season special for me. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s the one time every year where I’m guaranteed to see most of my closest friends from high school – I always look forward to our annual post-Christmas get-together.

And despite my distaste for consumerism, I just love giving and receiving thoughtful gifts. I typically try to give at least a few handmade gifts every year, but even when I don’t, the gifts I purchase are carefully selected for the intended recipient. It makes me happy to see other people happy! It’s a circle of happiness!

Last weekend, I prepared for the holiday season by working on S’s and my Christmas stockings. For sustenance during my sewing spree, I snacked on yet another piece of cake from the Chicago Diner – this was an amazing layer cake with crunchy toffee bits, whipped “cream,” and a thin chocolate ganache-like layer on top. So good. Nothing like sugar and sewing to make for an exciting Saturday night!

Plaid fabric with scissors and pins in the background, along with a sewn letter K. In the foreground is a container with a half-eaten piece of cake.

Yes, I Instagrammed this.

I didn’t get the stockings quite finished last weekend, so our apartment was not the most festive of flats. But then S surprised me on Tuesday night by decorating while I was out! I came home to find a wreath, garlands, bows, lovely twinkly white lights, cinnamon-scented pinecones, and the little fake tree I inherited from my ex-roomie. S had lit some candles and was playing Christmas music – it was perfect. Isn’t he amazing?

Since then, we’ve also picked up a poinsettia and added even more lights. I just need to finish gluing the loops on our stockings (and whip one up for Moria!) and we’ll be ready for the holidays!

How do you feel about the holidays? Do you decorate?

Christmas: Sweet Edition

Lest you think we ate nothing but savory foods at our Christmas celebration, let me show you all the sweet, sugary delights we consumed. Technically these aren’t all of them, because I didn’t photograph the oodles of beautiful and undoubtedly delicious non-vegan desserts my aunt shared. But I don’t think you’ll miss them when you see all the sweets we shared!

First up, the traditional Christmas morning cinnamon bun + grapefruit breakfast. Like the past few years, Mama followed the glorious unhealthy-but-delicious VeganYumYum recipe for our cinnamon rolls. This time, I snapped some shots of her baking process, including the super-awesome trick of cutting the giant cinnamon log with dental floss:

Log o' dough.

Look at the perfectly clean slices!

Amazing!

And check out how lovely they look, all nestled up to one another pre-baking.

All rolled up.

And the finished product, covered in an oozy, sweet icing, is equally appealing.

Ready for eatin'.

As usual, I could barely finish one of these buns with breakfast – I had to save the rest for later, when I needed some post-present-opening refueling.

Rest assured, cinnamon buns weren’t the extend of our sweet treats. For dessert proper, Mum made an amazing chocolate-orange mousse pie, a rich, creamy confection with the perfect blend of chocolate and citrus.

I would like to eat a slice right now.

Even though I didn’t make this pie, I think I contributed to its deliciousness by cluing my mom in to silken tofu – apparently, the last time she made it she used regular soft tofu. This time around, I set her straight, to marvelously smooth and creamy results.

Although I can’t claim the pie as my own creation, I did contribute my fair share to the dessert table. Because Christmas isn’t Christmas without cookies, I whipped up some Five-Spice Snaps from Hannah Kaminsky’s Vegan Desserts: Sumptuous Sweets for Every Season and some Peppermint Mocha Roll Cookies from Scissors and Spice.

A variety of nibbles.

Both of these cookies were excellent. The snaps were just a touch more sophisticated than your typical gingersnap, with a mellower yet more nuanced flavor. And the peppermint mocha roll cookies were the perfect yuletide delicacy, chocolaty and minty with a tiny kick of caffeine and just the right amount of chewiness.

I also made a sort of gingerbread cake, but it came out a little dry and not terribly gingerbread-y. I totally forgot to photograph it, but no matter – it was pretty forgettable; I don’t even recall where I found the recipe.

All in all, I’d say we had a pretty damn tasty Christmas, wouldn’t you? What are your favorite holiday desserts? And do you have a no-fail gingerbread recipe I could borrow? :)

Christmas: Savory Edition

After S and I spent five glorious days tooling around Maryland and eating delicious foodz, I took a super-cheap, super-fast Southwest flight up to Rhode Island to spend Christmas proper with my family. I had three pre-Christmas days to spend with my family and friends, and I spent a healthy amount of that time helping to plan Christmas dinner (and dessert, duh). I’m always grateful that my parents usually host holidays at their house, because it means that we can limit the amount of meat that’s served. Of course, this doesn’t always work out as expected – last year, due to some miscommunications and mis…understandings… we only had one vegan main dish instead of the smorgasbord of vegan delights I’d imagined. Live and learn.

This year, our vegan options were plentiful. In fact, except for a giant pot o’ meat my grandmother brought, all of our main dinner was vegan. Hellz yeah. Mom decided to serve a casual three-course dinner – we served the salad and soup courses while the family was socializing, so they could eat and chat wherever they were most comfortable. We then all sat down at the table[s] for the main course. I liked this approach – it was comfortable and casual, yet structured. And it allowed the fish-eaters to munch sushi as a sort of pre-salad first course without the vegheads in the mix feeling left out; we were busy preparing the salad and soup bowls.

Anyway, enough backstory – to the food!

The kale domination continues!

Instead of serving a regular ol’ lettuce-based salad, Mum decided we should serve kale salad. I was a little dubious – I didn’t want our omni guests to roll their eyes and comment on “that weird stuff vegans eat,” but I wasn’t giving the kale (and Mom!) enough credit. Mom bought a package of baby kale, something I’d never seen before, and I made a simple salad – kale, carrots, and tomatoes tossed in a double batch of Angela’s amazing Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing. So good! And everyone seemed to enjoy it. My uncle was particularly vocal about it, praising the kale’s crisp crunchiness. Success!

Butternut love.

Next, we served a Spiced Squash Bisque, made by mi madre. As you can see, it was still a little chunky, and not pureed into a true bisque. She used a hot curry powder instead of the milder recommended spices, rendering our soup a bit spicy and very tasty. While I enjoyed the gentle kick of heat, I know Grammy wasn’t so fond of it!

Ze main meal.

Mum also prepared most of our main meal. She put together a really tasty Green Bean and Wild Mushroom Saute, along with a scrumptious Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash and Dried Cranberries. The pilaf had a bit of curry in it, making it a great companion piece to the soup. Both of these dishes were delicious, and we almost didn’t need the meat analogue Mom had picked up for the vegetarians among us – Gardein Savory Stuffed Turk’y.

A plate of yum.

I’d never tried this particular Gardein variety, but I had high hopes – I’m a big fan of Gardein; their products are great in a time crunch. The turk’y was no exception. Each piece was small, but filling, and stuffed with a yummy cranberry-based stuffing. I was glad I shared my piece with my brother, because I was already so full from the soup and salad courses that I could barely finish my plate o’ real food! But finish it I did, and of course I also left room for dessert. More about that in another post. ;)

How was your holiday? Did you enjoy a mostly-vegan meal?

The Post-Holiday Rambling Rundown: Part 3, All I Want for Christmas is KNITWEAR!

If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you probably don’t know that approximately 78.536% of my Tweets are about knitting. I’m kind of addicted to knitting – if you were to become a creeptastic stalker and spy on me at around 8:00 PM on nearly any weeknight, you’d find me sitting on my couch or on my bed, watching something on DVD (more than likely Doctor Who), and knitting away. I swear I have a social life; I just cherish (and, truthfully, need) lots of alone time – I’m an introvert; what can I say. Watching nerdy TV shows while knitting is a little slice of heaven; if I could figure out how to read and knit simultaneously, I’d probably go into throes of ecstasy a la Saint Theresa (pardon my blasphemy).

Oh Bernini, you slay me.

Anyway, despite this mad knitting, I rarely ever knit anything for myself – I’ve always got tons of projects lined up for friends and family, for holidays and birthdays and just because they’re worth it. Case in point: Christmas. I decided to knit everyone in my immediate family something, and I was so gratified and happy when they all opened their gifts on Christmas morning and enjoyed and appreciated the articles I’d made especially for them. I know some of you are knitters or crafters, so I thought I’d share my Christmas knitting with y’all. :) If you’re on Ravelry, the links take you to the patterns there. And if you’re a Raveler, you should add me as a friend!

First up: My sister goes to school in Syracuse, so she and I both require lots of winterwear. Because she’s the bees’ knees, I made her the Entwined scarf, which is a garter stitch scarf with BUILT-IN FINGERLESS MITTS – how awesome is that?! I used Tatamy Tweed Worsted in Jungle Vine, and I loooved the yarn and the pattern both. Here’s me being silly in my pre-Christmas photoshoot for Ravelry (I’m not really this yellow… ick):

Goober.

And here’s my oh-so-gangsta gangsta sissy on Christmas (dunno why this photo is all squished):

Raisinet.

Next, I used this Basic Men’s Mittens pattern to work up two pairs of mittens, one for my dad and one for my brother, using Vanna’s Choice yarn (don’t judge). For my dad, I went for simple, classic heather grey:

Manly mittens?

He seemed to like them:

Mooseman?

For my brother’s pair, I used the official colors of his fraternity – I knit the mittens in purple, and used double-stitching to add the Greek letters of his fraternity in gold. I had a little trouble deciding on the placement of the letters – should someone looking at them be able to read them? Should he be able to read them while looking down at his hands?! This is what I came up with:

This is a little dark... :(

And then, for my mommy dearest, I made a scarflet – she’s always cold, but who wants to wear a full-on scarf all day long? Enter the Mustard Scarf! I also used Tatamy Tweed for this project, this time in the lovely Sea Blue. I made the button from bronze polymer clay, too. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of this one on Christmas morning, so I only have the Ravelry photo of this one:

Why do I look so glum?!

Finally, I just have to share one of my most favorite things I’ve made in the past year – Rose’s Wrist Warmers, based on the wrist warmers Rose wears in the ridiculously heart-wrenching Doomsday episode of Doctor Who. I made these for my bestest friend (though I’m modeling them here):

Purply prettiness.

ISN’T THAT A FREAKIN’ GORGEOUS PATTERN?! It was a bit of a pain (lots of cables, so it’s not mindless knitting), but totally worth it. :)

Yeah! Knitting! This is by no means an exhaustive compilation of the knitted items I’ve given away in the past year (dishcloths are sorta boring, y’know?), but these are definitely some of my favorites. Hope you’ve enjoyed this mini-tour of my FOs… I love seeing what other people are working on, so I figured it was time I shared, too. :)

Do you knit? If so, what’ve you knit lately? What’s on your needles now? I’m working on a belated gift for my BFF – I’ll show you when I’m finished!

The Post-Holiday Rambling Rundown: Part 2, A Christmas Retrospective

Confession: I’m losing my bloggy steam. My motivation to post is pretty low, and I’m even having difficulty mustering up the energy to comment on others’ posts. And Twitter’s been getting on my nerves lately – for those of you who Tweet, how do you keep up with people? It seems like 50% of the people I follow (and whose Tweets I actually want to read!) Tweet all day long. What’s up with that, people?! Do y’all have really relaxed jobs? Or is it that you all have those newfangled smart phones? I hear tell that you can access the internetzzz with them thar things! In any case, you’re makin’ it hard for me to keep up! SIGH.

Okay, I’m done whining. :)

Hey, remember when Christmas happened? Yeah, I know it was like three weeks ago… whatever. Remember how I had all these grand plans for an internationally-themed dinner? Well. Let’s just say that my big plans turned into us having three main dishes, only one of which was vegan, and all of which were Portuguese. Some major fail happened there, but I won’t point fingers at Certain Family Members who dropped the foodie ball. Cough. I won’t lie, either – I had my one and only Petulant!Kelly moment of my trip home at that point, when I realized that all my plans had basically culminated in a table full o’ meat. But after imbibing one [or two… maybe three… definitely too many] vegan White Russians, I let go of my petulance and became my ol’ cheery self again. Plus, there was dessert.

Nom nom nommity nom.

I know that photo is godawful, but… three White Russians, people. We had three vegan desserts! Reppin’ our English heritage, my momma made a yummy figgy pudding (hidden in the dish, d’oh), which was a hybrid of traditional figgy pudding and rice pudding, and my sissy made some super decadent sesame-cranberry-dark chocolate scones. Oh yeah. I put together a really fantastic Russian poppy seed roll – I highly recommend that recipe! So, hey, yummy desserts totally made up for the lackluster dinner.

Plus, who needs dinner when you’ve had cinnamon rolls for breakfast?! Just like last year, my mommy made vegan cinnamon buns for our traditional Christmas morning breakfast of cinnamon rolls and grapefruit.

Stomachache-inducingly good.

They were just as perfect and sugary as they look. I really love that my family is so adaptable and willing to eat vegan. It doesn’t hurt that my mom is 95% vegan, too. ;) My parents both felt so bad about our dinner!fail, which made me feel quite guilty for having a moment of teenager-like petulance. Ah well.

So – that was my Christmas, from a food perspective! And you know what? Writing this post has totally rejuvenated my bloggy mojo. It probably doesn’t hurt that I’m also listening to crazy energetic/embarrassing dance music. Enrique, I’m lookin’ at you.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with this loverly photo of my siblings and me on Christmas Eve, just because. Man, my family is the bestest.

Yeah, we *might* be related...

Christmas Reject!

How about another equation today? This one’s less boozy than yesterday’s, but that’s okay. See, for the past few years, I’ve made my own Christmas/holiday cards. One year I put Santa hats on pictures of movie characters, another year I made snowmen-shaped cards, and last year I used bits of wrapping paper to decorate my cards. This year, inspired by Bakerella, I decided to create my own Christmas cards using a photo of a delightful Christmas treat I baked. Today, in the spirit of Getting Things Done Early, I embarked on that process.

So, what does it take to create one’s own card? I’ll tell you using numbers. 1 Christmas card = 1 trip to the craft store + 1 batch of cookies + 1 handful of crushed candy canes + 1000s of red colored sugar + 1 more emergency trip to the craft store + 2 lamps + 5 different setups + 1 nasty incident of a cookie bit falling into a spiderweb + 3 cookies eaten for sustenance + 2.5 hours of photographing and Photoshopping!

Nice try, but I ain't usin' you.

Okay, actually, the above photo is not really the sum of the equation. Well, it sort of is, but that’s not the photo I’m using for my Christmas card. That one’s an outtake, a sad little reject. The final photo is similar to that one, but a bit better composed and Photoshopped differently. Yeehaw!

For my cookies, I used the recipe for Isa’s Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles, minus the cayenne and cinnamon. Instead I added crushed candy canes, which made for a really yummy, chewy, pepperminty cookie – I might even recreate it for Christmas! I also made some plain chocolate ones rolled in red decorating sugar, but they didn’t photograph very well.

Now I’m just trying to find the least expensive option for getting this made into a foldable card. Any suggestions?

Do you send holiday cards? Do you buy them or make your own? Growing up, my siblings and I were subjected to an annual photo shoot wherein Mom and Dad would dress us, pose us, and photograph us until tears rained and/or punches were thrown and someone stormed off in a rage. Despite the painfulness of said photo shoots, it’s kind of neat to see 23 years of family photos. This year, Mom’s putting together a collage of pictures from our family’s trip to HP world… heheh.

Happy Saturday!

Three Reasons Why My Family is Wonderful (or, a Christmas Retrospective)

1. Stocking Stuffers

Our family Christmas traditions are simple yet solid. Ever since I can remember, we three kids have received a new pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve before reading The Night Before Christmas together and then hopping off to bed so SantaMom&Dad can work their magic. In the morning, we kids wake up and peer eagerly at the beautifully arranged presents around the tree before waking up Mom and Dad. Then we troop into the living room to open our stockings – no presents! – before eating breakfast. Mom’s usually in charge of filling the stockings, and this year the stocking stuffers she chose for me were incredibly thoughtful. Check out some of the swag.

 

Stocking stuff(ers).

 

Knowing that my vegan lifestyle is becoming more all-encompassing and extends beyond my dietary choices, Mom found a cruelty-free, vegan lip balm for me, along with organic, vegan body lotion, and Tom’s of Maine deodorant. I was so very pleased to discover these treasures in my stocking! The Candy Cane lip balm has a lovely, subtle scent, and the lotion’s Vanilla Chai scent smells just like warm cinnamon buns. Speaking of which…

2. Cinnamon Buns

The next part of our family tradition is the most delicious – breakfast. We break our fast on Christmas morning with half a grapefruit each, followed by delicious, sticky, cinnamon buns. In the past, we’ve gotten them from local bakeries, but this year Mom and Dad knew that I wouldn’t eat non-vegan cinnamon buns, so they sacrificed the safety of tradition in favor of experimenting and making some that I would definitely eat. Because I didn’t get home until 10:30 on Christmas Eve (and I almost didn’t make it at all!), I couldn’t volunteer my services and Mom was in charge of the buns. At my recommendation, she tried out this utterly decadent recipe from VeganYumYum. Although Mom is mostly low-fat vegan, we all decided that for this one day, we would indulge and enjoy ourselves. And, oh, how we enjoyed these beauties.

 

Sticky, sweet, delights.

 

These cinnamon buns surpassed all our expectations. They not only tasted as good as the bakery buns of yore, but even better. They were almost too rich for me – I could only finish a half in one sitting, and had to save the rest for a post-present-unwrapping pick-me-up! Mom did an amazing job, especially since it was her first time making anything yeasted. So thoughtful.

3. Sweet Surprises

Another part of our food tradition involves a huge platter o’ cookies and fudge, compliments of my Aunt Nancy. She’s an incredible baker, and she devotes the month of December to making and freezing dozens – if not hundreds – of Christmas cookies. She shares them with friends and family, and no Christmas is complete without a platter or two of her tantalizing treats. Aunt Nancy even provides a special nut-free plate for my sister, to accommodate her allergies.

Unfortunately, none of my aunt’s cookies are vegan, and although she mentioned the possibility of trying some new recipes next year, I found myself unable to eat anything from her platter. Just looking at the macaroons and candied walnuts and mini magic bars made me a little bit sad that I couldn’t indulge, but then I was presented with this.

 

Sweet surprises from my sissy.

 

My lovely, wonderful, sister made me a platter of adorably decorated vegan sugar cookies! She knew I wouldn’t be able to eat any of my aunt’s, and took matters into her own hands. I don’t know what recipe she used (she said it called for silken tofu), but I thought they were perfectly yummy. I grabbed one every time I saw the rest of my family cutting a slice of cheesecake or chomping on some fudge, and they made my day so much brighter. Next year, I’ll be home for a few days before Christmas, and I’m looking forward to spending that time baking dozens and dozens of vegan cookies with Rhiannon.

Really, could I ask for a more gracious and accommodating family?! They are so thoughtful and wonderful. Other Christmas highlights included receiving my own Settlers of Catan game and expansion (any other Catan fanatics out there?!), the Babycakes cookbook, and lots of awesome kitchenware. But the best part of all was spending time with everyone, even if it was only for three days. I’m counting down ’til I can take another trip home and spend a little more time with my lovely family.

Christmas Greetings and a Project Feed Me Photo

IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS! I’m so excited; I feel like a little kid. I’ve enjoyed my first 3ish weeks of work more than I thought I would, but I can’t wait to see my family and celebrate the holiday. Unfortunately, it’s snowy and icy in Wisconsin and I reallyreallyreally hope my flight(s) home tomorrow aren’t impeded by bad weather here or in Detroit, where I have a layover. Keep your fingers crossed!

Anyway, I just wanted to wish everyone a wonderful holiday, if you celebrate Christmas. If not, I hope your Chanukah or Solstice or holiday of choice was/is absolutely delightful. I also wanted to post a photo of the food I collected for Project Feed Me.

Pantry staples?

To be honest, I didn’t manage to buy food for every week and I ended a week or two early because I was in the middle of moving to Wisconsin. But I still feel good about participating, especially since I donated everything to a collection at my mom’s school (she’s a special ed teacher), and a local philanthropist will match all donations collected there. Oh, and I also ended up switching up some of the recommended food items because they weren’t veg*n, but I hope that my meager offerings help people in need this season. It’s so easy to forget how lucky and blessed I am sometimes, so I think I’m going to make an effort to donate more food, money, and time to those less fortunate than me in the year to come. After all, I’m a working girl now, so there’s no excuse! :)

Well, I’m going to go scrounge around in the kitchen for a snack, hehe. Merry Christmas, friends! I hope the next few days are filled with lots o’ love&joy. Cheers!