Happy end of the long holiday weekend! I know it’s tough to get back in the swing of things after days off work and time with family….I also know that not everyone is lucky enough to have days off work or time with family. Having a job that allows for me to take time off and enables me to (mostly) afford plane trips home is one of the many, many reasons I felt incredibly thankful this holiday (and everyday). I had a lovely trip home to visit family and friends in Cleveland. Being home is always a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me, but the warmth of the holiday and the love with which I was surrounded trumped any challenges I faced.
Sadly, I didn’t snap as many photos as I would have liked. I was too busy catching up. And eating. So.much.eating.(!) I am pleased to report back that I ate very well at both sides of the family’s celebrations, including amazing acorn squash, a delicious spinach salad, scrumptious sweet potatoes, citrus cranberry sauce, steamed greens, and vegan pumpkin pie (courtesy of my Aunt Lori!).
But the eating didn’t stop on Thursday. For the past 9 (!) years I’ve been celebrating “Vegan Thanksgiving” with some of my best friends from the Cleve. We have been gathering in different homes to come together and celebrate our friendship–that survives across time and distance–over amazing vegan food. Although it started with at least three of us being vegan (and some years more, some years less), I stand alone as the only strict vegan, but everyone still gets excited to make an alternative Thanksgiving meal. Also worth noting: our amazing host started out as Brian, serving us home-from-college kids at his parents house; 9 years later, Brian still hosts, but he does so with his wife, Kimberly (my bff since I was 4 years old!) who also attended vegan thanksgiving over the years, but not always as his partner. ;) VEGAN THANKSGIVING BRINGZ THE LOVE!
Anyway, here’s a sample of some of our amazing eats:
Not pictured: amazing collared greens, spiced tofu fillets, and lots and lots of home-brewed beer. Todd and Brian are both brewers and are quite skilled. Er, that’s what I hear anyway. I’m not a beer drinker, but I was pretty stoked to find out that some brewers work with quinoa to make the beer gluten-free! Neat!
My contribution was a brussles sprouts dish that I borrowed from Whole Living. (Side note: see the “s” on Brussels….Turns out, that’s actually how you spell/say that vegetable! WHO KNEW?!).
Festive Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Walnuts
Adapted from Whole Living
8 c brussels sprouts
2 c grapes
2 T olive oil
4 T fresh thyme
salt + pepper to taste
2 t Balsamic vinegar
1/2 c walnuts, toasted and chopped
Heat oven to 450 degrees. On two rimmed baking sheets, toss brussels sprouts and grapes with oil and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, until caramelized and tender, about 20 minutes. Drizzle each tray with 1 teaspoon vinegar and scrape up any caramelized bits with a wooden spoon. Toss in walnuts.
Here’s what this looks like, before and after:
Naturally, I also made some desserts, but I’ll save those for another time!
Hope you had a wonderful weekend and are enjoying the start of the holiday season. And if you don’t celebrate Christmas and/or if you truly don’t understand how I could be down with something that is so founded upon stuff I detest, I hear you, and I apologize that this blog is going to be a bit ridic this coming month. I promise some of the recipes will be worth it though, kay? ;)