Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm Still Alive!

After being MIA for weeks on this blog, I'm finally uploading some photos. My MacBook had to be sent out for repairs, but it took forever to hear back from the Apple Store that this was needed. I'm updating from work since I don't have my computer back yet.

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I had dinner at a friend's house for Friends' Thanksgiving, a yearly tradition of the host. I brought the 5-cheese baked mac & cheese from Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites, which went over quite well. Another vegetarian girl brought a Tofurky, so I enjoyed a big plate full of veggie-rich sides, Tofurkey, and mac & cheese. I used Follow Your Heart brand vegan cheese, since the other vegetarian girl is allergic to coconuts and Daiya uses coconut oil. I didn't snap a photo, but someone else did of the entire group in our paper bonnets and hats (yes, pilgrim hats were mandatory at dinner). I drove home on Monday and spent the entire week at home, working a little and spending a lot of time with my family. I made dinner for my parents on Monday, making the celebration stew with pumpkin biscuits from FatFreeVegan. The stew wasn't as thick as I expected, plus the color was really gray. Tasty enough to eat, but not something I'd make again. Didn't snap a photo since it was the last thing on my mind as I tried to spend time with both of my parents.

I saw my best friend on Tuesday and spent Wednesday with my sister. I was shocked to see how thin my sister is. She's always been a little heavy, but gained a ton of weight through her pregnancies. She's lost 115 lbs total and is almost my size! It was awesome to hear her say that she is eating a lot more fresh produce, plus her husband has lost 40 lbs too! Will definitely try to get a photo at Christmas, we were so busy that I didn't even grab my camera!

On Thanksgiving day, we had brunch at my grandma's house. We normally have brunch with my grandpa, but he's dying so he got the big dinner in the afternoon. My grandma wasn't particularly happy that she was hosting the brunch, but my sister made sure to take my grandma to dinner with my sister's in-laws. Anyways, at the big dinner, my vegetarian aunt made a tofu, red potato, and onion dish with miso gravy (likely from Vegan with a Vengenance, I saw it lurking in her kitchen) for our main dish (while everyone else enjoyed turkey), then all vegan sides of cornbread stuffing, green beans with mushrooms, roasted cauliflower with Kalamata olives, and the vegan pumpkin cheesecake for dessert (also likely from VwaV).


Since I didn't get any leftovers to bring home, I made my Field Roast (stuffed with hazelnuts and cranberries and wrapped in puff pastry) on Friday. I served it with mashed potatoes (since they were loaded down with dairy at Thanksgiving, courtesy of my other aunt's "famous" recipe), peas, and creamed corn. The Field Roast didn't seem to cook through the stuffing very easily, but that could have been due to my attempts to defrost it in the microwave. Overall, I enjoyed the Field Roast, but find Tofurkey to be easier to cook. I also got to enjoy cooking in my mom's recently remodeled kitchen. It was gorgeous!


After playing with our new baby goats and enjoying the LSU-Arkansas game on Black Friday, I made pumpkin spice donuts instead of going out shopping. I didn't add the apple, so I followed the suggestion for more pumpkin and less flour. These were so good that I made them twice during the week I spent at home to use up all of the pumpkin. I used 1 Tbs oil instead of flax seed the second time, since I didn't bring 2 Tbs of flax seeds with me. They held up fine. This was the first time I've used my donut cutter.


So after avoiding shopping on Friday, I spent Saturday morning with one of my aunts, my grandma, and my mom. We spent a few hours at their house just talking. My mom and I headed over to Bed Bath & Beyond to use up some coupons. I bought dark purple sheets and a pillow for my new daybed. I think I'm going to repaint it over Christmas, since I don't like the antique off-white color of the bed frame. I also took down all the heavy metal posters that have been on my bedroom walls since 1999 with the hopes that my mom will buy some paint to repaint the walls. The gray is getting a little old, since it's been on the walls since I was 12 or 13. I put up the Christmas tree on Sunday afternoon and then made the boring drive back to Jupiter, so I could prepare for my data meeting on Friday. I think my committee will be impressed and let me schedule my defense, but you never know with them...

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