04 November 2013

Our 10th Annual ThanksVegan (TV10)

Well, to be honest, many years ago, when we realized that our ThanksVegan tradition was going to be around for a while, I sort of assumed that we'd be really well off by the time we reached our TENTH ANNUAL ThanksVegan (which seemed so far away). I figured we'd be wealthy enough to fly off to Vegas or Chicago or, come on, at least Fort Worth and have a Destination ThanksVegan like we've always talked about doing, where we gratefully enjoy fine vegan dining in a top notch restaurant prepared by stellar chefs and served to us with little or no effort on our parts.

Instead, we celebrated TV10 with these little rascals on board. And you know what? It was perfect.

Dylan, age 11 months - Clara age 14 months

Rascally Julia was around too, but she is increasingly hard to photograph as she hardly ever sits still. This was now her fourth ThanksVegan (really? No… well… yeah, I guess it is!) and with the addition of the babies, we now amount to a pretty intrusive entourage in the grocery store, and grocery shopping as a group IS an important part of the tradition. That's 7 people shopping for vegan groceries. Oh, and did I mention that Jon was in a wheel chair because he'd just had knee surgery? That's one stroller, one wheel chair, one kids' car shopping cart, and 3 very distracted adults with grocery lists. Fun for us. Perhaps less so for the other shoppers trying to scoot past us. 

the entourage
At home, while the children napped (there were about 5 minutes when I think all 3 kids were asleep at the same time) we reminisced on past ThanksVegan meals (the "tofurkey" at TV1 - never again; our all-breakfast ThanksVegan at TV9 - our most untraditional) and tried to remember what it was like to have so much time to cook and no babies to chase around. Can hardly remember!

The meal

The truth is that we are old hands at this ThanksVegan meal now and those long hours in the kitchen fly by with ease. Jon, hopping across the kitchen on one leg (Hoppin' Jon!), determined to do his part, did most of chopping while the rest of us took turns cooking, setting the table, or wrangling babies. We did outsource our main course and the gravy. Since we are just minutes away from the beloved Eden Alley, we made arrangements to get our very own Spinach and Mushroom Loaf and Mushroom Gravy; it was a perfect main dish. 

I still can't believe it's been 10 years. And yet - in some ways - I can. We have very happily come a long way since then. And I, for one, am grateful. 

The Meal
- Eden Alley's Spinach and Mushroom Loaf
- Eden Alley's Mushroom Gravy
- Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted, Spiced Sweet Potatoes (Smitten Kitchen)
- Sauteed Kale
- Asian Green Beans (a la Erin)
- Butternut Squash Soup (Teany - from this book)
- Jellied Cranberry Sauce and Whole Cranberry Sauce … yes, from a can. Don't judge!
- Fennel Raisin Bread from The New Traditionalist baker who just happened to write to me the morning of ThanksVegan and say, "Can I bring you some bread today?" Um, yes! Perfect!
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Vegan pie for dessert

01 November 2013

"Hayoween" (Halloween 2013)

Ghost entourage: we hung these in our car for Trunk or Treat
and in our house for Halloween night.
Julia helped me decide what kinds of faces to give them.

Our second Halloween in this house and I am still marveling at how fun this neighborhood is on this holiday. The picturesque blanket of fall leaves, the funny little costumes, the steady stream of revelers.

Having children + living in this neighborhood
= a love of Halloween I never imagined. 
On my door step I greeted all kinds - kids who were too shy to say "trick or treat" and kids who were too distracted to say "thank you" and kids who were too old to be kids and too cool to have costumes but who wanted candy anyway. 

Not to mention my own children who have taught me that it hardly even matters what costume a kid wears; when that kid is yours and she puts on a costume and smiles at you, you will think she is - without any shadow of a doubt - The Cutest Thing Ever. And you will be right. 


Clara soaked up the whole experience happily. And mostly kept her bear hat on. Julia loved being a dinosaur (even if she didn't love wearing her full costume completely all the time). She did a good job and made a lovely little roar when prompted.

Oh, and I just remembered my favorite trick or treater last night - a little girl who got her candy, said thank you, turned away down my steps, stopped, picked up a bright red leaf from among the thousands of leaves on my lawn, and turned around to come back and give me the leaf ... as if it were the most important thing in the world.

And for that split second, it was.