Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Happy Trails Compassionate Thanksgiving Dinner

Can you believe Thanksgiving is only 2 weeks away? Get planning, folks! Last weekend I had the honor of attending Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary's annual Compassionate Thanksgiving event in my hometown of Stow. After speaking with our tablemates, it became clear that this year's event was much more hopping than previous years. Just look at that line for food! I couldn't capture the entire line, plus we went up in sections to get our food because the place was so packed!

In such a small urban area like northeast Ohio, I was truly shocked, impressed, and touched to find so many vegans or veg-friendly folks gathered in one spot. The real kicker? I didn't know any of them! So my handful of vegan friends weren't even a part of the total tally! It was a great feeling. Reminded me of VVC. <3

The event's catering was provided recipes by Chef Scot of the late VegiTerranean. This was the major pull for me deciding to attend, seeing as I won't have another chance to eat Veg recipes, since the place closed down. The meal was fantastic, too. Gut-busting, even - I couldn't move afterwards! Let's begin.

Appetizers were served upon our arrival: butternut squash hummus with pita bread and veggies, as well as a nice and simple veggie dip. This hummus was outstanding! I can never make a decent hummus, but I'm seriously going to try my hand at this one... it was thick and creamy, slightly sweet with that familiar tang of lemon and the heartiness of the chickpeas. Damn. (I foolishly went back for seconds!)

First course: celery root soup and greens salad with roasted root vegetables, dried cherries, and a balsamic vinaigrette. The soup really shined here, and I had no idea what to expect, never having had celery root anything. It was creamy and mild, reminding me of broccoli stems (yum) and with the right balance of saltiness. I no longer fear the celery root!

The salad... I was not crazy about. There's something about roasted vegetables served cold that turns me off. Plus I couldn't identify some of the veggies and that worried me. There were some odd textures and it just didn't add up. The cherries and balsamic, however, complemented the greens nicely and so we both ate around the veggies.

Oh gosh, the main course. How did I ever have room? Here we have stuffing and a thin, herby gravy, sweet potato casserole, green beans, and Gardein's Savory Stuffed Turk'y. The plate was just wonderful: sweet, salty, crunchy, creamy. The turk'y, which I've prepared on my own and loved, was a bit dry, but I attribute this to the buffet-style serving method (heating element underneath and open air above). I hope this did not turn anyone away from this impressive product.

And what's that hiding in the background? Pumpkin pie? VEGAN pumpkin pie?! Yes. It was delicious, delicious torture to polish off this slice, but I made it happen folks...

We had happy bellies, good conversation with our fellow guests, and a renewed understanding that Thanksgiving can be delicious and enjoyable without cruelty.

Ahh, and here is proof of my homemade turk'y dish! Served with canned green beans (nostalgia!) and smashed red tatoes with garlic. The gravy that comes with these nuggets of awesome is some of the best I've tasted, by the way. Give it a try!

Now, onto planning for Thanksgiving proper! I will be having my dad, his partner, and my brother over again this year and am serving up our fourth year of vegan T-give eats and sweets. What are you super-mega-excited to create this year??

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Halloween

Happy post-Halloween blogging, everyone!

I'm sad to have missed the last few days of MoFo... I just can't seem to get into the consistent blogging pattern! Plus, the multitude of others' bloggy awesomeness made it that much harder (and intimidating, jeez!) to find the time to both surf and post.

I did have some nice pics of some of the meals I've prepared recently and a few restaurants, although there were multiple complications with my phone and now all of my photos (food and other) are gone. :( Very sad. But luckily I uploaded some Halloween pics!

Halloween is one of my favorite times of year and I try to dive as far into all of its activities as I can. This year I visited two pretty kickass haunted houses, went to a few parties, celebrated at multiple work functions, and hosted my own bash!

You can tell what sort of ambiance I was trying to achieve with this dimly lit pic... lots of candles and spooky lights. Decorating my place was so much fun! I get most creative around Halloween and haven't had the motivation or need to decorate for a party the last two years because of my living arrangements. I was most excited to go all out this year.

Here's a pic of the spread - it was already dark and I have no overhead lighting, so this is the best I could do! We have:
  • Pretzels and agave mustard dip
  • Cucumbers, crackers, and spinach dip (silken tofu and a seasoning packet - quick & easy!)
  • Pumpkin Pie Brownie bites
  • Vegan onion ring chips (fake Funyons!)
  • Pizza bites: baguette with marinara and Daiya (not pictured)
Along with the hot apple cider spiced rum, some good tunes, and wonderful company - the night was quite a success.

Whoa... who is that?! It's Lieutenant Jim fucking Dangle of the Reno sheriff's department. Want some more?

That's right. I love Reno 911! more than almost any form of entertainment that has ever existed. PROOF of its awesome-nitude. You see, every year, to send a big "fuck you" to the sexy/slutty/skanky lady costumes that nauseate us everywhere we turn, I cross-dress as one of my favorite male characters. Also, I might just like dressing as a dude sometimes, so what.

Hope you had a great Halloween! I have some awesome stuff coming up, including a very special event I'm attending tomorrow. Plus, I have some more giveaways up my sleeve! See you around!