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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter 2014

            Hello once more!  How was your: a) Easter; b) Sunday; c) 4/20; d) all of the above?
            Mine was pleasant enough.  To clarify, I was celebrating Easter and not 4/20.  I wasn’t celebrating it for any religious purpose – mainly it’s just a family gathering for me.  Any reason to get together to eat food and talk and take pictures is good enough for me.  Plus, I had a fun 3-day weekend, which is a rarity unless I request off of work.
            Meal-wise, back when I was an omnivore, Easter was filled with ham, broccoli casserole, and sweet potatoes with marshmallows melted on top.  I didn’t really stray far from those three staples but I would always overdo it and stuff myself silly.  When I went vegetarian, Easter wasn’t that hard of a holiday to survive since I just cut out the ham and loaded up on the other two dishes.  This was before I quickly realized not even marshmallows qualified as vegetarian but before I realized that, it seemed to work out just fine for me since the remaining two dishes were always my favorites any way.
            In fact, most holidays since going vegetarian and then vegan weren’t too terribly sad or difficult because most of my favorite dishes were already vegetarian.  I had my fair share of turkey or pig but my favorites were always the side dishes.  Sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, broccoli casseroles – these were just a few of my favorite things.  (You’re now singing that song in your head, aren’t you?  You’re welcome.)
            Even going vegan wasn’t too bad because my wife always stepped up and dominated.  I was never lacking in amazing dishes holiday after holiday, year after year.  I never felt jealous or disappointed or wishing for a bite of food that wasn’t vegan.  In fact, quite truthfully, I thought the dishes I was eating since the transition were far tastier.  And my favorite holiday dish, my aunt’s sweet potatoes, was still available to me because she used vegan marshmallows on a small portion of potatoes just for me to enjoy.  Seriously, Dandies vegan marshmallows are amazing!  I was a marshmallow addict before going vegan and I am serious when I say these are far superior.  I can eat nearly the entire bag without being violently ill.  Check them out!
Don’t even get me started on the countless desserts my wife would toil away making for each holiday, either.  That’s a completely separate entry.
            This year was a bit more low-key for foods but still amazing, none-the-less.  We kicked breakfast off with zucchini waffles that my wife made, which sounded odd to me but turned out great!  It was a test recipe she made for a vegan blogger (at Cupcakes and Kale), Jess Nadel.  I was sad that there were only two to eat.  I’m sorry but I was in such a rush to scarf breakfast down that I didn’t bother taking a photo or two.  I’m still getting used to the whole “always have a camera handy so you can blog about it” thing.  I’m a fool!  I will just say that you are in for a treat if this recipe makes it to the blogger’s cookbook.
            We didn’t eat dinner at the family gathering but we did bring a chocolate-orange cake from Nava Atlas that could be found in her book, Vegan Holiday Kitchen.  Vegan desserts always seem to go over really well with omnivores.  It goes over even better when you don’t tell them it’s vegan before they eat it.  The reaction is generally always, “It’s vegan?  Whaaaaaaaa?” and then they eat more.  That is, it’s the reaction if they don’t already know you’re vegan.  I quite enjoyed it because it had the perfect balance between chocolate and orange flavor.  Some times you get a lot of chocolate where the orange flavor is overpowering but this was perfection.

When we ended up eating a real meal afterward, dinner included a lemon-asparagus risotto dish, a citrus roasted tofu dish, and a cinnamon-roasted baby carrot dish.  All were quite good but the risotto was my favorite.  I love risotto and I could probably eat it every day.  This risotto was baked in the oven, too, which made it a bit unique.  Not that I could tell.  Like I’ve said, my wife is the cook.  You could tell me you made the risotto on the grill and I probably wouldn’t know what that meant.  The tofu was my second favorite.  I was quite happy that there were leftovers, too.  All three dishes came out of Nava’s book, as well.

Then we had yet another dessert – carrot cake cupcakes.  They were amazing!  Thank god for my fast(ish) metabolism because I could’ve had the entire batch in one sitting.  If you think the picture is mouthwatering, imagine being in the same room with them.  I’m just glad the pictures I took turned out because I was drooling all over the plate.  These, too, came out of Nava’s book.  Have I won you over yet with this book?  Go get it and you can be in flavor heaven, too!

We finished the night with a nice walk to work off all that food.  A very nice Sunday off of work.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go eat leftovers because all of this typing has made me hungry.  Until next time, keep calm and vegan on!

The Easter Bunny photo was found using Google Image Search HERE.
You can follow Jess Nadel at a myriad of places besides her blog.  On Twitter it's @cupcakesandkale
You can follow Nava Atlas on Twitter, too: @navaatlas2

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