Again with the alliteration. I just can’t seem to help myself. It may be a vestige of my entirely left-brained day job which has been keeping me extremely busy of late. (Yes, thank you Facebook. I’m well aware 14 days have passed since my last post). I’m in the middle of budget preparation, then I have Year-End, then Audit preparation, then the Audit, and then…I’m planning a looooong vacation sometime in the Spring. Or maybe Summer. Just as soon as my schedule loosens up. I did allow myself a break on Wednesday last week. After all, I saw The Shining and I know how all work and no play turns out.
My co-workers and I had a Halloween potluck on Wednesday and I admit that, as a vegan, the word ‘potluck’ always makes me cringe a little. What all should I bring? Should I eat first? What if I do bring something and my co-workers think I’m weird? (a ship which, I’m sure, sailed long ago) I am fortunate in my co-workers. I have never experienced ridicule because of my diet from anyone I work with. There is, of course, teasing about bacon and sighing over cheese but nothing mean spirited and I’d be immersed in numbers and allocations indeed if I couldn’t handle (or dish out!) some gentle ribbing. I made the barley and tahini casserole from Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Life and, of course, brought the ubiquitous hummus. Dietary needs met! And, the casserole went over well. I received several requests for the recipe.
I was pleasantly surprised by how many other options there were for me. One co-worker had brought a quinoa, black bean, and corn salad while another had made an amazing spicy three-bean vegetarian chili: made vegan by leaving off the sour cream. With a fruit bowl, fruit skewers (an idea I’m stealing) and mixed green salad as options, I filled my plate with food. It turns out I work with quite a few vegetarians so my diet wasn’t an issue with this potluck. The only thing I couldn’t eat were the desserts but, as I’m steadily-with varying levels of success-cutting out sugar this wasn’t a bad thing. The cutest dessert was the Rice Krispy Treat Jack-O-Lanterns made by another co-worker who also keeps Black Bat and Frankenstein treats in her arsenal. I snagged one for my family and it was the very last one. Katie, (the Rice Krispy and marshmallow artiste) said some had gotten a little smished and I ended up with one of those. Still, I think the cuteness is visible in the photo. I am going to try to make something similar with Sweet and Sara vanilla marshmallows and I have to come up with a substitution for the stem. Katie used a tootsie roll but they contain whey. Dairy really does make its way into almost everything. I’m thinking licorice but, if anyone has a suggestion, let me know.
I am excited about heading into the holiday season. As the weather cools it’s possible to fire up the oven and I have so many recipes and experiments I want to attempt. I’ve been hoarding a bottle of cherry wine for months. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with it yet but a recipe will show up around Thanksgiving. My entire family wants to cut back on the baked goods so I’m looking to experiment with winter fruits. I’ve already marked out a baked pear dessert from my macrobiotic cookbook. I made it once before and it was amazing if a little sweet. I’m going to try it again with a few tweaks and see if, this year, my family and I can’t create some new holiday traditions. How about you? Do you and your families have healthy holiday traditions? I’d love to hear about them.