So Much Christmas

My weekend in a nutshell: so much incredible vegan food, and SO MUCH CHRISTMAS!

H and I kicked it off Friday night with a quiet evening in, with a nice bottle of wine and the movie White Christmas.
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And I had takeout from the Walnut Grille:
Christmas 2 002This was the Nutty Tofu and it was SO GOOD.  The texture of the tofu was absolutely spot-on and the contrast with the nutty crust just made it so much fun to eat.  I really, really enjoyed this.

If you follow me on Twitter, you already know that on Saturday morning I treated myself to a very indulgent holiday-themed breakfast!
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Later in the day we finished up some holiday decorating:
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Yup, we’re those people.

I also got a start on the treats we’re going to be giving to our neighbors:
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Chocolate-covered pretzel rods with toasted coconut sprinkled over them.  I’m going to do some with crushed candy canes and some with crushed pistachios too!  I’ll post a picture of the final product when it’s ready for gifting.

While Stewie kept things weird:
Christmas Observed 005I think he just really loves the expression about letting the cat out of the bag and never tires of it.

Then on Sunday, H and I celebrated Christmas with his family.  We did it early this year because not all of us will be able to be together on Wednesday.

Christmas Observed 010Wasn’t it a beautiful holiday table?

It really felt like Christmas Day!  We did breakfast and presents in the morning, then family dinner in the evening.

For appetizers, it was requested that I bring my homemade hummus and I was happy to oblige!  I even dressed this one up in festive red, green, and white (smoked paprika, za’atar, and pine nuts!).
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#hummusisafoodgroup

My mother-in-law had also picked up these veggie pakoras with sweet and sour dipping sauce for an appetizer.  They were great!
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Then for the main course, I enjoyed roasted portabellos, maple sweet potatoes, asparagus, and roasted carrots.
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And after dinner, I got the gift I wanted most–a Patriots victory over the Ravens.  Sidenote: I loathe and despise the Ravens.

Our “fake” Christmas felt really real, so it’s kind of funny to think that tomorrow and Wednesday are the actual holiday.  I still need to put in a little more time in the kitchen (finishing the neighbor gifts mostly, but also I want to bake something fun [maybe cinnamon rolls??] for Christmas morning).  Overall I am ready to just unplug, relax, and enjoy the day!

How was your weekend?  

Party On

Despite all of the craptastic snow, H and I went ahead with our holiday party on Saturday.  Although a lot of people had to bail, we still ended up with a crowd of about 20, so I’m glad that we kept the party on!waynes-world

“While Marty stepped up as our storm-watcher…

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…H went and got our Christmas fir.”  (I think he picked a perfect one!)
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“The stockings were hung by the chimney fireplace with care…
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While Ashley ran around the kitchen, trying not to despair.”

Actually, I am proud to report that I succeeded in my goal of not being a complete psycho with the menu this time around.  Of course, there was still plenty of work to be done, but I’m getting pretty adept at making a week long, day-by-day to-do list leading up to parties, and it makes it so much easier to manage my time efficiently.

Here are some pics of the festive eats!

Holiday Party 007Homemade hummus with veggies and crackers. Classic.

Holiday Party 005Becky’s Spinach Artichoke Dip with Garlic Cashew Cream (because I will never again host a party which doesn’t include this magical app).  This got demolished by the guests and as usual, everyone was surprised to find out it contained no dairy.

Plus tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa, several bowls of regular chips (in various flavors), and pistachios too.  The spread:
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And of course drinks.  So many drinks.  In the photo above, you can see the beginnings of the Mazal Tov Cocktail going into the punch bowl.

For entrees, I had a chili bar complete with cornbread, although apparently I didn’t take any pictures of that.  I also did Smoky Pumpkin Mac n Cheese by Jackie of Vegan Yack Attack, which I baked with breadcrumbs on top.

Holiday Party 020I like this recipe but I wouldn’t make it again for a party.  It was hard to keep it warm and it seemed to dry out after reheating.  Plus, it really benefits from the addition of sriracha, but I didn’t feel comfortable stirring that in because I try to go easy on the spiciness when serving to a mixed crowd, especially one that includes children.  There ended up being a lot leftover, which is great for me, because I’ll be eating the tasty leftovers all week (with all the sriracha my little heart desires).

And, finally, dessert!

Mini cupcakes (I used the Golden Vanilla Cupcakes recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Chocolate Buttercream from the same book, plus pretty pink sprinkles!):
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A platter with assorted flavors of homemade holiday candy cups (recipe coming soon!) and Chloe Coscarelli’s Chewy Ginger-Molasses Cookies:
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Loving my super-retro serving platter, courtesy of Grandma 🙂

And arguably the biggest hit of the whole party, Grinch pops:
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I cannot take any credit for this idea, as I borrowed it from the Interwebs, but I will say that these were delicious as well as super-cute, and the kids at the party particularly loved them.  I will definitely be making these again!

Oh, and in case you had been wondering what, if anything, the fourth member of our household contributed to the party preparations, you’ll be pleased to know that Stewie got involved by testing the capacity of the trash bags:

Holiday Party 028It’s a good thing he’s pretty.

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Hope you all had a great weekend!