Pre-Thanksgiving (“Fakesgiving”) Meal with Mom


After my four month RTW adventure and house/catsitting 3 large loveable kitties for a month in Portland, I’m currently in Southern Oregon, visiting my mom and my little brother.

         I can’t remember the last time I’ve been able to spend more than a few nights down here; with so many projects and a very full-time job, I could only eek away a little bit of time to visit for the last decade. But now, I’m back, and while I try to figure out what’s next, I decided to come home to visit for longer than I’ve been able to in years.

Epicurious Vegan

      While I’m here for the week, my mom and I decided to celebrate an early Thanksgiving, or ‘Fakesgiving’ as my little brother named it. She’s vegetarian and I’m vegan, so eating together is always a huge joy to us. She writes a blog called Greenbird, and in honor of her 50th post, she wanted to write a joint blog post with me. I gladly agreed, as I’ve been writing less for my blog than I anticipated since I’ve been back. Job hunting, working on Vida Vegan, and catching up with friends over champagne and tacos takes up a lot of time, OK?

   ***Side note: Speaking of Vida Vegan, now that Jess, Michele and I are all back from our respective travels, we’re hosting an intimate Holiday How-To Party this December. Ticket price is $20 before November 24th, and includes demos of cocktails, mocktails, crafts and savory bites. It’s an entertaining workshop, done in an entertaining way. Admission includes demos, samples, a special take-home gift and limited edible artisan door prizes. Tickets available here.***


     For our early Thanksgiving, mom and I just wanted a few dishes, since we both easily go so overboard in excitement. Our ambition dwarves our appetites, every time.

FAKESGIVING | Epicurious Vegan

    After Googling and going through her massive recipe index, we settled on this menu:


  • Thanksgiving Stuffing Casserole with Soy Curls, Kale, & Sage (recipe loosely inspired by Veg Web)

  • Mashed Potatoes topped with Crispy Parsnip Ribbons (recipe from Vegetarian Times)

  • Gravy

  • Homemade Bread (recipe inspired by Oregon Live)

  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • Pumpkin Pudding with Salted Caramel Bourbon Sauce


I’m going to let mom take it away with her bread post, and then I’ll share my cheater salted caramel bourbon sauce recipe.

 Take it away, mom!

 Fakesgiving-- Epicurious Vegan



      I had a favorite bread recipe for many years, but it recently disappeared. My daughter remembered seeing a recipe for bread by Grant Butler and looked it up for me. I modified it somewhat. It came out pretty good. Here’s my modified recipe:

  • 2 packages baking yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ½ cup lukewarm water (It is very important to get the temperature right.)
  • 3 cups flour. You can use a mix of flours.
  • ½ cup oats
Pour the lukewarm water into a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast and the sugar and stir just enough to mix.  Dump in the flour and oats all at once and stir until just mixed. Cover with cloth and put in warm spot until doubled in size—about 2 hours. Place bread dough onto floured surface and flour your hands well. Knead lightly. The recipe say that you do not have to knead the dough, but I like to, so I do it anyway. Skip that step if you don’t.
Shape into loaf and put into oiled bread pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until browned on top, and it sounds hollow when you thump it. Remove from oven, and take out of pan and place on rack. Let cool. It’s hard to wait because it smells so good, but it will slice better.

   Thanks, mom! This bread came out just perfect. Golden brown on top, chewy and soft on the inside.

    Making pudding is very basic. You need milk, sugar, a thickener, and flavorings. With this pudding, I used vanilla almond milk, brown sugar, and corn starch.  I didn’t measure anything (SORRY!) but also added in cinnamon, freshly ground nutmeg, a titch of ginger, and some Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie vodka, just for fun. (Pumpkin Pie vodka tastes like PUMPKIN PIE. It’s the best.)

   Instead of a coconut whipped cream (my mom hates coconut. Sad but true.), my mom suggested a sauce (genius), so I threw this together.

   Note: this isn’t a real honest-to-goodness candy thermometer-type caramel, hence why I call it cheater caramel sauce. I don’t have the patience for that. It’s something I threw together that turned out really nice, so if you’re lazy or impatient like me, this sauce is for you.

PUMPKIN PUDDING | Epicurious Vegan

This tastes better than it looks, guys. DO YOU BELIEVE ME?

Cheater Salted Caramel Bourbon Sauce

serves 2-4

  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance

  • ¼ cup brown sugar

  • ½ cup non-dairy milk (I used vanilla almond)

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I’m a vanilla enthusiast; you may want to stick with 1 tsp if you’re a normal person)

  • 2 tablespoons bourbon or whiskey (I used Jameson’s, but Jim Beam Maple would be THE MOST IDEAL EVER)

  • pinch sea salt



Melt vegan butter and brown sugar over medium heat. Add salt and bourbon, stir. When the mixture starts bubbling, add the almond milk and keep stirring to prevent sticking. Let cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, adding vanilla extract about half way through.  Remove from heat.


Drink immediately. Ahem. I mean, pour on top of pumpkin pudding or dessert of your choice.

Read my mom’s Fakesgiving Post (her 50th post!) here! If you leave a comment on her blog, you’ll probably make her day and she’ll do a little dance.


I’m not sure what I’m doing for actual Thanksgiving, but I have a feeling it will include the Tofurkey Trot 5K and an entire coconut cream pie.

UGH. FINE. I’ll write a blog post, whatever.

I’m not saying I’m OFF Blog Hiatus, I’m just saying that maybe I’m taking a hiatus from Blog Hiatus. For a minute.

I’m in Amsterdam right now. I sort of went on Blog Hiatus in February, shortly before my birthday (I’m 33 now guys, but you better believe I can still move like I’m like 32) and before things got crazy with planning Vida Vegan Con (#VVC2013 for those that were there), giving my notice at work, selling all my stuff, and making plans to travel around the world for four months.

So then all that happened. Vida Vegan Con went off without a hitch (more like 10 hitches, amiright Jess and Michele?! ha!); I sold a few of my items in a haphazard yard sale then frantically left most of everything I own in a free pile outside my house the day before I flew out; I bought airline tickets & organised & planned travel adventures; I got a baby storage unit to hold my pictures, papers and books, finished up working at the BrewPub I’ve been with since I was a wee thing in my 20’s; and had a major panic attack and drank a bottle of Dom Perignon in the PDX airport the day I left.


fancy drinks with non-fancy friends at PDX

I almost got turned right back around at Heathrow Airport Customs (an exciting though harrowing beginning to my adventure); I bebopped around London for a few days with some friends (and even saw the future Queen of England, Kate Middleton, TWO FEET AWAY from me at the BBC) before heading up to Edinburgh on the train for the weekend, before heading back down to London Sunday, before heading up to Cambridge on Monday before getting wicked lost back in London on Tuesday before flying out to Amsterdam on Thursday.

It’s okay, I can’t really keep up either.

And now I’m here, in Amsterdam. I spent a few nights with my dear friend Alison from Northern England in the most horrid/hilarious hostel I’ve ever stayed in in the Red Light District (is it possible it feel dirtier AFTER taking a shower? Stay where I did and you can find out!) but we had a blast overall. Spent our time getting wet in the lovely Amsterdam summer weather and exploring museums (Rembrandt seems to have been a cool dude and I loved reading about his life and seeing his work with light) and drinking Heineken.

Now I’m on my first couchsurfing experience. Sorta odd, but pretty cool. My host Ernie is vegetarian, into the music scene and has a spare bike for me to ride. He lives in the most beautiful place, right by Oosterpark. I went on the most amazing bike ride of my life today. I felt like I was pedaling through a fairy tale. Gentle clouds floating through the sky, bunny rabbits hopping by while swans gave me a wary look, weird colorful little birds flying above, and tall green grass swaying in the light breeze.

I am fortunate that I’m getting to experience little slices of life all around the world. It’s what I’ve been dreaming about and scheming about for so long and I’m truly soaking up every minute.

These are a few of my pics from Instagram:


Cambridge Couple Walking at Dusk


Abby Road-.jpg

Crossing the Abby Road Crosswalk



Vegan Fish & Chips in London

Wanna see all my Instagram photos? They’re right here.

Announcing the Vida Vegan Con Contest Winner!


Oh hey! Hello February! Hello sunshine (in Portland)! Hello birthday month (It’s the 28th, in case you’re keeping tabs)!


I have some news for you.

VVC 2013


We have a contest winner! ‘Member last month, when I was all, ‘hey guys, send pictures or poems or whatever your little heart desires and you may win a ticket to Vida Vegan Con this May!’? Well, someone did. And this someone, who tweets funny stuff on the twitters, is called Josh Randall.

And I shall submit to you his poetic prowess now:


Fellow Vegans are you tired of trying to squint?

My eyes are fed up from reading – all this silly tiny print

As we – the growing few – have come to our better senses

That it’s not ok to use anything as our ingredients(es?)

So to come to this Vida Vegan event – it’ll be momentous

amongst a gathering of the beautiful and conscientious

the hippys, the happies, the healthy glowing radiance

the newbs, the die hard enthusiasts and of course – the vegan militants

Knowing you are all what you eat – means I do not have to scrutinise

As I find Vegans – besides reading ingredients – are easier on the eyes…


I don’t know much about poems, but I know this: if someone includes words like momentous and conscientious, it automatically makes a poem good. And rhyming? Forget about it.  Best poem ever.


Josh, congrats! You’re the winner! I will be contacting you with details shortly.


For the rest of y’all: if you didn’t win or came to this post too late, don’t fret. Michele has a contest going on (deadline: February 28) over at Vegtastic Voyage. 


We still have a limited amount of tickets left to purchase this year in case you missed the scholarship or giveaway entries.

See you guys this May at the most fun vegan summer camp around!







Win a Ticket to Vida Vegan Con 2013!


Well, hello there! You’re looking mighty fine and chipper today.

The second annual Vida Vegan Con is quickly approaching. We have just a few months to go before the end of May, when over 300 vegan bloggers, readers, authors, professionals and all-around awesome peeps descend upon Portland for a weekend of classes, panels, exhibits, off-site pop-ups, Silent Auction + Galarama, and of course, for food and for socializing.


Janessa, Michele and Jess at Vida Vegan Con 2011’s Vegnews Reception

2011’s event brought so many people together, and forged so many new connections and ventures. It’s actually sort of insane for us to think about. 2011 also introduced the greater vegan world to Homegrown Smokers’ Macnocheeto and Sizzle Pie’s dazzling vegan pizza options.


Art Museum Outside

View from the steps of the Portland Art Museum, where Vida Vegan 2013 will be held.

This year, as tickets are rapidly selling out, I’m here to offer you, adorable readers, ONE golden ticket*. This ticket will gain you admittance to the entire weekend of classes and meals, in addition to all official off-site events. This does not include transportation or lodging.

*Valued at $330.00

Golden ticket



Here’s the deal: Vida Vegan Con 2013 is going to be sweet. Hella sweet. If you want to come but don’t want to shell out the moolah, here’s what you do:

It’s simple.

Fill in the blank: I want to attend Vida Vegan Con 2013 in Portland, Or because ______________________.


In that blank, insert whatever you think truly captures why you want to come. Write a poem, draw a picture, take a picture, submit a video, bake a pie and then blog it, do whatever YOU think best represents you and why you want to come to Vida Vegan Con 2013. This is so open because I know all y’all are incredibly talented and I want to see your mad skillz.

Submissions will be judged by me and based on the awesome/ adorable/ heartfelt/ funniness of the entries.

If you have a blog submission, link to it in the comments. If you have tumblr/ instagram/ YouTube, or if you’re blog-less cuz you’re so off the grid baby but you still want to come to Portland to eat food and meet people (good on you), submit your entry to me via email (theveganword at I will be posting all entries on the blog, so no naked photos, sorry.

–> Deadline to enter: Monday February 18 <–

Get creative, ladies and gents! I can’t wait to see what you submit, and I can’t wait to see you at Vida Vegan Con 2013!!