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

 

Instructions:

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.

Riding Bikes in Valkenburg, Holland

Valkenburg

Valkenburg is a Dutch village in the Limberg province of South Holland. It is absolutely stunning and easily one of my favorite places I visited in my four-month, fourteen-country trip. The people are friendly, the countryside is unforgettably gorgeous, and the beer is cold and served with salty peanuts. Who could ask for anything more?

My friend Mireilla, who lives in The Netherlands, took me down to South Holland (and Ghent, Belgium) for a weekend while I was staying with her in June.

 

Valkenburg

Mireilla (left) and I, trying to figure out where to look into my smartphone for our selfies

 

On the morning after we stumbled onto an exquisite André Rieu concert, Mireilla and I decided to rent bikes for the day. After briefly considering biking to Germany (a possibility, but we’d have to get an earlier start), we ended up just riding around the hilly countryside of Valkenburg.

Though The Netherlands is known for being remarkably flat and therefore bicycle-friendly, this part of Holland is actually incredibly hilly. In fact, the Tour de France had a stage finish in Valkenburg in 1992 and 2006.

We biked somewhere between 20-30 miles (I can’t for the life of me remember, because we measured in meters, and now it’s been months. Let’s go with 30, because that’d be cooler.) and got real good and sweaty. We stopped for lunch and shared satay fries (fries with peanut sauce, the best thing I ate in Holland) and the hugest burrito-shaped spring roll I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Valkenburg

Valkenburg

 

 

Valkenburg

 

Valkenburg

 

 

Valkenburg

 

 

 

 

 

Valkenburg

 

Valkenburg

 

We stayed at the Hotel Lahaye, which I LOVED. It’s a family-run hotel that has been in operation for generations, and has a wonderful rustic quality. There is WiFi, but it’s a bit spotty, and though we requested a non-smoking room, you could tell guests have been smoking in those rooms for decades. But the owner was so friendly, and there’s a little bar that serves beer (with bar snacks, of course). Mireilla and I each ordered a gin and tonic, and each ice cube was placed with care by a small pair of tongs into our glasses. The hotel was just a quaint and lovely little place, and more affordable than the hotels closer in town.

Valkenburg

 

 

The room also comes with a complimentary breakfast.

Valkenburg

 

Speculoos cookie butter and chocolate sprinkles on toast. My perfect breakfast. (Note: I provided the chocolate sprinkles.)

This bike ride in Valkenburg is one of the main reasons I can’t wait to go back to The Netherlands. It’s such a stunning country with friendly people. And of course my dear friend lives there, so I imagine I’ll be back before too long.

 

Valkenburg

 

 

 

Vegan Mofo: Pringles in SE Asia

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Hello and happy Tuesday! Welcome to the last installment of snacky treats.

I missed posting yesterday–not for want of trying. I traveled via bus from Southern Thailand to Laos in a 48 hour span and a post simply wasn’t happening. I had planned a post about desserts in Budapest for the Sweet Treat portion, but that post may just have to wait for another time. So now it’s on to… Pringles!

 

My older brother Ahimsa is a vegan, and he travels around the world with his girlfriend Rachel in between teaching gigs. I’ve written about him before, and I’m currently traveling with the two of them in Thailand and Laos, which is great fun. I don’t see him often enough, so we always have a blast when we get to hang out.

 

He and Rachel have a vegan budget travel blog called Are We There Yeti, and a few years ago he posted about his favorite Pringles flavors of Indochina. That post sort of slipped my mind until I was in Vietnam last month with my friend Billy, on our way back from Halong Bay.

 

At the little mart where all buses stop to give their passengers the opportunity to buy expensive wood carvings, silk ties or snacks, I spotted a few wacky Pringles flavors. We knew we wanted to try a few of them (Pringles are often vegan, and often have ingredients in English, making it a good road snack for traveling vegans) so picked out the Hot & Spicy flavor and the Salty Seaweed.

pringles

Verdict: They’re both surprisingly good! I don’t know the last time I bought Pringles in the States, but as a safe vegan snack in SE Asia, they were just the ticket. One note: there’s also a regular ol’ seaweed flavor (not salted) that is just boring; don’t mistakenly get that one.

I still haven’t found the dill pickle (sadly) or the blueberry hazelnut (thankfully) Pringles my brother mentioned in his blog. But I still have two weeks; there’s time!

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Vegan Mofo: POPCORN ’round the world (OF COURSE)

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You know it was bound it happen. I cannot go a whole month writing about food and not include popcorn. So here it is, just in time for Thursday Mofo: Popcorn ‘round the world.

 

popcorn 'round the world

popcorn ’round the world

Luckily I discovered pretty quickly that popcorn is popular everywhere. Everywhere. I have yet to be in a country where I haven’t found popcorn for sale.  From Belgium to Budapest to Bangkok, I’ve been able to indulge in my—what do you call a minor obsession? Passion? Affinity? Extreme fondess?– good old fashioned love for popcorn.

 bites from abroad

From wasabi popcorn (totally decent and slightly addictive) to sweet and salty popcorn in-a-cup in Vietnam (perfect overnight train snack), I have been eating popcorn several times a month. Nowhere near my average of 3-4 times a week back in Portland, but not too shabby.

popcorn

 

I am actually on a nutritional yeast detox (this is the longest I’ve gone not eating nutritional yeast since eating solid foods), so even though all this popcorn has soothed my inner popcorn beast, I’m tremendously looking forward to getting home and enjoying a classic bowl of plain popcorn with coconut spray oil, nutritional yeast, and sea salt. Until then, though, I’ll continue happily munching on street ‘corn.

 

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