Very vegetarian holidays

Despite being a vegetarian half my life, I have never strayed from a fake-meat main dish and vegetarian sides for the holidays. This year, in my quest to eat less processed food and try new things in my 30s, I decided to forgo the pre-made fake frozen products. I wanted to make a meal centered more on vegetables from scratch that is tasty and easy for anyone to prepare. I took charge of my food and let vegetables shine on a day centered around turkey.

Through November I compiled recipes on my Pinterest board and clipped from print. Some of my best resources include a New York Times interactive, Well’s Vegetarian Thanksgiving, and roundups of recipes from blogs I like, including Lunchbox Bunch and The Kitchn.

After finding recipes, I had the difficult task of narrowing them down to one meal. I have come across so many recipes I want to try, I plan to make some different food for Christmas and as I receive food from my CSA.

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving dinner

For Thanksgiving, I made a homemade tofu loaf, which was the big project outside my comfort zone. However, it wasn’t that hard or time-consuming and I would recommend it for anyone who is trying to eat healthier or fewer processed foods. The recipe involves pureeing the ingredients and putting them into a loaf pan and baking. Seriously, that easy. I put homemade stuffing inside (another simple recipe).

I also made cranberry sauce (which I make every year so I can make cranberry salsa with the leftovers), mashed potatoes (favorite food!), a spinach salad and, for dessert, a pumpkin roll similar to a jelly roll with homemade cream-cheese frosting.

I had planned to make a butternut squash with wild rice stuffing, but there was too much food, so I made it the next day to have with leftovers. For my work potluck, I made couscous salad with dried cranberries and pecans, from the New York Times blog mentioned above.

Whether you are a vegetarian hoping to bring vegetables back to your table as the centerpiece, are cooking for a vegetarian or are looking for new side dishes, I highly recommend looking around for holiday recipes that take the rich, savory flavors available in late fall and incorporating them into the holiday meals.

As many people have done this fall, feel free to send me vegetarian links, or feel free to look around at the links I got recipes from. If anyone uses a recipe mentioned here, I would love to hear about it, or to find out what other vegetarians eat for the holidays.

Things that make me LOL (11/24/10)

REALLY IT’S ONE LULZ, ONE SERIAL

Its been a busy week and I let my Hulu queue and Google Reader pile up. After kind of catching up, I found a few things to share.

Clip of the week

I’ve watched every Modern Family episode, but still have a hard time getting onto it. Since Arrested Development was taken off the air too soon, I have been cautious and critical of new shows. I now compare every comedy to that brilliant, dysfunctional show.

Despite not getting into Modern Family, I keep giving the show a chance. Last Wednesday my dedication paid off.

The show is about a father, his two grown children and their families. The core family is Type A, all business. This episode dealt with that dynamic. This clip has Mitch, the tightly wound son, dance in a flash mob as “my love letter to Cam” his fun-loving boyfriend.

Everything about this clip gives me hope for the show’s future. The music, the dance, the lawyer cutting loose for love, all are great. And I owned the tape the song is on when I was little. Yes, tape.

Song of the week

I love director Spike Jonze and music group Arcade Fire, so when I heard Mr. Jonze directed the video for the new Arcade Fire song, The Suburbs, I knew it would be great. The song is great and the video shows how not everything is as it seems and there can be a dark side to the suburbs. Spike Jonze does a great job at showing emotion.

If this looks and sounds familiar, Spike used the Arcade Fire song Wake Up in the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are.

Things that make me LOL (11/13/10)

I’m back for another week of Internet LOLs. This won’t be a weekly thing, more when I happen to find things online that I want to share, but the first two posts are a week apart (very receptive, if you noticed that!).

Song of the week

This week OK Go released a new music video. They always have exciting and visual videos and, for this one, the entire video is drawn on toast and shot in stop motion, a style I love and — as someone who could work on her patience — admire. It’s a great song to boot.

Skit of the week

I didn’t watch much late night TV this week, but I saw Jimmy Fallon tweet Biz Markie and Jeff Goldblum sing “Just a Friend” and I knew I had to watch. It is better than I imagined; Jeff Goldblum always surprises me.

Show of the week

Conan O’Brien is back! I work when the show is on and don’t have TBS, but my friend Sean (a fellow fan of comedy and Internet randomness) alerted me to the fact that the show’s website is rich in content, offering full episodes and clips.

Here, Conan tells how he came to name his show, and other possible names, my favorite being ‘Laying Cable — Basic Style.’ I’ve already bookmarked the site.

Anything else I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.

Things that make me LOL (11/6/10)

Or: Time sucks I want to share with you

This week has been long and crazy. I worked six long days, but I managed to find a few ways to keep my sanity. I’m not just talking about all the post-Halloween candy that people brought into work. Here are some of my favorite pop culture items this week:

Quote of the week

On 30 Rock, Jack Donaghy is looking for an employee to be his mentee. He isn’t happy with the attitudes of the young employees when one, never looking up from his cellphone, says:

“BTDubs, I have 10 minutes until I have to leave for my ironic kickball league.”

Everything about that sentence is great. I love Urban Dictionary-worthy terms and am in a kickball league.

Skit of the week

Zach Galifianakis is hilarious. This week he was on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and they did a skit that still makes me laugh.

 

If you have recently become a fan, or hadn’t seen or heard of him before The Hangover, you must watch his Funny Or Die series, Between Two Ferns. In the series, he interviews famous people as they sit between ferns. His questions are off the wall, awkward and usually inappropriate.

If you have Netflix and want more, it’s worth your 90 minutes to check out Zach Galifianakis: Live at The Purple Onion on Instant Netflix.

Photos of the week

Suffering from a two-day post-election hangover, I needed some cute in my life. Salon.com delivered, with this slideshow of baby animals.

Song of the week

Every time The Black Keys’ Tighten Up comes on the radio with its bluesy and rock sound, I can’t help but sway to the music. Check it out!

Anything I missed? Let me know; I’m always interested in Internet gems.

I’m 30. Now what?

Cumpleaños Carolina

Creative Commons photo by Flickr user Carolina Hornig

Three weeks ago, I turned 30. For the past 12 months, I had fretted the event. The first six months I was in denial and feared starting a new decade. The second half of the year I accepted that I was getting older and reflected on my 20s a lot. In the end, like the Y2K bug, turning 30 was a lot of hype with little problem.

Thirty is slowly starting to sink in. I have began to realize it is here to stay, and I’m not about to dwell on the past but am learning to embrace it.

When I was 20, my path for the decade was certain: I would finish college and start my career in journalism. My professional goals were to land a design job at a well-designed and -respected newspaper. I was single when I was 20 and my main concerns were schoolwork, my jobs and hanging out with my friends. I lived two hours from my family and saw them what was the right amount at the time.

During my 20′s I had great experiences: I met a wonderful person and, despite a long-term, long-distance relationship, we lived in the same city and worked together after college. I worked my way up through newspapers to be a 1A designer at a mid-sized paper in a competitive market that is never short on interesting news. I moved from Iowa to Georgia and now Florida.

No longer am I trying to find and establish myself, but work on becoming a better version of me. I can apply everything I have learned about life in the past decade and use it for the future.

The problem is, I don’t know what the future holds. What comes next? Sometime I would like to move closer to family, buy a house and start a family. I work in an industry that is — and may always be — downsizing. I probably can’t stay a print journalist forever. I’m not sure what my next step is; I’ve wanted to be a journalist since I was 13.

I would love to have some goals for this or the next few years. I would love to start something with which I could see progress. I’ve never been into running in the least, but have thought about possibly training to run a 5k. It would get me moving with a clear goal accomplished in the end. Or maybe I should kayak or bike to a campsite and camp for a night; I have always wanted to be more outdoorsy. I would love to put another stamp on my passport soon, maybe to South America, though I don’t know much about the area.

The more reflection I have done, the more I realize I had a great time in my 20s, and it has helped make me who I am, but I’m ready to embrace my 30s with open arms and a new sense of adventure.