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My name is Valerie. I am currently a grad student in Communication Studies (interested in art institutions and the internet) who thrives in a realm of yummy smells, instant and speedy wifi, and the artists, designers and thinkers who make everything worthwhile. Welcome to my website.

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30 December 2008 @ 8pm


Christmas 2008 Foodie Highlights

I really overdid it this year on cooking and baking – next year, I vow to simplify.  At any rate, most things were very successful.  Christmas was a blast.

First, I hosted a pre-Christmas lunch for the family.  I chose to make a three course meal, and made everything gluten-free (by using brown rice flour) since I have two family members who are gluten sensitive.  Part 1: Heart Beet Salad from Vegan Lunchbox cookbook – with roasted beets in the shape of bells (instead of hearts as it called for), how quaint.  This salad is highly recommended!  Roasted beets, walnuts, blood oranges, romaine and spinach with a balsamic vinagrette dressing.

Part 2:  Bubble and Squeak cakes from Veganyumyum (with homemade Old Bay spice since I could not find it in stores), covered in Chickpea gravy from Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook, which was delicious.  This was served with a side of lemon/garlic broccoli.

Part 3:  Gluten-free brownies!  Via Have Cake Will Travel.  These were fantastically fudgy and delicious, I highly recommend them as an exemplar of a great vegan brownie.  The secret ingredient is sweet potato!

Meanwhile, I had prepared some more Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns courtesy of Eat off the Sidewalk blog (took them out of the oven a little early to get them extra doughy), plus gingerbread cupcakes with lemon buttercream icing from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World cookbook.

Next, I had Christmas Eve dinner.  For this one, I made a more complex dish than I normally consider attempting:  Jumbo Shells Stuffed with Pumpkin-Tofu Ricotta-Fried Sage-&-Almonds with creamy tomato sauce, recipe via Vegan Eats & Treats.  Now it may not look too appetizing, but it was delicious.  I also whipped up the easy Chickpea Quinoa Pilaf from Veganomicon.

Since I had made a big batch of Chickpea Gravy I also used it for this meal on top of the extra veggies my family prepared: turnip, carrots, potato and cabbage, as well as the delicious dressing they were kind enough to set aside a vegan version of for us.

We had a fantastic holiday with both mine and J’s family, and felt extremely spoiled and lucky in both material and non-material ways.

Other nice bits:

Christmas morning tradition is pancakes – while others had gluten-free and non-vegan waffles, we whipped up the basic pancakes from Vegan With a Vengeance – with chocolate chips, of course!  and a side of pumpkin cinnamon bun and a delicious fruit sauce.

J’s family decided to make gingerbread men (vegan!) and decorate them very creatively.  My favourite?  “The Russian”:

Benjamin and Mars have been slowly becoming accustomed to one another.  Benjamin is still, sadly, acting abnormally resentful and standoffish.  And yet, recently we caught them on top of the cat tree together, sharing a little – dare we say – cuddle?

Finally, I recently met up with an old friend and did some hiking in the Gatineau hills.  It’s amazing how close the surrounding neighbourhoods are, and for a while we did a detour down one of the streets, when I caught this unusual photograph:

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday as much as we did.  As usual, more photos are available on my Flickr page.

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