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Sunday, November 29, 2015

“LOVE LOVE ME ELF”

The Elf and Big Solid’s most FAVORITE holiday has come and gone for yet another year. We LOVE Thanksgiving. We typically spend it on the Redneck Riviera (Gulf Shores or Dauphin Island, AL) having a potluck Thanksgiving at the world famous Roadhouse, The Flora-Bama. Literally thousands of folks gather to celebrate with tons of great food and friendship and while certainly not vegan friendly, we always take plenty of vegan stuffs for us and to share. This year, however, with Marley’s recovery ongoing, we were a) not going to board him and b) not subject him to travel. In his Mama's lap with a warm pack on his incision site.

So, home it was. Enter our BFFs, Jesse and Mary Evelyn Dees, who opened their hearts and home to us. We always have our PJ Christmas dinner with them, but this year we celebrated Thanksgiving as well. Below are (left to right) Jesse, Mary Evelyn, Stonewall Jackson (Boston Terrier), Emmi (Jesse and ME’s daughter photobomb) The Elf and Big Solid.

And it was the PERFECT opportunity to make the FatFree Vegan Kitchen’s recipe of the week, Creamy Broccoli and Brown Rice Casserole.
 We have certainly been on a roll lately with our FFVK recipes but I think this one is one of my favorites. AND, it’s really easy to make! I must admit to being a bit intimidated by the number of ingredients listed in the sauce but when you actually get your ‘mis en place’, it’s a piece of cake. We only have the one final picture to share as we were so occupied making several recipes, we did not even think about ‘picturing’ as we went. We did take Susan’s idea of preparing ahead of time and warming before serving which was most helpful. We cooked a LOT of brown rice, withheld our recipe amount and froze the rest in smaller batches. Fun to have it handy when needed and you don’t have time to cook rice. But we regress--trust me, this is a KILLER recipe. We did adjust the cayenne seasoning from a pinch to a slight ¼ teaspoon which gave it just the snap and fire that we like. And, we took advantage of Susan Voisin’s suggestions of alternate ingredients instead of the chickpeas by adding some sautéed Shredded Chikun pieces.

 The Dees prepared a lovely and delicious Ratatouille seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil as well as some roasted potatoes, seasoned the same.
 

And then the final spread was such a bounty..including stuffed pork loin and turkey for those who wished! You may also note the nearly empty punch bowl that contained a lovely champagne punch for our pre-dinner enjoyment! The Elf was very happy with her dishes and ate like a little elf pig.

 We made an Apple Crisp that was TO DIE for (again, sorry no picture) and topped it with some Almond Milk Snickerdoodle ice cream. The Elf’s rendition of the Apple Crisp turned out JUST like the picture you’ll see on the link. We did have to bake ours a bit longer than the suggested 40 minutes but the taste and the crisp were outstanding.
 AND, Amaretto Freezes were the ‘piece de resistance’ (The Elf’s made with Almond Milk Vanilla Bean). This recipe includes an ounce of cream or half and half, which is certainly not needed.
Now, this is an example of vegan excess at its best (or worst) but, hey, it’s THANKSGIVING!! As usual, the tablescape was gorgeous and the camaraderie even better.

 Here are the MAN-BOYS Big Solid and Jesse with some après dinner clowning around.

It could NOT have been a nicer day.
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So—where do we go from here! Well, for our next FFVK elf-fort, we will make Homestyle Lentil Soup. It’s time to slow down the rush of the Kinky Elfery Kitchen for a week and get back into eating a bit less! We can have this soup and a half grilled vegan cheese sammich and be ‘jes fine!
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A quick word on mis- and pre-conceptions about vegan food…and we know we are singing to the choir here. HOWSOMEVER, a couple of recent conversations and Facebook posts/links have gotten The Elf’s attention. In our Body Pump class the other day, we were talking about our vegan Thanksgiving dishes and the preparation of analogue plant-based meats with a classmate. The response was an immediate “Oh I can’t eat tofu” and that reaction is not an uncommon one. So many people think that in order to be vegan, you have to adjust to really bad tasting foods. And, The Elf is the first to admit that she has tasted some vegan foods that have not been particularly mouthgasm inducing. That being said, MY GOODNESS but do we have delicious foods to offer people and we make it our life’s work now (more or less) to make things that people will taste and say, “DAYUM…this is good”. Sure, we run into recipes that don’t have quite the flavors we enjoy but hell’s bells, we are not going to quit being vegan because we found a recipe that didn’t do it for us. The stakes are too high and there is too much to benefit from eating plant-based. So, if we can continue to cook really good plant based foods to share with people, maybe we can eventually teach/convince/impart/communicate/instill/demonstrate/influence/persuade or otherwise convey that vegan food can be quite delicious! So there…
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And there you have another thrilling and exciting segment of Life in the Kinky Elfery Kitchen. We have some kinda cool stuffs coming up in the near future, if The Elf can figure out how to pull it off. In the meantime, breathe deep, laugh a lot, eat plants, love life and ‘DO EPIC’.
The Elf





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