The First Vegan Thanksgiving and Desert Adventures

This is proving to be a more difficult time of year to maintain a sense of regularity in the writing sphere. I did make a conscious decision NOT to bring a computer with me during our trip out to Phoenix for Thanksgiving, which was great since my carry-on was full of sweet potatoes our flights out. You can’t get the beautiful, orange sweet potatoes of the South out in AZ.

Despite a fairly packed schedule, our six day hiatus in the Valley of the Sun was fantastic. We hiked four days, taking on Shaw Butte twice, Inspiration Point out in the McDowell Mountains, and the Phoenix Preserve. Here’s a shot from pre-Inspiration Point (YES – look at those shorts! It was 75 degrees that day.)Image

View from the top:

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Are you inspired?

Of course, we had to visit at least one brewery on the trip. This time we checked out North Mountain Brewery, which is just a few miles from where I grew up. The back patio proved to be a bit too loud and the sun had already cooked us enough on the hike, so we enjoyed the beautiful interior – high ceilings with exposed beams, large tables and a expansive space. To get the most bang for the buck, I opted for the flight, which included their blonde, C.R.E.E.M. ale, British Mild, Irish dry stout, porter, tripel, and hefeweizen. Big BIG thumbs up for the porter and C.R.E.E.M. ale. The tripel was a boozy one (Aaron graciously helped me drink that sample).

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As typical in our Thanksgiving adventures, we had not one but TWO Thanksgiving meals, which created opportunities for both sides of my family to experience the glory that is vegan Thanksgiving. Alright, perhaps it is not a glorious as one could imagine, but I’ll share this: I actually felt good after eating this year. None of that bloat, stuffed, sleepiness that we so often associate with the traditional festivities. Some people seemed to feel sad that I was electing not to eat the turkey – and there was even question of whether I would not shun meat since it was a holiday. I don’t quite follow the same logic.

Per the tasting held a month ago with some girlfriends, I did make the Festive Chickpea Tart, which was a big hit:

ImageWe also had: roasted brussel sprouts, carrots and broccoli; beet salad, baked North Carolina sweet potatoes, and vodka cranberry sauce (yes, you read that correctly – delicious!). Of course, we also had turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, rolls, and macaroni & cheese. I did have a bit of sadness of not eating the deviled eggs. When I was a little girl, I helped my Aunt Bette make our traditional dish for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. As my cousin Emma grew older, I took the role of teacher and made the special eggs with her. This year, Emma took the reins as I supervised; at least the crowd thought the eggs were a big thumbs up!

ImagePutting the “devil” final touches on the eggs

Our second Thanksgiving meal was Friday with my dad and Uncle Phil. Bless my Uncle Phil’s kind heart! He was so conscientious of what foods he prepared adhered to non-meat and dairy standards. It was another incredibly delicious meal full of bean salad, wild rice, more sweet potatoes, sauteed asparagus, and salad.

Then, it was back to reality on Wednesday morning: boot camp, board meeting, grocery shopping. Oh, and it’s Christmas soon? Next post will highlight our initial Christmas adventures and what’s cooking thus far in December.

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