Christmas Time is a Hungry Time

Deck the halls with a ton of food!

My mother has a bad habit of letting me know about family events way too late, so I miss out on a fair amount of family gatherings. Due to short notice, I was regretfully absent from the extended family’s Christmas gathering/cousin’s baby shower the weekend before Christmas. But because my mother was recuperating from surgery through this past weekend, I got a bunch of time in with my immediate family (including my aunt, who is like a second parent to me).

What did we do for three days straight? Chatted, played some games, watched some TV. But mostly we ate. We ate and ate and ate. We munched on snacks through games, we had sandwiches, we had dinner, we had leftovers, we had dessert. We ate till we were full, then as soon as we were a little less full, we ate something else. No wonder people gain weight over the holidays. What are you doing other than sitting around and putting stuff into your body?

Maybe it was the overwhelming amount of eating done on Saturday, but I stayed away from the Christmas pictures until later this week, when I was of clear enough in mind and appetite to handle the food porn. But seriously, next year? Let’s just stick to vegetables.

In the realm of snacks, you could go a lot unhealthier than this. I was worried that James, who is vegan, would not have a whole lot to snack on, but I was pleased to see that both the pretzels and the above snack mix were completely dairy-free. The little dried peas were especially good, and I kept picking them out of the mix like a little kid.

I always trust my aunt to pick up some good cheeses for Christmas snacking, and she never lets me down. The cheese on far left (just peeking out from the crackers) is a peppadew gouda. The one in the center is a cranberry white cheddar. The third is, of course, a big ol’ slab of brie. (Cause it’s not a cheese plate without brie.)

I was tantalized by the bowl of fruit, then completely forgot about it once the cheese and crackers made their appearance. Shows you where my allegiances lie.

My salads always start off lovely then quickly degrade to ill-formed bowl of greens and veggies, but I rather like how this one came out. My brother was only a little peeved cause he had to root under the other greens to get just purely iceberg lettuce.

There really is no way to make a large container of potato salad look appealing, but whatever. For years, the only potato salad I could eat was my mom’s, which has just the right mix of sweet and sour and seemingly the perfect ratio of ingredients (despite the fact that I don’t think she’s measured them out in 20 years). Because she was recovering from surgery, we did most of the work on the meal, but she still had a hand in the potato salad, peeling and boiling the potatoes, mixing everything together, telling me just how many sweet pickles to add, pouring in just the right amount of pickle juice.

I was relieved, actually. A holiday meal without my mom’s signature potato salad would just not be the same.

They will be eating ham for weeks at my aunt’s place. This was a fraction of what they bought. Hopefully it’ll keep till New Year’s, when they can fry it up with some sauerkraut for a good traditional meal to ring in 2011.

Field Roast Grain Meat Co. Celebration Roast, made of wheat gluten, hazelnuts, and a round of other natural goodies. Unlike the seitan roast I made for Friendsgiving, this is not homemade, but purchased at Whole Foods. I seasoned it slightly with some poultry seasoning and garlic powder, and roasted it along side a bevy of delicious veggies (sweet potato, onion, carrots, but I left out the butternut squash cause I didn’t feel like going through the trial of peeling and slicing it).

The roast was delicious. Seriously seriously delicious. FRGM now offers a “Classic Meatloaf” that I’m going to have to track down and buy. This roast had a really nice outer texture – flakey, crispy, just a little buttery under the surface, and a soft, slightly crunchy inner texture that complemented the outside perfectly. It was flavorful without being overwhelming. It was kind of like phyllo dough filled with stuffing, but firm and easy to cut into slices. My mom even liked it.

Not pictured, but equally delicious was the Tofurkey vegan gravy that I bought to go with it. Again, I would have preferred to go homemade with everything, but there just wasn’t the time, plus I was at my aunt’s place sans most of my cooking/baking supplies. The Whole Foods nearby was more than accommodating. The Tofurkey gravy was great, better than a lot of vegan gravies I’ve had in the past, and the soy “giblets” were a really nice touch.

In addition to what is pictured, there were also biscuits, sandwich fixings, corn on the cob, vegetarian baked beans, and, of course, dessert. While the vegan roast didn’t make it past the day (me and James finished it off later in the evening) there were still leftovers as of Sunday evening. Chances are, they’re going to be working on that food for a while.

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One response to “Christmas Time is a Hungry Time

  1. For my family, it was grandma’s potato salad. Sadly, grandma is gone, so instead of trying to make potato salad, we do scalloped potatoes with the Christmas ham.

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