Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas 2015

I observe Christmas in a strictly secular sense, which means making a yummy lunch to share with my family, lots of kitty hugs and some nice presents. Christmas tends to be a bit sad as well, as we are missing Gizmo, Possum and Spock from our family. The last week I had Gizmo home was over Christmas in 2011, so Christmas without her now is always harder.

Christmas Tree

I started my Christmas morning with a 7.30am bikram yoga class. I have been practicing bikram for just over two years, and it is a pretty great way to start off a day that is going to involve a lot of food! The Christmas morning class is the busiest class of the year at the studio, which does mean overcoming some panic about being packed in with that many people, but I was able to get through it and enjoy a lovely class. When I got home, we opened presents and then I snacked on some fruit while getting lunch ready. I got some lovely gifts, including the first three volumes of the Buffy Season 10 graphic novels, a new cookbook, a couple of DVDs and a 6 months subscription to a new Australian-based vegan mystery box (I will report when the first one arrives!). Anyway, let us move on to lunchier topics.

This was actually a fairly simple lunch to put together. There some time involved, but nothing complicated.

Festive Kale Salad with Sweet Apple-Cinnamon Vinaigrette from Oh She Glows: I massaged the kale the night before and left it overnight in the fridge to get really nice and soft. I actually had chopped the kale and made the dressing on the Wednesday so I could massage it together when I got home after work on Thursday. This is a really nice salad, with a great dressing and the apple, cranberry and pomegranate seeds (I seeded my first pomegranate for this) gave lots of nice sweet bursts. The pecan parmesan was also really nice, and added a salty contrast. I added a bit more nooch to the parmesan that the recipe required because nooch is life. This made a hefty amount of salad as well!
Rating: :)

Festive Kale Salad with Sweet Apple-Cinnamon Vinaigrette & Pecan Parmesan

Pan-Fried Paprika-Spiced Sprouts from Keep It Vegan: This came together very quickly and easily. The recipe calls for finely sliced Brussels sprouts, I sliced my sprouts in half and then sliced them into four or five strips depending on the size of the sprout. I wouldn't call it finely, necessarily, but it was fine! I used black sesame seeds on top instead of toasted sesame seeds because I have some to use up.
Rating: :)

Pan-Fried Paprika-Spiced Sprouts

Cumin-Spiced Carrots from Keep It Vegan: I was able to get a small pack of rainbow carrots to make this very pretty. The carrots are boiled first, and I took Aine's advice to boil the purple ones separately! They are then sauteed with some butter, herbs and spices. There is the option to use some agave or pomegranate molasses for some sweetness, and I used the pomegranate. I found that I needed to add quite a bit of salt to this. The recipe recommends drizzling with olive oil before serving, which I forgot, but I would recommend as they were a smidge dry.
Rating: :)

Cumin-Spiced Carrots

Cinnamon Citrus Cranberry Sauce from Keep It Vegan: This is definitely my new go to cranberry sauce! You need to make this at least the day ahead, I made it two days ahead. Cranberries are cooked down with orange, cinnamon and some other spices, and then as it chills it mellows into this amazing sauce, with lovely flavours. Definitely a cut above the straight forward cranberry sauce!
Rating: :D

Cinnamon Citrus Cranberry Sauce

For the centerpiece I ordered a Vegan Meals Delivered roast from the Cruelty Free Shop. The roast came frozen, but said to thaw overnight and then bake for no longer than 30 minutes at 200dC to avoid drying out. I did this and when I sliced into it it was still cold! They say you can eat it cold straight away, but I was aiming for something a bit hot for the table. I ended up throwing it in the microwave for a couple of minutes to heat it through, because everything else was ready. The roast was OK, a little dry, nice flavour, but extremely heavy in your stomach after eating. It was fun to try a new roast, but I think next year I will be trying something else.

Around the roast is our favourite potato dish for Chrismtas, the Potato Squashers from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. I have made these many times, and their rating is a thousand million super happy smiley faces.

Vegan Meals Delivered Roast; Potato Squashers from Eat Drink and Be Vegan

Some photos of food on the table, and of course the photo of my full plate.

Christmas Table

Chrismas Sides

Christmas Lunch

Of course, what is Christmas without Christmas pudding? One of the Coles puddings has been vegan for the last two years, which is great! Served with some soy custard.

Christmas Pudding

After lunch we lazed around, watched some TV and played a fun game of Sushi Go, a new card game I bought for family fun times. In the evening we just nibbled at some leftovers. And then I made a mini dessert plate for myself. The cookies are Pfeffernüsse, one of my favourite Christmas traditions as a kid. I haven't been able to find any to eat since I went vegetarian (because the ones they sell here contain gelatin in them), let alone vegan. But earlier this year my friend Leigh brought my two bags of vegan ones home from Berlin. The first bag was consumed immediately, the second was frozen for Christmas. They are so nice! The glass is some nog made from powdered nog, which was not great and I highly recommend avoiding it at all costs (I think the brand is Alpine something? I threw it straight in the bin). And some fruit!

Christmas Snacks

One tradition we used to have when I was little was croissants for Christmas breakfast. For years vegan croissants were not to be found and I made pancakes for myself, but now I have replaced breakfast that with my new tradition of yoga and fruit. However croissants are now available in Brisbane, and I like to work them in somewhere. So, on Boxing Day, I enjoyed two croissants - one with a lovely tart feijoa jam a friend brought my from New Zealand, and another with some Tofurky ham and Tofutti cheese.

Croissant with Jam

Croissant with Ham & Cheese

I hope everyone has had a great weekend, however you do or don't celebrate and whatever it means to you. :)

Cute Kitty Photos of the Post

I don't ever try and dress my cats up, except on Christmas when we play a fun game of trying to get the kitty Santa hat to stay on their heads and for them to stay still enough for my to take a photo! Enjoy!

Sahara Claws

Dim Sim Claws

Sahara Claws

Dim Sim Claws


  1. Kitty Santa hats!!! Bwahahaha! When we set up our cats' playroom it's going to be like Neko Atsume, like when you buy the cardboard truck box and the cat is peeping through it *wheeze* Your Christmas treats look great, you're lucky to have the vegan pfeffernusse!

  2. Pfeffernüsse was my favourite thing about Christmas growing up and this is the fist year in forever that I haven't made Hannah's recipe! Your kitties look ridiculously adorbz in the hats but I can see that they may not have been into them long term!

    1. Ooohhh... I will have to look up Hannah's recipe. It has been too long without them and I only have four left!
      The hats were definitely a short term proposition. ;)

  3. All the food looks delicious! And of course I love the cute kitty photos, they make adorable santas!

  4. Yum, gorgeous looking food and so colourful. My New Year's Resolution is to do more yoga but not sure I'm ready to do Bikram just yet!

    1. I used to think that bikram was nuts and only nuts people would do it, I had to be coerced into the room for my first class. Now I am a little bit addicted. ;) Definitely a challenge though!

  5. We have similar ideas on Christmas. It's just a nice day to spend time with loved ones (furry and non haha) and enjoy delicious food!
    Your yoga place was open on Christmas? Wow - none of the gyms around here are open. That's a great way to start the day!
    Sounds like your family knows you well. I can't wait to hear about the vegan box =)
    The Santa Hat kitties are adorable.
    Merry (belated) Christmas and Happy New Year Susan!

    1. My yoga place has at least one class every day of the year, which is great! Most places would be closed, especially on Christmas. Definitely a good way to start the day.
      Hope you had a wonderful Christmas as well.