Sunday, November 29, 2009

Trails and Travails of a New Semi-Vegetarian; Traditions

We had our turkey for Thanksgiving and enjoyed it tremendously, kind of like a last supper since it's the last meat I plan to buy for some time. After our feast, we had pies for dessert. DH made the Sweet Potato Pie with Hazelnut Struesel from Cooking Light but forgot to pre-bake the shell. (He went off recipe and used a regular pie crust instead of the graham cracker crust called for in the recipe. You have to cook those before you put the filling in.) Luckily my dad picked up two pies from the grocery store to contribute and wound up saving the day; we ate those instead of the homemade pie.

Later on in the evening after it got dark, DH lit a fire in our fire pit on the patio. The plan was to toast marshmallows, make s'mores, and drink hot chocolate. In trying to avoid meat products, I purchased marshmallows from Whole Foods made with gelatin from fish instead of cows. Fish counts as an animal product, but at least there wouldn't be the risk of Mad Cow disease, or something. Whatever, it was a giant FAIL. While the mini-fish marshmallows (as the kids named them) were fine as a topping on the sweet potato casserole, they didn't work quite as well in a s'more. Might I say- BLECH. They were grainy like peeps before toasting, and edible. After toasting, they were grainy, like... something you wouldn't want to eat. Grainy mush; ewww!


In spite of the marshmallow failure, we still had fun being together in front of the fire. The little ones especially LOVE a good fire and sat outside long after the rest of us went in. I've been searching for new traditions for our family since so many things have changed in recent years and a post-feast fire might be a good start. Except for my dad and brother, and my brother rarely comes to visit, we don't have any family left closer than 3 hours away. My grandmother, who lived about half an hour away, died in 2008. She was the cornerstone of my family and, until she got too elderly and sick, would orchestrate our holidays. Our traditions revolved around going to her house for the big meals and celebrations, seeing our aunts, uncles, and cousins. The last few years of her life my immediate family would still go to her house but we would cook and take the meal down to her. The aunts, uncles, and cousins tried to visit as they could but usually not on holidays. Now that she's gone I've been set adrift. Last Christmas, my first without her, was so hard; I couldn’t get into the holiday spirit but just went through the motions. I think this year will be better though, and my way to cope will be with finding our new traditions starting with that evening fire. I just wish the smoke wouldn’t make my allergies go crazy! ;)

PS: I found a place on-line that sells vegan marshmallows. I ordered a bunch; I'll write a review once I try them. I have really high hopes; after all, I'm a Girl Scout leader. Gotta have my s'mores!

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