Friendsgiving 2016 Gluten Free & Vegan Style

Happy Thanksgiving Season to all! I love this time of year, not only because I truly find the fall colors magical but because I love being surrounded by friends and family.

I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on life - where I am at now - where I have been - where I want to go.
        - I am in a place of discovery of myself
        - I am in a better, or at least a more comfortable place with myself than I was a year ago
        - I used to know exactly who I was, what I wanted to do and felt confident and comfortable within my own skin.
        - What happened? I lost myself - I allowed other and my illness to discover who I should be.
        - What am I doing now? I am taking my time to rediscover myself and to heal - it's an amazing process that I want to embrace rather than rush. I want to feel every moment of sadness, confusion, happiness, joy, anxiety, all of it. I want every feeling to happen, embrace and then let it go.

While the doctor has personally prescribed that my life revolve around a routine, I have been working on being a bit more spontaneous as well - so a bit of a challenge but it is what makes life interesting.

On a last minute whim, a Friendsgiving was quickly pulled together. I wasn't sure how many attendees or what their eating preferences were and even though it was noted that I did NOT need to bring a dish, I felt obligated to - that is what we Italians do, right - feed people? That and I was dragging my sister along so it felt like the right thing to do. AND - I love to cook ( I may not be good at it, but I love to cook)

I ran home and ransacked my fridge. Things I found:
      1. Cauliflower
      2. Sage - that needed to be used
      3. Asparagus
      4. Collards
      5. Pineapple

I have been craving a vegan mac and cheese so that took care of the cauliflower and sage.
Ingredients
1. Mustard Seeds
2. Tumeric
3. Ginger
4. Almond Milk
5. Lemon Juice
6. Nutmeg
7. Nutritional Yeast
8. Cauliflower
9. Fresh Sage

I dry roasted my spices and then added almond milk. Once that arrived at a boil, I tossed in the cauliflower and allowed that to soften.

Everything was then tossed into the Vitamix and purred and then added it to some rice pasta and tada!


Verdict: Creaminess - was on par! Taste, I thought it lacked a little something but everyone else seemed to enjoy it!


As for the asparagus, I always enjoy a nice soup - BUT, it was rumored that someone else might make a soup, so I didn't want to "compete" and went with an asparagus gravy instead.
Ingredients
1. Cumin
2. Tumeric
3. Ginger
4. Seaweed (any kind will do)
5. Zucchini
6. Asparagus
7. A splash of almond milk

I dry roasted my spices and then everything was then tossed into the Vitamix and purred.

I made a batch of maple quinoa to go along with the asparagus gravy.
Ingredients
1. 2 cups of almond milk
2. Pumpkin pie spice
3. 1 cup quinoa

I tossed everything into a pot, brought it to a boil. Reduced heat to medium and stirred occasionally until done.

Verdict: Creaminess - was on par! Taste, I thought this turned out even better than the vegan mac and cheese.


As for the Collards, I made a Pineapple Collard Dish.
Ingredients
1.Ginger
2. Tumeric
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
4. Apple
5. Pineapple
6. Cumin
7. Salt and Pepper to taste

Everything was tossed into a pan and roasted until soft.

Verdict: For collards, not too bad :) I want to add some toasted coconut next time.

With everyone else's additions, I think we had a nice Friendsgiving meal!

Things I am thankful for this year!

  1. For the hell I have been through - I am really learning a lot about myself and others
  2. For Ammie
    1. Ammie is the ONLY yoga studio owner who has never once questioned my weight, health, nothing - she has only been a rock, there to support me in whatever it is that I may need.
    2. This is the first time in 10 years, I have shown my skin to others.
      1. I practice in shorts and a sports bra, I have never even felt comfortable enough to wear a bikini! 
    3. Because she is a friend, and I do NOT have many of them! 
  3. My family
    1. I have been through some crazy shit and they have been there for me through it all!
  4. My job
    1. It may not always seem like the dream job, but it pays the bills, also for me to have a sense of worth and it is a challenge that keeps me learning something new all the time 

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