Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Triangle Vegetarian Society Holiday Party

I look forward to the Triangle Vegetarian Society Holiday party every year. It is fun to catch up with friends, eat wonderful homemade food, and participate in a white elephant gift exchange. I was asked to lead the event this year by facilitating, making sure all of the food ingredients were labeled, and running the gift exchange.

A lovely family in Durham were gracious enough to open their home for the party. They are a warm and friendly family that make wonderful hosts! The family has three children and they were fun to have around. The youngest, Eric Jr., was so cute, cuddly, and fun to hold! I enjoyed leading the event this past December, but am happy to give the reigns back to the TVS president for December 2009.

This year, we made (actually John made) a quinoa and tomato dish that received many rave reviews. Every dish was absolutely delicious! Some of the dishes included (all ingredients are vegan): baked apples, fruit crisp, lasagna, spinach and black beans, hummus and chips, rice pudding with raspberry sauce, etc. I enjoyed everything I tried and had to hold back so that I did not stuff myself!After dinner, I facilitated a white elephant gift exchange. For the exchange, everyone brings one wrapped gift that they found around their house. Gifts can be stolen three times before the gift becomes dead. Stealing and opening presents is a lot of fun and generally produces much laughter. This past party was no different! Some of the gifts opened were quite interesting, such as the steel handcuffs (which were stolen three times). There were many lovely gifts, such as Tom's natural products, clocks, wreaths, wallets, books, etc. This was the first gift exchange that I actually came back with something I wanted! I ended up with a garment steamer and John ended up with several vegetarian cookbooks and unused dental floss.

The event was a success, as always, and I am already looking forward to next year!

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Best Buddy Friend

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
Roger Caras

I have created one other post about dog sitting and could not wait to post another! Recently my friend Kelly allowed us to watch her dog, Bailey, while she was out of town at a conference. We got Bailey on a Tuesday night and got to keep her until Sunday afternoon. John and I were delighted to have her for so long.

This might sound silly, but I would consider Bailey to be my best buddy friend. I have known her since she was a puppy and liked her since first pet. We have had the pleasure of watching Bailey many times and always feel joy from her visits. She is a happy and sweet dog that likes to cuddle and play. Each time she stays with us, she makes me feel special because she follows me around like she is a part of my shadow. Every time I would turn around, she was there to say hello. If I said something sweet or said her name, she would wag her tail with vigor to show me she was happy. I am not sure I could ask for anything else in a buddy friend.

In the evenings during her visit, we would play her version of fetch. This game consisted of me throwing a tennis ball, Bailey chasing the ball, retrieving the ball, and than running around me in circles teasing me with the ball. I would have to chase her to get the ball out of her mouth. We would sometimes play this game for a half hour. It would usually end with me running around our downstairs and her chasing me. Sometimes we would switch and I would chase her. Even though she is two, she still has puppy energy!

After our fun, John and I would begin cooking dinner. She would act as our vacuum cleaner as she searched our kitchen floor for any crumb or morsel of food that was dropped. She did not miss a thing! We tried to be careful, but she is fast! John and I eat dinner at our coffee table (this habit will be stopped once we have kids) and she would rest behind us on the couch looking over our shoulder staring at the food. For several dinners, she even laid her head on John's shoulder as he ate. It was really cute! I wish I had gotten a picture.

Later in the evening, we would usually retire to the couch as I used the computer, read, or watched TV. She would hop right up and cuddle next to me. Sometimes she even cuddled on me. I found it especially funny when she would lay on my wrists and lick my hands as I was trying to type on the computer. It made me giggle and she received the pets that she desired.

At night, we let her sleep on the bed with us on a big blue towel. Each night she would creep off of the towel and on to one of us to cuddle. We fought it for a while, but by the last couple of nights, we just allowed her under the covers with us. During our last night with Bailey, she slept cuddled with John with her nose in his armpit and her body under our covers. It was hard to say no to her when she acted SO cute!

It broke my heart when she had to go home. John and my Dad dropped her off to Kelly and I was glad to absent from the goodbye. It is always too difficult for me to say goodbye and leave her. Going back to our place is just not the same. Her wiggles, jumping, and noises of joy are absent from our entrance and her sweet little face is missing.

The memory of her visit stays me. I anticipate the next time that I will be blessed enough to be e graced with her sweet little licks, wagging tail, and soft cuddling.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Spiced Vegan Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies- Yummy!

Every year, my Mom and I get invited to a cookie party by a family friend around the holidays. I enjoy decorating cookies, sipping on holiday drinks, and chatting. This is the fourth year that I have attended the party and every year I have made vegan cookies.

All of the recipes are consolidated into one recipe book and are handed out to the guests. My recipe titles always state that the cookies I make are vegan (such as Spiced Vegan Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies). I want people to know that you do not have to use animal products to make a yummy cookie.

At the end of the party, each guest can take cookies home. One year I received an email from someone telling me that her husband thought my oatmeal raisin cookies were the best he ever had. My cookies always get positive comments from other guests. That just proves to me that a cookie does not need to contain eggs and butter to be yummy!

Spiced Vegan Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from a recipe on
  • 3/4 cup margarine
  • 1/3 cup organic natural sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats or oatmeal
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
Cream together the margarine and sugars until smooth. Add vanilla and soy milk and mix well.

Add flour, baking soda and spices until well mixed, then stir in oats and cranberries.

Spoon 1 1/2 inch balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees, or until done.