Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Post-Holiday Blues

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post, and for those who wanted recipes, I'll put them at the end of this post. I'll also be sure to tell Chase how much you liked his Falafel-men!

Happy New Year to you all! It's good to be back home, and I guess I'm ready to go back to work tomorrow, but I think I have a good case of the blues. It must be because of a combination of many things:

1. Trying to get rid of sugar cravings and back to healthy eating.
2. Missing two weeks with my trainer.
3. Missing my office buds.
4. Worrying about Chase taking a heavy class load this semester.
5. The general icky weather - cold and rainy.
6. A sinus infection I can't seem to shake.
7. Looking back on the past year and wondering if I've accomplished anything, besides becoming vegan, of course.

I'm sure it will pass. I'm also still a bit travel weary. Chase and my brother have not made the Alabama trip the last 2 Christmases and my folks and I have decided we just made our last one too. We were delayed 3 hours going over. We were delayed 1 hour on the trip home - and we didn't get our luggage until the next day. This happens nearly every trip. This is always upsetting to me because I am a "stick to the plan" type of person.

My sister still likes to eat at McDonald's and when not eating out, cooks mostly from cans, boxes, and pouches. I made my pumpkin lentil soup one night, which me and my mom and sister ate. The nephews ran from it. My dad and brother-in-law watched football and ate chips. I also cooked some greens one night. We found a sparse farmers market, but they did have lots of greens, most of which were 3 feet tall! My mom and I ate those. My sister said she would eat them after I left and she could add chicken broth to them.

My oldest nephew is 8 years old. He already goes deer hunting regularly. When he shot his first deer, his dad processed it, then they threw him a big party and ate his deer. He showed me pictures of him posing with the deer he had killed. It was all I could do to say congratulations. My sister served lasagne made with deer meat the first night we were there. I had salad and broccoli. I also ate too much snacky stuff, like nuts, dried fruit, tortilla chips, and crackers.

But for the most part, I had a wonderful time being with my family. My nephews are so smart and fun and loving and well-behaved and beautiful. Here's a picture of them, and then a picture of my sister.

Now on to more fun things - food! For New Year's Day I fixed a blackeyed salad, of course.

For dinner that night, I had the salad along with barbecue baked tofu, broccoli, and a delicious cornbread from a recipe on recipezaar. I make my barbecue sauce from the recipe on All Creatures. It's Chase's favorite.

Last night I made myself a half-burger on one slice of spelt bread, with a Boca burger, lettuce, an avocado I needed to use, and leftover barbecue sauce. It was yummy. I had it with more blackeyed pea salad.

I found these neat little baking cups in Alabama and made some muffins in them last night. You just put the cups on a parchment lined baking sheet, fill the cups, and bake. You can also bake them in your muffin tin.

I thought the muffins turned out great - look how tall they are! I made them with carob chips, raisins, and almonds.

I'm not sure how much I like cleaning them, though.

Last night I also made a bagful of chickpeas. I will make something from Vive for dinner tonight. There are two or three chickpea casserole recipes that sound pretty good. I can't make the Morrocan Chickpea Patties because I hate fennel!

And finally, answers to recipes questions from my last post:

I used the sugar cookie recipe from Nov/Dec 2006 Veg Times.

The falafel recipe was from Middle Eastern food. It was not a really good recipe. I spiced it up a lot and had to add a lot of liquid.

My bean salad had EVERYTHING in it - black beans, red beans, corn, red bell pepper, green onions, water chestnuts, grape tomatoes, and parsley. I made a dressing of fatfree garlic or italian salad dressing, rice vinegar, agave, and spices.

Texas Trash

4 c. tortilla chips
3 c. Crispix
1 bag microwave plain popcorn, popped
1 can (12 oz.) mixed nuts
1/2 c. corn syrup
1/2 c. margarine
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 T. chili powder
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cayenne

Heat oven to 250.

Combine chips, cereal, popcorn, and nuts in a large roasting pan.

Combine corn syrup, margarine, sugar, and spices in a small saucepan; heat to boiling, then pour over cereal mixture. Stir to coat. Bake one hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Cool on waxed paper. Keeps in an airtight container for two weeks.

I hope to get by all of your blogs later tonight. That for sure will make me feel better!


Freedom said...

Aw, I'm sorry you're not feeling so great at the moment. That whole deer-hunting thing really freaks me out, the thought of an 8 year old being proud that he slaughtered a living creature. But I think considering the rest of your family's behaviour and beliefs, you should be extremely proud that you are a kind, caring, vegan person and clearly a lovely human being!
Hope you feel better soon!

Anonymous said...

That's really too bad to hear about your sister and her family. I am going to be going back home in the spring of 2007 for the first time since becoming vegan and I think it's going to go a lot like your trip with your sister (minus the deer). I'll probably be so snacked out. Maybe I'll make up a big batch of your TX trash to take with me!!! It sounds so good. Looks like you made the most of your trip though and seemingly handled it well - considering the circumstances.

I saw those silicone muffin cups and thought they looked really cool until I realized I'd have to hand clean every one! Yikes.

I hope you're feeling better soon. :)

bazu said...

yes, I just got back from St. Louis with the in-laws and my experience was so similar to yours (including deer sausage... won't go into that...) that I totally feel your pain! Daiku and I were called the food police on more than one occasion, but I chose to focus on the nicer things. For example, I managed to be pretty un-snacky this X-mas! For the first time this year, I didn't touch a single one of my mother in law's (unvegan) christmas cookies. woooo.

On the other hand, your salad and other foods look great, as usual! I think we're very much on the same wavelength when it comes to various salds with beans/veggies/grains etc. I'd like some of your black eyed peas right now!

Good to have you back.

Dori said...

Looks like you were "hoppin" ito a good year. I love your muffin cups. I have a small 4-loaf pan made from that silicone stuff... it neat the way they really do not stick.

Candi said...

I can relate to the New Year blues! I think mine is due to the change in eating. SO many carbs!! Too many snacks! Even though they are all vegan...I still feel horrible! Lol! It definitely weighs you down.

Your holiday did sound fun, despite the differences. (I am horrified at deer lasagna!!!!) It's so hard not to judge, especially when it's your family whom you love. Your nephews and sister are so beautiful! I hope your healthy lifestyle and your compassion can rub off on them!! :)

I have those same muffin cups...I cannot stand cleaning them, so I don't use them much. The idea was good though!

Your black-eyed salad looks great!!!!

I'm glad your home in your own kitchen again!!

Anonymous said...

glad you're back...sorry to hear about your blues! Hopefully your family will be inspired to eat just healthier because of you...even if just a little wee bit at a time.

Ruthie said...

D -

Guess what. We ate at Mother's as per your suggestion! :) It was GREAT! I had the tofu lasagna and everyone else ate something and enjoyed it. The service was a little unimpressive, but the food made up for it. Even my TOTALLY un-veg brother had and enjoyed the vegan apple pie. Thank you so much for the suggestion!

As for your family, I understand. I get in unsettling half-arguments half-discussions with my parents, who want to raise goats, all the time. I know its not even a quarter as bad as hunting, but it's really hard to try to tell someone you love and who's opinion you respect that you think they are dead wrong about something.

Well, at least it's hard for me.

Good luck in the New Year!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back!! I'm sorry you have the blues -- I think everyone feels a little let down after the holidays. I know I do. I'm sure you'll be feeling better in no time (once you get back to your daily routine).

My nephew's a hunter too so I can totally relate. He gave graphic details of his hunting experience while we were there on Christmas. They also spent a lot of time discussing how they used the meat. It's funny that doesn't bother them but eating cheeseless pizza does (LOL).

I love bean salad so I'll have to try your recipe. The recipe I have is mayo-based so yours is probably a lighter version.

I hope you have a great rest of the week and a good new year!

Anonymous said...

Im happy you are back and thanks for the recipes!

I know the problems that carry be the one how are different in the family. my family is very hard with me. so i totally undertand you!

i wish you a new year filled with good things!

Nikk said...

I think I have your sinus infection too! I seem to always have a problem with my sinuses lately. I wonder if its an allergy...

I hope you feel better and get into the swing of things quickly!

Kati said...

Sorry to hear about your new year blues. If it's any consolation, your food looks great! I think I'd be so healthy if I ate at your house every eat so many good-looking vegetables, which I tend to skimp on (even as a vegan).

I was also interested in buying those silicone baking cups. Knowing me, I would probably throw them in the dishwasher whether it said to or not. I hate washing dishes by hand!

I hope you feel better soon - it's always good to be back into a regular routine after the holidays.

madeinalaska said...

I hope by now those blues are behind ya!
Your nephews are very cute! It is hard to keep ones mouth shut isn't it?! bravo to you for grinning and bearing it- all the dear stuff that is.
Happy New year to you and Chase!
take care,

aTxVegn said...

Thanks for your support, everyone. I believe my blues are fading. Maybe I just needed to get back to my office and into the regular routine, although I did miss my afternoon nap!

I hated to gripe on my first post of the year, but I know you all understand the family issues. And 99% of the time I have no issues or I have Chase to stand with me.

Ruthie, I'm so glad you got to eat at Mother's. I imagine the service was not up to par due to the holidays and their student waiters were gone home. I hope you enjoyed your trip.

Rachel said...

the black-eyed pea salad sounds yummY!

Kris said...

I'm sorry you have the blues! I know how it goes. It's hard to get out of your routine, have a so-so experience, get your body out of whack in many different ways and then have to try and right it again. Plus, it had to be frustrating to see how your sister eats and feeds her kids, it's just like my mom.

But at least you're home now and you can chow in peace!

urban vegan said...

Hope you're feeling cheerier. The holidays can be stressful and a big letdown, for so many reasons.

Love those colorful cheerful muffin cups. Feel better. (((hugs)))

Amey said...

Hi Diann,
That black-eyed pea salad looks so delicious and tasty. I wish I could eat some right now!

A friend of mine just moved to Boise, and took a road trip to Montana for Thanksgiving. She described how all the cars had dead deer draped across them... and how all the children (boys & girls) in her boyfriend's family are just desperately waiting to turn 11 so that they can join in the fun of hunting season. I think that would be pretty hard for me! She did point out that this particular family doesn't have loads of money and that they eat the whole deer... And I guess I do think that deer hunting in the wild is significantly less cruel than buying any factory-farmed meat from the grocery store.

In yoga there is a wonderful statement about our true nature:
"To preserve one's serenity of mind, one should strive to be happy for those who are happy, to have compassion for those who are suffering, to be joyful for those who are virtuous, and to be indifferent toward the wicked." This has helped so much over the years, and I think about it a lot. It's very hard to share in other people's happiness when I don't agree with the source of their happiness (like how proud your nephew was of his hunting accomplishment), but I have worked on it a lot. I'm so impressed that you were able to congratulate him. One of my yoga teachers often points out that only when we can really share in someone's joy - without scorn or judgment - can they relax in our presence... otherwise they will sense our unspoken hostility and continue to be defensive and reactive. It's very interesting to think about.

Hope some more healthy food and your happy home routine are treating you well.

laura k said...

I'm glad you had such a great time with your family, even amid differences. It's great when things like that don't get in the way.

The black-eyed pea salad looks delicious!

Once the holidays are well behind us and things return to normal, the "holiday blues" wil disappear too, I'm sure!

erica said...

Hi Diann, I'm sorry about your sinus infection. I'm fighting something off, too, I've had a sore throat since like November.

My boyfriend's mom makes everything out of boxes, too. Xmas dinner at their house, I had brussels sprouts (that we brought), samosas (that we brought), and mashed potato. There was not a SINGLE green vegetable on the table except our brussels', but there was bread, bread stuffing from a box, two kinds of meat, and corn that they slathered in butter right in the bowl. I think that "semi-homemade" lady on the food network is really doing people a huge disservice in helpful clothing. "Now you can have all the homemade food you don't have time to make, with none of the health benefits of homemade food!" Awesome, thanks.

Oh - and they put canned tuna salad and vienna sausages on my stocking! Um, thanks, that'll come in handy when my house is broken into and I need to defend myself. Geeze.

Anonymous said...

Well, I just can't believe a parent would let an 8 y.o. child go hunting. Picture me with my jaw hanging to the floor. There are a lot of hunters in my family, my dad is an ex-hunter himself(yay!) and I applaud you for your tolerance.
I just could not go and eat with them, even if I would naturally bring my own food. I just couldn't be happy or silent :p

That being said, I love your food :) You have been way more busy than I was. Again, you are an inspiration :) said...

I just stumbled over your blog and am very impressed! I am a recent vegan. I love all your recipes and pics. YUMMY! I'm in Dallas, where are you?
~ bILL

aTxVegn said...

You all have been so helpful in bringing me back to my old self. Thanks esp. to Amey for taking the time and effort to comfort me with the yoga statement. I actually printed it out so I can look at it the next time I get into a funk!

So Sunday Chase is planning to come over and cook and eat with me. We haven't done that for 2 weeks and I'm really looking forward to that.

Hi, Bill! I'm in Austin. Let me know if you ever make it down this way.

Kate said...

Sorry about all the trouble you had while trying to get to and from Alabama. I also made a difficult trip over the holidays to visit family. I think in the long run you're family is worth it, even if you have conflicting views. All you're New Year's food looks fantastic! The muffins look awesome, don't you just love silicon bakeware? I would love the recipe.

Emmy said...

Happy Belated New Year :) I haven't been online much the past week. Glad you had a safe trip home. I hope your sinus infection clears up. Those are so miserable.

Sorry to hear about the deer meat lasagna dinner :( At least you were able to eat some salad and broccoli.

Oh cool, you bought some silicone baking cups. I saw those at the Crate & Barrel Outlet. The muffins you made in them look great.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2007 :)

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