Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Holiday Hodgepodge and 6 Things To Note

A final holiday recap post and a few things to note. I realize this post is probably overdue, however I actually made a conscious effort not to turn on my laptop for an entire week. The work phone was also shutdown. The iPhone remained ready for action, as it was a necessary tool to uphold my responsibility of attempted Words With Friends domination.


It was a failed attempt in some cases, but I held my head high and continued matching necessary vowels and consonants. 

My holidays were split between Rhode Island, Illinois, and Maine – in that order. While I was traveling here and there I noted a few things that I would like to share. (Rhyming is not one of them…)

1. If all else fails, bring a veggie plate.



My relatives are lovely, especially around the holidays. They do try to accommodate me in every part of dining and I offer to help. But there is no denying it. They like meat. They devour cheese. Quinoa is about as appetizing to them as the slab of cod fish is to me. I have tried to make more gourmet food only to sit laughing at the expressions of faces at the moment of indecision.


This year I decided to buy hummus and make a veggie plate. It’s not exactly vegan creative, but it is popular. Simple is sometimes the best option.

2. Boys will be boys.


The presents before they were seriously violated. 
Toys! Chaos! Toys!

Just let the chaos happen.

We tried to make the present distribution civilized, we really did. With a house full of 20 people waiting to see the enlightened expressions on the kids faces, it only five minutes into the gift giving that my cousins and I realized we needed a game plan. Sorry, should have marked out a game plan. At that point it was too late and the remaining space between the boys and the sea of gifts under the tree had been permanently breeched. There were three boys, ages 5-1 that were going to tear through the presents whether we liked it or not.

3. New Year's Resolutions are great. Life-style changes are better.

I reached my two-year mark of being vegan on January 1, 2012. It wasn’t a New Year's resolution from 2010, it was changing my way of thinking and my habits. New Year's resolutions are hard to live by because they designate such a short time of your life! Choose health for life, not just for a year.

Here are some tips for getting started.

4. Have faith in your host (or multiple people catering to your vegan needs).

This year I had the pleasure of visiting Illinois for Christmas. Traveling can be a bit stressful at the holidays, especially when you’re the only vegan visiting a 5-person non-vegan family. My flight was FULL on Southwest from Providence to Chicago on Christmas morning. I definitely was not expecting the crowd.

The family that I was visiting this Christmas was more than welcoming to the vegan lifestyle. They made sure they gave me options at every meal over a three day period. Here are some samples: 

  • Vegan Cinnamon Muffins
  • Tofu-Veggie Scramble 
  • Salad
  • Roasted and Stacked Portabella Mushroom
  • Moroccan Couscous
  • Bread Rolls
  • Apple Crisp and More!

I was super grateful for the extra effort that was placed in creating “Danie-Friendly” Dishes.


5. Go for a Walk.


It’s peaceful and fresh air helps you think. When the holidays get too overwhelming, bundle up and go for a walk. I took the pictures from a swing set, because we stumbled upon a school and who doesn't love the swings!

6. Read The Hunger Games Trilogy.

I think this series let me hit my book quota for 2011 in the last week of December.

I know this one is random, hear me out. The Hunger Games, Have you read it? OMG I’m obsessed. (That’s appropriate because of the genre and age group right? Maybe that’s never appropriate…I apologize). 


I’m not usually a Tween-reading book gal. I read up to the third book of Harry Potter, which became redundant, and haven’t touched the Twilight series because the craze of screaming fans, not the vampires, scared me away.

While waiting for my flight from Providence I opened the first book of The Hunger Games and was immediately captivated. I even avoided sitting next to a nice older gentleman on the plane because I knew he would try to pursue conversation and the three hour flight to Chicago really isn’t that much time! (Does this make me a bad person?)

I finished the first book in one day. The second book, Catching Fire, I finished on the flight home and I lucked out. We were suspended in the air for 40 minutes from Hartford to Providence because the wind was too intense for us to land. High winds = more reading time.

The third book, Mockingjay, I purchased on New Years Day and read it in about three days sporadically. As I was buying the last book in Target I thought, “If anyone see me, I’ll just pretend I’m buying it for my 11 year old cousin”. But now that I’m confessing my love to you, I guess there was no real point of concocting that plan in the first place.

My favorites were the first two books, the characters are believable and you feel for Katniss (the heroine) after you realize the reality of her world and what she sacrifices.

The actual Hunger Games are a lottery of children from 12 districts in which they are forced to battle to the death each year in return for more food for their districts. The Capitol runs The Hunger Games as reminder of the strength and control they hold from the last war. I’m not going to give you a full book review because the books are easy to read and interesting. I also don't want to spoil it if you haven't read them yet. If you’re looking for something new I highly recommend the Hunger Games Triology.

And the first movie comes out in March… I will be going.


Lastly, for those of you that made a New Year's Resolution to transition to a plant based diet in 2012, I wish you the best of luck. For everyone else, veggies and meat-eaters alike, I wish you the best personal health for the upcoming year. 


Thanks, 
Danie



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