Not Such a Nature-Hating Vegan Afterall!


My lack of cooking earlier in the week was made up for yesterday for sure!  We tend to vacillate on holiday meals.  Sometimes we cook and sometimes we decide it would be easier to just go out.  I suppose since neither D nor I have any family close by, we don’t have typical traditions.  Yesterday though, we decided would be a cook day.

On the menu was butternut squash gratin, Tofurky, stuffing, green bean casserole, roasted carrots and onions, spicy mashers, and pumpkin pie.  A feast to be sure!

my Thanksgiving feast

Today has been leftovers, but I’m currently making a big batch of black bean soup (say that 3 times fast!) for dinner.

Crissie’s Butternut Squash Gratin


1 med butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and sliced thin (I used a mandolin)

1/4 med onion – diced

*2 tbsp Earth Balance

*2 tbsp flour (I used garbanzo bean flour to keep it gluten-free)

*1 1/3 cup coconut milk (you could use soymilk too if desired)

*1/2 cup Daiya cheddar shreds

*salt and fresh pepper to taste


*pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

*melt Earth Balance over medium-high heat.  Add onion and sauté until soft.

*stir in flour until well blended.

*add coconut milk slowly – stirring constantly, until well blended

*raise the heat to high until it starts to boil, and let it boil for 1-2 minutes until thick – stirring constantly

*add the daiya and stir until melted.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

*layer the butternut squash in a 2 qt casserole dish and pour on the cheese sauce being sure it’s well blended and coated.

*bake covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 30 minutes


One of the hot yoga studios near me was actually opened on Thanksgiving morning, so I went to a 75 minute hot vinyasa class.  It was definitely one of the harder ones I’ve been too, and left feeling pretty wiped out.

I decided that I want to become a yoga teacher, just so I can create classes for myself at home.  D thinks it’s a great idea – and when I said it would be fun to volunteer and teach classes at maybe a homeless shelter or something, he said no…I’d be a lousy teacher.  Jerk.  Perhaps I’ll rethink that career turn….

Today I went on my first hike!  I signed up for a local hiking meet-up group, and they were having a group hike at a city park very near my house.  I signed up and D agreed to go with me.  I was excited for days, and this morning we left around 915am.

I will say I had mixed reviews on the experience.  This meet-up group (even though there were 25 of us there) wasn’t very warm and welcoming of new members.  Maybe they’ve been established for a while, who knows, but D and I felt very isolated.  When the hike began, they all gook off going at a really fast clip – too fast to actually explore or appreciate the surroundings.  As soon as we stopped to take a picture, we lost them.  Clearly they didn’t care about it.

As for the hike itself though, it was really nice.  D is an experienced hiker, so I managed to not get lost or break my ankle navigating over all the fallen trees and roots covered by layers of leaves.  In the end, we went about 4 miles (per his GPS) and had a nice morning.

this is the pic D took where we lost the crowd
to my family in WI…our leaves apparently change colors here too!
my sweetie
random carved bear
so glad D brought a tripod! We never ever get pictures together…

I’m excited about the hike for a few reasons.  I’ve always been a lousy vegan when it came to getting nature ON me.  My idea of roughing it has always been a hotel without a bar.  But for the past year or two (since D has gotten into hiking and geocaching and wanting to go on solo camping trips), I’ve been re-thinking my aversion to the great outdoors.  I want to try camping in the spring, but figured a few hikes would be in order first.  So far…I’m happy with the experience, but not sure I’d want to go alone.


It’s been a very peaceful few days.  Yesterday was spent at yoga, cooking, and reading.  After dinner, we all laid out in the living room (Sammie and Bumble too) and watched Lord of the Rings.  Need to watch the three of them before the first Hobbit movie comes out in a few weeks!

Today was hiking, baking, and more relaxing.  D went out to the mall after we got back from the hike.  While he was out, S came by for a glass of wine and some catching up, which was nice.  Tonight I imagine we’ll watch the next LOTR’s movie, The Two Towers.  I’m not sure what’s on deck for the rest of the weekend – perhaps nothing (which is an odd feeling for me).  And that’s perfectly OK with me!




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I am a 45 yo busy career single mom and doctoral student attempting to find her inner athlete, be a gluten-free(ish) vegan, and find a way to balance it all without going crazy! I love to cook, read, run, box, do yoga, dance, travel, and learn as many new things as I can - which often gets me in trouble.... I am passionate about life in general, and if I didn't write about it, I'd probably implode.

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