Tuesday, December 11, 2012
In this, the season of holiday parties and other festive get togethers, vegans sometimes get left out in the cold (hopefully not literally). I've found it gets better as the years go by, but I still expect to find myself attending at least one lunch/dinner/party/whatever where I spend the whole time crankily snacking on baby carrots and staring at cookies I can't eat.
I wasn't really thinking about what I would eat when Milo and I set off for a lunch in honour of some of my coworkers retiring that also served as my office Christmas gathering. I was mostly excited to see my colleagues again and they were super excited to see me. Ha! Just kidding! They wanted to see the baby.
It wasn't until we actually sat down at our table in the surprisingly glamourous Giovanni's restaurant (the website sings to you, be warned) that I thought, uh oh, this is a traditional Italian restaurant. I've never had much luck finding interesting vegan dishes in these kinds of places.
When the waiter came by I asked him about soup. Our conversation went like this:
Me: "Is your fagioli vegetarian?"
Him: "Sadly, no."
Me: "What about the minestrone?"
Him: "No, sorry."
Me: "Are any of your soups vegetarian?"
Him: "Well... no. Our chef's idea of making a soup vegetarian is to only add one veal bone to the stock."
Gross. But I appreciated his honesty and he was very friendly and did not act annoyed by my questions.
I ordered brushetta (minus cheese) where the soup would have been, and got my hopes up high about a beet salad that the menu described as "roasted yellow beets, red endive, avocado, truffle vinegrette." I was right to get excited. It was vegan without me having to ask for any substitutions. And when it arrived it looked beautiful.
And holy, it was delicious. The flavours were perfect together and the beets were somewhat magical. Some of my colleagues tasted them and agreed that they were delicious. And not a veal bone in sight.
I have no idea what the dinner menu would be like for vegans, but I would certainly recommend Giovanni's for lunch if you are with a group of omnivores and don't want to feel short changed. Unless you're in the mood for soup.
Monday, December 10, 2012
We had yucky weather in Ottawa today. Freezing rain. And snow. And regular rain. One of those days where maternity leave is a blessing because you really shouldn't leave the house, but also a curse because you really shouldn't leave the house.
Luckily, Milo decided to be super relaxed all day and took two large naps, which left me time to tidy the house, sweep the floors, and do some cooking. Also eating. I did quite a bit of eating. The cookies pictured above were baked by my mom this weekend using my vegan gingerbread recipe, which is bringing a whole bunch of traffic to the blog these days. 'Tis the season.
Those cookies and a mug of tea set me up for a day that was actually rather pleasant, even with all of us housebound. The dogs napped by the window, the baby sat in his bouncy chair and stared at the Christmas tree, and I took photos. We all stayed warm and dry and well fed. Not bad, maternity leave. Not bad.
Friday, December 7, 2012
"It's probably nothing," I told The Man of Science on Sunday morning as I eased myself into the front passenger seat of the car, "And then we'll end up wasting the whole stupid day in the emergency room. This is so frustrating."
Are "probably nothing" considered famous last words? If they aren't, they should be. Twelve hours after my self-diagnosis of my right side abdominal pain as "probably nothing", I was waving to the Man of Science and Milo from a stretcher as a porter wheeled me towards the operating room for my appendectomy.
For those of you keeping track, that's my second abdominal surgery in the past three months. It would be funny if it didn't hurt to laugh.
However sometimes when you have to have surgery your friends show up with containers of waffles that you can keep in your freezer and pull out when you need a special breakfast to cheer yourself up. I was the lucky recipient of just those sorts of waffles from my friends Krishna and Magi. The Man of Science was amused by the gift. "Who are you?" he asked, "Leslie Knope?"
All that to say I felt like having a bit of a special breakfast this morning. And since I have no new and exciting recipes for you this week I thought you might want to gaze upon my breakfast with delight. Or envy. Or whatever you like. Those are Tofurky brand sausages that I cut up and pan fried in a bit of olive oil. The waffles toasted up perfectly, directly from the freezer and they are served with some blueberries (also from the freezer), some Earth Balance, and a bit of agave nectar.
One last word of warning: If you need to get up before you've finished your breakfast to comfort a fussy baby, just look out for hungry interlopers. Some of them don't care if you've just had surgery. They'll steal your last two bites of sausage, regardless.