Happy Plantsgiving

I can’t belive it’s been a month since I last wrote.  Time has obviously gotten away from me lately!  I have made some yummy meals that I will blog about as I find time, but I wanted to blog about my plant strong Thanksgiving before it gets too late.

Thanksgiving this year was spent quietly at home with just the two of us.  We could have easily had my stepchildren over, but the house is not very hospitable right now.  We are over our heads in this redecorating project (it started last April…don’t even get me started on why it’s not finished yet!).  We had to get the house ready to receive carpet on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Most of what used to be in our coat  closet (which included quite a few Christmas decorations), hallway hutch and living/dining room had to go upstairs.  Carpet was pulled up a long time ago, but the felt padding had to be pulled up, and trim had to be painted.  We spent a good deal of Thanksgiving morning taking more things upstairs, and completing more prep work.  At one point, I wasn’t sure if we would get it all done by Saturday morning, but we did.

I vowed to repeat my plant strong Thanksgiving meal that I made last year, and I couldn’t have been happier with it.  One of our annual traditions has been to have Pillsbury cinnamon and orange rolls for Thanksgiving breakfast.  Last year I stumbled across this wonderful vegan cinnamon roll recipe, but it called for Smart Balance (vegan butter).  This year I wanted to make it totally plant compliant, so I substituted cashew butter instead of butter in the dough and it turned out GREAT!  The cashew butter blended with the flour just like the butter does.  I used a bit of almond milk mixed with cinnamon and coconut sugar (and a touch of maple syrup) for the filling…which made it even better.   The recipe is easy to follow, but you have to be careful not to over work the dough.  I frost them with about a cup of powered sugar mixed with about a tablespoon and a half of orange juice.  Here’s the link for the original recipe: http://www.vegweb.com/recipes/quick-and-easy-mini-cinnamon-rolls.

Here’s what they look like once out of the oven:

Cinnamon rolls

My ‘Plantsgiving’ dinner consisted of the following:  Eat Loaf from Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Green Bean Casserole from Fat Free Vegan, Spice Zinfandel Cranberries from Epicurious.com, Roasted Root Veggies with a balsamic glaze (my own adaptation of a recipe from Epicurious.com), Pepperidge Farm Stuffing made with veggie stock and no butter (I know it’s not the best option out there, but I have to keep the peace with my somewhat non vegan husband!), Corn, and Mommy’s Mushroom Gravy 2.0 from Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.  As many of my plant strong friends have mentioned, this gravy could be eaten as soup, EVERY DAY, it’s that good.  I also made mashed potatoes.  I leave the skins on, mashed with a lot of soy milk, pepper and some Imitation butter (found with the other extracts in the spice aisle).  THAT is my secret ingredient with the potatoes…adds a great flavor to them.  My husband wanted a smoked turkey breast from Honey Baked Ham…this actually was a blessing in disguise.  While I don’t MIND cooking a turkey and making my mom’s glazey turkey gravy, it’s a LOT of work.  I had enough to do making the mushroom sauce for the green beans and making my gravy and mashed potatoes.   I’m thinking next year, he may not even want the turkey, unless we have company.

While I would have enjoyed spending time with kids and grandkids, it was a good day for us to get things done, and celebrate Thanksgiving together.  We also enjoyed a wonderful pecan pie.  It’s the only time of year I make it…and this year I made it without butter.  I have nicknamed it Crack Pie…it’s pretty much pure sugar (maple and brown sugar)…but oh so yummy!

Here’s a photo of my dining table and my VERY full plate.  I love all the leftovers we’ll have this week…makes lunches and dinners super easy!

Happy Plantsgiving!





Switching Hair Salons-A BIG Leap of Faith

I’m an Aveda Girl.  I have been going to Aveda hair salons since I was 24 years old.  That was when my mom decided I needed to start having my hair colored professionally (the greys were starting to become more noticeable).  It was a little out of my budget, so mom paid for any appointments I made with her.  It was a fun time for us…having the color put on our hair, then sitting and chatting while it processed.  I’ve always enjoyed the  spa type experience that Aveda provides, it’s very relaxing.  The salon I went to in Indiana was a nice sized salon, not too big, but big enough to provide a nice variety of services. My parents knew the owner, he cut hair there several days a week, which meant a lot to me.  I went there for many years, even after I moved to Illinois.

Fast forward to 2006.  I got a new job and decided that the commute to Indiana just for hair coloring and cutting was a bit much. It also got harder to schedule on weekends since those were my only days off.  I found a Salon in Schaumburg, called Asha. It’s very well-known.  The place is HUGE…tons of coloring and cutting stations, they do massages, nails and everything in between.  What I liked about it was that I could call on Thursday and get an appointment on a Saturday…it was a great convenience.  I went through several stylists, finally settling on Kelly, who has done a great job helping me find the style that works for me and my personality.  I’ve been to many different colorist, simply due to the ease of scheduling.  I’ve never been too concerned about the color since I’m very flexible in that area. My only warning to a colorist is just don’t turn it green.  Even purple is ok as I’ve had something very close to that! (I’ve had a LOT of different hair colors over the years).  But going to a big salon has its disadvantages.  It’s BIG…no one really cares who you are except your stylist and colorist (as they are dependent on you for tips).  It’s BIG…so many people…it can be very impersonable at times, even though they cater to your every need or want.  Hand massages are complimentary, as are bang trims.  Based on some of my interactions with other Aveda salons, and their website, Asha just seems too big, too commercial for me now.  Another HUGE drawback is the price.  While I know I’m going to pay a premium price for a premium service, it’s gotten to the point that I realize it’s just out of my budget (we’ve recently financed a new furnace AND air conditioner!).  I’m not quite ready to start coloring my own hair (done that before and it took about a year to correct the damage I did!).  I like the Aveda products, so I’m not ready to go to someone who uses a harsher product.

So with some careful comparison shopping, I found a new place to try. Today I took the leap and went to a new salon for a hair cut and color.  It’s the complete opposite of Asha.  It’s a one room place where the owner is the stylist/colorist/everything.  She works out of the front of a single story house (I’m not sure who lives in the back of the house, but it’s not her).  The salon is an Aveda concept salon.  They use Aveda approved products only, study Aveda processes, etc.  Guess what..I LOVED it.  She’s a very nice person who is very knowledgable in her field, and very interested in making sure you are happy.   I think she’s been doing hair for a long time based on how she cut my hair.   The best part…the total bill was about $50 LESS than what I would spend at Asha!  She changed the color slightly, which is totally fine with me.  I’m excited to see what she decides to do next month.

The hard part will be telling my stylist at Asha.  I like Kelly, and I want her to know why I’ve left.  It’s not her, it’s the salon.  I don’t want to burn bridges as you never know what the future holds.

While this is not the best picture, this is the new ‘do’, which is pretty much what I’ve had…she did a great job matching the current style.