Merry Christmas!

My Christmas tree

…and my parent’s Christmas tree.

Happy Holidays!  I  traveled from California to Florida a few days ago visit my family.  I have a two week break from both work and school, and it has been so nice to completely relax.

On my first first full day here, Christmas Eve, I went to Gainesville to have lunch with some friends.  We chose Reggae Shack, as they had recently expanded the restaurant.  It’s so good!  Their menu specifically states that all their vegetarian items and sides are vegan.  I ordered way too much food, starting with the Veggie Patty and Festivals.  (Sorry for the horrible quality – I forgot my camera and used my phone instead.)

The veggie patty was good but not nearly the best thing I’ve had there, it was kind of like a hot pocket with a seasoned seitan filling.  The crust was quite sturdy.  The festivals, on the other hand, are always amazing.  They’re fried sweet corn dough goodness, with a hint of coconut milk.

My entree choice was the “vegan steak”.

It doesn’t look like much in this picture, but the vegan steak is so good!  It’s seitan in a sweet and spicy sauce, served with rice and peas, cabbage and plantains.  I’m sure their other veggie entrees are all really good too, but I almost always go for this one.

We also went to Ward’s (my favorite Gainesville grocery store) and Gator Beverage (my favorite Gainesville beer store) and hung out at the dog park for a while.  I was quite the nice time.

We kept Christmas Eve dinner simple, as we were heading out the door for church.  My mom made baked spaghetti, with a separate one for me including some FYH cheddar she had bought.

Mom was planning a breakfast casserole for Christmas morning for the rest of the family with very non-vegan ingredients, so she found this recipe on vegweb for a vegan overnight breakfast casserole and bought the ingredients for it.  I added tofu and tempeh bacon to the layers for more substance.

Mom also made vegan pumpkin muffins!  She’s the best.  The casserole turned out fine – it was certainly edible.  I’d like to make it again sometime, tweaking the ingredients and pumping up the flavor.

The rest of Christmas Day was spent opening presents and playing with the Wii my brother and his fiancee got.  I am abnormally sore today from too much  Wii’ing.

Today, we had our extended family Christmas gathering and made a feast.  I handled the veggie items while mom cookied the ham, bread and pie.

Roasted potatoes.

Green Bean Casserole


Stuffing from an organic mix

Fresh butter beans with greens from my friend Janeen’s garden

Mom’s beer bread

Mom’s gigantic apple pie

I hope everyone else had a great holiday!  My plans for my last few days here are lunch with high school friends, possible shopping, probably more Wii and definitely as much relaxation as possible.


  1. Ricki said

    Sounds wonderful! The food looks great (esp pumpkin muffins and that beer bread!) and Wii would be so much fun (we don’t have one, but I do love playing my friend’s). Hope you enjoy as much relaxation as you can fit in! 🙂

  2. Trinity said

    Merry Christmas! That green bean casserole looks great!

  3. Love both of the trees! All of your christmas food looks amazing, we had some nice veggie food too, but it looks like your family goes to alot of effort to make delicious veggie dishes. And the homemade bread looks so fresh and delicious 🙂


  4. jessy said

    hooray for so much fun & time with your family, Erin – and lots of relaxing is always most excellent! all the holiday foods look so super deeeelicious! vegan steak – niec! and the breakfast casserole looks amazing, i’m really digging the beer bread, roasted taters, baked sketties, green bean casserole, and especially the apple pie & pumpkin muffins. mmmmmmmmm! your mom is too awesome to create tons of vegan yummies for you to enjoy. enjoy the rest of your holiday & have tons and tons of fun!

  5. mihl said

    That looks owerwhelming! Belated merry Christmas!

  6. chow vegan said

    Yum! Looks like you’re really enjoying your break with all of that yummy looking food and wii playing. I love playing the wii with my family too, using muscles I didn’t know I had. Hope the rest of your break is relaxing and fun. 🙂

  7. Mmm, what an absolute feast! Everything looks so delicious, I don’t even know where I would begin.

    Hope you had a very happy holiday, and are looking forward to a fresh new year! 🙂

  8. Melisser said

    Damn, I want to go to a Reggae Shack! I’m glad you had plenty to eat in FL.

  9. Janeen said

    I’m so glad we got to visit! Looking forward to seeing you more in 2010!

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