November 18, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
This Thanksgiving will mark more than a decade since I’ve sat down and eaten a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Most of you are probably aware that I’m a vegetarian and have been since my early 20s. I also eat vegan quite a bit and if I can ever kick my cheese addiction, I’d love to go full vegan eventually. All of this said, if you’re either a vegetarian or a vegan (or a pescetarian for that matter), you know that Thanksgiving is about more than just turkey! My mom actually takes the reigns and hosts Thanksgiving every year and she has a repertoire of vegetarian recipes that leave me wanting for nothing even while everyone else is fork deep in turkey. So today I’m sharing some awesome vegetarian Thanksgiving dishes, many of which also qualify as vegan and/or gluten-free. Even if you’re a meat-loving lady, it never hurts to bust out a side or two sans meat for those guests who might refrain for whatever reason, keeping in mind you won’t be sacrificing any flavor and might just find a new favorite dish!
Note: The white bean soup shown above calls for bacon, simply omit for a vegetarian dish that will still be mighty delicious! Also, while all vegetarian, many of these dishes could easily be made vegan with a simple omission or two. Sign me up to taste test a bite or two of each!
[1: Roasted fingerling potato salad (vegan, gluten-free) | 2: Cream cheese and chive biscuits | 3: Kale and mushroom stuffing (vegan) | 4: Spaghetti squash salad (gluten-free) | 5: Butternut squash risotto | 6: Croissant loaf | 7: Squash croquettes | 8: White bean soup (skip the bacon).]
November 17, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
Guys, do you know what I did this morning? I woke up before dawn and cooked B breakfast. Once he was off to work, I did my T25 workout of the day, followed by a half hour of yoga and then promptly put fluffy Christmas printed pajama pants on after my shower. I made coffee, started sifting through emails and immediately realized that the weather was bad. As in, loads of snow piling up when we weren’t expecting any really accumulation until tonight. Between today and Wednesday we’re expecting as much as two or three feet so I realized I needed to hoof it off to run some errands before potentially being snowed in for a good chunk of the week. (Don’t worry, I wore jeans when I left the house. Promise.) All of that to say, this Tiki twisted winter cocktail is just what the doctor ordered today! It’s a Hawaiian-inspired drink, designed with bringing a little something tropical to an otherwise cold and dreary day.
Shared by Celeste Noche and Mint & Mirth, this cocktail features summery notes of pineapple and coconut in juxtaposition with the spicy, darker flavors of good rum, chai, and Coco-Lada tea-based syrup. Best of all, it’s easy to prepare at home for one, two, or twenty, so it’s perfect for any fall or winter soirée! This is precisely the type of cocktail I like to sip and serve over the holidays. Something rich and complex, brightened up with a hit of unexpected sweetness. Yummy!
- 1 ½ oz Spiced rum
- 2 oz Coco-Lada tea-based syrup
- ¾ oz Fresh pineapple juice
- 3 – 5 Fresh mint leaves
- Crushed coconut and mint to rim the glass
- Slice of pineapple for garnish
Use a pineapple slice to wet the rim of a chilled tumbler, then gently dip the rim in crushed coconut and mint. Next, shake all syrup, rum, mint, and juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with a fresh slice of pineapple, and enjoy!
[Cocktail by Mint & Mirth | Photos by Celeste Noche Photography | Glassware from Vintage Mingle.]
November 14, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
Ok, friends, it’s time! Early this week, I asked and you answered and I’m so grateful to those of you who chimed in here and via social media with your gift guide requests for this year. I am absolutely taking all of those into consideration as I plan upcoming posts so thank you! Today we’re kicking it off, as always, with fabulous hostess gifts. I like starting with hostess gifts each year, because with Thanksgiving just a couple of weeks away there is going to be no shortage of need for great hostess gifts in the coming weeks. Of course, you can never go wrong bringing a great bottle of wine or a pretty bouquet of flowers so keep that in mind. That said, these ideas hit a range of price points and feature a mix of traditional ideas and more unique hostess gifts, too. Whether it’s just a little something pretty for the friend who invited you over for holiday cocktails or something a bit more luxe for the hostess who has welcomed you for an extended holiday weekend, there’s a little something here for everyone.
[1: Joy t-shirt | 2: Gemstone earrings | 3: Notebook | 4: Star ring | 5: Gold cocktail shaker | 6: Alarm clock | 7: Gold foil calendar | 8: Cream and sugar bowls | 9: Teapot | 10: Sparkle candle | 11: Leather tassel keyring | 12: Silver measuring spoons | 13: Caldrea hand soap | 14: Gold bottle opener | 15: Bedside carafe.]
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November 13, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
As promised, I wanted to share a few more images from the pretty harvest feast that we all loved earlier in the week. All of these photos were captured in the kitchen, before dinner, amidst a flurry of flour and garden fresh veggies. Looking at these images I was reminded why I love cooking and baking, especially this time of year. For me there’s usually music playing in the background and I undoubtedly end up with flour in my hair. Without fail. Every single time. But that process of chopping, mixing and kneading is so therapeutic for me and there’s nothing that makes a house feel more like home than something yummy baking in the oven. Big Sunday night dinners? Sign me up. An impromptu batch of cookies baked fresh on a Saturday afternoon? I’m down with that, too. B and I share this love of being in the kitchen, making a mess and getting our hands busy making something delicious. (Although there’s no baking in his kitchen repertoire, that domain is all mine.) I think that’s why these images speak to me. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to get busy and make something yummy this upcoming weekend!
[Food + styling by Ann Whitaker | Photos by Britt Chudleigh.]
November 13, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
One of my favorite party tricks is to dress up a simple white layer cake and turn into something really schmancy by adding a fun cake topper or other embellishment to make it shine. It makes dessert look really grand, when in reality it doesn’t cost a ton of money or require much skill. And your guests? They automatically think you’re the next Martha Stewart when you bring out something sweet to pair with coffee after dinner, especially when it also looks like a million bucks. So that’s what we’re talking about here today!
This DIY falling leaves cake topper is a little something I dreamed up recently and it has just such an effect. It looks so pretty, but it’s basically just an upgraded version of a kindergarten construction paper craft. I love that.
The basics here are colorful card stock, scissors, Glue Dots (or hot glue) and floral wire. It’s honestly about that easy! Print, cut, glue, stick wires into cake. Done, done and done. This cake topper is perfect for Thanksgiving (at least in my world) or any fall celebration. A birthday. A dinner party. A brunch you’re hosting for your best lady friends. You really can’t go wrong.
Ready to get started? Pop over to Momtastic where I’m sharing the full tutorial!
[Photos by Cyd Converse for Momtastic.]