Turkey Free Christmas?!?!

Shock horror, I know! This Christmas there will be no turkey on our dinner table. No golden brown bird, center stage, the smell and heat mingling together, caressing people to their Christmas feast. So you ask, why am I so against conventional Christmases? Well, my vegetarian cousin is spending Christmas with us, therefore for a whole week we will join her in her lifestyle choice. The passionate cook I am, I began researching turkey substitutes, which was a massive error, resulting in a sprawl of very unappetising, dog-food looking “Lentil (meat) -loaf-like square chunks. Hastily clicking away, I simply searched “Vegetarian recipe blogs” and up popped dozens of beautifully displayed websites, explaining recipes step-by-step with photography that made me want to lick the screen. I was sucked into this world of vegetarian bloggers and their adventures with cooking for 3 hours, bookmarking as many recipes as possible. It made me hopeful and feel more adventurous towards cooking this Christmas and swept away any doubt around the variety and flavor around vegetarian cooking. Christmas doesn’t have to be a meat-fest to be enjoyable, don’t forget the salads, roast veggies and thousands of pies, tarts and cakes are all meat-free!

I have left some links below for some great special diet recipe blogs that you should check out and they might help if you are ever doing an alternate food Christmas feast!

Only Ten days to go!

Vegetarian

Love and Lemons – A cute, dainty website with interesting meal ideas

http://www.loveandlemons.com/2014/11/22/vegetarian-thanksgiving-recipes/

Thug Kitchen – a hilariously to-the-point “no bullshit” blog with some great finds

http://www.thugkitchen.com/recipes

Vegan and Gluten Free

Green Kitchen Stories – Easy layout and mouth-watering photography

http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/vegan-gf-christmas-2011/

Oh She Glows – A vegan blog with super quick and easy recipes

http://ohsheglows.com/2013/11/26/3-course-vegan-and-gluten-free-holiday-menu-step-by-step/

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Mainstream Christmas?

It’s nearly Christmas and I am not feeling terribly spirited. My family has never been big on celebrations and think they’re a tad overrated. Does anyone else feel the same? That their Christmas celebration isn’t up to the Christmas sweater, hot-chocolate, carols and candles and general snow-globe-like standard? Hollywood has cast Christmas celebrations in such consumerist, extravagant and heat-warming ways that us real people can never reach the bar. The ingrained concept that everyone’s whole family (aunts, grandparents, cousins) come over for Christmas lunch or dinner, they all have a ginormous feast and an array of presents and good times are shared all round. I have a problem with this image. Globalisation is real and true, meaning that people’s families are scattered across the globe, my own family is spread over three separate continents so it is incredibly rare we all spend Christmas together. In fact, nearly every Christmas in my life-time has been just the four of us, in my house, maybe going to the beach, or not, no guests, just four. This also means that we don’t have the massive feast, no big turkey, stuffing, potato gratin (?) parsnips, or what ever. We normally have a couple salads because in Australia it gets over 30 degrees Celsius on most Christmas days and we couldn’t think of anything worse than a massive roast meal. It is also incredibly unnecessary for just four people.

Maybe my lack of Christmas cheer is just a misinterpretation of my emotions. I think, for me, Christmas is a day where I wake up when I hear the kettle on and slowly everyone emerges into the living room at about 9. Tea in hand and dog on lap, we all open our presents on the living room floor and then pitch in to help make Christmas lunch. The rest of the day is pretty uneventful, relaxed, chatting on the balcony, watching kids running, to the park across from our house, with their shiny new toys, bikes and cricket bats from Santa. Afternoon tea is homemade Christmas cake and another cup of tea with a good book, and then maybe a swim, the day ends eating leftovers until we fall asleep to the cicadas. Writing this now, I am actually looking forward to my Christmas, because it is uniquely mine. All the TV family’s Christmases are the same, and would entail copious amounts of stress around the turkey, accommodating the diabetic uncle, the two aunts that aren’t talking and managing the dozens of cousins running around on sugar. The spirit has been rekindled, or perhaps it was always there, just intimidated by everyone else’s loud, bright and artificial one.

Make sure you don’t try and make your Christmas something its not. I know this is corny but when you take away the need for everything to be perfect, and just make it a day of food and family then it becomes it’s own version of perfect. Hope your Christmas is as big or as small as you want it to be!