christmas on the homestead

christmas in cooperstown (upstate ny) was pretty normal: my youngest brother woke us all up at 7 so he could open presents, mom and I planned and prepared the day's dishes, siblings helping with occasional chopping and stirring, dad running into town to our store for last-minute ingredients. The menu, all organic:

green beans (vegan)
potato-style sunchoke salad (vegan)
mashed sweet potatoes (vegan)
mashed potatoes (vegan, but nightshades)
mom's stuffing (vegetarian, contains eggs)
roast chicken (ew)
2 kinds of gravy (one vegan, one... not)
chickpea casserole (vegan)
2 kinds of whole-wheat rolls (one kind vegan, one with milk)
pumpkin pie (vegan)
some non-vegan pie

sparkling pear and apple juice

There will be some food preparation pictures later. But after everything was safely stewing or baking or boiling in the kitchen, it was time for what has become a holiday tradition (we did it last year, too, though it wasn't as festive): hauling wood.

For most of the winter, the only heat in my parents' house comes from our woodstove. We use wood from already-dead trees on our property, which means dad has to chop it all up and lug it to the porch to dry before it goes into the woodstove. It's a lot of work for one person, so when dad randomly decided to fell a dead ash at the bottom of our lawn on christmas morning... my sister Liz, my brother Rob and I decided to help. (Mom stayed in to watch the various foodstuffs on the stove, Danny stayed in to play his new videogame.)

Dad and Robby chopped wood:
Robby, ironically, bought me Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness for christmas, as he was so pleased by the evil dead reference in my durianomicon entry.
Liz and I hauled the wood in sleds to the top of our hilly lawn to load the wood onto the porch.
That's Liz, just before she tethered her sled to the porch, and here's your heroine, loading up the wood:
It wasn't all heavy labor, though. Liz and I raced down.
This is a race. I'm losing because she cheated.
This is me being a bad loser and ranting about unfair sled races. The chickens, smartly, stayed away from the wood-chopping and sledding.

But we came inside to delicious smells and quickly threw together this beeeeeeautiful spread:
It's at a weird angle because I wanted to cut out the chicken in the bottom right corner.

Here's the chickpea casserole. It's from christina pirello's cooking with whole foods. I really like that book, if you can' tell, because all of her recipes are simple, low fat, and nightshade free. The casserole has chickpeas, winter squash, carrot, onion and garlic. There's plenty of miso in it, too, and you grate mochi on top, so it's rather cheesy in taste and texture. Mom and I went crazy for it.

Vegan pumpkin pie! I'd never made it before. I've made sweet potato pie, but my sweet potato pie recipe is different from my mother's pumpkin pie... we replaced the egg with ground-up flax seeds - TERRIBLE IDEA. The egg in pumpkin pie is as much for texture as for binding/lift - and the flax seeds made it rubbery. The taste was awesome (especially with a little soy whip!), and my brother wolfed it down, but mom and I decided next time we're either going with tofu or a fruit-and-baking powder mixture (with sweet potato I used sweet potato baby food mixed with baking powder and it worked great) to replace the egg.

soyatoo's whipped cream tastes like a less-sweet version of store-bought whipped cream, the kind that my mother didn't allow in the house when I was a kid (she always made her own). I love it.

I hope you all had a happy christmas. Even if you didn't celebrate it, I hope you at least got the day off from work ^_^


Ashasarala said... Best Blogger Tips

Sounds like you had a very fun Christmas. I have yet to go sledding this year. Actually, I haven't been sledding in many, many years. I've got to stop being a hum bug and just go do it!

Evil Dead is the best gift to receive, I think. ;)

Everything looks/sounds scrumptious. I had to giggle when you said you were cutting the poor chicken out of the picture. I woulda done the same. Thanks for sparing us. :)

Do you ever use Egg Replacer brand? It works in just about every baked good and it's tasteless.

Merry Christmas!

Ashasarala said... Best Blogger Tips

I was wondering whereabouts you lived! I'll let you know next time I'm thinking of heading down for some chow!

I like My Thai a lot, but it's certainly no Grasshopper.

Vegan_Noodle said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh, sledding sounds like so much fun!! And the chickpea casserole looks wonderful. Glad to hear the soyatoo was good....I've had the kind from the can (doesn't work well), and I have one of those boxed versions in my fridge now that needs to get used....

Rural Vegan said... Best Blogger Tips

Heh, growing up our source of heat was also two wood burning stoves. SO much work hauling, splitting, and stacking wood. I feel your pain! The sledding was a nice touch though, and your vittles look delicious!

Liz² said... Best Blogger Tips

evil dead and army of darkness! best gift ever! and boy, that sledding/chopping/wonderful smell combination looks like so much fun and so family-like. I'm glad your dinner went well!

Actually, it all really reminds me of when I lived in the country with my mom and sibs, and we would always be carrying wood around and making stews and stuff... it's a lovely way to do winter.