Vegan Family Vacations

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We all need vacations! Especially parents. And vegan vacations are fantastic. Lots of time focusing on relaxing and not on where to find the next vegan meal. Some cities are better at this than others and sometimes a fully vegan experience is possible (and amazing). I previously wrote about Deer Run B&B in the Florida Keys. Such an incredible trip that included an amazing vegan breakfast each morning. There are other vegan getaways in the United States and across the world. Happy Cow is a great resource for finding such gems. The Stanford Inn by the Sea is on my bucket list!

I was recently approached to talk about family friendly vegan vacations. In general, family holidays that are also vegan can be that much more challenging because when a new layer of sorting is added, fewer choices become available. Luckily, sometimes others have been kind enough to share their research. Here are what look to be six great options.

Sometimes we seek alternatives to family gatherings that normally involve eating animals. For example, this year I am going to Thanksliving at Indraloka animal sanctuary and can’t wait to spend a day with rescued animals, vegans, and great food! Sometimes there are even resorts that meet all these desires; vegan, family friendly, and over a holiday. Really? You bet! I just learned about La Maravilla in Costa Rica. It looks like a wonderful way to be thankful for our vegan lifestyles with our families.

Let me know what vegan holidays you have experienced so I can add them to my bucket list. The photo above is from a trip to Maui many years ago.

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Bryant Park’s Winter Village 2017 NYC

In 2016 the organizer of Bryant Park’s Winter Village changed and the vegan mission was lost. I was so disappointed in the lack of vegan options that I didn’t even want to blog about it. This year is better and I’m thrilled.

There are two vegan food vendors this year and several vendors with a vegan option. The photo is a cous cous bowl from Cous Cous Vegan Bowl. I almost jumped into the air with joy when I saw this name on the Village map today. And the bowl is yummers! When I picked it up I said, “thank you for brining vegan back to the event.” The person behind the counter said, “that was our goal.” Excellent! They also have vegan hot chocolate.

The other vender is the always wonderful Raaka Chocolate. This year they have a gift box of their current six bar line up.


If wanting something else, explore deeper to discover vegetable dumplings, tacos, Mediterranean wraps, and more. Yummers!

Sugar Cookies

  
Hubby said he missed his mom’s sugar cookies at the holidays, so I decided to try my hand at them. They were a hit! We both gorged and had to drink lots of water to soften our sour stomachs from too much sugar.

Hubby likes his cookies soft and chewy and the recipe below does that. If you like yours more crunchy, bake the cookies longer. Also, I no longer have any cookie cutters for fun shapes and instead created a log to cut off pieces. Similar to the tubes of cookie dough from some grocery stores. If using cookie cutters, roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper after letting thicken in the fridge. What you will need for the cookies:

1/2 cup Whole Wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup unbleached flour

1/2 c. sugar 

1/4 t. baking soda 

1/2 c. vegan buttery margarine, I use the sticks from Earth Balance

2 TBS  water 

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

For icing (makes enough for two batches of cookies):

1 cup powered sugar

1/8 tsp vanilla extract

1 oz almond milk (or other milk alternative) + more as needed 

1 container decorating sugar or sprinkles

Sift dry cookie ingredients into a large bowl and stir. Cut in margarine with a pastry blender or two knives until the dry ingredients look wet. Make a well in the center and add the vanilla and almond extract. Stir and add the water. Stir more. Will be sticky. Move batter to a piece of parchment paper to make the log. You get to decide how wide you want your cookies. They will expand while baking. Mine was about two inches thick.  

Place parchment paper rolled up batter log in the fridge for about two hours. This will give the margerine enough time to thicken again. If not doing a log, cover the mixing bowl that holds your dough and place that in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. I needed two baking sheets, but it all depends on the size of your sheet and the size of your cookies.

Unwrap dough log and slice off the width of desired cookie. Place cookies on sheets and bake about 10 minutes. This amount of time allowed my cookies to stay soft and chewy. Remove parchement paper with cookies on it from baking sheets to cool a couple minutes.

Sift powdered sugar into a bowl, add vanilla extract and the first ounce of almond milk. Here you can decide the thickness of the icing. Using a spatula, stir everything and add more almond milk as needed. I used my icing as glue for the sugar and thus made it very thin. I wanted to make sure my soft cookies didn’t break. Pour decorating sugar or sprinkles onto a plate. After icing each cookie, turn it over and place icing side on the sugar. The icing will act as glue for the sugar. Turn back over and ta-da! Yummers!

Stocking Stuffers

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Who doesn’t love to stuff their stockings with treats? There has to be a better way to say that. Seriously, what an odd idea. But I’m the first person to say “ME!!!” I love stuffed stockings on Christmas morning and I don’t let being vegan persuade me otherwise. Instead of the cheap non-vegan candy that I got as a kid, I go pick out some really wonderful yummies that I drool over until Christmas morning. This year we have two different kinds of truffles and six different kinds of glutent-free cookies. Yum! I have also filled my stockings with nuts, fruit, small games, ornaments for the tree, and other little trinkets that are fun to unveil once a year. Maybe I need to do this more than once a year?

Now I’m off to try and forget that I have delicious treats to try next week.