Sunday, June 19, 2011

Surround Yourself With People (and Food) That You Love

Happy Father's Day to my dad and all of the daddy's out there! That's my daddy at his 85th Birthday party, which we celebrated last weekend in New Jersey. That was the reason for my family's road trip from Ohio. We had a wonderful time and I absolutely love the instant connection that all of the cousins have with each other.
The main event of the weekend was a Sunday Brunch. Bagels, cream cheese, lox, whitefish salad, herring. 'Nuf said.
The day before the party I had an unbelievable opportunity to cook for my parents, brothers, sister-in-laws, nieces and nephews and other extended family. I wanted to give them a delicious Plant-strong meal and I believe I delivered. Thanks to my SIL Lori who let me use her gorgeous kitchen, co-hosted the dinner and was my sous chef . . . and then had to miss the dinner in order to take her son to a soccer game. What a mom!
Lori made her (well, Ina Garten's) fresh Guacamole. Yum!
I, of course, had to make my Red Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Corn, Tomatoes and Cilantro. It's such a guaranteed crowd pleaser, if you haven't made it yet I highly suggest you fit it into your summer line-up!
I made a catering sized platter's worth.
Okay, I had to throw this one in. There's Lori in the back and me with CRAZY hair in the front. Don't make fun. My hair is really frizzy.
Another crowd pleaser is Roasted Brussels Sprouts. I found this technique in a Martha Stewart cookbook and have prepared Brussels Sprouts this way ever since. I think Roasted Brussels Sprouts are like candy.
Another favorite of mine is Toby's Refreshing Salad. Made with fresh grated beets, carrots, and apples and then dressed with fresh squeezed orange juice, it doesn't get simpler than this. So colorful, light and, well, refreshing!
I also served a Hugh Jass Green Salad (sorry, I can't stop saying that). Crudities with two kinds of hummus, chips and two kinds of fresh salsa rounded out the incredibly alive spread of deliciousness.
I've gotta give props to this chick, my sister-in-law Ruth. The night before this dinner, she singlehandedly cooked up her own Plant-strong dinner for the family. It was way beyond the call of duty, but so, so appreciated!
That's my mom on the left and her dear friend Ann Monka on the right. Ann survived the Holocaust by hiding out in the forest in Poland for years. She is truly an inspiration. It's so nice to be surrounded by the people you love!
And last but not least, the main event party food. Luckily for me, there were leftovers from the Plant-strong dinner the night before! I didn't have to eat any of this. But I couldn't control myself when it came to this:

My total weakness, my Achilles heel, my crack cocaine: birthday cake.

I ate two big pieces that day and believe me when I tell you I am still paying for it. It overwhelmed my system with sugar, resulting in a condition that only females suffer from, if you know what I mean . . . why can't I stop myself?

Do you have any Plant-strong Father's Day plans?

How many of your loved ones have adopted a Plant-strong diet?

Do you wish, like I do, that your entire family was Plant-strong?


Anonymous Fat Girl said...

Great pics Wendy. This girl wouldn't make fun of your hair - I too have naturally curly hair that gets frizzy easily so I can totally relate. :)

The Collage Experience said...

Beautiful spread. Beautiful family. You are a beautiful woman (frizzy hair and all!!!).

JL goes Vegan said...

What a spread! You did us all proud! ;)

You look fabulous (and happy!) Thanks for introducing as to Ann, too. What an remarkable woman.

My aunt is vegetarian (not vegan) and has been for several years now. I'd like to think if I lived closer to my parents and sisters I might have an influence but since i only see them a few times a year, nope, I haven't swayed them. Hell, I haven't swayed my husband, with whom I live! :)

Anonymous said...

You are an inspiration Wend-a-la. I think I am going to whip up the carrot and beet salad today for our father's day dinner tonight (on the west coast!).
I am proud to say that I have been maintaining my pre-pregnancy weight (plus or minus a couple pounds) since embarking on this plant-strong way of eating. And it has been fun and I feel great. My son is even starting to drink my smoothies (before I add the greens!). My parents saw Forks over Knives and are moving toward plant-strong eating too. What a blessing!!!! Love you girlfriend.

Jen said...

Beautiful Father's Day tribute, Wendy. Time spent with a well-loved family is the best.

It's very difficult to read daily food logs from my siblings, where my brother reports being crippled with pain from statins and my sister regularly logs days with minimal vegetables while expressing hopes not to need statins. They're both highly educated, and have made improvements this year, but I would love to see them put into full practice lasting changes for their health. Despite what they've read, they're still stuck in the pleasure trap.

On the plus side, my husband and two teens have been hugely tolerant, often supportive, of our plant-strong family meals and they are more often choosing healthier options when eating out.

My family does tend to view me as going through a health food fad, more obsessed than enlightened. My daughter, who loves to write, once joked she'll pen a future memoir with a chapter titled, "the year my mother went vegan" :)

theravegan said...

What a beautiful post about your family. (When I was in HS my French teacher talked about being smuggled out of France as a young Jewish girl. Knowing a true survivor had a huge impact on me.)

A few of my cousins have been vegan for years, so large family events have been trying to take this into account. It doesn't always work well, but the effort is appreciated though those events are not frequent. Since I am still fairly new at this, change is sometimes slow. But there are more choices at the smaller events I attend frequently. And people are starting to ask questions and/or say things like "I wasn't sure what you would eat but I made sure to have...." and name something plant based.

How wonderful that you were able to show your family how delicious plant based food can be. And kudos to your family member who did it for you the night before!

katshealthcorner said...

I wish the whole world was plant-strong! And we can make a difference: one generation at a time. :)

I love your hair! I used to have curls, and I wish I had them back!

Chef AJ said...

White cake with white frosting used to be my downfall too! My dog died tonight so I figured I would have alegitimate excuse to eat crap. But thecworse I could do was some peanut butter and a piece of pizza with Daiya cheese. I just can't go back to sugar. Going uprocessed, it's a process.

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