On Christmas Eve afternoon, I drove to my parents' house in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Every year, we drive around town looking for some Chinese or Mexican joint that's still open for dinner. It's hard to find one in that little town. This year, my favorite Chinese place was closed at 4 p.m. when we pulled in. So my mom suggested Hiro, a Japanese restaurant. We drove there. Also closed. Finally, we discovered that Fuji, another Japanese place, was still open! We picked up some takeout to bring home and eat with Daddy.
I went with Fried Rice with Vegetables, which I later slathered with spicy mustard sauce.
And Avocado Sushi and Tofu Inari. So basically, my dinner was rice with rice. I can't think of a better way to celebrate the holidays than with CARBS!
After dinner, we opened presents! It was just my Mama, Daddy, and myself this year since Paul left for Nashville for his family Christmas on Tuesday night. Oh, and my dog Datsun got some stuff too! Mama got some new cowboy boots. (Yes, they're leather, which I don't agree with, but my mama isn't vegan).
Daddy got some new shades, which he promptly modeled.
I got lots of clothes, which I picked out back in November during my mom and my annual Black Friday shopping trip.
And I got these rad cat sneakers!!!
There were lots more presents, but I won't bore you with details. After we finished up with opening gifts, Daddy and I watched a bit of Elf until my BFF Sheridan texted to say that she was wrapping up with her family stuff and wanted to meet up. So I headed over to meet her and exchange gifts! Part of my gift from Sheridan were CDs recreated from mixtapes I made her in high school (like actual cassette tapes ... yes, we're old). And then we chatted while she prepped some vegan cinnamon rolls for her family's Christmas brunch.
I get to see both grandmas at Christmas breakfast! Here's my Me-Maw (mom's mom) and Granny (dad's mom).
And here's the annual family portrait from Christmas breakfast! Yes, my parents are tall, and I am very short. I believe I got the short genes from Me-Maw. Also, I was kind of standing in the grass here, and they were on the sidewalk. #notfair
Immediately after breakfast, I had to rush out for my five-hour road trip to Nashville, where I was meeting up with Paul's family for dinner. I arrived around 4 p.m.
We had dinner at his brother Jim's house. I always bring my own food to Paul's family gatherings so they don't feel like they have to make me anything special. Or so I don't get stuck with one or two veggie sides for a meal. This year, I lucked out because the Raw Girls, a Memphis-based vegan, high-raw catering service, gifted me a box of their prepared meals to try (full blog post coming soon!).
I brought some of their more holiday-esque meals with me to Nashville and made this healthful vegan plate while everyone else ate ham, mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, and candied yams. My plate has Raw Vegan Stuffing, Raw Cranberry Relish, Sweet Potato Casserole, and a Celeriac Carparcio Salad — all from the Raw Girls! It offered a nice healthy balance to my indulgent breakfast.
I spent the night in Nashville Thursday and Friday night, so that meant there was time to visit my favorite Nashville vegan joint — Wild Cow. Paul and I went there on Friday afternoon, after the obligatory stop at Trader Joe's to stock up on things we can't get in Memphis.
We started with the Hummus and Pita appetizer because it's Paul's favorite. And I will never turn down hummus.
I had the Wild Reuben with grilled tempeh, avocado, Daiya, sauerkraut, and 1,000 Island dressing and Seasonal Veggies with Garlic Aioli. Very good reuben! And the beet/carrot/radish/cabbage combo was so perfect for a chilly winter day. Sadly, I had to throw out the bread on the second half of the sandwich and only eat the fillings because I ate too much pita before the meal came. #rookiemistake
Paul had the Far Eastland Bowl — brown rice, tofu, kale, peanut sauce, and carrot-daikon slaw.
Well, that's it! I headed home Saturday morning, and now I'm off work until January 2nd!