Today is the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year and the official start of winter. But hey guess what? It may be the longest night, but starting tomorrow, the sun will go down just a little bit later. And we'll gradually have more and more daylight until, suddenly, it's spring again! God, I can't wait. I'm already through with winter, and it just started!
Anyway, Solstice is the day Paul and I exchange gifts with each other and the pets. But first, I made a little Yuletide feast. For the main, I made the Hearty Lentil & Mushroom Shepherd's Pie from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas.
Shepherd's pie doesn't really photograph well, but you know anything topped with mashed potatoes is good. In this casserole, breadcrumbs line the bottom of the casserole dish (that's the crumbly stuff on top in this pic), and they're covered with a layer of lentils, spinach, and mushrooms. And that's covered with a layer of mashed potatoes. Yum!
On the side, I made the Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Citrus Dressing, also from Vegan Holiday Kitchen.
I'm really into root veggie salads right now. This one has roasted sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, parsnips, radishes, and apples. And toasted pepitas!
I washed this all down with mulled wine. And of course there was dessert — a Candy Cane Cupcake from Imagine Vegan Cafe. Cassi made these. She's doing all the baking at Imagine while Stephanie is on holiday in the U.K. This was super-moist and lightly minty. Just what I needed on Yule night.
After dinner, it was present time! Paul and I got each other what we always get each other — tattoo gift certificates from our friend Babak's tattoo shop, Ronin Design & Manufacturing. I'm getting a running-related tattoo on my foot soon, but I'll save it for when I can show you the pic!
Datsun loved his new rope ball, but he was clearly distracted by another toy out of the frame.
The dogs also got new Starmark Treat Dispensing Chew Balls. Maynard was working on getting the treats out here. We'll see how long these last. My power chewers destroy every toy I give them, and since they've both had stomach surgery for eating things they weren't supposed to, I really have to watch them carefully. One hole and the toy goes in the trash. But these got great reviews on Amazon!
The cats got a bunch of catnip toys. Gelfing tried to eat his catnip pillow.
And Polaris chewed a hole in his immediately.
Pandora preferred the catnip snake.
And Ozzy stole Polaris' toy.
This Seymour. He's special. He's afraid of EVERYTHING so he lives on top of a set of cabinets. Never comes down. Eats there. Sleeps there. And yes, he has a litter box there. Anyway, we don't see him play often. But he got really into this catnip mouse. No idea what that brown spot is. Gross and mysterious top-of-the-cabinets stuff.
Akasha is unpictured because he refused to celebrate Solstice this year. Bah humbug! He stayed under the couch the whole time, completely uninterested in playtime. And Herman the squirrel lives outside at night. He came in several times this morning to get pecan treats though!
Hope you had a Happy Solstice today!