My Vegetarian Thanksgiving

This Saturday, we had a slightly early Thanksgiving with our friends.
It was a much anticipated afternoon... Thanksgiving is very special to me, because in spite of living in France where very few people celebrate it, WE do, which reaffirms my identity as an American all the more!

It was an afternoon of good food, good conversation and good people, as Thanksgiving should be.
Interestingly enough, my mom and I only made one of the dishes from my Thanksgiving Meal Ideas post... every recipe we used was new to us. But I am NOT exaggerating when I say that every single thing we ate was absolutely delicious.
Not even one dish was in the slightest way mediocre.

Have you ever wondered what a vegetarian eats at Thanksgiving? Well here's your answer.
(Links to the recipes are at the bottom of this post)

Pear and Fennel Salad

Squash, Spinach and Onion tart

Yummy Mashed Potatoes...

... and Vegetarian Wild Mushroom Gravy to pour over it!

Rosemary Roasted Carrots

 Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

"The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Ever" (The title of this recipe is not misleading: it really is the best I've ever had! Too bad I didn't take a picture of it from the inside. )

For dessert, we served Paradise Pumpkin Pie (a three layer pumpkin pie! Oh my!)!

 This is my bro and I before our feast started :P

Somewhere in this wild world we call the internet, I found this cute and free downloadable banner to print... It went perfectly on our wall! 

Now if you're interested in making any of these recipes, here's where you'll find them:

Pear and Fennel Salad
Mixed Baby Greens, Delicata Squash, and Caramelized Onion Tart
Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy
Rosemary Roasted Carrots
Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
The Best Vegetarian Stuffing Ever
Paradise Pumpkin Pie

What are you going to make this Thanksgiving?

On time and the present moment

I'm sitting in class, zoning out while the teacher explains something about irrational numbers, and I start thinking about what I'm going to wear for thanksgiving lunch. And that reminds me: I still need to bring all my summer clothes to the basement! Oh, but first I need to practice guitar before my lesson this afternoon; I'm not ready yet to perform in front of the others in my guitar class!
I can't wait to get home, and start getting these things done, I think to myself. Instinctively, I look at my watch- but wait-WHAT?! Oh no!!! IT'S NOT THERE!!!
Did I seriously forget my watch at home?
It's the strangest feeling. It's like I'm floating through space. There's no clock on the wall. The kids around me aren't wearing watches either. 
How am I supposed to know what time it is? How weird it is that I have NO WAY of knowing when the bell will ring, and how much time is left before I go home? 

In that moment, I did not feel at ease. That was yesterday morning: it was a very short school day, of only three hours. But the number of times I checked my wrist only to see- again- that my watch was missing, is astounding.
It's made me realize how dependent I am on my watch, and more importantly, how much I depend on time.
It's almost like I've become a watch myself, without even knowing it. In my life, I calculate every minute, deciding how much time I can give myself for this, how much time I should spend on that...
Because time, I feel, is always escaping me...

What if we had no time, no deadlines, no parts of the day; what if we could just be, with no worries, no goals, no clocks ticking...?
How would our lives be conducted?
I can't imagine it. I start thinking too hard, and it muddles my brain.
But I do know that something might need to be done; because I've just identified the major source of the stress I carry in life: time! I have no TIME! I need more TIME!

Where does time go? Where does the present disappear to?
I do my best to live in the moment; but it still makes me nervous to think that the clock is ticking...!

Take today, for example. There will never, ever, ever be a 21st of November 2013, ever again. Never in the future of the universe, ever.
Do you have some light to shed on this matter?

Thanksgiving Meal Ideas and Inspiration

Next Saturday, my family is having our American friends over for Thanksgiving Lunch. And my mom and I will be making all the food! This is a big thrill for me, and I've been dreaming of what we're going to make.
I am totally into keeping traditions, so I definitely want to make classics or modified versions of the classics, MINUS the turkey of course.

First off, I wanted to share this recipe for "Stuffed Potimarron" (potimarron is type of pumpkin found in France) from my friend Meg Bortin (The Every Day French Chef). This recipe sounds so fun and festive and I totally trust that it's fabulous because Meg's food always tastes so good.

The following recipes are what appealed to me most on Pinterest... If you like my selection you can go to the Thanksgiving pinterest board I created to find all the other recipes I pinned!

vegetarian mushroom gravy #vegetarian #thanksgiving
I'd like to make this Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy from Martha Stewart. I need my gravy this Thanksgiving!

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes
I thought this Healthy Potato Gratin from Food and Wine is beautifully arranged.

Vegan Food! This all looks amazing! ❤ French toast, tofu Benedict... Plus more

This Vegan Tofu and Vegetable Pot Pie from The Kitchn sounds like the perfect comfort food to me.

Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls with Cranberry-Pear Sauce. Vegan.
These are Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls from Oh She Glows. YUM! They'd be a great side to the Thanksgiving meal.

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic // The Live-In Kitchen

Last but not least, I will DEFINITELY be making these Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts From The Live-In Kitchen. I tried something similar to this in a Lebanese restaurant in the States. I've been craving some ever since!

OH! And if you're looking for a scrumptious traditional desert, make the Pumpkin Pecan Pie I posted last year. It's truly wonderful.

Or if you're more in the mood for muffins, make my Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. You'll impress everybody!

What will you be making this Thanksgiving?

Girl and Laptop

I remember a few years back when my mom was writing her first book, and she was constantly trying to fit some writing time into her crazy schedule. I observed her with wonder as her fingers flew across the keyboard of her laptop, like she was transmitting a secret code to the screen.
How can she type so fast? I always wondered. And why won't she let me use her laptop?

"My laptop is my baby" my mom would explain to me, "I don't want anybody other than me to use it. If something were to happen to it, I'd be devastated. One day you'll understand."

Today I understand. My grandparents just gave me a brand-new laptop, one which they had bought for themselves but didn't make use of, and now I don't want ANYONE but me touching it. I get testy when my mom spends more than fifteen minutes on it!

I couldn't quite grasp the idea of what it means to have an object so close to your heart, one that you can pour all your thoughts into. It's like an instrument for creativity.

Now, when I have a burst of inspiration, when words form in my head and I feel I could use them one day, I just open up my laptop... it's never been so easy!

A laptop is a totally different experience from a desk computer.

I know that this post is materialistic. I just find it funny to realize how much we value some things and not others.

Home is Where the Heart Is

(I got back from the States last Saturday. This post is late of a week, but hey, life gets in the way sometimes.)

This trip to the States was the best trip ever.
Can I even begin to describe how depressed I felt the first few days back in Lyon? Seeing my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles after such a long time was wonderful. Every single one of our 15 days was fun. 

When I'm in the States I have this strong sense of belonging.
People often ask me, "Where are you from? Which place feels like home to you?"
I don't always know how to answer. I say, "Well, definitely not Kenya, where I was born. I love visiting the States and Argentina, but I've never lived in either of those countries. I've lived in France for almost my whole life. So the logical answer would be that Lyon feels like home, because it is my home." 

The thing is, I don't feel French.

In this latest trip to the States, I started identifying what the excited rush I experience every time I step off that plane in the US really is.
It's the sense of home.

Anyway. Here are some of the pics I took. :)

Fall was just beautiful in my grandparents's neighborhood!

After four nights at my grandparent's house, we went to Frederick to visit my Aunt Stephie, my Uncle David and my little cousin Layla for a few days.
This is a vegan sandwich I ate at The Orchard, a restaurant downtown. It had tofu, hummus, and veggies... it was FAB. If, by chance, you ever end up in Frederick, eat at The Orchard.

While in Frederick we went to a pumpkin patch. Believe it or not, I had never been to a pumpkin patch before.

The park in Frederick was definitely in the Halloween spirit. 

A few days later, we left Frederick and drove to Kensington where my Aunt Lesley, my cousins Alex and Stephie (not my Aunt Stephie), and my Uncle Charlie live. Stephie, a great baker, made these really cute cupcakes. She is so creative! I just had to take a picture. Or three. ;)

One night we went out for Ethiopian food. 

After Kensington we returned to my grandparent's house. Since they live so close to DC, we had several outings.

We went to the Holocaust Museum,

followed by a cupcake stop. Yes, many cupcakes were involved in this trip.

These last two pics were taken on the 31st, before I went Trick-or-Treating with my cousins.

This is the pumpkin I carved with my grandpa's help. Isn't he cute?

I hope you all have a nice week end!