Five Non-Vegans and a Very Happy New Year 2023!

I try to show restraint and only schedule one post per day. Right now I have posts scheduled to publish every day,, a few weeks out. However, I feel compelled to bust into my previously scheduled lineup for the story of five non-vegans and a very happy new year 2023!

Fireworks launched over the water by the San Francisco Bay Bridge, which we were so lucky to see by simply walking from our house. No need to fight traffic! We got a good work out climbing to the top of the hill.

Usually, New Year’s is a special celebration for my husband and me. However, sadly we skipped it for 2020 ringing in 2021 and 2021 ringing in 2022. Very thankful that this year, for 2022 ringing in 2023, we did a Covid-friendly celebration, which was really fantastic.

First Thankful Thing

First off, I haven’t been getting enough sleep lately, I’ve just got too much going on, but last night I slept for 13 hours! Lately I’ve been getting only zero, one, two or three hours of sleep for the whole night, far too often, so this was a big achievement.

Second Thankful Thing

Secondly, it was raining cats and dogs all day,, with the result being that I didn’t feel like getting out of bed until 6 PM … yikes!!!! … However, I’m happy because the day was actually very productive! I spent 11 AM to 6 PM, seven hours, sending New Year’s Eve messages to friends/family, answering questions and sending info to tenants for my rental properties, and writing posts for the blog … I think I wrote two posts, each of which took me two hours, so that’s four hours.*

An example of how little sleep I sometimes get. This is is from my a fitbit, August 2021, but I’ve been doing the same thing lately.

Third Thankful Thing 😊

I had planned to spend all day putting up more Christmas lights and things like that to really make the apartment festive, on top of cooking and cleaning, prior to the friends arriving. However, since I got up at 6 P.M., and friends were arriving at 8:30 PM, there wasn’t much time!

So at 6 PM, I started cooking like a banshee, in my bathrobe. I kept thinking that I could take a quick shower and change my clothes while something was cooking in the oven or whatever, but that never happened because I always had to use the time to prep something else. Or to wipe things down and clean up the dishes and by then the other thing was ready and it was time to do something else.

With help from my husband, we were still able to get all the food prepared, table and chairs set up, floor swept, counters wiped down, pots and pans and dishes washed, and everything ready for hosting New Year’s Eve dinner at our house. I had to scrap the idea of putting up additional Christmas decorations.

Our tiny Christmas tree with a Peace Moose ornament from my friend in Maine. It wasn’t as many lights and decorations as I had hoped, but it was still enough!

Thankfully (and this is where I am finally coming to the THIRD thing), we just barely, got things ready for our friends when they arrived at 8:30 P.M. And I mean just barely because I was still in my bathrobe when they arrived! Thank goodness, my husband was able to greet them while I ran away to the back room and changed my clothes! Whew !

Fourth Thankful Thing 🙌

Fourth, the veganish feast that we prepared turned out fantastic!!!! 🙌. I am only nominally a non-vegan because i don’t normally eat meat at all, and I don’t normally eat anything that isn’t at least big picture vegan. By contrast, all four of the other guests at the Covid-friendly party are regular meat eaters aka BONA FIDE meat eaters . And they totally loved the food! Hooray!

By the way, what made the party Covid friendly? Well, there were only five of us there, for starters. The second thing is that we had the windows wide open and it’s a very small apartment, so there was plenty of ventilation. The third thing is that all five of us are “vaxed to the max.” These things don’t eliminate the risk of the flu or COVID-19 or anything else, but they do reduce the risk quite a lot.

How about the food?

1. Our veganish cornbread!

The veganism corn bread I made with a cornbread mix.

A vegan mix would’ve been great (and vegan cornbread mixes totally do exist), but all of the mixes at this particular Safeway grocery store were either non-vegetarian because of lard or not vegan because of honey or milk powder or egg. I chose the Marie Callender’s which is non-vegan because of milk powder; I chose that over the one with honey simply because the Marie Callender’s had less sugar.

I rely on mixes to make things typically when baking a cake or making muffins or cookies or brownies or cornbread like this, not because I don’t know how to make things from scratch. It’s because I rarely ever bake anything (too busy doing other stuff). It doesn’t make sense for me to buy bags of flour, boxes of baking soda or etc. when I don’t bake often enough.

I made the cornbread by mixing together the Marie Callender’s mix, a can of cream corn which is accidentally vegan by default, some Tofutti vegan sour cream, a can of “hot” hatch chilies, and some plain unsweetened plant milk, I used flax milk with pea protein by Good Karma..

See? This would be a totally vegan cornbread except for the fact that the cornbread mix has a bit of milk powder in it. By the way, the Marie Callender’s cornbread mix instructions are simply to add water. I could’ve done that … water is vegan !!! LOL. But, I like doctoring it up.

I didn’t measure anything, just mixed the ingredients together and added enough plant milk until it looked to be the right consistency. I poured the cornbread batter into a square glass baking dish and baked it in our toaster oven (375° for about 35 minutes). It turned out a little bit burnt on top but fabulous.

2. The collard greens!

I’ve made collard greens before, and I don’t recall there being so many steps. The recipe that I followed said to cut the stems away from the leaves and wash first the leaves, then the stems,separately in a big bowl of water. Then boil the stems one minute, Then boil the leaves in with the stems until the leaves are tender. Then strain the stems and leaves into a colander. Then add the stems and leaves to a big container of ice cold water until leaves are cool to touch. Then strain the collard greens in a colander, and let it sit in the colander for at least 15 minutes until the collard greens are totally dry.

For me, since I only have a small colander, there is no way that the collard greens could be totally dry in only 15 minutes. I let them sit for about 45 minutes, but I would definitely have to dry them with a towel or something if being totally dry was required.

After that, according to the recipe, one would chop up the onion and garlic and sauté those and then cook the collard greens with those. I would add red wine vinegar, because that’s what my mom used to do for collared greens.

I was planning for the collard greens to be a separate dish, separate from the Black Eyed Peas. However, I ended up mixing the washed, boiled and drained collard greens in with my black-eyed peas dish to save time (Didn’t worry about getting them totally dry.)

3. The Black Eyed Peas dish!

At New Year’s, for good luck, it’s a good idea to eat some black-eyed peas. According to tradition! I didn’t have time to soak the Black Eyed Peas overnight, so I did a quick boil method. I boil the Black Eyed Peas for a couple of minutes and then let them sit in the hot boiled water for about an hour. That worked out pretty well to get them at least mostly cooked.

Then I chopped up a purple or red onion, and some garlic, and I sautéed these in a frying pan with canola oil, white vinegar, red vinegar, and black pepper.

I sliced up the field roast smoked frankfurters, and sautéed those. I added the garlic and onion sauté and the smoke frankfurters to the black-eyed peas. I also added some water, black pepper, and a little more apple cider vinegar so that everything could cook through together.

Field Roast Smoked frankfurters nutrition label With regards to the ingredients, it’s made of gluten, primarily.

When I realized it was almost time for my friends to arrive, I saw there was no time to make the collard greens as a separate dish. Then I got the idea of just mixing them in with my black-eyed peas dish. Turned out so good! I would’ve liked to have put more spices and seasonings in there, but this was all I had and it worked out fine. It was especially good with Tabasco sauce added.

Finally: what else did we have?

Just the Black Eyed Peas and collard greens dish with cornbread probably would’ve been enough food for a light supper before going out on the town for New Year’s. However, we had some more things that made the dinner truly fabulous.

1. My husband made a spicy black bean soup that was just the perfect starter for the meal. It went great with the corn bread also. I dipped my cornbread in the black bean soup, and it was in heaven.

2. My husband dropped off a bag of an Asian salad kit, so I decided to make that and that turned out nice as a starter course as well. We had soup and salad plus cornbread!

3. My husband made his fabulous vegan version of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Chinese fried rice, which includes rice, vegan bacon, vegan chicken, corn, edamame, peas and I don’t know what else.

4. My husband also made some brown butter sage flavor right rice.

5. Our friends brought a vegan apple pie that they found at a local grocery store, and I happen to have Trader Joe’s coconut whipped topping on hand. We heated up the apple pie in the microwave and then added the whipped cream. It was to die for!

6. Our friends also brought some champagne to share.

I was delighted to see how well everything went together, everything was so delicious and felt like such a very good, complete meal, with lots of good nutrition, and everyone enjoyed it. One of our friends said “wow, this is like a real southern New Year’s”. Pretty nice that they were all raving about the food, especially since it was all Vegan except for the milk powder in the corn bread mix. The field roast smoked frankfurters got rave reviews, I think the Apple cider vinegar that I cook them with infused a lot of flavor and made them very tasty.

Meanwhile, we had really good conversations and a lot of fun just being together. That’s a success! Made me very happy.

Happy New Year’s!

It has been raining here in San Francisco all day on Saturday, which was New Year’s Eve, but thankfully the rain cleared up and even the skies were clear in time for the fireworks show.

For us to go see the firework show from our house, we have to walk up a nearby hill, but it’s a really nice tradition for New Year’s Eve, gets us up and walking. I believe that official San Francisco fireworks show was canceled in 2020 and 2021, although of course, we do have lots of people who put on their own renegade shows every year.

Now, I’m quite aware that fireworks tend to be really bad for animals, especially birds, but also for people’s pets like dogs and cats who can be spooked and scared by the fireworks. Personally, I would be just as happy to make the climb up the hill to go stargazing. No need for the fireworks. But since the fireworks are there, might as well go out and enjoy them. That’s how I feel about it. So that’s what we did and it was really great. We brought some champagne with us and were able to toast to the new year at the top of the hill.

With it raining all day, and with a firework show being canceled in 2020 and 2021, for me, it was a real blessing that the weather actually did clear up and we had a clear skies. Because of that, we could see the fireworks show all the way from the top of the hill, which is on the other side of the city. It was a special night with friends. Very thankful for this.

Wishing you and yours a happy new year in 2023. Whatever sadness or other setbacks you may be dealing with, I hope that you will be able to continue forward and find some joy as well.

Onward and upward!

EDIT: For your reference, this post right here took me three hours to write. I did it from 5 AM to 8 AM on New Year’s Day. Then, I typically spend an hour or two (or more) after a post like this is published, adding links, captions for the photos, editing for typos and clarity, etc. Therefore, a post like this represents at least five hours of my time.

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