Sugar Free Vegan

ABOUT ME:  I have been many things in this life. Among the highlights are: Mother, Daughter, Wife, Sister, Friend, Lover, Soul Mate, Graphic Designer, Artist, Animal Lover, Movie Buff, Bibliophile, Traveler, Homebody, Collector, and Food Aficionado. In my journey to become me, I have experienced a great deal of life lessons. I HAVE: lived, laughed, loved, lost, learned, lied, told the truth, danced and sang out loud (when no one was looking), traveled, been recluse, acted outgoing, been shy, become a wife, known hatred and resentment, been scared,  been divorced, been careless and selfish, found myself, existed, shown selflessness and compassion, been content, found my soul mate, learned true love, lived my life, mourned, found and kept true friends (let the others go bye bye), felt beautiful, felt truly and self-consciously fat, doubted and believed in myself, learned to be content again, felt proud of myself, been ambitious and lazy, and become a mother of the daughter I've dreamed of since I was young. I'm always on the look out for new life lessons, in hopes that I can take them on gracefully.

Throughout my life, food has been a constant companion — whether delicious and memorable, or bland and forgetful. The Sugar Free Vegan developed from a passion for good cuisine, a desire to be healthy and the necessity to cut out sugar. While I was at it, I thought, "why not cut out all animal products and gluten?" Follow my journey to great-tasting Sugar Free Gluten Free Vegan food. Cheers!

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In our home we are mostly vegan... I am vegan, but my husband labels himself a "Cheagan" which he coined as a "cheating vegan," since when we're out on the town he will usually (ok, always) order meat. Although it is usually easy for me to find or alter a restaurant dish to be vegan for myself, entertaining guests at home sometimes causes a little anxiety — as most of our friends and family are complete carnivores.

While for the most part we always try to follow a healthy and natural diet, in the same spirit as ALOHA — during the holidays, especially, it can be a difficult to find a recipe to please multiple meat-eating guests. More often than not, guests don't understand what being vegan really means and think that all they are going to be served is lettuce, on a bed of lettuce, with a side of lettuce.

The trick to making carnivorous guests feel more comfortable coming over for dinner, is to cook vegetables in such a way so that it seems like they are eating meat — and try not to mention "veggies" at all.  For instance, say you're serving Osso Buco — not the more descriptive Carrot and Mushroom Osso Buco. To the non-vegan, Osso Buco seems exotic, delectable and satisfying — while Carrots and Mushrooms sounds nothing at all like turkey dinner!

After I created this meatless version of the classic Italian dish, Osso Buco — roasted pearl onions, cremini mushrooms and rainbow carrots seasoned and stewed in wine — it has become one of our family’s favorite go-to dishes for both holiday gatherings and dinner parties.  It is not only simple to make, it is also so very flavorful and elegant. I guarantee that you will love it — and your carnivores will never miss the lack of meat.

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Mushroom Gravy over Butternut Squash Bisquit

Mushrooms are probably my favorite food. Well, to be completely honest I have lots of favorite foods — but, if you add mushrooms to any thing, it makes them even better! 

While making this Mushroom Thyme Gravy to pair with Butternut Squash Almond Biscuits, I didn't realize I was creating something so voluptuous. This wasn't an ordinary dinner at home, but an elevated, fancy dinner that was worthy of a evening out at a fine dining restaurant wearing a dress and pearls. Although there wasn't much "date" talk going on at the table — only the repeating "yumms" "oooohs" and "aaaahs" bouncing back and forth across the table after each bite — it felt like an indulgent date night that my husband and I get so rarely these days with a 6-year-old companion. Our 13th wedding anniversary is coming up in a few weeks and I was pondering ideas.  I think this meal is a definite must for the celebration. It may not be the traditional Lace, or modern Textile gifts that they say are ideal gifts for the 13th year — but it's definitely a delightful way to show my husband how much I adore him.

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