A Very Vegan Christmas

When I first became a vegan, I dreaded family get-togethers. I was the only vegan and I found myself justifying why I ate the way I did or freaking out if my meals were served with the same serving spoon as the roast - I've since calmed down...Fortunately, the number of vegetarians among my relatives has expanded, and I can eat my stuffed tofu in peace.

This year, among the meat dishes were vegan sides. Since my mom now has three vegetarian children, she contributed to the spread. She made delicious curried carrots and cranberries, along with caramelized brussels sprouts with onions, mushrooms and walnuts.

Brussels sprouts are considered the dreaded vegetable; it's not their fault. They've often been boiled beyond recognition, emitting a more odiferous smell than their original state. But, roasting them tames the taste and strong smell associated with the Brassica family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.). If you never liked them before but like other vegetables in their family, cook them this way.

I also made chocolate crinkles, lemon bars, oatmeal raspberry bars and chocolate fudge - all vegan.

I know from experience that it's difficult to find bakeries in Northwest Connecticut that make vegan baked goods. Usually, they are special order and not as convenient as simply walking into a store and selecting what you want. So, I've been thinking about starting a side business for frustrated eaters like me. If anyone has any dietary restrictions, I'd be glad to swap recipes and/or make products for you!