Christmas in the Desert

Monday, December 28, 2009

Just got home last night after a whirlwind holiday trip. I spent several days in Henderson, Nevada (a suburb of Las Vegas) which is the town my parents moved to about five years ago. It's still odd spending Christmas in the desert, especially when I grew up with snowy New York winters, but I suppose considering how my husband got snowed in for days while visiting his friends and family in DC, I'll gladly take a little sunshine.

My parents also went out of their way this year to make it feel homey and welcoming for us by making a vegan Christmas dinner for the whole family for the first time ever. I wish I could take the credit, but it turns out that now that Ellen Degeneres is vegan, and not just their hippie daughter, they're down with it. I made a vegan version of my mom's stuffed shells for Christmas Eve, filled with tofu, spinach, ground walnuts and Daiya, and covered in homemade tomato sauce, basil and even more Daiya goodness. Hooray for the Henderson Whole Foods which, in addition to the locations in Las Vegas, carries the vegan cheese.

My dad made some vegan potato pancakes that were awesome and did not fall apart. I'll have to get him to send me the recipe. For Christmas Day I made an easy little side salad and my Mom made vegan pot pies from scratch, inspired by a recipe they saw on the Ellen Show. For dessert I made this chocolate mousse topped with fresh berries.

And of course, no trip to Las Vegas would be complete without a stop at Ronald's Donuts. Word to the wise though, you best get there early if you want a good selection. They were nearly sold out when we got there at 2:00, but we did walk away with some awesome turnovers. The day after Christmas we embarked on a little roadtrip, which I'll report on next time. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday celebration -- or at least some relaxing downtime!