More than just food to be thankful for this Thanksgiving

It doesn't really seem like Thanksgiving was a week ago. I fully intended to write my Thanksgiving blog - imagine - on Thanksgiving, but somehow life always gets in the way.

For starters, I'm thankful to have such a full life that it gets in the way of my spending far too much time on the computer.

Our morning started off at a relatively relaxed pace. Pearyn didn't get up until 9:30, which is usually a rare blessing, except we were sort of counting on her to wake us up a little earlier. (That's called responsible parenting. Who needs an alarm clock when you've got a small human being relying on you?)

Needless to say, the preparation for our big feast didn't exactly happen in a timely manner (or organized for that matter).

Ryan is generally in charge of any and every "dinner" item, while I handle desserts (go figure). Part of this is because he's just a much better cook than I am when it comes to non-sugared dishes, and the other part has to do with the amount of pressure I put on myself when it comes to something as minute as baked goods. It's common knowledge if I had to tackle an extra dish - a side one at that - I would most likely have a nervous breakdown if it didn't live up to my standards (which are abnormally high when it comes to food).

This year, I did the impossible. In addition to a toothache-inducing, borderline too-sweet-pie, I made baked macaroni and cheese. The only reason I agreed to take on this dish was because of my deep love of unhealthy, chock-full-of-cheese sides, and because my mother's recipe for baked macaroni and cheese is basically fool proof - aka- "Amanda" proof. With only four ingredients, it's safe to say that it's pretty difficult to mess this up.

With that being said, I'm thankful my baked macaroni and cheese came out semi-recognizable.

Thanksgiving is usually a holiday where family, friends and complete strangers bombard us with questions regarding a vegan menu.

Do we eat? (Actually no, we don't ever eat, our compassion for animals and good intentions both feed and shelter us).

What do we eat? (Oh you know, grass, dirty and children's tears, the usual).

OK, actually, we don't say any of that. We usually turn the tables and ask them the same things.

What do you "normal people" eat?

Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, pies?

Well, us too.

We had it all this year. A celebration "roast," horseradish-crusted, twice-baked mashed potatoes (not pictured because I blew out the photo), baked macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole and portobello pumpernickel rye stuffing (no, it's not burnt, it's supposed to look that way).

Oh, and lets not forget the crunchy caramel apple pie that almost caused me to commit myself.

Of course food wasn't the only focus during Thanksgiving 2010.

Did I mention how absolutely thankful I am for the close-knit family and amazing network of friends I have?

It also was Pearyn's first Thanksgiving ever. While she didn't really get to enjoy any of our foods directly, we did make several "Pearyn versions" for her to enjoy. From whipped potatoes and creamed green beans to mushroom "gravy" and apple pie applesauce, Pearyn got to enjoy a little bite of this overstuffed holiday as much as the adults.

Well, that and her super cute Converse shoes.

I think Pearyn was especially thankful for those.

Karma even got to enjoy a little treat of her own, we snuck her some turkey leftovers from my parents house (just because we're vegan doesn't mean we expect our family companion to be as well). My husband and I firmly believe that while it's still debatable whether or not man was designed to eat meat, our furry friends were.

Our first Thanksgiving as a family of three was a success ... well, if you consider eating far too many carbs and sweets a success.

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