The Great CriFSMas Food (and More) Roundup, 2013 edition!

January 4th, 2014 12:32 pm by Kelly Garbato

It felt like I did a ridiculous amount of baking this Christmas – so, when I went and looked back at last year’s roundup, I nearly fainted in disbelief. (Full disclosure: there may have also been a food coma involved, due to the copious amounts of sugar I’ve been ingesting.) Did I seriously make a dozen plus batches of cookies last year? Little old me?

Fun story: after feeling super-smug and self-satisfied over my achievement of baking FIVE WHOLE BATCHES of cookies in one day, I headed on over to tumblr – where some lady posted about the 40 donuts and multiple trays of cookies she baked in one afternoon. Whoops! There goes my self-confidence!

So anyway, here’s the Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2013 edition! But with bonus x-mas presents and vegan pop culture observations.

First up: the noms. As per usual, let’s start with dessert, shall we? All the cookies are from Kelly Peloza’s The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, a review of which I’ll probably have for y’all soon. Unless. Maybe I need to try out a few more recipes? You know, for the love of science and books and all that is holy and sugar-dusted.

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Glazed Rum Raisin Cookies – With their copious amounts of liquor and strong rummy taste, these cookies aren’t for kids. Very tasty and easy to bake, though I opted to make my glaze into more of an icing, so as not to risk the cookies sticking to one another during storage. If you go this route, start out with less rum. I ended up with way more icing than I could use. Or drink! (Yes, I actually tried that.)

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Chewy Caramel Pecan Cookies – SO GOOD! Caramel and pecans, what’s not to love? Well, the cookies’ inherent stickiness, for starters: I had to refrigerate the sheet of cookies for about ten minutes before I was able to peel them from the parchment paper without tearing the cookies to shreds. I wonder if my batter was too wet; the caramel pecan mix didn’t get especially thick, which resulted in a very sticky cookie dough. Further experimentation may be required.

Also, pro tip: these cookies have mad spread, so space them far, far apart. As in four cookies to a medium-sized tray. No kidding!

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Peanut Butter Cup Cookies – Wowza! So these are peanut butter cookies with homemade peanut butter cups baked right in. Did I say wowza already? Because, wowza! The best part is that the peanut butter cups mostly retain their shapes during baking, so the chunky, pb & chocolate is there for everyone to see. This cookie gots it, and doesn’t hesitate to flaunt it.

Plus the peanut butter cups are tasty as heck.

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Giant Bakery-Style Double Chocolate Cookies – Double chocolate? More like triple chocolate! In addition to the chocolate chips, there’s both melted chocolate and cocoa powder in the batter. Sadly these didn’t come out quite as chewy as I’d hoped, but I think it’s because I baked them a minute or two too long. The original cookies are ginormous, and probably I should have adjusted the bake time down a tad for my slightly smaller versions. Still good though! (Shane pounded these especially hard.)

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Snickerdoodles – In which I save the best for last! These are quite similar to the Chai Cookies I so loved last year, just with pared down spices. Easy to make, delicious to eat, they are my new favorite. ALL THE SNICKERDOODLES PLEASE!

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We decided to keep the main courses simple this year, on accounta neither of us wanted to undertake any major cooking endeavors. For Christmas Eve dinner, it was macaroni and cheese. And no “light” shit, either – we sprang for our creamy, cheesy, oh-so-trashy, ever-so-popular double cheese version, the recipe for which you can find here. Shane even made it extra-saucy, just how I like it. So soupy you can almost sip it from a mug! (And believe you me, I’ve come awfully close to trying.)

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We were unable to find any vegan nog in the stores this year (boooooo!), so I decided on a whim to make my own, using this recipe found on vegansaurus. I wish I could say that it was a roaring success that made all my dreams come true and further rendered store-bought nog obsolete – but sadly, it was not and did not. The biggest problem: way too much nutmeg. And this comes from someone who really, seriously loves nutmeg. Like, before this nog I didn’t think there was any such thing as too much nutmeg. I stand before you both humbled and defeated.

I’m thinking about tweaking the recipe, but am afraid to throw good money after bad. Does anyone have a favorite nog recipe they’d like to share?

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Christmas dinner was – what else? – PIZZA! One was kind of festive, with mozzarella Daiya, green zucchini, green and red peppers, and tomatoes, all on a spinach crust (though it looked a little more like whole wheat post-baking). We were entirely too lazy to shape it into a tree, though, so kudos to cromagspizza for taking the initiative there.

Pizza #2 was a little trashier, with cheddar Daiya, french fries, mushrooms, and onions. Everyone’s a hater when it comes to french fries on pizza (everyone in my family anyway), but it’s so good I can’t even. I haven’t written up a recipe, but it’s basically this pizza with onions and mushrooms. As per usual, I grossly underestimated how much the ‘shrooms would shrink in the oven; when this bad girl went in, it was absolutely covered in them. Moral of the story: mushroom lovers, whatever you think is good, double it!

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For New Year’s Eve dinner, we went with pasta. I had wanted to make the Spaghetti Pie from American Vegan Kitchen for Christmas…BUT we’d had pasta just a few days earlier and weren’t really in the mood for it again. (We eat our weight in pasta, yo.) Instead I postponed it until the next calendar holiday…and in the interim, I received a copy of Bake and Destroy from my sis, which has a recipe for – *drumroll please* – Spaghetti Cake. Talk about fate.

So this “cake”? Is flipping amazing. You cook the pasta, mix it with a cup (or in my case, two) of the pasta sauce (mushrooms and Kalamata olives, mmmmm!) and the tofu-cashew ricotta cheese, transfer it to a casserole dish, top with breadcrumbs and nooch, and bake. Serve with the rest of the pasta sauce and a side of garlic bread and feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven. The end.

Next time I think I might even skip the oven-baked part – the pasta tastes even better right off the stove. When combined, the ricotta and red sauce form a really interesting sauce that’s reminiscent of alfredo sauce mixed with marinara. This effect is lost a little during baking, since it soaks into the pasta and dries out a bit. (Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to cut it like a cake, silly!) Either way, I am in love.

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At 10PM on New Year’s Eve, I had the bright idea of baking a batch of Mini Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies (also from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur) in an effort to stay busy and awake until the ball dropped. (It worked, but I was conked out in bed no later than 12:30AM!) They’re not quite what I expected – more like a traditional chocolate chip cookie vs. the rich, buttery, crumbly goodness I had in mind – but tasty just the same!

As far as x-mas loot goes, Shane managed to win me a Motorola Moto X phone, which he was able to design himself. He made the front black, the back white, and the buttons purple and named it “The Kaylee.”

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At the risk of sounding like a stereotype, I don’t even care how well it works. SO PRETTY AND SHINY!

My mom sent me a care package at the beginning of the month, which I saved for Christmas morning. (Along with a slew of other packages: since I couldn’t tell presents from purchases from free-for-review books, I threw it all under the tree. Oy, what a clusterfuck!) There was a ton of fun stuff in there, much of it from her trip to Sacramento to visit my sis: a variety of chocolates (which Rennie and Finnick naturally scrapped over); some pirate swag; Wonder Woman buttons and a Kaylee keychain;

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a t-shirt from CAAN, for which my sister volunteers;

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a nifty phrenology plate, which is already hanging above the bookcase in my bedroom;

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and of course a copious amount of dog clothes, which the furkids are none too thrilled about.

I also got a pretty respectable pile of books, which I can’t wait to dive into:

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Vegan for Her, Bake and Destroy, and Home-Cooked Vegan Comfort Food are all from my sister (I predicted that she’d go for the vegan books on my list, and I WIN!), while my mom and dad got me Invincible Summer and Calling Dr. Laura by Nicole Georges; Serenity, Volumes One and Two; and the new Ron Burgundy book, because I am apparently a 25-year-old dude.

Mom says that I have a few more packages coming that were delayed due to bad weather; I wonder whether Eat Your Heart Out is in the mix? Every occasion, I request this lesbian zombie novel, and every holiday my request is DENIED. I could buy it myself but really I’m having too much fun fucking with her at this point. (We got into some real knock-down, drag-outs over me wearing men’s “trousers” in high school. I guess because roomy pants can turn a girl gay? NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT mind you.)

Not a Drop to Drink was a present to myself, and I’m not quite sure from whence Never Fade came. Maybe I won a contest and no one told me?

Last but not least, I got plenty of sloppy doggy kisses.

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Cue the awwwwws!

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Also during the holiday break, Shane and I binged on copious amounts of horror movies, some of which have been lingering in our Netflix queue for months. The Bay and Hell were especially noteworthy.

Me, during the first ten minutes of The Bay: “Hey, wait a minute. Is this some sort of secret vegan propaganda film?”

The gist of it: the runoff from a local factory farm is contaminating the town’s water, causing the parasites which normally prey on fishes to grow and mutate. The larvae enter human hosts through water or contaminated meat, where they essentially eat people from the inside out. We see a group of people haul a terrified, suffocating fish out of the water; as the dude hooks his thumb through the animal’s mouth, a giant arthropod scuttles from the gaping orifice and up the man’s arm, biting him before it escapes into the sea. During the annual crab-eating contest – at the outset of which I sniped that “I hope they all choke on their meat” – everyone’s racked with fits of convulsive vomiting.

Before long, most of the town’s citizens are covered in giant red blisters and boils. A family begs a police officer to put them out of their misery…and when he complies, the bugs escape from the blasted meat and attack him. The lone doctor starts amputating limbs willy-nilly in an attempt to stop the spread of the infection…only to see it jump from one now-missing leg to another. Entire tongues disappear! It’s pretty awesome, in a horrifying kind of way. And once the scientists figure out the cause, it’s all “Chicken excrement, chicken excrement, chicken shit, chicken excrement.” Good times.

And then there’s Hell, the last third of which includes a rather appalling plot twist (think: Texas Chainsaw Massacre) that had me wondering whether it, too, was secretly penned by a vegan.

Seriously, so many horror movies seem to have an overt or hidden vegan message. (See e.g., for just a small selection.) MAYBE YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS IS TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING? Just a thought.

Oh, and as far as Christmas-themed horror movies go, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is where it’s at. Of course you’ll have to look past the reindeer carcasses and pig slaughter, not to mention the total lack of women (NOT A SINGLE WOMAN IN THE WHOLE FILM. Not even a mom or girlfriend. Do the townspeople just use their ladies for reproductive purposes and then slaughter them for their meat? WHO KNOWS!), but between Evil Santa and his naked man-servant elves, it’s so worth it.

We also watched Gremlins, which isn’t at all the same as I remembered it. I found myself wishing that everyone except the long-suffering mom and Phoebe Cates would die a bloody death for the way they treated that poor Mogwai: caging him; enslaving him; buying, selling, and stealing him; intentionally pouring water on him even though it appears to cause him considerable pain and suffering, and then laughing at him as he writhes around on the floor, screaming. And letting Barney run around off-leash when his life is in danger! Ugh. SO IRRESPONSIBLE.

And the dad? Please! How douchey was he, bargaining with that kid to buy Gizmo behind his grandfather’s back? LIKE HELLO YOU CANNOT ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH A MINOR. NOT TO MENTION THAT MOGWAI IS NOT HIS TO SELL. NOT THAT HE SHOULD BE ANYONE’S TO SELL BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. And then giving that dude an ashtray as though that makes everything peachy? Scam artist, with a capital A-S-S.

If I was mom, I would have knifed my way out of that house long ago.

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2 Responses to “The Great CriFSMas Food (and More) Roundup, 2013 edition!”

  1. Spaghetti Not-Cake » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    […] remember that Spaghetti Cake I made for New Year’s Eve? Yeah, well, I didn’t even last a week before I decided to […]

  2. The Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2014 edition! » vegan daemon Says:

    […] one-two-three cheeses: mozzarella Daiya, a tofu-cashew ricotta cheese (the same one from the Spaghetti Pie in Bake and Destroy), and a 50-50 nooch-breadcrumb topping. I accidentally made too many noodles, so we ended up […]

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