Hey you guys! How was your Halloween? Tellllll me!!! I need to live vicariously though you because they just do not get Halloween in this god-forsaken land I live in.
It's starting to trickle in, but there's a real lack of understanding of what to do and how to do it. For example, every year I've got people in my social circle posting on Facebook to check which night trick-or-treating is this year.
They do that because a lot of people will just round up or down and decide that trick-or-treating will happen on whatever weekend day is most convenient. Because most people live in apartments (there are no houses in Stockholm proper) and trick-or-treating will happen within one's own building, people will put up a sign and come to a consensus about what day it should be.
A lot of the older generation are simply irritated by kids knocking on their doors and asking for candy, and many just don't open their doors. We didn't make a big deal about it, and just let Niko trick-or-treat at our own door a dozen or so times, and he was SO excited about it and loved it so much, it just broke my heart.
I've decided that next year I'm going to take the kids abroad for a proper Halloween. Probably not all the way to Canada this time, but apparently my sister's neighbourhood in London does it up proper, so we'll go there.
Halloween, and the autumn in general is definitely the time of year when I feel the most homesick. No Thanksgiving, no Halloween, just months of bleak, dark, cold weather ahead.
Speaking of bleak darkness, I did my first outdoor photoshoot of the season yesterday. From November till maybe February there usually isn't enough light to shoot photos indoor anymore, so I move my setup out onto the balcony.
Yesterday was extra fun because I was supposed to have a few hours on my own to take photos, but Niko was such a little a-hole all morning long that after several warnings, we ended up telling him he wasn't allowed to go to the museum with his dad and brother.
It was the first time we've followed through with one of these threats, and he lost his little mind over it. Howling, screaming, kicking, hitting, the whole deal. It was real fun.
And then once his temper tantrum was over it got really quiet and I found him passed out on the sofa, which I guess explained why he was acting like such a turd all morning. When he woke up and remembered why he wasn't with his dad we went through it all over again. A tough lesson, but much needed.
Once he calmed down he decided he was going to "assist" me with my photos, so everything was taking twice along as I was fighting the fading light.
I've been debating taking a flash photography course, but have been having such good luck with light lately I was like, but why? This works just fine. Then our clocks changed and I was like ohhhhhhh right. The circle of darkness. This sucks.
I hear all these food bloggers in Canada and the US whining about winter light and I'm like, pu-lease. Come on up to Sweden in November or December and we'll talk about struggling with daylight.
Also, since it's now cold out, a PSA for y'all: if you see a parent pushing a small child in a stroller and that child is not wearing a hat, gloves, boots, shoes, or other warm stuff even through it's freezing out, do NOT give that parent a hard time. If that parent is me, what's happened is that my kid has taken off his hat and gloves, kicked off the foot muff, pulled off his shoes, and yes, has even taken off his socks and started waving his bare feet around in the cold.
By the time you've seen me and my bare-footed child, I've put the gloves and hat and socks and boots and foot muff back on that child at least one dozen times, and each time he removes it all again more quickly than the time before. By the time you've seen me I have given up, and comments about how cold his little feet must be are not helpful.
I know his feet are cold. He's crying because his feet are cold. But one-year-olds are stupid and have death wishes and exist purely to drive their mothers insane, I'm certain of it.
Helpful would be an understanding glance and a pro tip about how to keep their f@cking gloves on. Helpful would be a gift certificate to a spa. Helpful would be giving my kid a good talking to on my behalf because I'm just so over it, please and thank you.
And while I'm up on my soap box, get this: some woman felt the need to leave the following comment on my Amazing Vegan Gravy recipe the other day:
Why do vegans want food that tastes like meat??????????? Because we are programmed TO EAT MEAT. Stop trying to make fake food taste like real food…. just Eat the real thing.
Honestly, I don't understand people who take the time to leave douchey comments on blogs. Don't people have better things to spend their energy on?
I debated responding to the comment or not, but the thing is, once I approve a comment from someone for the first time, that person is then able to leave comments on any post, any time, without me moderating them first. If I approved this comment and took the time to respond to it, I'd open the flood gates for this lady to get all up in arms over my Tempeh Bolognese or Tempeh Bacon BLT Sandwiches.
I don't believe in deleting negative comments on recipes; if people try them and they don't work out, those comments are important for me and other readers to see. Deleting those comments would do us all a disservice, and make this blog a less trustworthy place.
But this comment had nothing to do with the recipe. It was just some lady getting her panties into a twitch because I had the audacity to make vegan gravy.
You know what, lady? Keep your eyes on your own plate.
People choose to not eat meat for lots of different reasons; ethical, environmental, moral, nutritional, religious, emotional, and the list goes on. What you eat is YOUR business.
I've been a vegetarian for over 25 years now so I haven't had "real" gravy for quite some time. I'm not trying to emulate a meat-based gravy, I'm trying to make a damn delicious sauce that goes great with mashed potatoes, crispy potato wedges, and what have you.
Furthermore, people are not "programmed to eat meat" in any way. What a bunch of nonsense. Humans are omnivores, and many of us thrive on a vegetarian or vegan diet.
While it may be hard for some people to understand the appeal of fake meat (though I'd argue that vegan gravy is hardly fake meat; it's just a vegan sauce), there is so much of our food culture that's wonderful and celebratory and delicious that centers around meat. If someone is trying to replace a special food item with something equally delicious that is more in line with their values, what is wrong with that?
While I may make my own tempeh bacon (you can just call it salty, sweet, smoky tempeh strips if calling it bacon is problematic for you) I'm not much into fake meat products like the Impossible Burger, because I'd much rather have a delicious Chipotle Black Bean Burger or a serving of Vegan Lentil Loaf, which are made from whole foods and are therefore more in line with my own values.
I do, however, have a special place in my heart for vegetarian pizza pepperoni. I have a brand I love, and whenever I'm in Canada I pick up a few packs, freeze them, and smuggle them back into Sweden where I ration them out across a few pizza nights over the course of a year.
Should I just eat real pepperoni? No. Because I don't want to. I enjoy this weird, highly processed, soy pepperoni product that I treat myself to from time to time. I'm not trying to make a fake pepperoni pizza, I'm making a pizza with tasty toppings that bring me joy.
So in the end, I marked her comment as spam and deleted it. There's no room for that negative bullshit on this blog. Byeeeeee Felicia. Please take your business elsewhere.
ON HEY NUTRITION LADY THIS WEEK
It was a busy week here on HNL! We kicked things off with this recipe for Pumpkin Overnight Oats which are my current favourite make-ahead breakfast. Soooooo easy and sooooo tasty.
Next up, since it was the end of the month, another edition of Just Between Us. And guys, I do wash my hands. I just question it every single time.
To round things up, I put together a comprehensive Guide to Iron for Vegetarians. There's lots of information in there, as well as a link to a super cool product you can use to add iron to the food you're cooking.
WHAT’S TRENDING ON HNL
Here’s a look at what’s trending this week, according to Google Analytics:
1. Mung Bean and Coconut Curry. This recipe is pretty much always in the top position, and with good reason. It's sooooo tasty!
2. Homemade Pumpkin Purée. Yup, again. This bad boy is moving up the ranks in Google and I'm hoping it'll be on page one very soon.
3. Amazing Vegan Gravy. Ha! Screw you, lady!
4. Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos. Always a fan fave.
5. Turmeric Latte Mix. Yum yum yum!
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Long-time reader Maclean left the following comment and 5-star rating on my Vegetarian Quesadillas with Pumpkin and Black Beans:
I have been making these quesadillas since you first posted it, way back when! They are SO good and I love how versatile they are! I always add spinach, lime juice, and top it with Franks! Thank you so much – your recipes truly never disappoint!
Thank YOU, Maclean! It's awesome people like you who make this weird and wonderful job so rewarding.
WHAT’S GOOD AROUND THE WEB
4. This is super sad: the number of children with anorexia is on the rise, study suggests.