Oh, Mayim Bialik, you are responsible for my downfall! The vegan Chocolate Truffle Pie of yours that I linked to in my Healthy Passover post was total crack! The sugar, the chocolate, the fattening horrible for you Passover margarine… It was a bliss point trifecta! That being said, it was such a hit I had to make another one two days later. Um…I didn’t say the Chocolate Truffle Pie was healthy, did I? But, damn, was it good!
By the way, if you haven’t heard me say this before, vegan doesn’t always mean healthy and that you miss out on eating anything enjoyable. Sometimes the good involves sugar-filled desserts and other times it is raw “caramels” made with dates and pine nuts (they are so good!). It’s not just about vegan, it’s about healthy. And healthy can be delicious too. But, very occasionally, I just need an unhealthy treat.
I spent the rest of the week gorging on vegetables, so I almost have a clear conscience. I mean, I would if I hadn’t gone ahead and made the second pie, two days later
Seriously, though, folks… I was surprised at how easy the week actually was. Well, by easy I mean completely doable and manageable. However, I did have to manage it, plan ahead and do A LOT of cooking. I spent at least 3 whole days in the kitchen throughout the holiday. Considering the number of formal meals I was cooking for (8?), that actually isn’t too bad. If I was cooking for just my own nuclear family, it never would have taken so long.
In an effort to help others trying to have a healthy Passover (or any other holiday), especially if they’re eating differently than others around them, let me tell you what can work.
1. Take responsibility for whatever it is you want to eat. There were meals when I wanted to enjoy dessert and others when I cared most about having three servings of salad. I was willing to work hard to make whatever I wanted to eat and to help others enjoy the holiday in the healthiest way possible (um…with the exception of the Truffle Pie of course…). In fact, my family was joking that I worked so hard and did such a great job on all the vegetables it must be an attempt to turn them all vegan. I responded that I had no such delusions, but if all of my healthy vegetables crowded out some other choices on the table, that was okay by me.
2. Be perfectly happy when it feels like you can only eat a couple of the dishes at a meal. Caveat: …As long as those items are healthy and will satisfy you. For instance, there were meals at which I knew I would be eating salad, soup (my mother in law was super considerate and had veggie soup for me while everyone else enjoyed her famous homemade chicken soup), a quinoa salad, one veggie side dish, and fruit for dessert. Only in a Thanksgiving type atmosphere is that NOT a perfectly satisfactory meal. I love not feeling disgusting at the end of a long meal with family and friends. I especially don’t mind my (self-imposed) dietary limitations, when I know it means I’ll feel well and that I was there for the company, not the food.
3. Involve your friends and family in the menu planning, but make it easy for them. I was happy to hear from friends that I’m not the only crazy one who keeps spreadsheets with grocery lists from year to year and menus for holidays going back to when I was single. For this year, I prepared a document divided into categories like salad, side dishes, vegetarian main meals and desserts. I listed all the recipes I’d found that I thought could work and where to find them. The where could be a link, a cookbook with a page number or a saved document.
4. Ask for the help you need! There was no way I could cook this amount and watch the kids at the same time. Sure, this can be paid help, but it can also just be making sure that you have family or friends who can juggle family responsibilities with you.
What’s next, peeps? You got it! Mother’s Day Brunch. Stay tuned for a great menu! (I welcome your suggestions too!)