Happy Christmas to all of you observing it & a very, very happy holidays to those of you who aren’t. The holidays make December one of my favorite months, especially because Christmas is the perfect excuse for my entire family & close friends to gather around over a huge feast & partake in gift-giving. Seeing my huge family during the holidays makes the day so enjoyable & something I look forward to every year. The food, the company, the drinks, the scents, the desserts, & the fun, there’s so much sensory overload, how can you not be overwhelmed with joy? Speaking of senses, did you know that scent is one of our 5 senses that is closely tied with memory? I’m sure most of you already know that, so let’s drive this point even further: Holiday Diffusers. Make your home smell exactly like the happy holidays with essential oils, vodka (or rubbing alcohol), a glass bottle, & diffuser reeds.
There are plenty of commercials we tend to remember from our childhood due to their ostentatious or subliminal ways, but one commercial that always irked me were the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter ones. If you’ve never heard of the product, I’m sure you would’ve surmised by now that given the product’s title, it’s obviously margarine. These commercials stuck with you with sexualized hands–I honestly don’t know how they did it, but it was even obvious for 10-year-old me to understand the sexual innuendos–& this surprised husband who would eat his toast with what he thought was butter. Fast forward to today, it’s no surprise that margarine, which is made up of hydrogenated oils, is 10/10 disgustingly horrible for you. However, that doesn’t mean that the vegan butter you see at your local health foods or specialty store are margarine. Take a gander at the ingredients list & if you don’t see anything with “hydrogenated oil,” or even partially hydrogenated, you’re okay!
So, why are hydrogenated oils so bad for you? Well, you could take a general chemistry class & then an intro to organic chemistry class to fully comprehend it, but the quick & dirty explanation is simple: hydrogenating oils means adding a hydrogen molecule to a molecular structure, making it more stable at room temperature after intensive science (adding metal catalysts, intense heat & pressure being added, etc). This new molecular structure is often compared to being similar to plastic, especially because the process increases shelf-life. Unless it’s honey, food should always eventually rot. But, what does all of this mean? Not very pleasant things for your body, so avoid it at all costs.
However, that’s where some of the other alternative vegan butters come in such as Earth Balance, Nutiva, & SmartBalance. In fact, I decided to change it up from Earth Balance & tried Nutiva for my two recipes. If you’re looking for an animal friendly product, search for some of these brands in the grocery store & you can get to cooking tons of vegan-friendly food without even realizing it! These two new recipes I’ve just added are absolutely perfect for the holidays & are vegan-friendly. Now onto pictures of my fancy mashed potatoes & gravy.