I’ve been going through a very strange transition process for the last few days.

I’m heading off to New Zealand next Sunday for three weeks.  I’ll be starting my Ph.D. fieldwork and spending a lot of time out in the middle of a very beautiful nowhere.  However, I have absolutely no idea what my food situation is going to be like.  I don’t know where the food is going to be coming from or what it’s going to be, or how much say I’ll have in what we bring out with us.  And I won’t know until I get there.

I realized this about two weeks ago, and was immediately concerned about what I would do if the only foods available contained eggs or dairy.  I can’t expect the people that I am working with to go out of their way to find vegan-friendly foods.  I’m sure vegetarian wouldn’t be a problem, but I can’t expect them to cater to my vegan-ness.

So rather than having my first experience with dairy or eggs in many, many months be when I’m out in the middle of nowhere at my field site, I decided to slowly incorporate some non-vegan foods back into my diet starting this week.  And let me tell you, it’s been weird.  It’s very strange to knowingly reach for something that contains butter, or milk, or sour cream, and so on.  But I’m making a point to have one small non-vegan food item per day just to get my body used to that stuff again.  And to prevent any unpleasant reactions to whatever I may end up eating while I’m in New Zealand.

I guess the way I would describe my current food scenario would be vegetarian, but choosing vegan as much as I can.  It’s hard to make that switch.  I love the way I feel since going vegan.  But I honestly have no idea what’s in store for me when I get to New Zealand and I really want to make sure I’m okay eating non-vegan foods again, just in case.

So it’s a time of transition.  I will still be choosing mostly vegan foods, however, there are a few non-vegan (but still vegetarian) ones mixed in there once in a while.

And now that I feel like I’ve failed and let people down, here’s a whopper of a vegan recipe from Angela:

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Pecan Cinnamon Rolls (AKA: Heaven on a plate)

Rather than typing it all out, I’ll just link you to Anglea’s recipe PDF.

My notes (what I learned/adapted from my test run and again on Christmas morning):

  • This recipe made more than I could fit in one casserole dish, so I doubled the amount of pan sauce, and used two casseroles.
  • Rather than using dental floss to cut the rolls (I did that for my test run and lost a lot of the filling when it squeezed out the sides), I flattened out the dough, spread on the earth balance and the pumpkin pie filling, and then cut everything into 1.5″ strips using a pizza wheel.  Then I sprinkled on the pecan cinnamon streusel filling and rolled them up individually.  It worked well.
  • Make sure you don’t cut your rolls much thicker than 1 to 1.5″.  Any thicker than that and they’re ridiculous and won’t cook all the way through.
  • I ended up baking them for an extra 10-15 minutes (on top of the 27 minutes called for in the recipe).  I don’t know if my oven just isn’t as warm as it says it is, or what, but I found that with an extra 10-15 minutes, they were cooked all the way through.  After just 27 minutes, the bottoms were still raw dough.
  • The rolls come out HUGE.  Neither myself or my husband was able to get through a whole one this morning.  It’s definitely good to split one!
  • These puppies are AMAZING.  They are very labor intensive, but soooooo worth it.  Bring these to a party and people will love you forever.  (I brought them to my friend’s house for Christmas lunch and her whole family was picking at them.  I was told to leave the whole pan.)