My Caribbean Christmas 2010

December 29th, 2010 · Lisa · Recipes, Savory, sugar-free, Sweet · Comments

December 29th??? Wow.
I’m already back at work after a lovely long weekend. I hope you all enjoyed some special time with the people you love. I have been a bit remiss with my posting habits since Vegan MoFo, but five days off gave me plenty of time to stockpile some daylight photos.

Let’s start with a recap of my family’s Christmas festivities.

My brother picked me up on Christmas Eve and whisked me off to my Mom’s place – where there was a decorated Christmas tree (unlike my place), 10 boxes of Chocolate Peppermint soymilk and a copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas ready for watching.

I was in my flannel pyjamas as soon as possible. While the Whos down in Whoville were grasping hands, I started prepping overnight oats.

I was up early Christmas morning to portion out the parfaits. They are just as decadent as you would imagine.

Peanut Butter – Banana- Blueberry – Overnight Oat Parfaits (makes four parfaits)

Overnight Oat Layer
2 cups rolled oats
3 TBSP chia seeds
2 1/2 cups almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Mix all ingredients together in a large container. Cover the container and let sit in the fridge overnight.

Peanut Butter – Banana Ice Cream layer
2 frozen bananas, peeled
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
Blend together in the food processor until a soft-serve consistency is achieved.

Blueberry layer
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberry
3 TBSP blueberry jam (sugar-free would be best)
Stir together in a medium bowl.

Garnish – almond slices and a few blueberries.

Assembly – In each glass: Add a couple spoonfuls of the overnight oat mixture, add a quarter of the ice cream blend, add a couple spoonfuls of the blueberry layer, add another layer of overnight oats and garnish with almond slices and a spoonful the blueberry layer.

Gingerbread Waffles from Vegan Brunch

My brother, Dan, and I made a big batch of waffles before we went to bed on Christmas Eve (I was catching up on Dexter anyway – I don’t recommend this as a way to get into the holiday spirit!). Once they cooled we stuck them in the freezer. In the morning we warmed the waffles in the toaster and topped each serving with a drizzle of maple syrup.

After we opened our stockings, Dan joined me for a short run around the neighbourhood. It was great to get outside – the weather was perfect for a speedy session.

Once home, showered and changed it was time to set up for the arrival of my older brother, his wife and their four lovely little ones (ages 8, 5, 3, and 1).

As I’ve shared in the past, we don’t do traditional Christmas meals. Instead we select a different theme each year. Last year was Disney, the year before was our Ode to Obama. We’ve also done Appetizers, Things you dip, Things you roll, Italy, Everyone’s Favourite Dish, Red Things…

This year, we are all looking forward to a family vacation planned for February. We haven’t all been away together since 2005 so we’re pretty excited. We are meeting in Disney World (I know…but my Mom loves it there) to run a 5km race together and then boarding a cruise ship for four days. I’ve never been on a cruise and have no idea what to expect but the chance to join the entire clan on a vacation was too sweet a chance to pass up.

With that in mind we went with a Caribbean cruise theme. The idea was to focus on the relaxed attitude we associate with the islands, and vacations in general. We planned to set up a buffet that everyone could enjoy over the course of the day.

My brother’s girlfriend made us each a magnet with our name on it to put on our door (on the ship), so we used them as place cards at the table. We decorated with tiny umbrellas, fresh thai coconuts and these little palm tree picks – to which I added cranberries.

sorry for the blur.

My idea of a good trip is based on continuous access to fresh fruit. Here are a few shots of our spread.

A platter of kiwi, papaya, golden dragon fruit, and pomegranate. I also picked up persimmons but they weren’t ripe in time for Christmas.

The buffet continues with mangoes, clementines, grapes, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, oranges, and my Mom’s home-made sourdough bread.

We also had hummus (regular and roasted garlic) and lots of veggies (cauliflower, peppers, cucumber, broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes).

To balance all the fruit, my mom made a huge pot of bean chili. I didn’t try any – I was full of fruit 🙂

I also made a couple adult beverages:
White Sangria – 1 bottle White Wine (sweeter rather than dry varieties work best), 2 cans ginger ale, 1 orange – sliced, 1 cup strawberries – cut in half, 1 cup red grapes, 1 cup blueberries, 1 lemon – sliced. We let it macerate for 24 hours.
Pina Colada– Fresh coconut meat (about a cup), chunks of pineapple (about a cup), agave (about 1/4 cup), white rum (2-3 oz), golden rum (2-3 oz), vanilla extract (2 tsp), lime juice (2 tsp) – Blend together with a handfull of ice. Adjust to your own preferences.

We didn’t actually make a special dessert this year. Instead we set out cookies from all the season’s exchanges we’ve attended and gourmet gifts we’ve received.
It wasn’t the fanciest meal we’ve ever made. It was easy. I was relaxed and actually had time to play with my niece and nephew without worrying about timers and temperatures.
All this amazing food fuelled us through opening gifts, playing in the snow with our dogs and a few rounds of card games.
I haven’t posted much this month but I’m feeling back in the swing of blogging so I’ll be back tomorrow with more holiday fun.


  1. Posted December 29, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    I absolutely love the presentation of your holiday meal! Tropical fruit is a good distraction from our cold winter weather.

  2. Posted December 29, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    I went on the four-day Disney Bahamian cruise in early 2001 and it was one of the best vacations of my life! I know you will all LOVE it!

  3. Posted December 29, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    What an amazing holiday you all had! Those waffles look great–I haven't had waffles in ages. And such eye-popping colors in that holiday meal! Hope you enjoy your time away, Lisa (you deserve a great vacation!). And thanks for the note on my blog–but you know you are already on my blogroll, right? (And of course on my Google Reader!). 😀

    Have a very happy New Year! xo

  4. Posted December 29, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    That fruit spread looks like my DREAM. Give me platters of fresh fruit over cupcakes any day! I also hope you have a wonderful vacation with your loved ones 🙂

  5. Posted December 30, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Wow, what a fabulous Christmas Lisa. Such a great idea to go Caribbean style!

  6. Posted December 30, 2010 at 9:13 am

    The buffet spread looked GORGEOUS. I love how your family picks themes each year. What a great tradition in itself! Have a great trip. I have a feeling the cruise buffet won't be as awesome as yours was!

  7. Posted December 30, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Everything looks amazing!! Love this idea of a Caribbean Christmas!! Glad you had a wonderful holiday.

    Pure2raw twins

  8. Posted December 31, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Thanks Nicole – we definitely didn't celebrate local eats this year but given the limited options in Toronto around Christmas it made this meal a big celebration.

    Vegyogini – that is wonderful to hear. I can't wait.

    Ricki – I know…but I wanted to leave you a little note anyway. Happy 2011 to you, my dear.

    a-k – I totally agree – I would always pick fruit over cake. Do you think there is a market for a book on "fresh fruit platter take over the world"

    Thanks Heathy, I hope you had a wonderful holiday up north.

    Crissie – thank you! We do really enjoy selecting a fun theme each Christmas.

    Lori and Michelle – I've enjoyed reading all your holiday posts as well. It looks like you had a lot of fun.

  9. The Peace Patch
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    This is one of my favorite parfaits…superyumful in summer too! Many thanks! 🙂

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