Eating With Family

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

We are having a fun time at the in-laws. :) They have the coolest antiques and things to take pictures of!

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Sketchie has been reunited with the other cats!

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I always shoot dinner a few minutes before hand so the camera isn’t in the way and flashing during dinner!

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We had salad (they had Caesar and I had mine with a homemade dressing). The salad was made of romaine, cherry tomatoes, and avocado. The dressing I made consisted of 3 parts balsamic vinaigrette, 1 part olive oil, a dash of dry mustard, salt, and maple syrup. Deelish!


Some red wine…and a huge delicious stir-fry:


They had chicken and cream sauce in theirs, but the chicken + cream was put in after I took my veggies out.


Their stir-fry after my veggies were taken out:


Dessert–my vegan marshmallow treats which were a HUGE hit! The plate was empty in a few minutes. So fluffy and YUM! I had two squares and some fresh fruit shared with Eric.

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Then we played couple’s scrabble!


Eric and I were an EPIC FAIL and came in last. haha. It was still fun though!


Today’s question- How do you handle eating with family? Do you ever ask for modifications or things to be made a certain way?

I am still getting over my anxiety and guilt when I ask for modifications…even after knowing my in-laws for 10 years now! I still feel badly when I ask for something meat or dairy free. I am much better at it now though and I do agree with my MIL in that there is usually no harm in just saying what you want. I am lucky that most of my family understands that I am a vegan, but it would be really hard if they didn’t. Two things I always try to do are: 1) Bring a dish for the main or dessert and 2) Help prepare dinner (and clean up), which the cook appreciates.

We are about to have a big Easter breakfast soon so I better get going. I hope you have a wonderful Sunday!   

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Ricki April 4, 2010 at 8:16 am

Sounds like a great weekend! Hope you have a happy Easter, too, Angela! :)


Jenny April 4, 2010 at 8:21 am

I don’t know how I’m going to do it tonight- the menu is a small one and none of it sounds up my alley:(


Carolyn April 4, 2010 at 8:26 am

It’s funny you should ask that, because I just had to deal with that for the first time EVER when I went home for Pesach! I also struggle with that, especially since my family views my veganism as just another excuse not to eat (yeah, I’ve struggled with an eating disorder in the past, too, but I am pretty much over it now. That being said, my family doesn’t believe me–and though they leave me alone about it, they still talk about it behind my back when they think I can’t hear them. -_-‘). However, I just suck it up and do my thing.
This time around wasn’t so terrible, because no one made a fuss, and, for the most part, I could eat a lot of the stuff my mother made. For the main course, though, I had to make my own meal. Because I’m a college student, and wouldn’t be hanging around the house long enough to make it worth making a bigger dish, I just stuck to a nice, hearty salad with lots of greens, lentils and hummus.

I hope you’re having a wonderful Easter! =)


Paige (RAN) April 4, 2010 at 8:37 am

What a neat/eccentric place! Couple’s Scrabble sounds like fun:) And that’s awesome that they’re so accommodating.
Happy Easter, Angela!


Kelly April 4, 2010 at 8:39 am

I usually bring my own dish. Even though my family is more than willing to make something vegan they still use the same utensils to make their dish as mine. So I generally opt to bring my own dish. They just don’t understand that they can’t use the same spatula to flip my veggies as they used to flip their chicken. Gross! So I bring my own food with enough to share with everyone. I just close my eyes and eat the salad and hope for the best. Again my family thinks nothing of using the same knife to slice veggies for the salad, meat on their plate and then cheese or something.


Allie (Live Laugh Eat) April 4, 2010 at 8:41 am

Hahaha you look like me…taking photos of dinner before anyone else comes . I feel bad when people are waiting and waiting for me to get the perfect shot. I know you take maaaany photos like me so you can understand.

I usually offer to cook something so there is at least one dish I know I’ll like. I don’t mind NOT being able to have something because I know I can always make it myself later.

Happy Easter!


Lauren April 4, 2010 at 8:57 am

That is the COOLEST looking cat I’ve ever seen!


lisa April 4, 2010 at 8:43 am

happy easter ang!
i’m with allie on the bring a dish that works for me angle.

i love your top here, by the way…so pretty! where’d you get it?

enjoy the rest of this sunny, gorgeous weekend!



Jill April 4, 2010 at 8:46 am

Looks like a yummy dinner (the veggie side of it anyway)!
Getting my inlaws to understand my eating has been a work in progress for many years. They live in northern Ontario and are very much the meat, potatoes and lots of bad-for-you desserts kind of people. The first time I ate with them they made rice with chicken stock… Last summer we were there for a couple of days and my dad in law made dinner (burgers & potatoes) with “salad” (macaroni, microscopic bits of red pepper, mayo).
They respect my food choices and always have veggie options on hand, let me cook or bring stuff, but it is a challenge nonetheless… The biggest challenge though is trying to help my husband unlearn a childhood of bad eating habits and incorrect nutritional “facts”.
My parents don’t pose much of a problem – they have always been healthy eaters and I learned most of my good habits from them :)


Samantha April 4, 2010 at 8:53 am

Sketchie is sooo adorable!!


Heather @ Side of Sneakers April 4, 2010 at 8:59 am

Happy Easter!!! I used to struggle a lot eating with my meat & potatoes family- it’s actually why I stopped being a vegetarian, I felt like I was causing so much trouble!! Now that I’m older, I think the best solution is to bring a dish to share that you will want to eat- that way even if nothing else works for you, you won’t go hungry, and people probably won’t even notice!


Morgan @ Life After Bagels April 4, 2010 at 9:01 am

In my family, my parents and my in laws are divorced, so that’s four families to deal with at Holiday time. Well with my mom and my father in law – they try to make things themselves and surprise me by showing how much they understand my food choices. This has lead me to eat some pretty crappy stuff, and also hurt some feelings when I say ummm no fish is not vegetarian. With my dad and my mother in law – they expect that I either bring my own food, or prepare my own food so that I am eating what I want.


Chantal April 4, 2010 at 9:03 am

I know everyone says I shouldn’t but I also still feel really guilty when I have to ask people to modify the food/tell them my diet is different. Something I have to work on.

I LOVE what you wore for dinner! Gorgeous outfit :)


LD April 4, 2010 at 9:10 am

Your cat is so pretty! What kind is it again/how rare of a breed?? He sounds hilarious.


M i s s (@mediterraneanmiss) April 4, 2010 at 9:18 am

I always feel so awkward about eating with my boyfriend’s family – they’re diehard carnivores and I’m gluten free and mostly “pescatarian.” I had to tell his nona that I couldn’t eat her pasta the other day and it was mortifying! I did, however, bring my own pre-cooked GF pasta with me so that I could enjoy her amazing sauce with everybody else.
I think you just need to remember that they love you and want to make things easy for you :) I find telling them beforehand and sometimes bringing your own modifications makes things much smoother!


Lizzie April 4, 2010 at 9:35 am

My mum has always been an advocate of healthy eating (up until I was in primary school we used to have homemade fish and chips every Friday night, but then my Dad’s cholesterol was found to be very high (about the time when cholesterol was the new ‘thing’ in medicine) so we switched to mashed potatoes, and my dad was suddenly on soybean patties!), so I don’t worry too much about it. I eat chicken and fish (rarely red meat) and I let myself have some of my mum’s sweet treats (raspberry coconut slice, choc mint slice) as it’s special and reminds me of my childhood. There’s always plenty of fruit, oats, wholegrain cereal, veggies etc so it’s never a stretch.

I love Scrabble!! Though my husband thinks I cheat as I spell things different – ha ha! :)


emptynutjar April 4, 2010 at 9:40 am

I am not vegan or anything. But I always wonder at people when they ask for modifications or something. A lot of people seem to feel guilty for it. I don’t think you should feel guilty. Just because I am not vegan for example , does not mean I should make you feel silly for needing things a certain way. Hopefully some day those kinds of thoughts will change for people. You should eat how you wish without guilt or judgment.
You have a beautiful family. You all look like beautiful actresses and actors :)


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 4, 2010 at 9:58 am

I’m not a vegetarian/vegan, so I don’t have a problem with that, but I do like to make sure that there are healthy options for me at my family dinners. Sometimes I’ll make up a veggie + dip platter for everyone to snack on before the meal.

For our Easter dinner, my family was making cake and pie, and I wanted something a little healthier, so I made my healthified banana bread. It was a hit (but they didn’t know it had whole wheat flour and flax seed in it. Shhh ;))!


Ameena April 4, 2010 at 10:03 am

My immediate family is pretty accommodating but problems occur when my husband’s extended family tries to invite us over. Their diet consists mainly of meat, meat, and more meat. So with all my food allergies + veg lifestyle, things don’t go so well all the time.

I’ve learned to eat in advance!


Violet April 4, 2010 at 10:14 am

I have been vegetarian for 30 years. I am not vegan, though if I lived alone (I am married) I would lean more that way. I have got over any qualms about asking for modifications, and always plan to bring a substitute for myself anyway. Plus, my family are used to accommodating my ways. It gets much easier with time and you are doing the exact right things. You may not believe it now, but your healthy ways may just rub off on someone. Older folk though are less likely to change as the foods and the way they eat is all they know. I am all about fusion foods and current love Indian Kitchari and Pakoras. Yum. Have a happy Easter!


Angela April 4, 2010 at 10:17 am

Oh man – that is my kind of night! Dinner & Scrabble is the best!!

I also feel guilty about asking for modifications so my approach is usually to make dinner for everyone!
Depending on who’s house it is – I will sometimes make up a white lie about how dairy or creamy sauces have been really bothering my stomach lately!! And then other times, I feel like I’m not doing anybody a favour by belittling my healhty efforts so I explain why I would like modifications.


Keri April 4, 2010 at 10:20 am

Hi there :) I am a fairly new follower. Thank you for touching on this subject. I always wondered how people in your situation handled themselves at family functions and how it went with the family. I think that would be the hardest part for me. I find it very easy to choose vegetarian choices when they are readily available, however, it would be difficult for me to make special requests.
Happy Easter!


Stacey April 4, 2010 at 10:23 am

I understand what you mean about the in laws. I try to be polite and not make too much of a fuss. After 11 years with the in laws they pretty much know what I can eat. My husband is very supportive of me and has my back and pipes up when I feel uncomfortable about saying what I can’t eat.


Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter April 4, 2010 at 10:49 am

I struggle with the parents and roommates. I went home for spring break and I was served white rice, white pasta, and tons of white bread. I nagged them a little bit about it. But it was great to teach my mom how to cook healthier meals by switching a few ingredients such as greek yogurt for mayo and showing them proper serving sizes.
As far as my roommates go, I’ll eat what they serve such as red meat and white bread but I’ll eat in in severe moderation. Thankfully I’m not vegetarian, vegan or don’t have any food allergies so I do have the freedom to eat the food-I would just prefer not to.


Michelle April 4, 2010 at 11:10 am

Looks delish! That stirfry looks amazing!


Rachel April 4, 2010 at 11:11 am

I really like your last part about dietary requests. I love that you try to be very respectful, helpful, and bring a dish to accomodate.

I know it can be very uncomfortable to have to make special requests but you are definitely doing it the right way!!

Keep up the good work. :)


Lisa April 4, 2010 at 11:12 am

My family is really proud of me for losing 100 pounds so they were supportive the whole way. They made food substitutions at my request without any hassle. I’m glad for that!


Dukka Girl April 4, 2010 at 11:16 am

With my own family, I survive by a combination of bringing my own things along (usually dressings, hummus, that sort of thing) and helping out with the cooking so I know there’s no dairy in the vegetables. Recently at a family party, there was nothing vegan, not even the salad, and there wasn’t even any bananas in the house, so I just drank water and black coffee until I got home! My boyfriend’s family just don’t get veganism, not in a nasty way, but for example my boyfriend told his brother we only eat dark chocolate, and he bought us chocolates for Easter that were labelled “dark” but had dairy in them. He’s also got things specially in for us and they always have something in them like honey or whey. I guess unless you’re vegan you just don’t know to look out for those things on the label. Because it’s only temporary, I usually just thank people for the food, but discreetly don’t eat anything, and then eat when I get home. Missing out on a meal isn’t such a big deal, but it does feel a little uncomfortable not eating or being ‘picky’ at a family celebration.


Run Sarah April 4, 2010 at 11:40 am

I feel the same way as you! I hate putting people out etc, I am still trying to figure out what to tell my cousin who I am staying with in a few weeks that I’m vegetarian. I find bringing a dish and helping to prepare really helps!


Diana April 4, 2010 at 11:47 am

The stir fry looks so good! Sounds like you had a good time :)
Well, I just say I won’t eat whatever so my mom (or whoever is cooking) knows how much to cook and sometimes I’ll just eat some veggies instead of mashed potatoes or whatever. It’s not a big deal. :)


Lizz @ leadingthegoodlife April 4, 2010 at 12:16 pm

I always offer to bring something. And I make a point of expressing how appreciative I am when someone makes something or modifies something especially for me. I’ve found that some people are nervous about making something vegetarian, so I try to help them see that it isn’t difficult.

Couples Scrabble sounds so fun!!


Hannah April 4, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Happy Easter Ange!!! Hope you have a great day.

Random Q: That cashew butter you were raving about-was it raw cashews or roasted? I’m curious to make my own but I want to pick the right kind!



Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place April 4, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I think one of the main reasons I have never altered my diet to become vegetarian is because I don’t want to deal with the stress that comes with making special requests when eating out or at someone else’s home.

I totally get why it would be hard for you to do so!!


jen trinque April 4, 2010 at 1:28 pm

I usually cook for the holidays because I have a small family and I’m the only one who likes to cook! This year I made a quiche and a big salad. Everyone else ate the quiche, I ate the salad, but I also brought brown rice mixed with nutritional yeast, part of an avocado, and some sun dried tomatoes to top my salad with to make it more filling. I also made dessert, which was vegan. Easy peasy. Although, it is hard because I still want to make family favorites, even if I don’t want to eat them…I don’t want to let them down. It is really hard to ask family, especially in laws, to make changes or do extra stuff, I know!


Cole April 4, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Great tips! I’m still working on how to fit my lifestyle into my family’s!


kathleen April 4, 2010 at 2:00 pm

when i was a vegan in high school, i was lucky enough that my mom cooked a nightly dinner for the family that usually involved veggies. she would set whatever she was cooking aside for me before something non vegan was added. i would then add whatever i thought the dish needed to be complete. this was the routine for the five years i was vegetarian and the one i spent as a vegan at home.


Allison @ Food For Healing April 4, 2010 at 2:10 pm

eating with my bf’s family, is a disaster, never is never anything to have that doesn’t have meat or dairy. My family is about the same, but my mom is a little more clued in on my whole eating situation.

Happy Easter!


Lisa (bakebikeblog) April 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm

MY family are really understanding about my wheat allergy and will always make modifications to ensure that the meal is ok for me :)


Jes (Self Motivation) April 4, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I love your pictures! Happy Easter!


Gillian April 4, 2010 at 4:41 pm

I totes went vegan about two weeks ago – I tried vegetarian last year but didnt prepare myself for it enough. But I have made the plunge as I feel it is best for my health, the environment and ethical reasons the more I read about the food industry and what a vegan diet is really made up of. So this is my first holiday meal today as a vegan. I made little apple lentil loaf muffin size things for my main and my family agreed to veganize the size for me. It has been good thus far – everyone is wanting to try what I made as it smells glooooorious!!


LisaG April 4, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Happy Easter. At our get togethers we usually have enough food to accomodate any tastes. Love the antiques.


Leah April 4, 2010 at 5:56 pm

I bring something with me that I know I will like, and LOAD up on veggies. Its easier with my family than it is with my boyfriends family thats for sure. They totally dont get it, and his grandma is the “oh you need more than that” type. If you can see plate, shes going to insist you take more food. That always makes it harder.


Jessica @ The Process of Healing April 4, 2010 at 6:48 pm

That sounds like a great dinner!!! My family isn’t too difficult to work around with how I eat. They respect that I don’t eat red meat and pork and so we always have plenty of side dishes. I always bring a side dish and dessert :)


Katrina (gluten free gidget) April 4, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Ugh… I feel like such a pain in the butt on holidays. Today was a bit of a disaster. Oh well… It was still fun to have an adult Easter egg hunt!


Melissa April 5, 2010 at 11:39 am

What an awesome house…all those cool antiques! Looks like a great dinner too. I used to have huge anxiety when I first went veggie. I would sometimes stay home because I didn’t want to ask for meat free stuff or have the eyes on me. I’m way better now and I just bring my own thing or ask if I can take the veggies out before the meat and dairy get added. It has taken me a long time but now I know myself better now. I think it is better to say what you want but also it helps the cook if you say what they made looks fabulous!


Mary @ What's Cookin' with Mary April 5, 2010 at 11:40 am

I feel totally comfortable when going to my MIL’s… She knows that as soon as I get into town, I head over to Trader Joe’s and load up on my “rabbit food”. She actually gets a real kick out of seeing what I’m going to eat. No one really gives me a hard time, but I also try not to ask anyone to stock things for me. I feel weird asking a host to buy things he/ she wouldn’t normally, so I either bring stuff or go shopping like at MIL’s.

I def feel lucky to have such an understanding fam :)



Rachel April 5, 2010 at 12:05 pm

My husband and I just started eating a vegan diet a few weeks ago and Easter was the first time we had to deal with eating out with family and eating at family’s house. When I first started dating my husband, I would bring my own sald or something healthy to eat to his family’s house because everything was either fried or smothered in cheese. So they are kind of used to me eating my own way…but they aren’t used to their son doing it, too. I made a corn & black bean salad for Easter dinner and it was a hit! My MIL asked me later very quietly if it was healthy and if it would be good for my FIL (who is very overweight). She wrote down the recipe and I sent leftovers home with her. I was shocked that no one gave us a hard time. His grandmother did try to convince me that I could eat green beans that were cooked in butter & bacon, though! But, they made baked potatoes and lots of veggies without butter and left out the meat in the beans for us. I was thrilled/shocked at how accomodating they were to us.

Eating out was a little intimidating because I hate being picky or quizzing the waiters about what’s in everything, especially when I’m out with other people. I ended up accidentally eating some things that I thought were vegan that weren’t. I guess I’ll have to learn to speak up.

Overall, though, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Success!


Noelle April 5, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Eating with family is fine. It is easier at my mom’s house because my mom eats a very much plant based diet. My MIL’s house was better this year at the holidays, but it is brand new. A work in progress. I at least feel more comfortable about it.


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