AMAZING Vegetarian (Vegan too!) Gravy

This week we had a really fun Friendsgiving gathering at our friends Bryan and Danielles house. I love events like this, because we eat a lot of delicious food, and it gives everyone a chance to test out some recipes ahead of time before REAL Thanksgiving. You can be experimental and try new things…see how they are.

David made delicious homemade (and home smashed) potatoes and I tried out a mushroom gravy I’d been eyeing. For vegetarians, gravy means a lot. It’s one of those things that you perhaps “miss” at Thanksgiving because it’s traditionally made with meat parts. But when vegetarians can also partake in pouring flavor-goodness all over everything else on their plate…it’s a win win. So I experimented with this recipe from Edible Perspective, and OMG. It is so good. It tastes like Thanksgiving, ya know?

mashed potatoes and gravy

Easy Vegan Gravy gluten-free, vegan // yields appx. 2 cups

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free oat flour, or 3 tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • 8oz baby portabella mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium in a medium pot. Once hot, add the onion and cook for 6-8 minutes until softened and translucent. Stir frequently. Add the garlic, rosemary, and thyme and stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the tamari then stir in the oat flour. Stir until a paste forms and let cook for about 1 minute. Add a few splashes of the broth and the mushrooms. Let cook for 2-3 minutes then pour in the rest of the broth, nutritional yeast, and pepper. Whisk until well combined.

Bring to a boil [uncovered] stirring occasionally. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer for about 5 minutes. Carefully pour into a blender and blend [starting on low] for 10-30 seconds, depending on the desired consistency. [Or use an immersion blender in the pot.] Place back in the pot and simmer for 12-18 minutes until the gravy thickens, stirring every few minutes. Add more pepper or a splash of tamari if desired.

Remove from the heat for about 5-8 minutes to further thicken. Stir before serving. For smooth gravy, pour into a blender and blend until fully smooth.

So if you’re serving Thanksgiving and you’ve got a vegetarian coming, make sure you give them something they can pour all over their food too! Try this mushroom gravy, it’s a winner!


Getting to Know You

My friend Britt (who I take tons of blog tips from) posted one of these last week and since they’re a little of a throwback to those old chain emails, I figured I’d give it a shot! Maybe you’ll learn something new about me! Feel free to join in (in the comments section), and let’s learn about each other!

flag photoFour names that people call me, other than my real name:

  • Bean
  • Beano
  • Kathy (jk. NO ONE CAN CALL ME THAT. Ew.)
  • Varner (people called me ‘Varner’ in high school, ie. my maiden name).

Four jobs I have had:

I’ve had sooo many jobs… 

  • Babysitter/Nanny
  • Jersey Mike’s Subs (first “real” job in high school)
  • Camp Counselor and Staff Member at Camp Mikell
  • Server (Morrell Wine Bar in Rockefeller Center, NYC)—I still believe everyone should work in the service industry at some point.
  • Social Worker (with LOTS of different populations: homeless adults, high schoolers in the Bronx, children 0-5 who have experienced trauma/abuse/neglect…)

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

  • Dumb and Dumber
  • All the Harry Potters (something about this time of year and Harry Potter…)
  • Almost Heroes
  • Troop Beverly Hills (just re-watched this with the little sis…so good).

Four books I’d recommend:

  • All Tana French Mysteries
  • A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
  • Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
  • 11-22-63 by Stephen King (love a historical thriller)

Four places I have lived:

  • Athens, GA
  • New York City, NY
  • Fairfax, VA
  • Columbia, SC

Four places I have been:

  • Peru
  • Malta
  • Ireland
  • Monaco

Four places I’d rather be right now:

  • At the lake
  • At the beach
  • in NYC visiting friends
  • in Paris

Four things I don’t eat:

  • meat
  • fast food
  • seafood
  • soda

Four of my favorite foods:

  • soups…love soups
  • tacos loaded with cilantro
  • my moms corn and bean salad
  • my moms holiday cookies, and her chex mix

Four TV shows that I watch:

  • Scandal
  • Real Housewives of New York, Beverly Hills and Orange County
  • True Detective
  • Fixer Upper on HGTV (love Chip and Joanna).

Anyone agree? Disagree?

Must Listen: Serial Podcast

David has been trying to get me to listen to podcasts for some time. And for years we’ve been listening, pretty avidly, to Stuff You Should Know which is one of my favorites. It helps that Josh and Chuck are from ATL, so we love that. And then the main other things that David’s really into are football podcasts which just don’t interest me. And then trolling the internet this past weekend, I found like 3 or 4 people who I take trusted advice from talking about the pocast Serial. What is Serial?serial logo

According to their site,


Serial is a new podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial will follow one story – a true story – over the course of a whole season. We’ll follow the plot and characters wherever they take us and we won’t know what happens at the end of the story until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we’ll bring you the latest chapter, so it’s important to listen in order, starting with Episode 1.

This season, (NOT A SPOILER…)

On January 13, 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, disappeared. A month later, her body turned up in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.

Sarah Koenig, who hosts Serial, first learned about this case more than a year ago. In the months since, she’s been sorting through box after box (after box) of legal documents and investigators’ notes, listening to trial testimony and police interrogations, and talking to everyone she can find who remembers what happened between Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee fifteen years ago. What she realized is that the trial covered up a far more complicated story, which neither the jury nor the public got to hear. The high school scene, the shifting statements to police, the prejudices, the sketchy alibis, the scant forensic evidence – all of it leads back to the most basic questions: How can you know a person’s character? How can you tell what they’re capable of? In Season One of Serial, she looks for answers.

So needless to say, I’m totally hooked. I love crime anything, and I was just looking for a good audio book for my commute and dog walks, when I stumbled across Serial. I found a podcast I love that isn’t sports! (Sorry, David). And I’m 5 episodes in and I love it. You get to kind of BE a detective alongside Sarah which is pretty fun and exciting. I’d encourage you to not only listen to the Podcast, but to follow along weekly on the Serial website, where there are photos, letters, and maps…things like that that continue to help the story unfold. Sarah Koenig does an amazing job of “setting the scene” and making it picture-able in my mind, but for those of us that were most definitely detectives in another life, it’s fun to “play along” online.

So c’mon, other people have to be listening. Since it’s been out for 8 or 9 weeks now. Who is listening? What do you think? Let me know (without spoilers–I’m in Episode 5).