Every Spring break, my parents, my sister’s family, and my family gather at a state park either in north Louisiana or in south Arkansas. My sister and brother-in-law and their three kids drive in from Austin, Texas, while our parents come up from southeastern Louisiana. We try to pick a location equidistant from all of us, but invariably my sister winds up with the longest drive and D., E., and I wind up with the shortest. This year, we chose a spot only 3 hours from Jackson, beautiful Lake D’Arbonne:
Sunrise over Lake D’Arbonne
If the park hadn’t been so nice (excellent tennis courts as well as a lovely lake) and the lodge we rented so large and well-appointed, my sister (M.A.) probably would have never let me live down my the fact that I drove 3 hours to her 8 hours. But I think we found a new favorite meeting spot. Everyone enjoyed playing tennis and canoeing, and M.A. and I found lots of opportunities for antiquing in the nearby towns.
As far as cooking goes, I didn’t even try to come up with any new recipes, though we did have a few dishes that I’ve written about before. It’s come to be a tradition that on the first night my mom brings lasagna for the whole group. She makes two versions, a cheese lasagna for the non-vegans and a tofu-ricotta version based on my favorite lasagna recipe. For dessert that night, I prepared a Pineapple Coffee Cake and, just to see how it tasted, added some coconut to the batter and sprinkled on top (it was good). The second night we roasted hot dogs (SmartDogs for us vegans) over the fire, but for the third night, I got out the pressure cooker I had brought with me and made Curried Split Pea Soup with Cauliflower.
The only other food of note was a veggie muffaletta that D. and I shared in Monjuni’s restaurant in Ruston, La. It contained fried (sorry!) eggplant and artichokes as well as olive salad, and the bread was really good. I’m sure the fat and calorie count was through the roof, but hey–I was on vacation! I’m home now, so I’ll try to get back to cooking up some good fat-free food to share with y’all soon.