An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater


With the holidays safely behind us and packed away in storage boxes for another year, I’m ready to out myself as a bad little culinary enthusiast. [No, not “foodie,” that’s a dirty word in this household.] Yes, I admit it, I took many shameless shortcuts. While I continued to bake and cook like mad, it was mostly at work for our endless catering requests and special orders, not at home. That’s why I was lucky enough to be gifted a main celebratory dish from my favorite local restaurant and place of employment, Health in a Hurry.

A seasonal specialty offered for a limited window of time during the winter, our stuffed miniature pumpkins are both a delight to look at and to devour. Filled to bursting with a hearty melange of brown rice, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, and herbs, this simple yet satisfying dish is excellent as either a main or a side, depending on the rest of the festive feast. Personally, one of these babies on a plate smothered in a sea of chickpea gravy is all I need for a happy holiday, thank you very much.

Then, come Christmas day, I found myself at a loss. Typically celebrated with a yule log of some fashion, I woke up that morning empty handed. However, a few cheap tricks later, and I had a reasonable substitute to present… A savory sushi yule log!

Keeping the theme with red and green fillings of avocado, red pepper, cucumber, and scallion, it was far more simple than my favorites, but it certainly fit the bill. Though truthfully no more than an uncut maki roll, dressed up with parsley “moss” on top and enoki mushrooms for that “authentic” forest-floor look, it was every bit as merry as many simpler bouches de noel.

Alright, so I’ve aired my edible sins… Now fess up, what culinary shortcuts did you take this past holiday season?

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

29 thoughts on “Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater

  1. The yule log sushi is ADORABLE. What a great idea!

    I took so many shortcuts this holiday season! I didn’t even really make a main dish, just ate sides that happened to be vegan.

  2. Ok I laughed out loud for real when I saw your yule log was sushi!! I think I’d like a sushi yule log more than a real one to tell you the truth :)

  3. You are SO creative, Hannah! I love the sushi yule log :).

  4. your stuffed pumpkin are so beautiful !!! i wish i coult grab one from the screen !!!

  5. You are too funny hannah! The culinary shortcuts I took on this Christmas were to cut down on the amount of baking I did! I definitely had these dreams of baking dozens upon dozens of cookies for relatives…and yeah. THAT didn’t happen in the end. Oh well. next year!

    Those pumpkins look adorable and sound so delicious!

  6. You crack me up.. only you would say that homemade sushi is a shortcut!

  7. My first time stopping by, very creative sushi! The pumpkin looks so scrumptious!

  8. OMG somebody just get me that yule log I defiantly want it no doubt. Is there any number to dial for Yule log emergency.

  9. Simple or not, I think the yule log is such a cute idea!

  10. haha- my culinary shortcuts was getting out of the kitchen and letting someone else cook! Take that laziness. ;)

    Your log looks delicious! (and that sounds super funny)
    I WANT those pumpkins!

  11. Both look amazing—and not necessarily short cuts!

  12. Pumpkin and sushi are your “sins”? Holy moly, Hannah. Last night I ate half a jar of sunflower seed butter directly with a spoon, then 3/4 of a Michel Cluizel chocolate bar while watching the awfulness that was SATC 2. Now that’s a sin! :P

  13. Hhmmm, nope I definitely did everything the hard way this holiday season! Though there was that batch of sugar cookies I made for work that was completely unadorned except for a few afterthought chocolate chip eyes! Hah! They were pretty pathetic now that I think about it.

  14. Oh ps I love the yule log and pumpkin both!

  15. That looks so good. The combination of the filling sounds amazing. I love a good filling like that. What chickpea gravy recipe do you use?

  16. Your “shortcuts” look amazing! The sushi yule log is particularly creative and adorable.

  17. Oh my, I would like a stuffed pumpkin and a sushi roll right now! My shortcuts are pathetic and don’t look nearly as nice in photos (a handful of cashews for lunch, a bowl of cereal for dinner, I could go on). I’m envious of your talent!

  18. Unique and creative! Both look wonderful and delicious!

  19. Oh my cuteness yule log sushi! What’s not to love about that? Definitely not a culinary sin by any stretch of the imagination :)

  20. Those pumpkins are too cute!

  21. I think I take many shortcuts when I cook. So many that I don’t remember them now!

  22. Your savory yule log is such a cute idea! I’m going to remember that one for next Christmas for sure. I confess, this year I only made about 1/4 of the cookies I normally make…for some reason it felt like the season was over so quickly this year and I just didn’t get to so many of the recipes that I wanted to get to!

  23. those pumpkins look so cute stuffed! love that yule log too :)

  24. I love the idea of a sushi yule log! I imagine much less work went into it than the original version. I took a lot of shortcuts for the holidays this year too. My mother had some food catered and we cooked the rest. Instead of cooking ALL of the vegan food myself I let some of it be catered. I even let someone else bake the cookies this year.

  25. The sushi yule log rocks! You are so creative.

  26. What a fresh savory take on the yule log! Really fun with the parsley and mushrooms on top, and nothing to feel guilty about! The pumpkins are quite appetizing as well. Love the individual portions and using every part of the vegetable.

  27. Those stuffed pumpkins are ADORABLE!

  28. I love your savoury sushi log!! How fun. The parsley moss and enoki mushrooms on the side are a nice touch.

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