The three of us were in the kitchen – Tomer, his sister, and I.

We were cooking up an insanely delicious vegan dinner for Sukkot, a beautiful holiday that symbolizes the return to simplicity.

The whole family is not yet vegan, but nearly there, and they love vegan food. The whole 3 weeks we stayed with them were filled with delicious vegan dishes, and no meat was in the house. 

We decided to make an Asian vegan feast: sweet potato quinoa with a yummy sushi dipping sauce, sushi stuffed with the former, sweet and sour cucumber salad, oil-free stir fry, and a yummy raw vegan cookie dessert.

I was directing the savory operation, while Tomer was directing the rolling of cookie ball things, as always.

His sister was following our chef orders, and rolling about 50 balls of oat cookie dessert things.

“This time, everyone will love my food more than your dessert,” I said to Tomer. Because I am the professional cook in the family. And because he is a guy, and makes dessert, everyone always raves about his dessert, and not about my food. And it’s annoying.

This time, it was going to be different. 

I think this statement jinxed us on so. many. levels.

While rolling the balls diligently, Tomer’s sister suddenly heard a sneeze.

Not one of those polite, cute sneezes.

No.

This was a giant, mega sneeze, full-force sneeze. Coming from her brother. 

As a result, many pieces of dough from diligently-rolled cookie dough ball things flew in the air.

Bonny, the dog, ran away in horror.

And we laughed for hours. Ok, maybe minutes. 

Then came dinner. I was determined to be favored in this one.

And somehow, I was! Everyone fell in love with the food, and were not crazy about the dessert.

I actually thought it was really delicious, and kept telling Tomer. But it was too late. He was offended.

That was not my intention, but nevertheless, I was happy that once, just once, my food was raved about more than the damned dessert!

Finally, when our bellies were very, very full, the family began to put away some leftovers. A jar of chocolate from the desert, some quinoa, a jar of sushi dipping sauce.

Why waste it, right? 

“Tomer, should I pour the chocolate over the cookies and keep it in the fridge like that?” asked Tomer’s mom.

“Yes, that sounds good.”

But little did he know, the chocolate and the sushi dipping sauce had, well, very similar colors.

“N-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O.”

But it was too late.

We had some delicious cookie dough ball things, smothered in almond-butter, tamari, mustard dipping sauce.

Oh, the rolling laughter on the floor…

“And I did my best to really pour it in there, and smother them super well,” his mom said, in windows of ridiculous bursts of laughter.

Believe it or not, this Jewish mom loves her son so much that she actually had some of them the next morning with her coffee. And said they tasted good.

Oy vey. 

Here is a glimpse into more of our vegan food in Israel and Portugal (including embarrassing amounts of hummus): 

For more on what we did and ate, check out the vlogVegan in Jerusalem & Portugal | Soul in the Raw Vegan in Jerusalem & Portugal | Soul in the Raw Vegan in Jerusalem & Portugal | Soul in the Raw Vegan in Jerusalem & Portugal | Soul in the Raw

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Marina Yanay-Triner is a wellness coach and recipe developer through Soul in the Raw. Marina creates easy and delicious vegan recipes and writes about the health benefits of a plant-based diet, focusing on evidence-based nutrition information. She loves to help clients go and stick to plant based eating through her powerful coaching program, combining nutrition and cooking education along with transformational mindset work. Marina adopted a whole food, plant based lifestyle over 7 years ago, inspired by her mother's incredible healing story of reversing a crippling bladder disease. She has reversed PMS symptoms and encourage emotional healing from trauma as a result of this transition. Marina is incredibly passionate about the vegan diet for human health, animal welfare, and the well-being of our planet, all of which she envisions as co-dependent.