COVID-19 Quarantine Christmas Eve Vegan Stew: Chickpea, Parsnip, and Tomatos – Memories – Dr. Plastic Picker

COVID-19 Quarantine Christmas Eve Vegan Stew: Chickpea, Parsnip, and Tomatos – Memories

| Posted in A to Z: Dr. Plastic Picker's Less Plastic More Plants Cookbook for Kids!, Vegan Dreams - Less plastic, More plants, More Fiber

It was so pretty, Hard to compete with KFC Extra Crispy Chicken but it made it onto our daughter’s plate. Plenty for the next day and will definitely be on the rotation.

December 25, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Winner winner, vegan dinner!!! Or it could be a lunch or as hearty side dish. In the midst of a non-ideal Christmas Eve when Mr. Plastic Picker and I both worked part of the day and our youngest daughter woke up with torticollis – we still were able to cook a surprisingly easy dish that was good for us and the planet.

I hope everyone had somewhat of a normal Christmas Eve and Christmas this year. I mean this is what upper management gave me.

Yes I have a COVID gift bag now.

And inside the bag was a KeySmart key chain with a fancy metal thingamajiggy that helps you open doors without touching the handles. I found one on the beach as well and had gifted it to my father-in-law. But the one I received was purchased for about $25. I gave it to my father-in-law and took back the one I found on the beach. The one I found on the beach is not as fancy but it has a beer can openener on it as well. Plus I found it.

Everyone was very generous at the office this year. Dr. Dear Friend did not receive any gifts from upper management, but she gave me some very nice things. Dr. AF gave me a beautiful box of something that is under the tree for the kids. And another colleague gave me a box of Sees Candies. We hardly ever buy chocolate, but we enjoy it when we receive it. I’m trying to eat more organic raisins and dried banana chips to get my sweet fix these days. But our daughter was so excited to see the chocolate box, and then as she was opening it due to her equilibrium being out off balance due to her neck being tilted (remember I told you she woke up Christmas Eve Morning with torticollis) – the box quite dramatically fell onto the floor and all the chocolate pieces spilled everywhere. All of it. All the Sees Candies that had not been eaten onto our hardwood floor. It was quite a shock, and I just looked at her with her beautiful but slightly tilted visage. She was shocked and near close to tears. Chocolate supposedly can kill dogs which I’m not sure but I’ll take that on faith. Mother and daughter, we yelled at Mr. Plastic Picker to grab the puppy so she wouldn’t eat the chocolate. And with glistening eyes our tween daughter with torticollis said, “it’s not my fault. My neck!”

When my children are in distress, I get into this quiet place where time slows down and I become super mommy who is a pediatrician. I channel all my energy and focus into remedying the situation. I don’t lose it with my kids because they are my world, especially these days that I am so zen. I lower my voice as you would with a skittish horse that is about to trample you, which is not a bad analogy since horses have long necks like my daughter and she is in that beautiful coltish stage they like to refer to in romance novel parlance (which I don’t read much of anymore). Anyway, I lowered my voice and spoke to her semi-hypnotically, “It’s okay. It’s okay. Of course it’s not your fault.” I slowly move to crouch down to pick up the chocolates. In my mind I’m thinking they are totally fine and I’m going to eat them, but that might set off the tween daughter with the torticollis. I continue in an uncharacteristic low soothing voice “We’ll put them in the fridge or freeze them and that may kill the bacteria. Or maybe we can make it into hot chocolate.” The whole episode ended up being okay, but I definitely was not going to throw away those chocolates given they fell on the relatively clean area of our floor and we don’t wear shoes in our house. Whether the kids ate any of the chocolates or we made them into cookies, I’ll let you wonder. No autoimmune diseases in our house!

But it was an off day. Our son came out at some point during the Sees Candies and Tween Child with Torticollis episode, and mentioned off-hand “Uh, I’m taking my practice ACT” in response to our commotion. Remember Mr. Plastic Picker is still clutching our crazy 12-pound puppy and we are wiping down the floor in case a microscopic bit of chocolate is still there, because chocolate has some evil power to kill dogs (is this true?). Just to remind the rest of the folks who live in the 3000 square foot modern rebuild with a low 30-year fixed mortgage, including Dr. Plastic Picker who helps pay said mortgage that includes his nice little college-dorm-esque room, my son was trying to be helpful and said again “I’m taking my practice ACT.” Then in his teen boy fog doing a task he knows we want him to succeed at and because he is a dutiful son, he lumbers back into his room.

At some point the Sees Candy is reboxed and the floor is cleaned, and the teen son is back in his room doing his practice ACT. The Tween Girl with the Torticollis is having her emotional swinging (and I mean pendulum swinging!), and Mr. Plastic Picker finally released the puppy that was being firmly held. The mood was off and everyone was in their room, and we had plans and plans and changed plans and didn’t know what we were going to do. Sometimes we’ll decide to have a “chill night” which means we all ignore eachother and are on our devices (which is okay once in a while). But I knew my daughter in particular wanted some sort of Christmas Eve that was Christmassy.

Usually I’m so immersed in my internal world that the externalities of holidays and social gatherings are so unimportant to me. But because they are important to my daughter, they are now important to me. I think this is very common for people with my introverted personality type. Those that we love, draw us out into the world. So I went upstairs and found our “ugly sweaters” we bought years ago at the thrift shop. I actually found my old Where’s Waldo Costume which is kind of Christmassy and put it on. I came down stairs and showed the fam, and paired with a red ski-vest – Mr. Plastic Picker said in complete candor, “You look GREAT!” The outfit put a smile on the Tween with Torticollis. It really salvaged the night.

So yesterday Christmas Eve Night we found the local Christmas Light Neighbrohood Drive-About. We didn’t pick the most spectactular in the county, but instead the closest. I’ve learned it I keep carbon emissions in mind, everything turns out for the better. While we were dressed in our mismatched “ugly holiday sweaters” and ready for the short car ride, Mr. Plastic Picker did initially grumble “it seems far away.” I knew it was the cloest and just responded cheerfully, “It will be a bit of a ride, and the kids need to get out to see something – anything.” It ended up being much closer than we expected and we got some good pictures and Mr. Plastic Picker made inappropriate comments to his children about some of the decorations because that is what my husband does, but we all were inspired by the effort that neighborhood made to inspire the Christmas spirit. It was all very lovely.

And over the drive-about through the 40 houses or so in that neighborhood, we went to KFC. Yes the kinda vegan family went to KFC because why not. There is a story about KFC and Japan that you should Ecosia search, and that is partially why we went and mostly because the kids wanted crispy chicken and mac and cheese. When they leaned in to remind their father to get Mac and Cheese as a side in the KFC drive-thru, it was an intense moment that I will never forget. So the Dr. Plastic Picker family brought home an obscene amount of take-out plastic , but that is okay. It was a rare event which we really needed.

But the midst of everything above that I described, I had at some point made the above dish. And now when I remake this dish which 100% I am planning to do, because it is so simple and easy and vegan and healthy and fiber-filled and delicious – I will remember 2020 COVID Christmas Eve. Maybe I will rename this Dish COVID Christmas EVE Vegan Stew, because for us it will always be that stew that reminds us of the Tween with Torticollis, spilled Sees candy, practice ACT, ugly sweaters and a drive through a neighborhood that lovingly pays for to SDGE to share their holiday spirit.

COVID Christmas EVE Vegan Chickepea, Parsnip and Tomato Stew (modified recipe from PlantBasedRD, I can’t find the exact recipe but here is a close one


  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves (I used garlic salt equivalent)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 can drained chickpeas
  • 1 medium sweet potatoe, peeled and diced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with the water
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of tahini or I used 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • handful of whatever greends you have ideally spinach, we used tops of bok choy because we had it


Use cast-iron skillet, and start by bringing large pan to medium heat with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. To the pan, add onion with a pinch of salt until softened. Add garlic until fragrant which should be one minute. Then add all your diced ingredients (drained chickpeas, diced sweet potatoe, diced parsnip, can of diced tomatoes with water). Stirring everything while it simmers, add in the other spices (paptrika, basil, thyme). Add in the water and simmer more, and then add in nutritional yeast and a bit of tahini or olive oil. This takes about 10-15 minutes the entire thing to boil off some of the water and mostly to cook the sweet potatoes through. When it is about done, add in the handful of spinach and allow it to wilt /cook down in your stew. That is it. Servie on rice, pita bread or eat with crackers. I promise you it is so good!

And that is it. That is the Chickpea Stew I saw on Instagram from a great Vegan blogger PlantBasedRD that I modified by putting our own twist and turns into it, and it’s wonderful. And like with everything in life, it’s our memories and can be our recipes when we add our own individualities to it.

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3 thoughts on “COVID-19 Quarantine Christmas Eve Vegan Stew: Chickpea, Parsnip, and Tomatos – Memories”

  1. Dr. McFrugal says:

    I’m going to try this recipe one of these days!!! YUM!!!

    1. Dr Plastic Picker says:

      LOL. This one was decent. Parsnips are so cool. Flavors4wellness mentioned something that I thought was remarkable, that vegetables don’t have an advertising budget. Should we just have our respective plant-based kids like yours become living advertisements for vegetables???? Parsnips, beets, nutritional yeast????

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