Saturday Sun 12.23.2023

Created by Laura Wright
A head-on shot shows two dogs in fleece jackets in the edge of a dock by a river.

It’s our last Saturday Sun for 2023! Sending happy winter solstice greetings your way. I’m taking next week off and will catch you back here in 2024 with a new edition–and of course new recipes! I have some pretty great ones planned for Veganuary.

So many things in my life changed this year, but the truest constant was creating wholesome vegan food and sharing it with all of you. Thank you for being here and continuing to comment, review, share, say hello, all of it. This work is one of the biggest blessings in my life and I will never stop being grateful for it.

After two vestibular rehabilitation sessions, my vertigo seems to be mostly gone, thank goodness! Sometimes I still feel a little wobbly, like I’m on a boat. I think I just need to re-adjust to feeling normal again honestly. Either way, I’m glad that things are evening out. It’s wild how such a tiny thing can cause such a disruption. I am so excited to get back into the flow in 2024 🌊

Wishing you happy holidays and moments of rest! Love you, be well.

5 Things I’m Reading:

  1. What’s Ahead in 2024? The Cookie Cutters Tell All.
  2. Indigenous activists are risking their lives for butterflies
  3. How to Work with the Winter Blues
  4. How Butter Beans Went From Gross to Glamorous (for the record, I do not agree with the characterization of “gross” lol)
  5. Viral ‘dupes’ make E.L.F. the makeup brand of the moment

5 Things I’m Enjoying:

  1. 4:59 pm that’s enough goodnight (literally me after dinner every single night lately)
  2. Definitely seeing The Iron Claw & The Boy and the Heron (PS–beautiful soundtrack) next week.
  3. A holiday hall pass, should you need it 🎀
  4. BRB, gotta make a festive ice lantern!
  5. ‘Tis the season for this classic Ferrero Rocher Brussels sprouts prank.

5 Questions:

  1. Most popular recipe this year? Your favourite recipe you made this year?
    Not a surprise to me, but the most popular was this Ginger Sweet Potato Coconut Milk Stew with Lentils & Kale. In terms of recipes published this year, the Pizza Night Salad reigned supreme. Folks really surprised me with that one! More people enjoying salad = happy me. My personal fave was this Vegan Chopped Cabbage Roll Skillet. Cabbage glam!
  2. Easy/simple/quick, yet effective vegan dish for a non-vegan family potluck?
    I would do this Baked Pearl Couscous & Butternut Squash with Basil Tahini! To make it extra easy, I would get pre-diced squash at the grocery store. This one is excellent at room temperature (it kind of eats like a grain salad), is hearty like a main for the vegans, and it mostly happens in one pan. Drizzle the basil tahini on top once you reach your destination and voila!
  3. Trying to cut back on alcohol. Any drink recipes or advice?
    I’ve given up alcohol to the tune of 99% over the last couple of years and it’s been great for me. I still cook with wine here and there and enjoy a sip of my partner’s drink sometimes. As a person that is not grappling with the disease of addiction (and only gave up alcohol because I simply didn’t enjoy it anymore), a question I can offer is this: what’s the function of the beverage at any given time? Is it for relaxation, something to help with social gatherings, a taste/sensory experience, or just an ingrained habit? It’s possible that just the act of getting curious and writing down your thoughts will help with reducing consumption. Some of the mocktail recipes/premade mocktails/NA spirits on the markets these days have “functional” ingredients that can help with relaxation and also fill that space of tasty beverage enjoyment. Liz Moody makes super inspiring ones on her Instagram that I personally reference all the time! Mindful Mocktail is also great. Sobr Market sells all the NA bevs you could imagine.
  4. If you could pick between induction and electric, what would it be?
    I would love to put an induction range in our kitchen. We have an old Viking gas stove that came with the house and it is great! The smell of gas fumes is not my favourite though, and it’s also hard to get Viking appliances serviced in our area. Time and again, induction is proven to be the most energy efficient. If I was replacing my stove today, I would go induction for sure. They are so, so fast. The only drawback is that they are more expensive than electric generally.
  5. Do you have any goals/intentions for 2024?
    My goal is to be a bit more focused and structured with my time ie: work when I’m working, rest when I’m resting etc. Sometimes I let my work life and non-work life blend a little too much and then I get burnt out/cranky and I lose my creative “juice.” If people feel comfortable sharing, I’d love to read about some of your new year intentions in the comments! ♥️


  • Wilma

    Thank you so much for your Sunday Sun blog.

    I love that you share so much real day happenings from your life.

    Creating food and jars of prepped dough for gingerbread cookie making and for making dog biscuits – as well as focused plant based food recipes – are my sources of JOY – always).
    XO Wilma

  • Jennifer

    Thank you Laura for answering my question – that baked pearl couscous and butternut squash with basil tahini sauce sounds delicious! The potluck is tomorrow so perfect timing. Wishing you all the best for the holiday season, and thank you for all your lovely recipe inspiration throughout the year.

  • Stav

    Hey Laura. Thanks for all your hard work in bringing us The First Mess. All the best to you and yours for a happy and safe festive season.

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you for everything you bring to this space, Laura. I’m so glad your vestibular vertigo has improved so much!
    Your top recipe in my house ( and I make many) is definitely your Butternut Squash Zuppa Toscana. It’s been on repeat since you posted it, literally lol. I hope you enjoy your holidays. I’m wishing you all the best in the coming year!

  • Barbara

    You have been such an inspiration to me Laura, for the past few years. So glad you’re feeling better and here’s to more creative spark in the new year!
    Thank you for all your beautiful food ideas, and photography (which rocks, by the way!)

  • pascha

    Happy Holidays Laura!
    Thank you for the generosity and love you share with you Saturday Sun. The discoveries and inspirations have been so supportive. I have appreciated every single one. I send you love healing energy as we embark on this season and a new year!

  • Susan

    Love those doggers in their coats. And so glad your Vertigo is Gone. very disturbing!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Hugs from Idaho.

  • Jeannie

    Hi Laura, So glad the vestibular rehabilitation therapy has helped, and so quickly! Thank you for all your offerings over this past year. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  • Lauren

    Wishing you all the best as this year winds down and the new one approaches! I hope you continue to improve with your vertigo, that can really bring your life to a complete halt and make you miserable.
    This coming year I am promising myself to be more “me”. I feel like I have been living a role expected by others for so many years, wife, mother, daughter, suburbanite. It just doesn’t all fit any more and doesn’t feel authentically me. I am going to try to remember who I was before I was all these things for everyone else. It’s time for me to live MY life now! That’s one of the things I so appreciate about you and your blog/IG , it inspires me to be more in touch with all the things I value, especially kindness and respect for the natural world.
    Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas (if you celebrate) and all the best for you and those you live in the coming year!

  • Debbi

    Thank you Sara! Loved the article on cookie cutters and ELF . I saw Iron claw – a little slow in spots – but good movie. I am a Jeremy Alan White fan. Loved him in the Bear on Netflix.