Tag Archives: thanksgiving

A Non-Food Kitchen Tip: DIY iPad Speaker Amplifier

Oh hey kitchen! Let’s hang out.

With Thanksgiving coming up, it’s only natural that I’m gonna spend a little more time in the kitchen than normal. Because in addition to putting the “regular” food on my family, I’m preppin’ for Thanksgiving at my sister’s place. (Side note: If you’re curious about our tentative vegan menu, keep reading.)

Whenever I spend time in the kitchen I like to listen to music, podcasts, TED talks, etc on my iPad. But when things get really goin’ — like the chopping, the sizzling and when at my sister’s place, the 4 kids…it can be hard to hear my itty bitty iPad even with the volume all the way up. Or maybe I’m just deaf.

No matter. Here’s a video showing how a DIY iPad speaker amplifier helps my aging ears. There’s also bonus footage of a DIY iPhone speaker amplifier! Keep reading after the video to see how to make it.

It’s subtle in the video but this really does help me hear over cooking noises. The iPad speaker amplifier idea is based on this product (and physics, good ol’ physics!) which basically bounces the sound waves in a specific direction. But this doesn’t cost $25. It costs…I dunno. How much do index cards cost?

All you do is cut an index card in the middle about 2/3 deep (as shown). Then you’ll end up with flaps. Take one flap and pull it over the other to make a sorta half funnel thing. Tape it down on both sides.

DIY iPad Speaker Amplifier- Luminous Vegans

Affix this behind the speaker of the iPad with some tape so that the pointy funnel end is aligned with the edge of the iPad. Make sure the iPad is facing in your general direction because that is where the sound will “funnel” to and hence sound louder.

DIY iPad Speaker Amplifier - Luminous Vegans

You can fiddle with the sound amplification by adjusting how funnel-y your index card is by pulling the one index card flap over the other even more or even less. This whole thing works even better if you don’t have a cover on the iPad like me and it’s just on a stand.

For the iPhone speaker amplifier…well, you just stick your phone in a cup speaker side down. A trick I learned from a friend.

So now you can get your cook on and get your learnings on simultaneously!

Our Vegan Thanksgiving Menu

Stuffed Seitan from PPK

Mashed sweet potatoes topped with coconut bacon

Brussel sprouts salad with dried cranberries and candied pecans

Mushroom gravy

Stuffing (updated: first time making homemade!)

Cranberry sauce

Fruit cobbler (Haven’t decided on the fruit yet because that’s how I roll)

Though my sis veganizes as many of her side dishes as possible, I like to bring and create a whole meal to share. Plus leftovers. I’m making the seitan, candied pecans, coconut bacon and cranberry sauce ahead of time because they can be stored up to 3 days (maybe even more for the pecans and coconut bacon). The rest we’ll be free-stylin’ at my sister’s place!

Do you listen to music (podcasts, etc) when you’re in the kitchen? What are your Thanksgiving plans?

Tales from the Vegan Army: Thanksgiving Plans

This installment of Tales from the Vegan Army is not as “combat-y” as the words “vegan army” imply*. Because it involves my dear ma.  Okay, here’s the deal. I never explicitly told my mom I was “vegan”.  Since English is her second language, I felt explaining to her that I didn’t eat meat, dairy, eggs, etc was just easier.

tales-from-the-vegan-army-Luminous Vegans

She’s been supportive about it since then. If I ever came home from college and she made me Thai food she’d know — no eggs, no fish sauce and add tofu and veggies. We’ve been doing this for more than a decade.

Which is why the following bit from a phone conversation that took place A WEEK AGO befuddled (and tickled) me. And I assure you that all conversations with my ma are this wonderfully strange. Love ya ma!


Mom: Are you coming home for Thanksgiving?

Me: Yup. Are you going to go to *insert my sister’s name here* place?

Mom: Ok. What you want me to make for you? I can bring something.

Me: I dunno. I’m sure whatever you make will be good. You don’t have to make anything if you don’t have time.

Mom: Do you eat eggs?

Me: No ma, I thought you knew that.

Mom: [very seriously] Why not? What happens to you if you eat eggs?

Me: Ma, nothing happens to me, I jus…

Mom: [interrupting] What will happen? If you eat eggs?

Me: Ma! Listen to me. Nothing happens. I just choose not to eat eggs.

Mom: Why not? What will happen to you?

Me: [contemplates going into long ethical explanation but opts for…] I don’t want to eat something that comes from a chicken…or any animal.

Mom: [pauses] Ketty. It’s okay to not eat meat and be a vegetarian….[does not finish sentence].

Me:  Ma, I coulda swore you knew this. Remember? I would go to the restaurant (my ma had a Thai Restaurant for a while) and you would always tell the cooks to make my food — no eggs, no fish sauce? Remember?? [wonders if last 10 years were all a dream]

Mom: [pauses]…………Well, what about if I make something and you can’t taste the egg in it?

Me: [sighs] No ma. I don’t eat eggs even if I can’t taste it.

Mom: What about if I make sticky rice dessert with custard?

Me: What’s in the custard?


Mom: [says quietly but very matter of factly]….Eggs.



I love ya ma! Talking to my mom is always a rockin’ fun time. She has that dead-pan-can’t-tell-if-it’s-a-joke-or-not comedic act down. But she totes isn’t joking!  I probably could fill a tome with all the funny things she has said. Like that time she told me that tasting food should be done with none other than……my mouth. Genious!

*Tales from the Vegan Army are not meant to be combative or promote ill will. They’re just a fun way for me to find humor in a non-vegan world.

Never forget

I debated writing this post because I try to keep things light and palatable over here. But knowing the truth is why this blog exists in the first place. It is also what has made me a more compassionate human.

While N and I do celebrate the “stuff your face” holiday, its true origin is not lost on us.

Image from Seattle’s David Horsey, cartoons and commentary. Click pic.

I think (hope) most people celebrate this holiday, not to commemorate an oppressive time in American history, but rather to spend time with family and to give thanks.

Unfortunately, the holiday built on oppression perpetuates oppression.

Image from Dan Piraro of Bizarro Comics. Click pic.

So when I embraced veganism and Thanksgiving eventually rolled around, I felt I had two options:

1) Don’t celebrate and perhaps lose what little credibility I had left as a “normal human” to non-vegans (i.e. potential future vegans), most of which was lost when I became vegan. The result of this would be that all words coming out of my mouth or from my fingers would be interpreted as “I am crazy, I am crazy, I am crazy…”.


2) Eat, drink and be merry vegan-style and then blog about it. It’s a win-win. I won’t lose my non-vegan street cred, and therefore, potential future vegans will be more open to seeing that being compassionate does not mean completely foregoing all “traditions” or yummy food (yummy food post to follow).  Plus, I get to eat lots of gravy.

I chose option 2.

Hi friend. Happy Thanksliving!

Image from Respecting Animals. Click pic.

Click here to get a little insight into the emotional lives of these beautiful animals at Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary.

The late Thanksgiving post

We don’t honor this holiday for what it represents (oppression and ethnic genocide), but given the days off work and my family’s general gathering at this time we went to my sister’s place for the holiday. I took this opportunity to make some tantalizing vegan dishes that even omnis could appreciate. Our vegan plates consisted of sweet potatoes with apples and raisins, shepard’s pie, vegan herb stuffing, fresh cranberry sauce, sweet corn casserole, and sun dried tomato cornbread muffins. The sweet potato recipe came from vegweb and the only modification I made was to use raisins instead of walnuts.

And the cornbread muffins are a modified version of a recipe from the FatFree Vegan Kitchen. The modifications I made were to use 1/3 cup of sugar (i.e. more sugar), 1/4 cup of Tofutti sour cream and a handful of chopped sundried tomatoes. There was A LOT of non-vegan food at my sis’s house too, but a lot of people did give our food a try (we didn’t tell them the food was vegan) and enjoyed it a lot. My dad really liked our shepard’s pie (which I have posted about before but can’t seem to find the link…) and I sent him home with some!
For dessert we had blueberry cobbler of course and I also made raspberry blondie bars from VV.

We had a great time and were happily stuffed. And just for fun, a pic of my nieces. For all my holiday pics, go here.