Sunday, November 25, 2012

Vegan Thanksgiving 2012!

Photo: Happy Thanksgiving everyone!   

Year 4 of Vegan Thanksgiving!

I can't believe it. I've successfully pulled off a vegan thanksgiving 4 years in a row

And this year? Better than the last. Healthier. And a whole lot less stressful.

A better vegan cook I am becoming (I also channel Yoda on thanksgiving)

This year, the menu included:
  • Squash soup (made by a friend of the family)
  • Roasted veggies w/fresh rosemary and thyme
  • Green salad with citrus and sesame seeds (made by a friend of the family)
  • Stuffing made with whole grain bread, chestnuts, mushrooms and golden raisins 
  • Green bean casserole 
  • Wild rice stuffed squash and pepper (made by a friend of the family)
  • Mojito fruit salad
  • "Lightened-up" mashed potatoes (recipe below)
  • 2 kinds of vegan gravy
  • Homemade spiced cranberry sauce (recipe below)
  • Pull-apart Rolls
  • Not-Turkey from Trader Joe's!
  • Homemade apple-raspberry pie (made by a friend of the family)

Squash Soup

Citrus/Sesame Salad

Green Bean Casserole
Green Bean Casserole

Not-Turkey + Roasted Veggies


Roasted Veggies
The whole gamut!

From 12:00, clockwise: stuffing, mojito fruit salad, not-turkey + gravy, citrus salad, stuffed squash, mashed potatoes + gravy, pull-apart roll and then the roasted veggies in the middle! Everything is covered in cranberry sauce so sorry for that.

The mashed potatoes and the cranberries were my favorite parts. In fact, I have a delicious left-over bowl in front of me as I type this post.  Really though, everything was delicious. I'm just only going to include the recipes for the mashed potatoes and the cranberries because those take the cake ('s thanksgiving...pie?)

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

  • One bag/box of fresh cranberries (I don't know the exact weight but they come pretty standard)
  • 1 1/2 cups Concord Grape Juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup agave 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp jamaican all spice (or regular if you don't have jamaican but try to get it!)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 scant tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a boil and then simmer for a MINIMUM of 30 minutes. I did mine for about an hour and it was totally worth it, the more time it simmers the more time the flavors have to combine and settle in. Add more grape juice if you need it.

Remove from stove, place into a bowl and let set and firm up overnight.

Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes
  • 8-9 small/medium gold potatoes, chopped into 1/2-1 inch chunks
  • 1 smallish head of cauliflower, separated into florets
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1 Tbsp non-dairy (Tofutti) Cream Cheese
  • 3 Tbsp Hummus or Tahini Paste
  • 1 large handful of chives, chopped
  • Salt + Pepper, to taste 
In a large pan, bring about 2 inches of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil/steam for about 15 minutes. Add the cauliflower and a touch more water if you need it and boil/steam for another 10 minutes or so.
Bad lighting - forgot to take a photo until they were 1/2 gone!

The idea here with the shallow water is that you don't want  the potatoes and cauliflower to get waterlogged - you want them to steam and cook up nicely so the natural flavors are locked in.

Once the potatoes and cauliflower are steamed, remove them from the pan. Using a potato ricer, "rice" the potatoes and the cauliflower into a large bowl. (Yes, the cauliflower will go through the ricer - no problem).

Mix in the earth balance, cream cheese and hummus using a fork until fully combined and fluffy. Then add the chives and salt and pepper and stir until fully combined. If your potatoes seem dry (they shouldn't be, but based on what kind of hummus you use they may be slightly less fluffy than you want) add in a little bit of soy creamer or plain non-dairy milk until you get the desired consistency.

Serve warm :)

So satisfying. I absolutely love the holidays - especially Thanksgiving. It is always a point of reflection and a big 'check-in' to see where I've been in the past year and where I'm going. Moreso than New Years or any other time of the year really. Thanksgiving always feels like the right time to reflect on life and take it all in.

But we should all remember to be grateful on a daily basis. If anything, that is the best lesson that Thanksgiving can teach. Being grateful feels good. So do it more.

And eat more (if it's delicious, cruelty-free, healthy vegan food).

Thanks, Thanksgiving.

Until next year, live long and prosper.

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