Thursday, December 5, 2013

Vegan Thanksgiving and getting ready for 2014

I'm having a hard time believing it is December already, and we are almost into 2014. It seems like this year has flown by. A sure sign of aging, no doubt.

I wanted to share what our first all-vegan Thanksgiving dinner consisted of. Most years we end up doing a feast with lots of non-vegan Thanksgiving, so although lots of the sides and rolls are vegan, there is still a turkey. We've just had our little turkey-substitute on the side, like a Tofurky Roast. We did not travel for Thanksgiving this year so we got to have our own little vegan feast with my sister and her husband (also vegan)! I decided I wanted to make our own turkey-substitute rather than buying a commercial product. This was our menu; sorry, no pictures because I never think of things like that!
First Course:


  • Thanksgiving Meatless Loaf
  • Bourbon Sweet Potatoes with brussels sprouts - these are always a hit with the omnivorous crowd as well. Just use Earth Balance or a similar vegan product in place of the butter, or you can even omit it and they're still delicious. To add some green I threw in some brussels sprouts. Tasty! (You can check to find what brands of bourbon are vegan-friendly; that goes for any alcohol. If you're curious, they also explain why some AREN'T vegan.)
  • Cranberry Chutney - I prefer a cooked cranberry sauce, and I've made a version of this for a few years now.
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Latkes - in honor of the one and only Thanksgivvukah in our lifetime, with vegan sour cream and applesauce, of course!
  • Butterhorn Rolls - this is a beloved family recipe. The original, as you may guess from the name, is slathered in butter. We've done them very successfully for several years with Earth Balance. I also attempted a gluten free batch this year - that's going to take a lot more perfecting. I still ate them all over a few days, but they definitely weren't quite right. 
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Apple Pie
The pies were a bit experimental, and I can't say I am entirely happy with the way they turned out. I attempted to make a vegan/gluten free crust by simply substituting for an ordinary pie crust recipe. It was not very successful. The pumpkin pie filling however, was delicious. I have to track down a link to the recipe we ended up trying. The original plan was to use a recipe that I had made before substituting MimicCreme for the evaporated milk it called for. I wasn't able to find MimicCreme*, so plan b was to use full fat coconut milk (canned) - you can also use the cream layer off of coconut milk to make a whipped topping. But the store was also sold out of full fat coconut milk when I was doing Thanksgiving shopping; I'm imagining all of the other vegans were doing the same thing! In the end my sister found a recipe online which called for cashews blended in with the pumpkin and other filling ingredients. It was very tasty, and I would absolutely make that one again - just with a better crust next time.

Aside from not being thrilled with the pie crusts, everything was tasty. This was the first time we tried the "meatless loaf" and I thought it was really yummy. DH wanted gravy, so he made some later on to go with leftovers. The rest of us were happy with the cranberry chutney over it.

Now that we're through Thanksgiving and Hannukkah, and rolling right through December, I imagine a lot of people are starting to think about the New Year along with me. If you like to set ambitious goals or resolutions, let me recommend checking out another excellent blog post from James Clear. As I was reading I was reflecting on how this seems to be true for me - the habit and identity of being a runner definitely went hand in hand. I love the concept of setting your identity and then working toward it, and I think there are a lot of reasons why this is more likely to work than just saying "I want to lose weight" (or whatever it is you may want to accomplish).

What identity will you choose for yourself? I think mine needs to be, I am a person with an organized home! 

* I just figured out why I couldn't find MimicCreme when I went to the company's website. Apparently they are going out of business. So sad! They made some wonderful products.

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