Friday, November 23, 2012

How to Pull-Off a Very Veggie Thanksgiving

Hope everyone was able to enjoy their Thanksgiving day with family and friends!  Jason and I hosted my family at our house, which is actually the fourth time hosting the big Turkey day for us.  This also makes the second time we have prepared a mostly-vegan meal.  My family helped out  a lot this year and brought the turkey plus many side dishes and pies.  I tackled most of the side dishes and made almost everything vegan-friendly for my brother and I.  We of course ended up with twice as many dishes as we had people, and we took pictures of everything but the food.

Thanksgiving Menu 2012
Food Brought & Bought:
Turkey - not vegan, made by Mom and Dad
Turkey Gravy - not vegan, made by Mom
Turkey Stuffing - not vegan, made by Mom
Organic Pumpkin Pie - vegetarian, made by Mom
Pumpkin Pie - vegetarian, provided by Ken
Green Beans with Slivered Almonds - vegan, made by Mom
Chia Seed Pudding - vegan, made by my brother
Triple Berry Pie - vegetarian, from Wheatfields
Crescent Rolls - vegan, believe it or not

Food We Made:
Mashed Potatoes -vegan
Thanksgiving Gravy - vegan
Wild Rice Stuffing - vegan
Hippie Loaf - vegan
Corn Dish - vegan
Cranberry Sauce - vegan, no sugar added
Bread Stuffing - vegetarian
Apple Walnut Stuffing - vegetarian
Scalloped Carrots - vegan
Thyme-Braised Brussel Sprouts - vegan
Coconut Whip - vegan

Like I said, lots of food!  And everything turned out fairly well (although the hippie loaf could have been a little more browned).  I've linked to the recipes for some of the dishes above.  Here are a few tips for...

Veganizing your Thanksgiving without too much trouble:
1)  Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth or turkey drippings for your stuffing.
2)  Use almond, soy, rice, or hemp milk to make your mashed potatoes creamy.
3)  Use vegan stick butter (Earth Balance) instead of butter.

These simple switch-outs will make most of your dishes vegan-friendly for those certain family members.  Here are some of our favorite recipes that I created vegan versions of:

Corn Dish
4 round tsp Ener-G with 6 Tbsp warm water
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
3 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 can corn (with liquid)
1 can creamed corn
1/2 stick melted vegan butter

Mix the above ingredients together and pour into a greased casserole dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to 1 hour until golden brown.

Scalloped Carrots
5-6 carrots peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 onion chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp vegan butter
4 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp garlic powder
Fried Onions

Boil carrots until slightly tender, do not over-cook.  Meanwhile saute onion with olive oil, set aside.  In a saucepan over medium heat melt butter and whisk in flour, making a roux.  Add milk, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, and garlic powder.  Heat until thickened, add more milk if too thick.  Once at desired consistency (similar to creamed soup) mix together with onion and carrots, pour into a small casserole dish.  Top with fried onions.  Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes, then remove foil for 15 minutes until browned.

And finally I have a few...

Time-saving tips for any type of Thanksgiving meal:
1)  Chop all onions, celery, mushrooms, carrots, etc. the night before and portion into containers/plastic bags for each dish.
2)  Roast your potatoes in your crockpot on low setting starting that morning.  An hour before meal time, mash the potatoes in the crock and turn it to warm setting.  Serve out of the crockpot.
3)  Make as much of a dish as you can ahead of time without cooking all the way through.  Do the final baking in the hour or two before meal time (ex. stuffings, scalloped carrots, hippie loaf).
4)  Make a list of all of the dishes you are preparing so you can check things off as you go.  You can even go so far as to make an "oven schedule" to coordinate your precious oven time.
5)  Do dishes as you go along.  It is helpful to have a wonderful husband who is willing to take on this task.
6)  Don't say no to help.  If someone offers to bring something, say yes!

Everything came together fairly well.  There was of course that last hour of craziness in the kitchen trying to keep everything warm, but we succeeded!  My brother even brought over his harmonium and treated us to a little pre and post-dinner entertainment.

I tried my hand at the harmonium as well.  It's kind of like mini organ or an accordion that you sit on your lap or the ground.

We had a great time!  Thanks to my wonderful husband for not only being the dish-washing fiend, but for photographically documenting the evening.  I feel so lucky and blessed to have family close by to celebrate the holidays with!  We were sad we missed out on the Brewer Thanksgiving, an annual tradition where they invite over all of the international faculty and students in my father-in-law's department that do not have family to celebrate with.  It seems "non-traditional" to most but it really is what the spirit of Thanksgiving is all about.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of our family and friends we were not able to celebrate with!


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