A belated Happy Thanksgiving to all of my readers!
I’m Thankful for you – my readers – that keep me motivated to live life as fully and health-fully as I can. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday filled with people you care about and plenty of delicious, nourishing food. I am so Thankful that I had a wonderful family to celebrate with, despite being 1,350 miles away from my own family whom I’ll be visiting (in Florida!) at Christmas. In fact, this year’s Thanksgiving was quite a memorable one – my first ThanksVegan – so I was excited to see that this week’s What I Ate Wednesday stayed open through Friday for link-ups with theme of What I Ate on Thanksgiving.
Breakfast & Lunch
Wednesday night and Thursday morning were busy with cooking, so I was glad that I had planned ahead and pre-made my breakfast and lunch. Although it was only a three-day work week, when I did my weekly meal prep on Sunday, I went ahead and packed breakfasts and lunches for the entire week.
Thanksgiving Breakfast was a Pumpkin Pie Parfait of Silken Tofu, Pumpkin, and Oats sweetened with Bananas and Maple Syrup and topped with Granola, Pecans, and dried Cranberries. Lunch was a homemade batch of Whole Foods Market’s Wild Rice Salad to which I added White Beans, Massaged Kale and an Apple.
Plans & Preparation
While this was how my Thanksgiving Day began, preparations for the Holiday actually started weeks ago.
Back in October, we decided that Mike and I would cook Thanksgiving dinner for his parents. I was super excited because they had agreed to trying out a Vegan Thanksgiving – a first for them, and also a first for me! While I’m used to passing up the turkey as it makes it’s way around the table, this would be my first Thanksgiving where a turkey was missing from the table entirely. And for the first time, all of my beloved side-dishes would be dairy & egg free! I immediately started clipping recipes from all of my favorite foodie magazines in anticipation.
But things soon changed for the better! At a wedding earlier this month, Mike and I were seated by his cousins Evie & Jerry who were also planning to cook a Vegan Thanksgiving for their omnivore family. Why not combine the two parties? And so we did!
The 4 of us (2 mostly-vegans & our veg-friendly significant others) co-hosted a dinner at Evie & Jerry’s house. The other 6 guests were pretty new to the idea of Veganism, and some seemed a little nervous and skeptical about the meal, but it meant so much to us that they were willing to try a Vegan Thanksgiving for us.
Initially, a few of the guests had considered bringing Turkey Sandwiches to the dinner, thinking it wouldn’t seem like Thanksgiving without the turkey, but after some patient pre-holiday conversations, the sandwiches were left at home and the only Turkey on our table this Thanksgiving was this one:
As an appetizer we enjoyed some of Evie’s Homemade Chik’n with Blue Cheeze Sauce. To me, these were restaurant quality and I was so impressed that Evie came up with this recipe herself. She’s been tweaking this recipe for some time, and I think is officially perfected!
Next we enjoyed a soup course of Corn Chowder from The Conscious Cook made by Evie. Not only was this soup delicious, I think it was the most eye-opening recipe for the omnivorous crowd. There were several questions from the group wondering “what makes this soup so creamy?” and the answer of pureed cashews was one that they all were surprised by and approved of.
The Main Course(s)
For our entrees, Evie and Jerry warmed up a Native Wellington, pre-ordered from Native Foods Cafe. Mike and I had also brought a Hazelnut-Cranberry Roast en Croute by Field Roast. Both roasts were delicious yet so different from each other.
The Native Wellington (which Evie is carving in the picture below) was HUGE and had the taste & texture of incredibly delicious stuffing.
The Field Roast was much smaller, denser and “meatier”, very much like the Field Roast sausages that I love, except in loaf form and wrapped in puff pastry.
The Side Dishes
There were so many side dishes that we had trouble fitting them all on the table! In addition to the several dishes that us co-hosts made, our guests each brought a (vegan!) dish to share, including a Spanish Rice dish made with Brown Rice and an Antipasti Salad of Artichoke Hearts, Tomatoes, Chickpeas and Olives.
Mike’s parents brought a dish of Chloe Coscarelli’s Coconut Mashed Yams with Currants which earned quite a few Oohs and Aahs. Since they are new to Vegan Cooking, Mike and I had suggested the recipe to them after I read rave reviews of it on several blogs and even saw the recipe in the New York Times. This recipe is a keeper!
Mike takes stuffing very seriously so he insisted that he be the one to make it for this year’s feast. From all my magazine clippings, he selected the recipe for Leek and Sourdough Stuffing from Vegetarian Times. Between the Sourdough bread and Miso Paste in the dish, this Stuffing had a very rich and deep flavor without the need for any butter.
One of my favorite recipes of the meal turned out to be the simplest – the Fresh Cranberry Relish from Whole Living magazine. For this no-cook recipe, all I had to do pulse a few ingredients in my food processor: Cranberries, an Apple, an Orange, some Orange Zest, and a couple spoonfuls of sugar. At first I wasn’t sure what to think – the bright citrus-y notes and chunky texture were so different from the traditional sauce I adore – but after a few spoonfuls, I was hooked on this stuff. I would definitely make this recipe again.
To make sure everyone got their greens in, in addition to the Israeli Cous Cous with Roasted Brussel Sprouts that Evie made, Mike and I also brought a huge batch of Ayinde Howell’s recipe for Braised Winter Greens from VegNews. We sauteed 2 large bunches each of Kale and Red Chard in Sherry Wine with some Carrots, Onions, Dried Chili Pepper Flakes, and Thyme.
I ate a little bit of everything, and with so many dishes on the table, this was the first year I can remember that I didn’t have any room for seconds.
After letting our food settle for a while, Evie and Jerry brewed some Decaf Metropolis Coffee and we brought out dessert.
Tragically, I ruined this beautiful Cranberry-Carrot Cake, in yet another case of Death-By-Ginger. The recipe called for 1/2 a teaspoon of ground ginger, and I had forgotten to buy some. I had some fresh ginger on the counter, and decided to use that instead – without measuring. Huge mistake. And not the first time I’ve made this mistake either. It was WAY too Gingery! I renamed it “Ginger-Cranberry-Carrot Cake” and smothered it in extra frosting and walnuts, but it was still too gingery for most of us to stomach.
One brave soul said she loved Ginger and kept the leftovers of my cake, but as for me and most of the other party guests – we struggled to finish our tiny slices.
Thankfully, Evie’s baking saved the day, ending the meal on an “I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan” high-note with a batch of Chloe Coscarelli’s award winning Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes. These were incredible. So good in fact, that while I had zero room left in my stomach, I did have a second cupcake. And I unabashedly took some of the leftover cupcakes home with me. I spotted a few of of the other guests enjoying seconds of these too – a Vegan Victory!
And ending on an even sweeter note, check out this little cutie pie enjoying her dessert – a smidgen of the über-fluffy cupcake frosting!
I’d love to hear from you!
What was the best dish you enjoyed this Thanksgiving?
What are you Thankful for?
Thank you to all who entered and
Lastly, one of the best parts of co-hosting Thanksgiving was bringing home enough leftovers for another day!