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Tag Archives: vegan thanksgiving

hey folks! Nate & I are celebrating our three year anniversary with a little getaway, but before I tell you all about that I want to share the Thanksgiving magic!

You probably already know that instead of offering a meal delivery Thanksgiving week, I made up a special a la carte casserole menu. I spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday prepping and cooking orders. Here are a few shots of some of the food that went out:

Cutting and dusting marshmallows for sweet potato souffles. They were created with Angel Food Alice’s marshmallow mix. It’s the least-tricky way to make marshmallows that still requires a fair amount of care, and I recommend you buy several packs immediately.

Emanuella’s nut-free souffle.

My first attempt at a seitan-based tofurkey came out looking beautiful but with the texture of an old shoe. Dousing cut pieces with a little water and reheating in the microwave under a damp paper towel restored some moisture – steaming would have worked, too. Unwilling to serve this to paying company, I tried another recipe with resounding success. Behold, the log:

Stuffed with fat-free stuffing (per Brett’s family request), steamed and baked, VeganDad’s recipe is a solid one. If you try it, though, be sure to modify the seasonings – his recipe is very mild. I modified the recipe to become no-added-fat by substituting two tablespoons of mushroom stock for the oil.

Local pot-roasted vegetables for Lillian.

Fancy-schmancy “goat”-style log for ever-classy Brett’s family. Would you believe this little fella took over 24 hours? I wrapped it up in parchment and secured it with pretty brown ribbon, repurposed from a delicious box of Lagusta’s Luscious bonbons.

A yukon-gold-topped shepherd’s pie for Shannon.

and desserts: sweet potato cake studded and topped with roasted chestnut and miso caramel; “sweet potato souffle” – sweet potato cake with chestnut pieces and topped with homemade marshmallow. I also made several dozen mini chocolate kandaicakes.

Pecan-topped sweet potato souffle, with some of my kitchen staff looking on.

Lillian was thrilled to pick up her giant order! I love cooking for Lillian because she adores even my mistakes. Case in point: I had to ditch a pan of sweet potato cakes when they wouldn’t release. I mashed ’em up, layered ’em with miso caramel, called it a trifle, and gave it to Lillian. She was so pleased!

I am so grateful to everyone who picked up Thanksgiving food this year. Not only did the sales make my three-year anniversary trip with Nate possible, but it was just such an honor to be invited into your homes at such an important meal and special time of year. Seriously, I still get goosebumps thinking about how awesome that is. I hope it lived up to your expectations!

After a few extra-long days, Nate and I were happy to sit down to our own Thanksgiving eve feast.

The seitan shoe with creamy mashed potatoes.

Carr’s wheat crackers with spreadable “brie” in the background.

My momma’s (and Nate’s) favorite butterbeans.

Our gorgeous sweet potato souffle.

Closer, m’dear…

Our green bean casserole. Thanks, Trader Joe’s, for frying the onions so that I didn’t have to saturate every inch of fabric in my apartment with the smell of fried onions.

Nate’s abundant plate! From the top: Carr’s crackers with brie, mashed potatoes, sweet poatto souffle, cranberry hunk, butterbeans, green bean casserole, dressing, and the seitan shoe.

One of the best parts of Thanksgiving day was finally getting to meet my little niece Bear. I like this picture because it looks like Nate & Bear are sharing a laugh.

Little Bear puppy face.

A fun picture of my brother, Bear, and me.

Y’all know I’m a crazy cat lady, but Thanksgiving turned out to be a puppy day. Later, at my Uncle Reuben’s, I held his partner’s little chihuahua. Until then, I had never so much as touched such a small dog… hence the face.

She was fun to cuddle.

How you know it’s love: after a long day of cookin’, cleanin’, and family visitin’, I returned to Atlanta to make Nate’s childhood favorite, creamed onions. Y’all: creamed onions is not a southern thing. We do not boil pearl onions, smother them in gravy, and then serve them as a holiday side. Twas a mystery to me when Nate mentioned them. So I did a little internet searchin’ and decided on an amalgam of a few recipes. The cream sauce is just a gravy made with earth balance, flour, and a whole lot of mimiccreme – then thinned out and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a bit of freshly-shaved nutmeg. Not bad for a first try!

Greetings from Pleasant Valley, New York! I’m here visiting my partner’s family in a little town about 15 minutes from Poughkeepsie. I regret the fact that I haven’t updated in well over a month. (Specific apologies to specific questioners–Lizzy, Sarah & Aden, Andrea, and best of all, Erin, who apparently read my entire blog one bored day.) First the flu got me, then finals, and so on and so forth and well, you know how the story goes. I’d love to say that I’m going to be back at it regularly henceforth but the truth is, I’m just not so sure. The first completed draft of my MA thesis (long time comin’) is due March 1. Since breakfast ended today I’ve been brainstorming and outlining, drawing hieroglyphs in a little notebook and ruing the number of weeks I have to finish a 100-page paper. Thankfully, I finally have some delicious inspiration…but more on that another time.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been eating well–folks have been remarkably understanding and accommodating this season. Thanksgiving was easy in Richmond and Georgia. At church, I pressed the Ministry Team to consider providing a vegan entree for all our vegetarians and vegans, as the church is in the habit of providing a turkey. They were delightfully responsive and enthusiastic; come Thanksgiving potluck, we veg*s had three Tofurkeys and marinated tofu and walnuts as main courses. (Relatedly, I’m happy to report that Richmond Church of the Brethren will soon have a write-up on the popular site, which is associated with the Christian Vegetarian [where Vegetarian means Vegan] Association, CVA. Awesome! I’ll post a link with the write-up once it goes live.)

In Georgia, Nate & I had Thanksgiving lunch with my grandmother, called Nanny. She’s not quite 80, but I’ve worried for years that she didn’t quite “get” the “whole vegetarian thing.” The morning before our lunch, Nate & I worried aloud to my parents–would she assume Nate isn’t vegetarian, and serve a Thanksgiving ham? Would she make her beans with hamhocks? Might we discover three casseroles, contents indiscernable on account of a thick topping of bright orange cheese-stuff? And yet, upon our arrival, we found a vegan feast fit for Southern royalty. Funny how folks’ll surprise you sometimes, eh? Note: prayer/sending good energy works.

Christmas in New York and Nate’s mom is so thoughtful. She called a week in advance to ask questions about what to buy and had soymilk, organic cereal, good tea, organic chocolate, fruit, and Imagine organic soups and broth waiting on us. For Christmas eve dinner she prepared two Tofurkey roasts with roasted carrots and potatoes, steamed vegetables, and even made the traditional pumpkin pie with soymilk. Best of all, apart from a minor comment from dad about non-existent preservatives in the Tofurkey, no one questioned–or should I say, challenged–our choice to be veg. This is doubly fortunate, as one of the most common experiences for vegetarians at holiday dinners seems to be The Challenge: someone from the family, no doubt insecure about his/her own choices, puffs up and starts demanding answers about why we do the way we do…and no amount of polite re-directing will help.  Of course, this makes us feel positively awful and unloved…you know, all those feelings totally inappropriate for family gatherings. Happy to say there hasn’t been a moment of discomfort with this delightfully hospitable family.

With that, I’ll get back to outlining my thesis. Peace, loves!