Tag Archives: thanksgiving

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I am finally feeling like I am starting to get my shit together. Sort of. I’ve been actually doing pretty well with Vegan MOFO, and one prompt Alexa was going to write up something but sadly she has been having computer problems. But even still, so far we got a post up everyday, except for one. Last year we missed 3 posts, so maybe this year we will only miss 1 (maybe 2.) Last night I was starting to wonder if my water broke (despite what you see on TV, it isn’t a huge splash) but by the next morning it was very clear it didn’t. At first I was freaking out that nothing was ready. So this weekend I might focus on making phone calls and getting things in order.

Well, I didn’t go into labor, which is good. I still have three weekends to get the nursery totally settled in (so close guys!) and I will be spending family bonding time before the big day.

I think I’ve mentioned in every single Thanksgiving Day themed post, that I don’t like the holiday. Frankly I don’t like the food much. Cranberry sauce? Why are we eating plain jam? Mashed Potatoes? What is this baby food? Pies? Meh, give me cake.  I mean it is all find an dandy but I think it marks the beginning of the a marathon of holiday foods that all taste the same. Lots of thyme, rosemary, umami, and root veggies. Meh. I think that is why family does Mexican Christmas Eve. But my husband LOVES the food and holiday. So that means I feed into his love of mashed potatoes and pie even though I would rather not.

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And even more luckily for him, his office has an office Thanksgiving lunch. He use to eat whatever they had before he went vegan. But this is the third celebration since he decided to go vegan. So we started a “pre-thanksgiving” tradition. Every year, before his office party we make a frozen “faux turkey” roast with one or two vegetable sides. We’ve tried tofurky, but so far my favorite has been the Gardein/Trader Joe’s holiday roast. Plus, the Trader Joe’s “brand” is cheaper, though it is really just Gardein with Trader Joe smacked on the outside. I’m cool with that.

This year we kept it pretty simple, we took some vegetables from our CSA and followed the instructions for a big roast. This gave us MUCH more veggies than we first anticipated. So we had some roasted turnips, parsnips, carrots, and celery (not from our CSA.) We then made a side of But I Could Never Go Vegan‘s sweet potato and brussel sprouts dish. The sprouts were from out CSA, which didn’t do too hot this year. Our stalk was more greens than sprouts, so we saved all of those and will probably do a little side with them another day.

This year Jon found out one of his co-workers is actually vegan (we thought he was just vegetarian.) So next year if they are both still working there, I will probably be making a bigger spread to bring in and share with his co-workers. Apparently other people at the office were commenting on how good the food looked.

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Usually we get by for the rest of the week not cooking anything, which is totally okay with me. Leftovers all week leading up to the big cooking holiday? Okay! Actually I do cook, just usually things we aren’t going to eat. Like I cooked a whole pound of chickpeas (to make two chickpea tarts, one for thanksgiving, one for post baby), bake an apple pie, bake a pumpkin pie, you know, prep work.

If anyone wants to know, I’ve made a few other Thanksgiving posts- you can check them out if you so please:

Our Thanksgiving 2015 Plan
Our Thanksgiving Dinner 2014
Recipe for Vegan Green Bean Casserole
How to Serve a Vegan Guest for Your Holiday Dinner
Tofurky or Not Tofurky? That is the Question.

Anyone else with a Pre-Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving tradition?


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It is funny when people ask vegetarians what they eat during Thanksgiving. To me the answer is easy, everything except the turkey and ham (yes, my Grandma would cook both a ham and turkey for Thanksgiving). Vegan is a little bit more tricky, not because there is something particularly not vegan about Thanksgiving Day food, but because people love using butter and heavy cream. So a lot of a vegan’s job is trying to ask a host to use vegan butters or oils in the food. An easy answer is to make you own food, I usually recommend making a very not vegan dish, like a green bean casserole. Good news is that crescent rolls and cranberry sauces are usually accidentally vegan. Read labels to double check. If you found this page because you want to figure out what to cook for a vegan, I already wrote a post about it last year!

Last year Alexa asked for recommendations for cooking her own Thanksgiving, so I kind-of made a fantasy cooking list, but I wasn’t actually cooking all those things. I ate with my in-laws who amazingly made all the sides vegan (except for one dish where she left some cheese-less stuff onions for us). This year I am taking up Thanksgiving dinner. I am pretty excited but I am trying to not go too nuts, I mean it is going to be a small dinner, just my husband and his parents. We will have my family come over for desserts, which in someways nice to only have to make one pie in the end… but I’ll probably make a cake too. XD

Picking things were pretty hard, because there has been a recent obesession with people trying to make a new vegetarian showstopper. People are trying to make vegduckens, with epicurious and food52 both giving a stab at it. Food52 does a blow by blow coverage of the process, which is just interesting to read if you are trying to roast 6 different squashes nested into each other. Epicurious had a much simpler summer squash nested in an eggplant, nested in a butternut squash. But my husband didn’t seem interested in any of these ideas, so we ditched them. Maybe one year?

The Dinner Menu:

Sweet Potato Biscuits
Normally I just make the sweet potato drop biscuits from Appetite for Reduction, but these look so fluffy and flakey, I should give this recipe a try.

Garlicky Lacinato Kale
With so many different types of carbs out there, I figured having something green will help balance everything out a little.

Mashed Potatoes
Nothing special, just good old fashioned mashed potatoes with Earth Balance butter and soy milk. My husband badly wanted this, so I will make it.

Roasted Carrots with a Sweet Tahini Drizzle
My Father in Law always wants boiled carrots for dinner. I don’t know about you guys but I hate straight carrots. They are either too earthy or too sweet! But the tahini looks like it will balance everything out nicely.

Sage Stuffing and Shiitake Shallot Gravy
I’ve never made stuffing before so this should be interesting. Something about stuffing seems so unnatural, baking already cooked bread? And you make it soggy then bake it out? So, so, weird.

Seitan Stuffed with Wanuts, Dried Cranberries, and Mushrooms
Since I wasn’t doing a show stopping veggie, I figured I would make something meaty for Jon and I. This is a homemade seitan roast, and it looked impressive. So why not right?

Scarlet Barley
This recipe is from Appetite for Reduction, it is simple and easy and very striking. I figured it is a nice addition without much work since it is pretty much simmer on the stovetop.

Brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce, and turkey
Yeah, my in-laws are pitching in. They are still pretty attached to the turkey tradition, and I get that can be a hard thing to let go of, so if they want to roast a whole bird at home, then they can. But she is going to bring some brussel sprouts and cranberry sauce to add to the dinner. I think we will have plenty to eat.

The Dessert Menu:

Apple Pie
Jon and I have been kind-of working on our own apple pie recipe. I think we will pull all the stops to make the ultimate apple pie for dessert. And if it works out, we will post it on the blog.

Sweet Potato Cake
I am still not sure if I am going to make this cake, but it looks good. It probably isn’t too hard to put together and I will have to roast some sweet potatoes for the biscuits.

Non-vegan pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and some cranberry something…
I swear people love making dessert? I figured someone in my family would make a dessert, Jon’s father would make his pumpkin pie, and all would be good. No I find myself giving up my pecan pie. I thought about if I wanted to make another dessert, and I am still up in the air about that, but I figured why not give some booze options?

Apple Pie on the Rocks
This was found from Vegan Yack Attack. She made a note that fireball is not actually vegan, so I would have to pick up some other cinnamon vodka. I am not a huge flavored vodka cocktail fan, but I do like the look of that sugar rim.

Maple Bourbon Cocktail
I like bourbon, I like maple syrup, and I have tons of bitters to use up. I think this is the perfect cocktail to make for people want a little bit less of the sweetness from the apple pie on the rocks.

Sweet Potato Pie Cocktail
Why does everyone need to make liquid pie? This one depends if I can find the liquor in the store, Sweet Potato vodka by Art in the Age. I mostly like the visual of having the toasted marshmallows on the top.

Sweet Potato Latte
This is probably a quickie to make off to the side for the two little girls. If we have the sweet potato pie cocktail I will probably have marshmallows on top.

Plan of Action

I think planning is what makes Thanksgiving so hard, so I am trying to plan things out. My husband is taking off Wednesday from work, and so will I. We will use that day to prepare a few things. We will roast some sweet potatoes for the latte, cake, and biscuits. For the desserts, we will try and make the pie and cake ahead of time, and they should be find sitting out of the fridge for one day. We will probably also make the sweet potato lattes a head of time so we can just microwave them for the girls. The only thing for dinner I will prep would be to wash and clean the kale, and to make the mashed potatoes a head of time. 

Day of I will probably start with the seitan roast, as it is the most labor intensive. Once that starts up I’ll start cooking the barley since it is easy but takes over an hour to cook. Then I will move along to the stuffing, then carrots, and biscuits. Then I will finish up with the gravy and kale on the stovetop. I will probably have everything spread out and pre-measured before hand to make everything run smoothly and keep warm for dinner time. 

Then when dessert comes around, I will make cocktails as they are being ordered, and the little kids get the job of taking orders. And I will probably go out and buy some trader joe’s vegan vanilla ice cream with some coconut whip. I guess I will make another post after Thanksgiving reporting how well this actually went. XD

So what are you guys doing for Thanksgiving? Do you have a 100% vegan Thanksgiving? Or do you just bring your own casserole to dinner?


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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I know this post is a little late, but I’ve been busy in the kitchen and busy being sick. My allergies reared a new, ugly head that was both horrible and obnoxious. My eyes swelled up and became horribly itchy.  I started to wonder if I was getting pink eye. Wonderful timing as I had to prepare many sides for our Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws. Terrified of being contagious, I asked Jon cook most of the sides. 

I wanted to share my Thanksgiving, because it was probably the best Thanksgiving I had (well food wise). Every year I almost always break my veganism, because my choices ranged from veggies swimming in butter to veggies playing hide-n-seek between bacon bits and cheese. This year, my Mother-in-law cooked everything vegan with the exception of turkey, gravy, and one side. This gave me the freedom of choice.

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My Mother-in-law loves decorating a dinner table. I wish I could put forth such effort in my own home. When I read blog posts for “easy Thanksgiving centerpieces” I always wonder: who has space on their table for centerpieces? Then I think that maybe I could just sucker any future kids I may have into making the centerpiece so I don’t have to think about it. Crafts are fun right? Kids should love making a paper turkey. And no one is going to say how crappy it is, because no one wants to shatter kids’ dreams. Point is that I may have figured out a way to decorate my table without actually doing anything. Sadly though, my husband can’t cut paper in a straight line and is far too old for a poorly made hand turkey to be “endearing.” So instead, his Mom took care of the decorations and made her table stylish.

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Jon’s Brother and Sister-in-law drove up from Virginia with their massive black lab, Duke. Duke is the friendliest, most well behaved, and most docile of any labrador that I’ve met. He is also spoiled rotten as he gets home cooked meals ever since being diagnosed with a long list of allergies. I know lots of humans who don’t get daily home cooked meals. I hope this pup knows how lucky he is. He spent most of Thanksgiving day bouncing from person to person in search of attention or just a hug.

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As mentioned our spread this year was the best I experienced. There wasn’t a single dish I didn’t enjoy. So I will go food by food providing links (if they exist) to recipes. I hope this spread inspires your future holiday dinners.

stuffedonions

Has anyone heard of stuffed onions before? I hadn’t until this Thanksgiving. This was a recipe from my Mother-in-law’s friend, so there isn’t a link to share. She had to take off the outer shell of the onions, cook it, and stuff in a similar manner as stuffed cabbage. The onions were stuffed with tomatoes, breading, and feta cheese, but she left a few without the cheese for me.

carrotsandgravy

Every year simple boiled carrots make it to the dinner table. It is my Father-in-law’s favorite and is pictured above in the covered dish. Next to it is a turkey-based gravy. I made a mushroom miso gravy for myself, but it didn’t look as nice as it tasted.

cranberrysauce

I am actually not a fan of Cranberry sauce. Is that a little odd? I usually find it too sweet, and may be better as a garnish instead of a side. However, this year’s cranberry sauce seemed to be an exception. The secret?  It was cooked with port wine. This gave the sauce a robust and complex flavor. Although I am not sure if it is the same recipe, Cookin’ Canuck has a port wine cranberry sauce that looks pretty good.

stuffing

I have no idea what was in this stuffing. I am not fully even sure what the point of stuffing is. Sure it was bread put into a turkey, but now there are so many recipes that don’t involve the stuffing to be stuffed into something. This is one of them. I can say it tasted amazing with my mushroom miso gravy. It was so good, I am actually thinking about eating some of those leftovers right now.

brusselsprouts

Unfortunately the photos of the actual brussel sprouts didn’t turn out well enough for the blog. They were all blurry. But this was a really tasty dish. They were shredded brussel sprouts that were sautéed with a small amount of apples and apple cider vinegar to give it a little tang.

lentilballs

I made these lentil balls with only one person in mind- me. But it seemed that other people enjoyed the dish, and I was asked to leave some behind for others to take home as leftovers. It is definitely a dish I would make again, but the beauty is that they freeze well. So make it ahead of time, freeze it, and bring it out any day of the week for a meal. The recipe is over at Oh She Glows.

greenbeans

These green beans already made an appearance on the blog, and it didn’t have burn onions on top. I made some last minute changes (like I thought burn onions would be more crispy, right?) by adding some cashews to the mushroom like gravy. I had soaked some cashews with the intention of making “rad whip” but ran out of time. I figured it could only enhance the green beans so I blended them in. It created a very rich and creamy sauce.

sweetpotato

On my green beans post I mentioned how I hated green bean casserole so much, I felt like there had to be a better version out there. The same thing can be said about sweet potato casserole. So many times I had tried making a sweet potato casserole and just found it to be too sweet. So when a recipe was posted on Oh She Glows for a Sweet Potato Casserole, I knew I would give it a try. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll try a different recipe in the future. It made a crispy granola like topping that was perfect to go on top of a lightly sweetened sweet potato.

pecan pumpkin

Then comes dessert. I can safely say that my husband pretty much made the entire pecan pie. I blended a few ingredients together, but nothing else outside of that. We used The Post Punk Kitchen’s Maple Pecan Pie, which is tasty. But I joked it was pretty much a shoo-fly-pie with some pecans in it. There was also a very not vegan pumpkin pie. It is just what my Father-in-law makes every year. He also praises his crust every year, or any time he makes it. 

What was the highlight of your Thanksgiving?


This post today isn’t directed to vegan or vegetarians. No, it is for the hosts who are expecting a guest with a restricted diet to come to their dinner. It could be Thanksgiving, Easter, or a Christmas dinner. I am talking less about what to serve and talking more about how to really make your vegan guests feel welcomed. Anyone who has to restrict their diet knows a thing or two about going to friend’s houses for food. It pretty much involves bringing their own food, and sneaking in a cliff bar.

So I made a list of the less obvious ways to serve an omnivorous dinner for anyone who have food restrictions. These are some of the things that I wish other people would do for me (or stop doing). Some are easy. Some steps are harder. Some break “normal” rules of politeness, but can cause a lot less stress in the end. It is also worth noting that these rules apply to vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or allergy sensitive guests. Since this is a vegan based site, I pretty much just use the word vegan more than any of the others.

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Don’t Apologize for the Turkey

No one is telling you to take away the turkey, or the ham, or the gluten. If your family member or friend is a vegan, they know that you are not one. Any vegan is aware that other people eat meat, and know that dinner time is not the time to start sharing the terrors of factory farming. Pointing out that you are serving food that person can’t eat is sort of like saying “Sorry you can’t eat the better food.” 

On the same note, don’t keep asking if the person got enough to eat. Ask once, then let it be. Because let me tell you, there is nothing that is more annoying than being singled out like that. I’ve had many well meaning hosts ask if I had enough to eat, then proceed to list things they could give me. Most of the time those foods are not actually vegan. 

Don’t Make Two Versions of a Dish

Many people modify dishes for my dietary needs for family get togethers. That’s nice, except they make one version for themselves and one version for you. Here is an example, at a party a person decided to make an dish which was pretty much eggplant, onions, and feta cheese. They decided to put a small amount of eggplant and onions off to the side, for me, and then tossed the rest with the feta cheese. This situation made me feel like the vegan version was so boring and bland that no one would want it. So I was stuck eating the dish no one wants. The second part of the problem is that I now feel pressured to eat all or most of the dish. Because now everyone can see how much or how little I ate of it. Then the worst thought comes to mind- I might not have enough to eat!

The simple remedy is to just pick some vegan dishes. This might be a challenge but you can find tons of recipes online. Or you can see if you local library has a vegan cookbook. I view it like this- you can either make brussel sprouts and bacon and leave some plain brussel sprouts on the side. Or you could make balsamic vingared roasted brussel sprouts that everyone can eat and enjoy.

Ask Your Guest to Bring Something!

I know this is considered by conventional rules to be rude. But if your guest is vegan or has food allergies, they might understand that you might not know what you are doing. And they might be happy to supply a vegan cake or a protein rich vegan dish. Truthfully, your guest might be relieved and will be happy to bring a dish they know would convince people that vegan food is good food.

If you are afraid of coming off as rude, simple tell your friend that you are afraid that you might mess up, and you would feel more comfortable that they would have a “back up” dish they know they can eat. It is likely that your friend has a go-to dish to bring to dinners.

Do Research and Ask Questions

I kind-of hope when I am invited to parties and dinners people will look up veganism to learn about it. Not many people do. This can be an inconvenience to vegans, but it can be deadly when people have allergies. I have a friend who is allergic to gluten, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and many other foods. Even simple seasonings would contain all of those ingredients. So don’t be afraid to ask about some specifics.

And no one is asking for you to google videos of cows being slaughtered. Nope, just to take a look at lists of forbidden ingredients. Heck, not many people know that veganism isn’t the same of vegetarianism. The easy answer is that a vegan doesn’t eat meat, cheese, or eggs. It might slip your mind that it would include fish, honey, gelatin, or lard.

Your Guest Will Forgive You for Slip Up

No matter what, if you try and make a vegan meal your guest will give you A for effort. You might mess up a step. Fine. You might accidentally grab chocolate chips with milk fat in them. Know what? It happens to vegans all the time, even people who have been doing it for years. We use pretty much everything in animals, and in ways you wouldn’t even think of. Did you know that secretions of beavers are used for vanilla flavoring/scents? Probably didn’t. No, not every bottle of vanilla extract have beaver juices. Some red dyes are from bugs. These are the things I wouldn’t stress about, especially since your Vegan guest might not know about it yet.

Don’t Sneak in Meat to “Prove a Point”

Your vegan guest might be annoying. But it isn’t cool to try and prove that meat is delicious. Or that Katie REALLY isn’t allergic to peanuts. No one is denying that bacon and peanuts are not delicious. They are. But trying to put your guest in a taste test is pretty much wrong. To make things worse is that vegan meat replacements are getting better. Some are obviously different, some are down right near exact

By sneaking in meat, gluten, or an allergen you could be harming a person, giving them horrible night on the can, or just defying their trust. It is one thing to not know any better, and ignoring someones request. 

Plan 3-4 Vegan Sides

Not sure how much to make vegan? Think about making 3 vegan or allergy friendly sides. It is understandable that you might have a hard time finding things, or don’t want to buy too many new ingredients. Generally I find blogs like Oh She Glows really good for recipes with no-fussy ingredients. You don’t need to buy faux cheese or soy meats. 

There are even foods call “accidentally vegan.” That means the producers didn’t intend for the products to be marketed to vegans. PETA has a large list of foods, that you could buy and skip having the cook from scratch. Some examples are oreos, Pillsbury original crescent rolls, Sara Lee cherry pie, and more. 

An easy way to find foods you need? Certain stores label their brands as gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free etc. And some common allergens will be listed on the back. If you see “may contain traces of…” that means you should be fine, unless your guest tells you otherwise (IE extreme allergies or someone with celiacs)

Enjoy the Night!

We vegans don’t bite. And we really aren’t terrible people.  You putting forth the extra efforts to include us in the meal is greatly appreciated. If you want to talk about animal rights, then we will. But if you don’t that’s fine too. We won’t judge and we know not to be preachy. Some stereotypes are true, but some are not. 


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I am super thankful this year that my Mother in Law is doing a mostly vegan Thanksgiving. Yeah, there is a turkey highlighting the evening. But for all the sides she put forth the effort to make all vegan sides. Granted I volunteered for a bunch of sides (1 pie, 1 crumble, lentil balls, 2 casseroles, and vegan gravy) but I would of still have plenty of grub to eat. I am also thankful I don’t have to worry about my husband’s tummy at the end of the night. He is lactose intolerant, but sometimes will have some lactaid. But sometimes, even with the lactaid, too much dairy will hit him hard.

I am also thankful that I have a loving husband who will talk to me for an hour straight about the merits of the Harry Potter books and movies. We talked all morning about the symbolism in the book, and how it can positively effect a kids life. You know, talking about death, puberty, love, family, etc. Some are direct, some are not. The only reason why the conversation ended was because we both had to use the bathroom. 

What are you guys thankful for?

Hopefully you are thankful for my Weekend reading posts. We have a lot of Thanksgiving related articles and videos this week. Maybe a little too heavy of the videos. I hope you guys actually watch them. I’ve heard rumors that blog readers don’t like watching videos.

The United States of Thanksgiving

Remember when I mentioned in my Tofurky or Not Tofurky post about how many Italian American Thanksgivings look a lot like an Italian American restaurant? Thanksgiving is different for everyone and New York Times covers it pretty well. They have 52 different recipes that might make it on a Thanksgiving tables with some local flair. Clearly not every Maine local is going to put lobster mac and cheese on their table, but I am sure it isn’t unheard of (I mean I DID see lots of lobster mac and cheese on the menus there). 

Booze Before Chews: A Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Drinking Game

I don’t like making gender stereotypes, but most guys tend to watch football while women watch the parade. I was part of the parade watching crowd. I am also all about day drinking so I am all about drinking games for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Cookies and Sangria makes a game for the parade, and provides exercise or drinking options. It’s a shame that 1) I need to cook a bunch this year and you know, don’t want chop a finger off, and 2) My sister works all Thanksgiving and being hammered during work is “unprofessional.”
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Against the Grain

All the hype around gluten-free foods is starting to get annoying. No, I don’t deny that there are people with celiacs disease, or people who are gluten sensitive. I do have a hard time believing that gluten is overall a health risk to the entire nation. I recently watched an episode of Parenthood, and there was a gluten-free, fat-free, dairy-free, super healthy dessert made for their father who just had heart surgery. I found the scene annoying since I see no particular reason why a man with heart problems should take gluten out of their diet. It has become a blanket term for “new fangled healthiness.”

But having tons of gluten-free options is a good thing. People with celiacs disease have food they can eat, and it makes it easier to entertain guests with the disease. There are also lots of kids who have temporary wheat allergies, which makes life easier for parents. Overall I think it is just important for everyone else to eat a little bit of everything. Think about what the average American eats? Toast and eggs for breakfast. There’s some wheat. An Italian sub from the local deli. There’s some wheat. For dinner some spaghetti and meatballs. Wheat in the pasta, and probably some wheat in the meatballs. Suddenly we are told that there are other grains, and we should probably start rotating them.

Back in Black – Black Friday and What Black Thursday Protesters Are Doing Wrong

Usually the main person who picks the articles on here is me (Jennifer). But Alexa posted an article on Facebook the other day about Black Friday. The article made the argument that people should shop if they feel like it, and workers should be allowed to work if they want to. Alexa and I both agreed that the person missed the point of the black friday or black thursday protests. I was pretty ticked about the whole article, wrote a whole bunch about inequality. Then Louis Black went on the Daily Show and ranted about Black Friday. Yup. He pretty much got it all right.

Alexa and I have both worked retail and in restaurants, two businesses where you are expected to work during holidays, weekends, and late at night. We both have been blessed that we work at small stores so we don’t work on Thanksgiving, but my sister who is a writer actually has to spend her whole Thanksgiving on the computer posting hot deals for the next day. (and not drinking during the parade with me) She gets an hour off to celebrate Thanksgiving, then hops back on the computer.

I get that people need to work on holidays. There were some occasions where my Mother worked holidays (she’s a nurse). We simply celebrated them on different days. I know people go to restaurants on holidays (which I don’t like, but not going into that), movies, and grab last minute food and drinks for celebrations. It is worth noting there is a difference from Walmart opening up for Thanksgiving day and your local liquor store staying open. Walmart is chaotic, and involves more workers than normal. The local liquor store might only need one or two people working the shop.

And that to me, is where the major problem is. I think I wouldn’t care as a worker to come in, work on a slow day and miss Thanksgiving. But put me in one of the busiest days of the year? And miss a family holiday? And then be told I should be happy that I could work that day? Get out of here. Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays that most Americans celebrate. When people don’t have family nearby, they celebrate with other people. 

Daily Show – Garden Crate + The Great  Crate Debate

Sorry guys, I didn’t mean to post so many videos. There was just a really good episode of the Daily Show. Jon Stewart talks about a bill in New Jersey that would outlaw gestation crates. Alexa and I both live in New Jersey so this is something we are really interested in. I posted the video for the first half of the segment, but left a link for a “debate” about gestation crates. Even though Jon Stewart isn’t vegan or vegetarian I think it is great that he is very open about talking where food comes from.

Chris Christie’s veto is really annoying, but we can happily sign a petition to show that we care a lot of about the issue.

Do Vegans Kill More Animals Than Meat-Eaters?

With Thanksgiving coming up, we might find ourselves sitting at a table with our distant Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. We’ve all been there, being grilled by a person trying to get expose the vegan as being a big giant phony. I Fucking Love Science recently posted an article about how a vegan diet actually kills more animals. Although the data might be truthful, it isn’t a realistic display of what people actually eat. It would imply that my vegan meal consists of only grains, and the omnivorous diet is only grass fed beef.

Emily make great points and approaches to topic in a great way. I’ve had friends talk about how they had summer jobs plucking dead mice and snakes from crops. It happens, and there isn’t anyone trying to hide that. Watch Emily, get educated, and you’ll be able to make an great argument at the dinner table.


greenbean1

I remember the first time I had green bean casserole. I didn’t have it until I was in my 20s, it was never a Thanksgiving staple in my family. My brother in law grew up eating it and requested it for the dinner spread. My sister read the can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, frustrated by the simplicity. Really just a can? What are “french onions”? We all gathered around the table and tasted the dish. My sisters and I all agreed it was a mistake and voted off the dish from future dinners.

I didn’t listen. I couldn’t shake off has a very classic dish could be so bad. This prompted me to make a 100% from scratch version of the dish, and made it vegan. Each year I kept tweaking the recipe, and trying out new methods. This year, as I made a pre-Thanksgiving testers batch, I found the perfect match.

greenbean3

I debated posting this dish since the photos didn’t turn out so great. I thought I could wait till after Thanksgiving and post it with better photos. I mean, this is a dish you could make for Christmas, right? But then after discussing Thanksgiving dinner with my Mother-in-Law, it seemed that she had plans for her own green bean dish. Posting the dish was a now or never deal.

This is a great dish if you are the guest invited to Thanksgiving. It isn’t hard to make, but it does take some time and planning. First you have to roast the onions, then you have to cook the green beans, then you need to make the sauce, then combine into the casserole dish. So it is great to make, getting all the messy work out of the way of the host. Even better is that it is a vegan dish that doesn’t seem “healthy.”

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The plan is simple. Bread and bake onion rings in the oven. Cook the green beans by boiling them for 5 minutes, or use frozen beans (fresh will give the best results). On a stove top make a mushroom-miso like gravy. Cover the green beans with the “gravy” and top with onions. Heat again in the oven. Simple enough.

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This weekend has been a little sad. Saturday was the last day my husband and I will be able to pick apples at our local orchard. We go through several pounds a week, and I not sure how we do that. I can say my husband eat at least an apple a day at his work. Then he loves to eat apple pies, apple muffins, and tops his oatmeal with apple chunks. Me? I do make a light green tea and apple drink, apple cereal, and use them in slaws.

Aside from no more organic local apples, our CSA has our last share next Saturday. Then hits Thanksgiving, which means I holiday season starts. My work will now be open 7 days a week (as apposed to 5 days a well, giving me secured Sunday and Monday off). The holiday season is a bittersweet time of the year. I get excited but there are many ways I dred it. But I HAVE already bought two gifts already, so I am ahead of the game right?

Good things about today? My husband and I are going to see Rosewater and baking an apple pie (at home, not in the theater). I plan on watching a full football game and not getting distracted by the kitchen. Making some black bean tacos for dinner while watching a new episode of Once Upon a Time. Which reminds me, shouldn’t Emma be spending more time with her son? Just saying it’s been all about Emma and Hook lately. Just saying.

vegan-israel

Israel is the Vegan Capital of the World & Beyond Hummus and Falafels

The first link is to a very short article about how Israel has the highest population of vegans. When estimating numbers, people hear low numbers like 1% to 2% of the population being vegan. Israel has a whopping 5% vegan population, and an additional 8% vegetarian! Sometimes positive news that a movement is working is all you need to make your day brighter. The second article goes into detail about the hows and whys, which I always find interesting.

I know that since I live next to Philadelphia I have lots of vegan options, including several all vegan bar, all vegan pizza place, and pretty much a vegan option at all restaurants. I tend to forget how frustrating it can be to eat out in other parts of the world. After reading these articles, I recently saw that Emily from This Rawsome Vegan Life started to post a bunch of vegan food from Israel on Instagram. I hope she blogs about it soon!

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It’s Time To End The Turkey-Tofurky Thanksgiving Food Fight

NPR writes about how people view the morals for vegans compared to omnivores. To me it makes a lot sense. I’ve had many discussions with people about how they try not “think about where their meat comes from” or how they could never “eat Bambi.” There is definitely guilt associated with animals dying. But vegetarian or not, it doesn’t really show all of the ethics people hold.

The article was a little saddening to read that people believe the stereotypes, as if all vegans are righteous jerks who are going to show PETA videos during dinner time. Although I applaud the people go out there and film and expose what is going on with our “food,” I don’t think it is the way to convert everyone.

GMO

The GMO debate: 5 things to stop arguing

This article is neither for and against GMOs, but takes common arguments from both sides. I’ve got a lot of beef with GMOs but I recognize that with overpopulation, we might need them. But the biggest argument against GMOs is that they are unhealthy for people and that isn’t 100% true. Can you make a GMO that is poisonous? Yes. Are there natural foods that are poisonous? Yes, some we even eat (hey there is cyanide in apples, and nicotine in lots of foods, just in very very small doses)

I think the issue is far from black and white. But I do support foods labeling when the use GMOs, and I do think some GMOs do sometimes give too much power to companies. I don’t like the idea that one person or company can own the rights to DNA. There COULD be horrible problems on our environment, less chemicals yes, but what if some of our food becomes a weed? It might be fine for us, but it could hurt one animal, which feeds another, and another. I know some of these arguments are speculation, which is why I am not jumping into any GMO protests.

Lolitas Who Aren’t Asian: Why This Style Is Actually Universal

I use to love the Gothic Lolita style of clothing when I was in high school. I had several copies of Gothic Lolita Bible and I would flip through swooning over Mana’s curly hair and Kana bright color choices. I remember being so excited when I bought my first H. Naoto piece, and then never wore it. (Maybe I’ll make it work and post it?) But I never had the cash to buy such a fancy dress to wear maybe for halloween and possibly a convention like Otakon.

I really liked this small video piece that talks about how the Lolita culture has been popular in Amsterdam. I think if there was a thriving community like that in the US, I might be happy to dress up and grab some tea. But then again, I probably wouldn’t. Let’s be real this style is a fashion and hobby commitment. As Alexa has pointed “kawaii is devotion.” I also like the points the girls make, the clothing choice is less about being sexually appealing to men, which seems to be the biggest assumption about what women choose to wear.

Make Thrift Buy: Seashell Bra Mermaid Top

Annika’s recent episode of Make Thrift Buy really inspired me. I love buying clothing, but I know it isn’t the best thing I can do for the environment. I also know there are tons of animals products in clothing, making it hard to buy reasonably priced sweaters, coats, and shoes of lasting quality. Thrifting is eco friendly and animal friendly since you are not directly supporting industries that use animal parts. But I am pretty bad at thrifting. I hate sifting through all the clothes, and I get annoyed when the fit isn’t perfect.

But unlike some previous make thrift buy episodes, Annika took a super simple shirt, and made something cute and trendy of it. I feel like I could go into any thrift store and pick a shirt that I could use. Is it ground breaking? No. Nothing new here really. But maybe I will visit a thrift store soon to buy some clothing to modify soon.


asksnanswers

Alexa is working toward a vegetarian diet, and is loaded with questions. Jennifer’s got answers. We talk about anything as long as it is vegan. Are tattoos vegan? How do I politely not eat Thanksgiving dinner? How do I order without pissing off the waitress? We know you are dying to ask!

asksalexaMy Mom is a little M.I.A in the kitchen this year for Thanksgiving. It is up to me to cook. Since I am the one cooking, should I make a Tofurky for myself?

The Thanksgiving tradition of turkey is one that is ingrained in Americans. Hearing what many other people do and won’t do during Thanksgiving, it seems that turkey is the only constant. I’ve met Italian families that serve a soup, a salad, and a pasta dish before the Thanksgiving. I suggested a soup for Thanksgiving once, everyone in my family looked at me like I grew a third head. Some people don’t have mashed potatoes, while I have never heard of a Thanksgiving without them.

I recently was asked if I bought my Tofurky yet for Thanksgiving, and I never even considered getting one. Even before going vegan, the idea of eating turkey freaked me out. I heard about how freakishly huge they were to get that picture perfect roast. The new added weight makes it difficult/impossible for turkeys to walk. So I was already starting to get grossed out. Then the first few years I was able to avoid Thanksgiving since my family was all over the US, and it was GLORIOUS. (secret, I kind-of hate Thanksgiving style foods) But once I started to eat Thanksgiving again, since my husband seems to “love it,” I found that I didn’t care about having vegan or vegetarian replacement for turkey.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to. If you find yourself enjoying faux meats, then why the heck not try and eat some Tofurky? But consider your other options. Tofurky kind-of gets all the credit and is starting to dominate the faux Thanksgiving market. But a Slate Article ranked all the turkey roast options out there. The top two? Tofurky and Gardein.

I wouldn’t worry about calories, proteins, or whatever since it is one dinner for the entire year. But there are plenty of vegan options to give you that stuffed stick to your ribs feeling.  You could just type in “vegan thanksgiving” in any google or Pinterest search and get lots of results. Some popular vegan blogs even have lists of great Thanksgiving dishes in their blogs like Oh She Glows, Olives for Dinner, The Post Punk Kitchen, and Vegan Richa.

Another tip? Have some food prepped the day before. For example a lot of casseroles can be prepped the night before and then baked the day of. Cranberry Sauces are great to make ahead, but the canned stuff is usually vegan. And of coarse pies can be made the night before. If you love crescent rolls, don’t worry they are accidentally vegan!

What would I serve at my Thanksgiving? Well here are just a few of the recipes I would love to make if I was hosting Thanksgiving- and yes, there would be three pies. Blame Jon for that, he loves pie.

Saweeet! Potato Casserole with Crunchy Nut Crumble via Oh She Glows
Spicy Cranberry Apple Sauce via Connoisseurus Veg
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Shiitake Bacon via Olives for Dinner
Quinoa “Stuffing” (butternut squash, cranberries, & pistachios) via Gimme Some Oven
Thinly Sliced and Roasted Root Chips
My classic green bean casserole (which will be posted soon but there is one on The PPK)
Savory Mushroom Gravy via The Post Punk Kitchen
Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits via Appetite for Reduction
Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie via May I Have That Recipe
Voluptuous Pumpkin Pie via Vegan Pie in the Sky
Cosmos Apple Pie via Vegan Pie in the Sky

Funny thing about this list? Some of the food I don’t even like, but it made the list because I know my husband would want it. Cranberry sauce? Blech. Not a huge pie fan, but I sure do love the Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie I make (which isn’t listed on here since I made it myself- future recipe?). I had a sweet potato casserole once and it was awful, but I am willing to give it another try.

As I get older I’ve realized I don’t hate Thanksgiving, I just hate what other people make. They are too heavy and too cream and cheese based. No thanks. I’m not trying to “watch my weight” or eat healthy, just prefer different flavors than other people. So sit and think, do I LOVE turkey? If you do, maybe you should get a faux turkey. But if you could pass on it, I would recommend just skipping it.