This was my second time ever cooking the Thanksgiving meal, and the first time since the no eating meat clause. I was a bit worried about planning traditional dishes - which is what makes it Thanksgiving for me - but without hurting the animals. It turned out great and was completely vegetarian, and would have been vegan except for a bit of butter and cheese which, in hindsight, I think could have been substituted pretty easily.
I was resolved not to have a turkey, but a little worried about how the husband and kids felt about missing out on that tradition. when I saw this post on The Kind Life about Adopt-a-Turkey, I was thrilled: A great annual turkey tradition, but helping instead of eating one! So, next time they asked if we were going to have a turkey for Thanksgiving, I said, sure, pick one out!
For dinner, we did a Tofurky instead. It totally started out as a joke when people asked what I was going to cook, and then I decided to really cook one. A tofu-turkey? It was - is - hilarious to me. Every time I opened the fridge and saw it thawing there, I totally cracked up. Come on, you know this is funny:
The Tofurky, surprisingly, was a big hit with the kids. They went back for seconds and thirds, and even said that it tasted like a real turkey, but juicier. I made it according the the box, with potatos, carrots, onion, and a baste of Italian seasoning, soy sauce, and olive oil:
Here is hubby slicing it as thinly as possible, since the box said thin slices are really, really important:
We had our Tofurky Roast with mushroom gravy, cranberry sauce, southern cornbread stuffing, green bean and artichoke casserole, sweet potato bake with pecan topping, sauteed spinach and mushrooms, and (store-bought) pumpkin and pecan pie with chocolate and vanilla (coconut milk) ice cream...
Canned cranberry sauce is traditional in my family, last time I home-made it from fresh cranberries and it just wasn't the same:
The southern-style cornbread stuffing was the hardest thing to veg-ify. I used this recipe for cornbread, doubled it and used applesauce for the egg. Then I followed this recipe for savory cornbread dressing, using half the soy sausage since I had a smaller package, Italian seasoning and dried parsley, and a cup of mixed dried berries. I used two cups of veggie broth, and would add a cup or so more next time.
One of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes is a sweet potato casserole (although it's really yams), and my mom's calls for mini-marshmellows mixed into the dish and topping it. Since I couldn't find vegan marshmellows, I left them out and made a pecan topping instead. This was the best surprise ever, it was so good with the pecans!
Here's the simple recipe, minus marshmellows:
2 32 oz. cans yams, drained
1/2 c. plain soy milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. brown sugar
Stir in other ingredients.
Spoon evenly into a greased baking dish.
For the topping, I used the topping only from this recipe, doubling it, but using 2 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses instead of 4 tablespoons of maple syrup. Baked at 350 until the topping browned, and it was so delicious!
The green bean and artichoke casserole had Parmesan and mozzarella cheese, making it the least animal-friendly dish we had. We made sure to buy vegetarian cheese, but next time I will try it with soy cheese instead. I have to say it's also one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes, and I think that I got the recipe from my mom:
1 can French-style green beans, lightly drained
2 cans artichoke hearts, lightly drained
1 c. Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
4 oz. grated Parmesan
4 oz. shredded mozzerrella
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper
1/4 c. olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix green beans, artichokes, bread crumbs, and cheeses together with your hands in large bowl.
Add garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.
Distribute evenly in baking dish, and drizzle olive oil on top.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 minutes or until top is slightly browned.
For the mushroom gravy, I used this recipe, using about 2 1/2 cups of baby portabella mushrooms instead of what the recipe called for, and Italian seasoning instead of poultry. I followed the user recommendations and mixed the flour vigorously with the veggie broth before adding to the mushrooms, and no lumps. It was so much tastier than normal giblet gravy!
And I served it in our gurgling cod from my mother-in-law for a tiny bit of New England tradition:
Everyone served themselves, and while we ate, we played UNO, our fun little dinnertime card game.
The house was quiet all morning except for Christmas music. My mom always played holiday music on Thanksgiving, and although I hated it then, I love it now. And for family movie night last night, we watched Elf, my favorite holiday movie in the world.