gravy is my life

I always love hearing dramatic Thanksgiving stories. In-laws criticizing their new daughter-in-law’s cooking. Families fighting and screaming after two bottles of wine. Someone getting a turkey stuck on their head-wait that was in a Friends episode. Anyway, my family likes to keep it simple-most of the time. Aside from a few tense moments over god knows what, Thanksgiving was a success both in terms of food and family bonding. Even when my older sister shattered a glass jar of olives and yelled an odd saying I have never heard before (you know what I’m talking about sis) right at the height of the cooking, all was calm and forgotten a few minutes later. Although our dinner started 2 hours later than originally planned and our meal was slightly cold after going around the table and saying what everyone was thankful for, it was our best Thanksgiving yet! And with a new addition to the family, baby Aven, everyone was very happy and full. Aside from the turkey my mom made for the men in the family (which I tried not to look at) the spread was entirely vegan and organic. Here is the menu:

We started out with wine of course….lots and lots of wine!

mashed potatoes (made with Earth Balance and soy milk)

Real Food Daily gravy

greens peas

“creamed” kale and collard greens

Tuscan Tomato Bread stuffing

lemon sorbet (to cleanse the palette)

roasted carrots with onions and caraway seeds

sweet potato tempeh casserole

canned cranberry sauce (I’m obsessed with the canned stuff-I don’t know why!)

apple crisp

pumpkin fudge brownies

Very hearty and very healthy! My contribution was the Tuscan Tomato Bread Stuffing, which I made in a previous entry as a soup (see Dates are my Life). Since it turned out more like a stuffing, I decided to make it for Thanksgiving.

This time we used 100 % whole wheat bread made fresh that morning by my wonderful sister that is a whiz with the bread machine. It turned out as delicious as ever even though by the time we ate it it was a bit cold (my dish was ready on schedule of course)! One of the other highlights of the meal was Smyth’s “Creamed” kale. She got the recipe from Whole Food Kitchen. She used a mixture of kale and collard greens, which tasted amazing!

“Creamed” Kale

1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 cup unsweetened soy milk or other non dairy milk
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon mellow white miso
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of red pepper flakes
4 cups chopped kale or other dark, leafy green
Heat broth in a large skillet over medium heat. Add white onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor, add soy milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, onion powder, miso, nutmeg and pepper flakes and purée until smooth. Transfer blended mixture back to skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in kale and continue simmering, tossing often until kale is just tender, about 5 minutes.

The roasted carrots were an invention of Whitney’s and turned out so crazy good! I went back for seconds and thirds on these guys. She roasted several multi-colored whole carrots at 400 degrees until very tender. They were topped with olive oil, thinly sliced onions, sea salt, and caraway seeds. I would never have thought to put the seeds on, but the flavor complimented the carrots very well.

After the first meal, and seconds, and for a few of us thirds…we were stuffed. As is the point of Thanksgiving. But there’s always room for dessert. A few hours later at least. This year we went for tradition and started with a simple apple crisp recipe. Smyth made this using a recipe from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. The Skinny Bitch series is actually what made me go vegan initially. A blunt approach to vegan-ism and plenty of tasty recipes. I highly recommend this recipe, especially around the holidays-its hard to believe that there isn’t a trace of butter in it!

Skinny Bitch Apple Crisp

Topping:

1/2 cup refined coconut oil (and more for the pan)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup oats

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup sucanat (or other dry sweetener)

Filling:

1 tbsp sugar (brown or white)

2 tbsp flour

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

8 cups chopped and peeled apples

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon for the filling and mix. Add the apples, lemon, juice and vanilla and mix. Combine all the topping dry ingredients, then cut in the coconut oil and mix until it’s all incorporated and the largest chunks are the size of peas. Oil an 8×8 baking dish. Put in filling and spread the topping evenly over the top. Bake for 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Smyth and I finished this off for breakfast in the morning as well!

The second dessert was equally as scrumptious, not as traditional. Whit made Pumpkin Fudge Brownies compliments of Post Punk Vegan Kitchen (http://www.theppk.com/2007/09/pumpkin-pie-brownie/). Amazing and super fudgey!

A success of a meal that took all day to prepare. Fun with the family and good food. It’s all gravy!

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