Posts tagged with Thanksgiving
The most popular question I think nearly any vegan/vegetarian gets after the ubiquitous “But where do you get your protein???” question is this: “But don’t you miss _?” And, this time of year, that blank is more often than not filled with something related to holiday food.
“But don’t you miss turkey? Gravy? Pumpkin pie???”
I could say this is because there are vegan/vegetarian answers to pretty much anything that ends up on the table at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Which is totally true, but in my case I don’t miss any of those things because, I never really ate them in the first place.
Everyone is different, of course. That goes for you, too, omnivores! No one thinks to ask you, "But don't you miss _?" just because you don't eat something. Thus, not every omnivore eats every single thing on his or her Thanksgiving table. Example: Thanksgiving is my sister’s absolute favorite “food” holiday, but even she only eats turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. No pie, no stuffing, no cranberry sauce. The woman likes what she likes, even if she could eat all of it.
The same thing goes for vegetarians. Just because we don’t choose to eat everything on the Thanksgiving table doesn’t mean we miss every single thing that won’t pass our lips.
Back when I ate animal products, my Thanksgiving meals were still vegetarian, if not vegan. I pretty much just at cranberry sauce, squash/sweet potatoes, rolls (yes, plural) and plain mashed potatoes. Yep. Pretty much from the time I have a memory on up until now. My favorite part of the holiday was always the family fun time and football, and never the food. In fact, I always wished there were some good restaurant open, so I could load up on anything BUT the normal holiday fare.
Of course, this isn’t true for every vegetarian or vegan out there. Some may sit through the whole dinner, pining away for a piece of dark meat beached in a pond of gravy or a slice (or three) of pie.
So, with all that in mind, I’m going to tell you exactly what I had for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s not the norm, but it was fabulous and I didn’t feel the need to hop in the car for a last-minute Tofurkey (which, to be honest, I’ve never had and probably will never want to have).
This was my plate:
Yep. That’s it. Two things. My Butternut Squash with Pomegranate Seeds and Pecans and Real Simple’s yummy Sautéed Brussels With Poppy Seeds recipe.
No Tofurkey, mushroom gravy, vegan pumpkin pie. Though, I did have a massive amount of chocolate (Hey, I’ve got to get those guilt-laden holiday calories from somewhere.).
And, chances are, I’ll have something similar for Christmas. With a side of vegan Christmas cookies. Because, honestly, that’s one “But don’t you miss __?” blank that I must fill.
Therefore, next week, I’m planning on sharing a yummy holiday cookie recipe. Get excited!
I’m a sucker for squash in pretty much any form — summer, winter, grilled, roasted, baked, steamed, pureed, etc. While my hubby tires of it before winter has hit halfway, I could have it pretty much every night and be happy.
To try to keep him from rejecting it too early, I try to use as many different types as I can, and try to vary how I cook them. Butternut, red kuri, kabocha, acorn, spaghetti, carnival, buttercup, pumpkin, blue hubbard, etc. — I buy pretty much every type imaginable. But, no matter what kind I buy, there’s not that much you can do differently. I mean, squash is squash.
So, I continue to play around with it. And that’s how I created this recipe, which is perfect for pretty much any cold night, but would be an epic addition to a Thanksgiving table. It combines one ubiquitous and yummy squash, butternut, with a treat that only comes for a few winter weeks fresh: the pomegranate. Mix in spices and crunchy pecans and you’ve got yourself a great side dish. Seriously, it is SO good.
A side note: The best way to seed a pomegranate is to plunge it underwater. Fill a mixing bowl with enough water that you can submerge your hands and the whole pomegranate. Next, cut the top off the fruit and score the outside into a few sections. Plunge the fruit into the water and then pull it apart along your score lines. Free the seeds with your thumbs and rub off the white pith. The pith will float and your seeds will sink. When all your seeds are free, rinse them in a colander to remove extra pith. Throw out any pale/strange-looking seeds along with the skin and the pith.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Pomegranate Seeds and Pecans
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into ½-inch pieces
1 pomegranate, seeded
½ cup pecans, broken or chopped
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a large glass lasagna pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, coat the butternut squash with the coconut oil. Spread the coated squash onto your parchment-lined pan and set in the oven to roast. Set a timer for 45 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.
When there’s 10 minutes to go, pull your pan out and season the squash with a pinch each of sea salt and black pepper and about a half teaspoon to a whole teaspoon of cinnamon (just eyeball it). Stir to mix and let cook the final 10 minutes.
To serve, top with pomegranate seeds and pecans. Serves 4-6.
If you got your paper this morning or checked Lawrence.com yesterday (or even today), you may have seen that we revamped our Thanksgiving Survival Guide that debuted last year. Basically, our guide is meant to be a handy "Cliff's Notes" to get you through the trials and tribulations of holding Thanksgiving.
Now, what you don't know is where that idea came from. Not from any editorial meeting or reader call asking for help. No, it came from an email I typically get each year a few weeks before Thanksgiving. An email that contains not only a page-long grocery list, but a minute-by-minute account of just how the holiday should go down — starting with the fact that I need to defrost the turkey starting this Sunday.
I don't have a Thanksgiving fairy godmother, and I haven't signed up for some reminder service or anything like that. No, this email comes from the real king of Thanksgiving:
My dad isn't a chef, though he probably could've made a lot of money off his cooking prowess. (I'm a baker at heart — I do not claim his talents.) In fact, he's trained as an engineer and that sort of anal-retentive mind goes perfectly with the dance known as "getting Thanksgiving dinner on the table on time."
His list and timing are precise, right up to the brands of food I need to buy ahead of time. For example:
— Pepperidge Farm Herb Bread stuffing (not cubed)
— 1 can Le Sueur Peas
— 10 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (not really a brand, but you get the point I'm making here).
My job is to buy everything ahead of time (yes, he pays me back), put the turkey out to defrost and then just get out of the way. Well, and I generally make rolls from scratch, but I tend to do that a day or two ahead.
I'm sure these sorts of marching orders might make others cringe or demand that they get to do it themselves. But it's really not a bad deal when you think about it — I get to have Thanksgiving in my own home and I don't have to do anything but set it up. Plus, I love watching my dad cook — as I said earlier, he's really talented, and I learn just by seeing what he does. Honestly, I wouldn't have Thanksgiving any other way.
How does your family do Thanksgiving?