Sunday, December 07, 2008
Thanksgiving and a Half
Wow. I can't believe that I haven't posted in so long! Time has just really flown by since Thanksgiving. I'm not much of an overkill Christmas person, but with decorating and parties and shopping (mostly online or local!) I haven't had a moment to breath!
Pictured here is my Dad's plate at Thanksgiving. I also have a picture of him holding his nose while he takes his very first bite of Tofurky, but he doesn't want his face online of course, as cute as it is ;) He really liked it, though, as did my in-laws. We actually had to cook TWO Tofurkys, since they are rather small. A small price to pay in lieu of the death of one large turkey that was grown to be so big it can't even walk or live properly, right? :) By the way, for those of you not in the know...Tofurkys are NOT made from tofu! They are made from seitan, or wheat meat. Tofurky got three stars this year *** because it stuck to the pan the first time and the stuffing kept falling out of the middle. Could have been the chef's fault! ;) Cooking spray!
So, of course, I could care less about the Tofurky, as easy and yummy as it was, because side dishes are where it's at! This is my famous Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole, from Cooking Light (follow the link for the recipe - but veganize it yourself! Oh, OK, I just used non-dairy butter, egg replacer or ground flax, and soy half and half. Easy as ....casserole!). I've made this every Thanksgiving and it always gets rave reviews and is not too greasy! Four stars for sure! **** Their Sweet Potato Casserole with Praline Topping was my first ever, but I haven't come up with a good substitute for the evaporated milk it calls for. Anyone?
Of course, my husband likes candied yams, so his nice mommy made them and brought them down as well :) Yum! Three and a half stars *** 1/2
He also likes the traditional green bean casserole (which I had before I was vegan and hated), so there's just more for him to eat! I do like those fried onions, though....I won't rate this one.
And of course, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce (even though it wasn't served on the very first Thanksgiving, being that they didn't have much in the way of sugar in Plymouth and cranberries are way too tart without sweetener). Since the canned stuff is filled with high fructose crap, I quickly whipped up Dreena's recipe from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. OH MY GOD - that's how good it was. Perfectly tart and sweet and wow. A thousand times better than the canned kind. And sooooo easy. Dump the berries in a pot, dump the maple syrup in, boil and add balsamic vinegar if you want. Four stars! ****
Another four star recipe came from Vegetarian Times, of all places! I've been knocking them a lot recently - their dishes don't always come out right or impress. But this Chestnut and Sausage Stuffing (yes it was vegan!) was to die for. I mean, it was almost five stars. It was a leeetle too moist, but that was the chef's fault. I toasted some vegan whole wheat bread (the recipe didn't call for doing that, but I've found it helps) but other than that, I didn't alter the recipe. I used Lightlife's Gimme Lean's Smart Ground Sausage (it comes in a tube - this link's picture doesn't seem quite right) and the smell was heavenly! I just couldn't eat enough....Four stars! **** (the recipe is not online yet).
My own father made his mother's (my Nana's) famous apple crisp. He even made it with non-dairy butter so that I could indulge, too! Since he ate about half of the pan over the next few days, I'd say it was a success. Sorry, the recipe stays in the family ;) Four stars as always ****
There were plenty of other dishes, but with all the cooking and cleaning (I won't complain, but hubby could've helped out a tad more with the latter!) I didn't get photos. Missing are: hubby's PERFECT mashed potatoes (smooth and vegan!), mother-in-law's pumpkin pie (not vegan, sniff, sniff!), Festive Bread's Very-Berry Pie (also not vegan, but whatever), and the rolls (store bought and rather....hard).
After all that eating, and after two days of leftovers, we were ready for something different and LIGHT. Dreena came to the rescue again, with her Monkey Minestrone Soup, also from ED&BV. It was just what we were looking for. Fresh wheat bread from Festive Breads soaked up the juices. I threw in some kale, instead of the beans and even my dad ate it right up. Three and a half stars *** 1/2
On another night since then, I was looking to make something quick and use up ingredients in the cupboard (my new aim is to buy less and use up what I have, as you know), so I picked up my newest book, Vegan A Go-Go by Sarah Kramer. Her Lentil and Quinoa Soup was nothing like a soup, but it was amazing! Savory, light, filling and very, very easy! With lentils AND quinoa, I was protein-ed out! I used canned tomatoes and it came out just fine. Three and a half stars *** 1/2
Once I had gotten the Thanksgiving sweet potatoes out of my system, I was ready for them again this week. Another recipe from Vegan A Go-Go, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos, were in order. A little bit salty, but very good! The black beans are cooked on the stove top with some other ingredients and spices. I cooked the taters in the microwave to speed things up. A little salsa and cilantro and I was ready to eat again! Three stars ***
One last recipe for this incredibly long post....another quickie from the cupboard (and from Sarah K.'s book): Bodacious Bean and Barley Soup. I don't know what it is with these "soups" but this was most definitely not a soup. However, it was really good!! The soy yogurt made it perfectly creamy and I added the whole can of chickpeas to give it more substance. I haven't had barley in... years?, so it was a great change. I loved the chewy texture! Three and a half stars *** 1/2. This is something I would make again for a supper in a pinch.
Well, I'm off to enjoy my husband's cooking tonight: Robin Robertson's Vegan Planet is bringing us Barbecue Chili, and I'll cook up some kale, too. God, I love good food. Doesn't it just make you smile? Happy December everyone!