My First Vegan Thanksgiving {Four recipes}

Good morning! I think I am finally back into my groove here in MI. I have adjusted to the time change and am sleeping and waking up fully rested. Such a good thing too! I feel like ever since I came back from Colorado that it has been hard just getting back into the swing of things and that means drinking my GREEN smoothies and eating normally.

My eating was a little off for 5 days but I am also back to eating at my time. This morning I was glad to be back at my 6am workout with my weights and cardio class. Even though I got to hike just ONCE in Colorado, I felt like my body totally liked being on an exercise rest. I seriously saw a difference in my pants and in the way I felt. Is this supposed to happen especially when not working out? I embraced it though.

I came straight home, makde Ryan his birthday breakfast, and then focused on my green smoothie of the day. SO delicious. Before I left last week I froze my greens because I knew Ryan would not touch them. I froze kale and spinach, so I removed the spinach and added it to my smoothie this morning. Lovely combination too. I went for the whole Tropical theme.

Tropical Green Smoothie

serves 2

1/2 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup fresh or frozen pineapple
1/2 cup fresh or frozen mango
1 1/2 cups frozen spinach or 3 cups loosely packed
1 teaspoon maca powder
1 Tablespoon flaxseed oil
1 Tablespoon agave nectar
1 scoop protein powder

Blend well and serve. Drink immediately and envision yourself at a beach. :)

So when I mention that this was my FIRST vegan Thanksgiving, I meant it was my first one cooking and hosting. Ryan and I talked about having the graduate students come over for a Thanksgiving feast and gathering. Everyone was in charge of bringing a side and a bottle of wine. I was in charge of making the turkey.

Yes, you read it right. I made a turkey for the first time. I was very nervous but I knew that I was the only vegan in the group and Ryan requested I make it so I complied. I thank my mother-in-law for signing me up for Bon Appétit as my early Christmas gift, because when I received the Thanksgiving issue, I was all over it. You should see the magazine now. It is covered in food markings and splotches. I mean, it is a sign of good cooking, don’t you think? The turkey was a Salt-Roasted Turkey with Lemon and Oregano from this month’s issue.

I did have a bit of a hard time preparing the turkey but I knew I was going to be making something for myself and anyone else willing to try my first time at also preparing a Seitan Roast.

This recipe was VERY easy to prepare and a new experience for me. It roasts in the oven for nearly an hour in broth and then I made the gravy from leftover broth and drizzled and heated up the next day. Half the tray was eaten by the grad students and I had people ask what it was made of. They ate it up! Good thing I made it too because I had some protein to enjoy. I thought this was a good way to expose non-vegans to their proteins. Here is the Seitan Holiday Roast recipe from VegWeb.

I made a new cranberry sauce recipe I saw in Foodbuzz posts and decided to try it. Cake Duchess has a nice site and I loved her picture and additions to the cranberry sauce (like oranges and ginger) so I told her I would make it. I made a double recipe and made it with 1/2 vegan sugar and 1/2 agave nectar. I was asked SEVERAL times if the sauce was homemade because they liked it alot! Here is the recipe Gingery Orange Cranberry Sauce.

My veggie contribution to the Thanksgiving potluck was this fantastic recipe from Bon Appétit called Green Beans with Toasted Walnuts and Dried-Cherry Vinaigrette. It was super easy to prepare and perfect to preapre in advance. I just steamed the beans and blanched them and placed them in a ziplock until the day of the dinner. The picture above is the dressing on top of the beans. Once I added the toasted walnuts I mix it up and this is what it looked like:

 My last contribution to the dinner was my own recipe for stuffing. I made it completely vegan and really liked the results. I had asked several people on Twitter for advice when it comes to stuffing. Should it be sweet, or sweet and salty or just salty? I finally added 2 apples to the stuffing to add a little sweetness but nothing more. It was a perfect addition. Thanks Brian!

Savory Whole Wheat Bread Stuffing

serves 12-15 people

10 cups whole wheat bread, cut 1-inch cubes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons Earth Balance
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
4 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 small onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 Tablespoons Herbes de Provence
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth ( I use Rapunzel bouillon cubes w/ salt)

Preheat oven to 350degrees Fahrenheit. Cut up all your bread and place in a deep 9×13 dish and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Bread is to become a little browned and dry.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large saucepan and add onions, carrots, and celery and cook for 10 minutes or until onions and celery become translucent. Add garlic, salt, pepper and herbs. Add the Earth Balance and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat.

Add mixture into bread cubes and mix well. Add apples and vegetable broth and cover and chill overnight or bake for 40-45 minutes on 350 dgrees.

We all had a great time and laughed a lot. Hope your holidays are wonderful and full of thanks for the provisions God has given you!