Giving Thanks…Never Say Never

December 9, 2011 § 5 Comments

I’ve been on a big journey the past few years…

Once upon a time, I never thought my husband and I would be able to be together – but we figured out a way to make it happen and have been married 3+ years. 🙂

It wasn’t too long ago I was in the midst of a huge company downsizing, lost my job, and after months of searching was told if I wanted to get hired, I’d need to remove my MBA from my resume. Talk about depressing… Needless to say I never saw my career taking off the way it has – and it did so beyond my wildest dreams.

I never thought I’d be able to travel on my own, something about lonely hotel rooms and solitary dinners made me nervous – but this year was spent taking more trips than I can count, mostly alone, and I did just fine.

I never thought I’d be able to manage a dog with my job – I do, and splendidly I may add thanks to my husband. How we ever managed before her is beyond us.

I never thought I’d spend the holidays with my in-laws, no matter how hard we tried, it just never worked out – but my mother-in-law arrives this weekend and will stay through the Christmas holiday and I can’t wait!

And lastly…I never, never, never thought I’d be a VEGAN (hah!) at our Thanksgiving table. That’s possibly the biggest surprise of all.

OK, surely becoming vegan isn’t the best of this list – but for me it’s pretty remarkable considering I’ve never had any self control in my life when it came to food. If I wanted it, I ate it. So to sit and eat a fully vegan Thanksgiving meal was pretty amazing. And you know what? It wasn’t bad at all – in fact, it was pretty great.

There was no shortage of food – my mom cooked, which means we had way too much food as usual – and all that food was vegan (minus the turkey :))

I feasted on Carrot and Parsnip Osso Buco (recipe info below) which I prepared after looking through my Thanksgiving vegan menu options – carrots, parsnips, pearl onions and porcini mushrooms are slowly braised in red wine, mushroom broth, and curry spices. This atop fluffy mashed potatoes was as delicious as my turkey alternative.

I enjoyed traditional sides of stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, sauteed apples, and lastly some scrumptious pumpkin garlic knots – yup all vegan! Amazing that many of our favorite foods can be made vegan just by swapping chicken stock for vegetable stock. I couldn’t even tell the difference!

It was a Thanksgiving to remember, that’s for sure. Watching my mom prepare everything with her new vegan ingredients (which she doesn’t mind using!) made me really proud – we are changing our lives one bite at a time.

Cheers to more festive dinners, compassionate eating, healthier lifestyles, and making a conscious effort to remove the word “never” from our vocabulary.

Now I need to figure out what I’m cooking for that Christmas feast!

Carrott & Parsnip Osso Bucco 

If you’re interested in trying out the Carrot Osso Buco, the recipe can be found here. I added a few cloves of garlic – because honestly, how can you cook anything without garlic? 😉 And I had parsnips on hand so I decided to throw them in as well. Honestly though I enjoyed the carrots more than the parsnips. One last note on ingredients – the recipe calls for porcini mushroom powder. At $10 for a small box of dried mushrooms, I’m not sure this was even necessary. I think the curry and mushroom stock give it plenty of flavor so feel free to forgo the expensive dried fungi 🙂

After sauteeing the veggies, I decided to slowly braise them in the slow cooker to leave my stove clean which worked nicely. The resulting veggies are complex and bold. The curry and wine offers tremendous depth and flavor. And the sauce is really delicious over  mashed potatoes – with or without the carrots. I had some sauce left and spooned it over my leftover mashed potatoes for the next few days – yum.

Pumpkin Garlic Knots 

The pumpkin garlic knot recipe can be found here. As this blogger points out, you can’t taste the pumpkin much and I agree. However, it does give the knots a festive gold color and let’s face it – at the holidays it is fun to say they are made of pumpkin! But seriously, you simply can’t beat the buttery garlic spread – yummmmmy. It’s simply five finger lickin’ good! 🙂

Update: See the vegan mushroom bourguignon I made for Christmas. 

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