A Thanksgiving First

November 27, 2012 § 3 Comments

Trying to explain our first Thanksgiving without Dad is pretty much indescribable. So, I think I’d rather not even try. I’ll just say that we managed to make it through. All in all, it was as good a day as could be. But honestly, I’ll be happy next year when I’ve got my baby girl with me. It will surely give us all a reason to smile.

Now onto the food. I got away with having a fully vegan Thanksgiving! I was hosting – a first for us. My mom had planned to bring a turkey. I was literally sick all week just thinking about. I just didn’t want that turkey in my house. Well, luckily for me (and the turkey) she wasn’t able to bring it. So, score! We had a fully vegan Thanksgiving!

I had really hoped my family would ooh and ahh over the food and say they didn’t even miss the bird. But reality is, that did not happen. Everything I made was a new recipe and we had about a 50% success rate. It wasn’t that some of them were bad, they just weren’t all great. So lesson learned, next year I’ll try and test recipes prior to the day of – or let’s be real, with a new baby I’ll probably barely be making it through my first Thanksgiving as a parent!

Here’s a full run-down of what I served for a vegan Thanksgiving. It is a long list, I know. My hope is this feedback will help you plan for Christmas and future holidays to come. I spend a lot of time researching vegan holiday recipes and know how hard it is to find them so hopefully this helps a few of you. For more ideas, visit my vegan holiday pinterest board.

Lunch

“Pigs” in a blanket

I nearly squealed with delight when I realized crescent rolls were vegan. My mom makes pigs in a blanket all the time at the holidays for us to snack on while she cooks dinner. I tried Lightlife’s smart dogs and was pleasantly surprised at my first bite. It tasted just like I remember pigs in a blanket tasting. Definitely worth a try. Just cut crescent roll dough into strips and wrap around the smart dogs. Cook according to crescent roll package instructions.

Pumpkin Poppers with Pumpkin Butter 

These may have been the best things I made all day – I really wish the picture did them justice. I didn’t have a mini muffin tin so my poppers turned out to be more like muffins. But trust me, no one complained! These are so good on their own and even better with the pumpkin butter – btw, I made this “butter” the night before and it seriously took everything within me to not finish the whole bowl. It was that good! (Note: for the poppers, I added 1/2 tsp baking soda as some of the comments said to do and substituted EnerG for the egg and Earth Balance for the butter to make them vegan)

vegan pumpkin muffins, donuts

Fried Ravioli 

Pre-vegan, I absolutely adored Giada’s fried ravioli recipe. It was a hit and my family would always ask for it. I wanted to see if it was possible to recreate as a vegan option. I found this recipe which worked great. I wish I kept the name of the brand of ravioli I used but I didn’t. They were from Whole Foods, vegan, and in the freezer section. I just sat them out about an hour before I needed them and then followed this recipe’s instructions. Now, they weren’t ooey gooey like Giada’s – but for a vegan option, they fit the bill! And as a bonus, something about them was even easier to fry than the non-vegan version.

Marinated Vegetable Salad

Sadly, I can’t share this recipe as it’s a friend’s treasured family recipe but I just wanted to prove that we had something decent to eat and not just a carb overload!

Dinner

Vegan Brie en Croute 

OK, I’ve learned my lesson. I hate nutritional yeast. Sad as many vegans claim this to be one of their favs and it is used to make vegan cheese. But it is just not for me. With this vegan brie, all I could taste was the nutritional yeast so I didn’t like it. My sister and grandmother on the other hand enjoyed it – and neither of them are vegan. Go figure. If you like nutritional yeast this may be for you. If you’re like me, stay clear. 😦

Fig & Olive Tapenade

This recipe was from a Thanksgiving cookbook and I really liked the sweet/salty combo.

Vegetable Wellingtons with Port Wine Reduction Sauce 

These wellingtons were pretty easy to make. You just cook the veggies and then place them in the puff pastry (the pepperidge farm version is vegan!) Overall, they were so-so. I think they were a bit sweet with the squash and the port wine sauce but I was trying to dress them up. Everyone seemed to like them just fine, they just weren’t the show-stoppers I’d hoped for.

Crispy Potato Roast 

If you’ve spent any time on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen this recipe or one like it. It’s taunted me for over a year – so I decided to give it a try this Thanksgiving. I had high hopes for salty, crispy, potato chip-like dish. That didn’t happen. I followed the recipe to a T and it just didn’t pan out. It wasn’t particularly bad – it just didn’t meet the picture’s expectations. Needless to say I will not be spending so much time on the mandolin to try this again in the future.

Sweet Potato Struedel

Sadly another flop 😦 We tried to veganize this cookbook recipe and we must have taken a wrong turn as our struedel topping didn’t melt. I thought we could just omit the cream but clearly that was a necessary component.

Cinnamon & Star Anise Infused Cranberry Sauce

I was looking for something a bit more special than the recipe on the back of the Ocean Spray cranberry package. While I really liked this, it is quite spicy. You have to really like your holiday spices for this recipe.

Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting 

The cake is another cookbook recipe so I can’t share but it was a pretty basic recipe I think. The frosting made the cake! I loved this frosting and added a dash of vanilla to it. Oh, and my sister did ooh and aah over this one 😉

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