Food For Thought X: My Plant-Based Thanksgiving!

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This is my second year of being the only herbivore at Thanksgiving.  The first two years, I was vegetarian, so that was pretty easy.  Pass up the turkey and the ham, and you’ve got yourself a vegetarian Thanksgiving.  But after I went totally plant-based, most of the Thanksgiving dishes we’d always served were off limits.  Deviled eggs, hashbrown casserole, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, potato salad, and the list goes on.  So for the past couple of years, I’ve found veganized versions of some these things, and y’all, I don’t feel deprived one tiny bit.

We went to my parents’ house this year.  There were only six of us there, but MAN, you should have seen the spread.  I brought everything you see above, and my mom made all of their meat, a few vegetable sides, and all the desserts.  I feel like I kind of get the raw end of the deal here… I bring all this vegan stuff to share with everyone else, but they don’t have to share their meat and dairy-laden stuff with me!  haha  Although in the interest of full disclosure, I did cheat and have a piece of very much nonvegan chocolate chess pie.  I never claimed to be perfect.

So what did I bring?  Since I didn’t get a chance to get to Nashville (the nearest place that sells vegetarian roasts), I just made a hippie loaf as my main dish with golden gravy to smother it with.  This is seriously the best brown gravy ever.  The dressing was just plain old cornbread dressing, which is easily veganized from any recipe you might find just by using substitutes for the egg and milk in the cornbread and by using No-Chicken broth when you’re putting the dressing together.  The green beans are just plain ol’ green beans with a little no-beef broth powder and garlic added while they were simmering, and the turnip greens just had a splash of white vinegar and quite a bit of cayenne pepper.  The sweet potato casserole is my signature dish.  Everyone has asked me for years to bring this stuff, and no one batted an eye when I veganized it last year.  I don’t have a link to the recipe as it’s one I just have typed up and saved, so I’ll add the recipe to the bottom of this post.  The only new-to-me recipe I tried this Thanksgiving was Cookin’ Crunk’s Deviled Tofu Bites.  They were AMAZING.  It was remarkable how much they tasted like deviled eggs.  These will definitely be a new holiday staple!

Sweet Potato Casserole:

  • 4-1/2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance, melted
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg equivalent of Ener-G egg replacer
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance, melted
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400.  Grease an 8 x 8 glass baking dish.  In a food processor, mix together mashed sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup Earth Balance, almond milk, sugar, vanilla, and egg replacer.  (I have to do this in two rounds because it won’t all fit in my food processor.)  Spread mixture into dish.  In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and flour, then mix in the other 1/3 cup of Earth Balance until mixture is crumbly, then mix in pecans.  Sprinkle pecan mixture over the sweet potatoes.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the pecan topping is golden brown.

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Mish Mash

My mind is so jumbled up right now, it’s hard for me to form a coherent thought, much less a coherent blog post, so this is what you get.

  • This was my first vegan Thanksgiving.  It was awesome.  I just made a few dishes and took them to my in-laws’ and made my plate from those dishes, plus a couple of other veggie sides that were there.  Perfect!  (My only cheat was a big ol’ spoonful of my MIL’s potato salad, which has mayo in it.  Her potato salad is worth a cheat.  It’s what I look forward to most at every family get-together.)
  • I’m in the final days of marathon training and I just can’t shake the feeling that I’M NOT READY.
  • Through 17 weeks of training, my IT band has not hurt once and NOW in my lowest mileage week in who knows how long it decides to hurt???  It hurts so bad that it is sore to the touch.  You can FEEL how tight it is just by rubbing the outside of my thigh.  It’s like strumming a guitar string.  The funny thing is that it doesn’t hurt when I run, so that’s good.  I’ve been rolling but apparently not good enough, so I’ll be giving it hell the next few days to make sure I can make it through 26.2 with no problems.
  • Several days ago I got a letter from my old church basically shunning me.  I hadn’t been attending the last several months because I really had an issue with the way some things were handled there.  Well, the letter pointed out the fact that I have neglected the commandment to “assemble and exhort one another” and told me that I was no longer acting as a devoted child of God because of my lack of attendance, and went on to say that because of this it would affect how the members of that church would deal with me in the community.  It basically said since I no longer go to church there, they can no longer have anything to do with me.  It was very cultish.  I’ve always struggled with organized religion but was finally baptized when I was 30, but this horse shit has got me really questioning a lot of things again.
  • My husband turned 40 last week.  He took it like a champ.
  • D is the one that turned 40, and I’m the one freaking out about showing my age.  It seems like every time I look in the mirror I see a new line.  I’m seriously thinking about getting myself Botox for Christmas instead of the Vitamix I’ve been wanting.
  • Bella’s knee has gotten worse over the holiday, and her doctor won’t be back in until Monday.  She’s barely putting any weight on it, but she is still acting her same goofy self, trying to run and play, all tail wags, and her appetite is still good, so I don’t feel like she’s in major distress.  For that reason, I haven’t wanted to interrupt the on-call vet’s holiday weekend and will just wait to talk to her vet on Monday.  I feel like I’ll be playing nurse to a post-op pup in the next few days.  Yay for huge vet bills right here at Christmas…

Learning to be Truly Thankful

I have so, so many things to be thankful for this year.  Way too many to list here.  2010 has been a blessed year, but we’ll save that for the year-end review.

Thanksgiving is especially sentimental for me this year.  As some of you may remember, I was baptized into the Church in May.  The baptism was following a sermon on what?  Yep.  Giving thanks.  Not forgetting God during the good times. 

We are so quick to go to God when we need something but don’t always remember Him when things are going smoothly.  We take things for granted.  We forget that He is our ultimate provider and that without Him we would have and would be nothing.

I believe everything happens for a reason, and I believe with all my heart that I was meant to go to church that morning after not having stepped foot in one in the better part of 10 years.  I was meant to hear that sermon because, believe me, it couldn’t have affected me more if the hand of God had come through that ceiling and smacked me upside the head.  I HAD forgotten God.  I WAS taking everything for granted.  I WAS one of those people that was all, “Why, God, why???”  when things would go bad and then when things would settle down I returned to my conceited mindset that I was in control.  That sermon was exactly the one that I needed to hear to get me on track.

I’ve learned a lot of things in the past few months.  Seriously.  A LOT.  I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know until I started learning a smidgen of it.  But one of the things that I have learned is how to truly be thankful.  I am thankful for my happy days and sad days, days with trials and days without.  Each and every one is a blessing straight from God.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYBODY!!!

Nervous Nelly

I am so glad that I have Thanksgiving to distract me from the fact that I have MY FIRST MARATHON IN 11 DAYS!!!!!

Am I ready?  I don’t know, but I guess I’ll find out!

Am I excited?  Ummm… YEAH!

Am I nervous?  UNBELIEVEABLY so.

But I’m as ready as I’ll ever be, so I’m just ready to do this thang.

I ran last night after two days of rest following my 20-miler Saturday.  I expected to still feel sluggish, and I sat out with all intents of just taking on an easy 5 miles.  The legs (even the knee!) felt really good!  Without even trying, that was my second fastest 5-mile run ever.

Maybe it was the nerves; maybe it was the bangin’ play list I’m putting together; or maybe it was the fact that I had some pretty ferocious winds at my back for part of the run.  Whatever.  I’ll take it any way I can get it.

I hope you all have a glorious Thanksgiving!