Challenges through Thanksgiving:
1. Family traditions-
Like most families in America, my family has a huge "traditional" spread during Thanksgiving and has been that way since before I was born. This spread includes turkey, ham, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and a big salad. For many years, I had enjoyed this tradition. Last year, when I was exploring vegetarianism, I had a few complaints from relatives who told me that I should be eating met because it was healthy. Well, after another year of not eating meat, I am still healthy as ever and got questioned about this vegan challenge. My aunt, who is a nurse, told me that there are certain amino acids that are only found in meat so I should at least eat a little bit. Although she is somewhat correct, I have absolutely no desire to eat meat (maybe fish...a few times a year...?) ever again. My aunt was super sweet, though, because she made me a three bean salad so I could get some additional protein!
2. Sense of accomplishment-haven't felt it yet...
After Thanksgiving, I began thinking about stopping the challenge because I had graciously made it through a meat-infested holiday with few troubles. Just as that idea came into my head, I began to think that this is the time I should keep going on. I found the courage to push through because it is in our toughest trials that we need to keep going in a challenge, I am learning nothing while it is easy, but when it gets hard is when the real learning occurs. Since I had finally felt a slight challenge, it is important that I keep going to see if I run into anymore tough roads.
Recipes from Thanksgiving:
1 medium pumpkin
1 loaf day old (or older)whole grain bread, cubed
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 apples, unpeeled, chopped
1 c raw nuts (walnuts/pecans), chopped
Herb mix, to taste: sage, thyme, cumin, pepper
1 to 2 c vegetable stock
1/4 c Earth Balance, melted (or other light-flavored oil)
soy sauce or salt to taste
~ Cut the top of the pumpkin off to make a lid. Remove the seeds and scrape out and pulp. Comine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix. The stuffing should be moist, but not wet. Pack it loosely into the pumpkin, replace lid, and bake on a oiled cookie sheet for 1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees F. The pumpkin is done when a fork pushes easily through the flesh. Any remaining stuffing can be baked in a casserole dish for 1 hour. You may eat the pumpkin with the stuffing.
Recipe from: Homecooking
4 c cubed sugar pumpkin
1/2 c agave
1/2 c honey/maple syrup
small handful of dates
cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to taste
pinch of salt
1 c water
1 c each walnuts and pecans
1 c dates, soaked 30 minutes in water
2 T Earth Balance
~Process pumpkin into small chunks, add remaining filling ingredients and process until smooth. Add liquid. For the crust, process the nuts into powder, add dates, agave, honey, and Earth Balance. Process and press into pie pan. Pour filling over the top and let rest in the fridge for an hour.
Recipe found at: This Rawsome Vegan Life
lots of Brussels sprouts, end cut off, quartered
1-2 T olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
~Place all ingredients in a casserole dish and mix with hands. Cover with a lid and bake at 350 degrees F until just cookd through and lightly golden (about 30 minutes). Serve warm
-Mashed sweet potatoes
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 c maple syrup
cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves to taste
~Boil potatoes until fork tender. Use an electric hand mixer or potato masher to mash potatoes while adding the remaining ingredients until your desired consistency is reached. For more creamy potatoes, add more almond milk and Earth Balance. For thicker, leave on the skin, use less milk, and mash with a potato masher.
My dinner plate:
More deserts, including my mom's vegan pumpkin bread!!!
I hope you like my recipes as much as my family and I did. These dishes would also make great sides/mains for the rest of the holidays as well, so please give them a try and let me know what you think or if you made any changes!