Happy Thanksgiving to all!
I go a little crazy at Thanksgiving time. I love to cook for people, and I tend to cook for my family on the day itself, then do another meal with friends soon after. I make an insanely huge amount of food, too.
This year, I am thinking about skipping the friend Thanksgiving meal. I do love it, but I may be taking on too many things for the holiday season. I need to ask the kids what they think and do a small poll of my friends to see if they will be available on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I have taken on so many other things, though, I am not sure about taking on a full day of cooking. I am not sure about skipping it, either, though, because it makes me sad to think about missing it.
Regardless, I need to do some planning about the upcoming Thanksgiving time, both food-wise and time-wise. I am taking some time off leading up to the big day, plus the day after, so I want to make sure I am using the time wisely. I will be off this Friday, and every day except Tuesday next week, but I will be working at home on Tuesday, so I could do some baking, in theory. I like to spread the cooking out for a few days so that I am not running around like crazy on the day itself, especially since I like to do a late lunch-time meal. I also want to make sure I use my time off wisely to do some other tasks. So this is another post of lists.
Food for Thanksgiving day (subject to change after I consult my family—or not)
- Dill dip and rye bread with veggies
- Cranberry sauce
- Butternut squash risotto (or possibly cornbread stuffing)
- Roasted potatoes
- Roasted Brussels sprouts
- Steamed green beans
- Tropical sweet potato casserole
I have no idea how I am going to do the turkey. I am not sure I have ever made a full turkey, between a spotty history of vegetarianism and just having other people make it (my ex-husband or my dad, usually.) However, the boy is excited to make the turkey this year, so I said we would. My dad did offer to come over and do it on the BBQ grill, though, and I may take him up on that.
I am thinking about doing the risotto instead of my usual stuffing this year for a couple of reasons. First, I have been experimenting with going wheat free lately, and I am thinking it is going well. I have eaten wheat a few times and felt that I was having symptoms related to that, although I have not been systematic about it. A much bigger factor, though, is that I am the only one who likes the stuffing I usually make. I love it, and eat enough to make up for everyone else, but I am thinking I may be better off going to the risotto that I know at least 4 of the 6 of us love. I am considering trying out a cornbread stuffing recipe though, so we’ll see.
I am not sure what to do about dessert this year. I might do a crustless pumpkin cheesecake, or some kind of pudding. This gluten free and dairy free pumpkin pudding looks good. I may have to try that out this weekend to taste test.
Things I can make ahead
- Dill Dip
- Cranberry sauce
- The pumpkin pudding up to baking
- All the chopping
- Roasting the butternut squash
Writing Tasks I would like to do in my time off
- Complete Gaming Angels Holiday Guide
- Complete The Cult of Lego review
- Posts for ever day
- Another budget set up post
- List of gifts to make
- <More planning needed here>
- December Convention post for Gaming Angels
- A few other Gaming Angels things—featured web magazine, featured web comic, talk to other Pulp Angels team members for ideas and schedules
Crafts I want to work on
- More crochet practice
- Consider doing a hat
- Look at counted cross stitch, especially this awesome pattern
Does this seem like too much? I hope not, because I haven’t even gotten to cleaning and reading and gift shopping.
What are your Thanksgiving plans?
Last week, I didn’t do a plan, and I didn’t do much cooking. I don’t even remember what we did on Monday, Tuesday we went to my parents’ house for an early Thanksgiving dinner, since the kids were going to their dad’s for the holiday, Wednesday, we just had falafel with pita bread and tahini sauce, and the weekend I just kind of grabbed some leftovers or peanut butter sandwiches. I did cook for my parents on Thanksgiving, but not as much as I have in the past. I am saving my serious cooking for this coming Saturday, when I think there will be a lot of people here. (Ack, I need to do a lot of cleaning!) On Thanksgiving, I made cranberry sauce, mashed sweet potatoes with maple syrup and margarine, mushroom gravy, roasted Brussels sprouts, seamed green beans, and a roasted buttenut squash dressing. Here is a picture of the meal:
The dressing was based on the carmelized onion butternut roast with chestnuts from Veganomicon, but I didn’t make it to the store, so I substituted walnuts for the chestnuts, a loaf of cubed cranberry pumpkin seed bread for the beans, and left off the breadcrumb topping, although I did add the seasonings to the casserole. It was a huge hit–both of my parents loved it. Also, since we had done the whole turkey dinner thing onTuesday (except I didn’t eat any turkey of course), my dad didn’t even bring any turkey, and we all ate the vegetarian meal,which was pretty cool.
Anyway, on to this week. I actually didn’t make the menu and get to the store until today, but I wanted to put yesterday on this menu, since the idea is to help with future planning after all. I did most of this menu and the grocery list while the girl practiced putting contacts in and out of her eyes for the first time in the optometrist’s office. Way to plan ahead, huh?
Monday: Chickpea noodle soup, from Veganomicon, without the mushrooms, since I am the only one who likes them (and we were out anyway), leftover steamed green beans and spinach
Tuesday: Roasted butternut squash risotto, steamed broccoli
Wednesday: Borrachos, whole wheat tortillas, sauteed turnip greens, steamed sweet potatoes
Thursday: Fried rice/quinoa, cucumber wontons
Friday: Pizza, one with chickenless strips and pineapple, one with sausageless Italian sausages
Saturday I am making a big meal for some friends. I don’t have a full menu yet, but here are some things I am thinking of making:
- dill dip with rye bread
- cranberry mango salsa from Trader Joe’s
- various breads and veggies for dipping
- Thai-spiced pumpkin soup
- tropical sweet potato casserole
- roasted Brussels sprouts
- butternut squash risotto
- cranberry orange sauce
- pan-fried tofu and mushroom gravy
- roasted potatoes
- this new meatless loaf recipe
- steamed green beans or broccoli
- brown rice and mushroom dressing
- cranberry upside down cake
- double layer pumpkin cheesecake
- apple cranberry crisp
I hope it is enough food.
I have been thinking about this recipe that I found in a Laptop Lunchbox newsletter last year
The potatoes were mashed with Earth balance and Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream, the sweet potato casserole was based on this recipe from Fat-Free Vegan, and I got the cranberry orange sauce recipe on Rachael Ray’s website, although I added a bit of Grand Marnier to mine at the end. The stuffing recipe is the same one I make every year, although this year I left the raisins out in the hope that it would be more appealing to my mom that way. She did try it, but still thought it was weird; hey, at least she tried. Oh, and I also made the dill dip in the same post with the stuffing, but that was pretty well demolished by the time I took my picture.
Here’s a picture of my plate, with all the yummy stuff:
So, by switching my dessert (from the pecan pie of last year), I managed to go completely vegan this year. I thought about making some kind of replacement for the turkey, but there was really plenty of food; I didn’t miss it.
November was definitely a month for eating too much food. I have a lot more difficulty eating moderately around Thanksgiving than Christmas, because Thanksgiving food is real food, not junk. Well, except for the pie and cake, but it’s still not an endless supply of cookies and candy like Christmas food is.
The first Thanksgiving meal was about a week before the actual holiday, at work. We do a big potluck for all the people on my floor. Okay, not all, but a lot of people participate. Of course, these meals generally have a lot of meat, and I don’t even want to think about the dairy involved, but there is generally enough food available for me to eat far too much anyway. This year I brought my favorite stuffing, made with veggie sausage:
Sausage Apple Stuffing
~6 cups bread crumbs (I use whole wheat bread, cut into cubes and toasted a bit in the oven)
1 pkg. Lightlife Gimme Lean sausage
1 apple, diced
1 onion, diced
¼ cup raisins
1 TBSP poultry seasoning
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 ¼ cup apple juice (or, in my case, 2 6.75 ounce juice boxes, because that’s what I had on hand)
Gimme Lean sausage is very low fat, so I find it difficult to just crumble it in the skillet and cook it like normal sausage. So, I spray some cooking spray in the skillet, slice the sausage, fry until done, and then chop it into small pieces. Remove to a large bowl. Saute the apple, onion and raisins (the original recipe called for celery, too, but you will never find that stringy vegetable in any of my recipes!) with a little more cooking spray, then add to the bowl with the sausage. Mix in the poultry seasoning and walnuts, then stir in the breadcrumbs. Finally, pour the juice over the top and mix one more time.
Don’t do like I do every time, and put it straight into an unprepared baking dish. This stuffing is too good to be missing all the stuff that sticks to the dish. Spray the pan down well, then throw in the stuffing and bake at whatever temperature all your other dishes are cooking, generally 350. I bake it until it smells great in my kitchen and looks done, which is not a scientific measurement. I know it when I see it, but I can’t tell you how. I think it is about 30-40 minutes, though.
I am also lucky in this sort of potluck in that we have a fair contingent of Indians on my floor, so I am not the only vegetarian. This year, though, there weren’t any good veggie curries. Still, I had a good salad, lots of my stuffing, veggies, cranberry sauce, fruit, pumpkin pie, cherry cobbler and peppermint patties. I am sure the pie was not dairy-free, but overall, it was a fairly successful meal.
On Thanksgiving day, we went to my parents’ house. I didn’t cook as much as I intended to make originally, because I knew that most of the stuff I was making would not be appreciated by my family, and I would be having friends over the following weekend that would appreciate it all. I did make a pecan pie, cranberry sauce, mashed candied sweet potatoes, nutmeg mushrooms, steamed green beans and this great dill dip:
Dill Dip in a Round Rye bread
1 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
2/3 cup Nayonnaise
1 tsp dill seeds
1 tsp English Prime Rib seasoning (the original recipe calls for Beau Monde, but Penzey’s doesn’t carry that—I am only a little freaked out at all these “meat seasonings” I am using; first poultry seasoning and now this )
1 TBSP dried onion flakes
1 TBSP dried parsley
1 large round loaf of rye bread
Mix the first 6 ingredients well. Cut a bowl into the top of the rye loaf, tearing up the cut out bread for dipping. Place the dip in the bowl and eat with the rye bread chunks, tearing up the bowl when the chunks are gone.
This is insanely good. My family devoured this in about 20 minutes, just me, my mom, my dad and my brother. The kids did eat a little of the bread, but they aren’t much for dip.
I still have one more meal to describe, but that will have to wait for another time. It was delicious, though! And, of the 5 people I had over, 3 of them were actually vegetarians, so I wasn’t outnumbered in my non-meat-eating ways for a change. Not that I mind cooking for anyone, it was just a nice change.
You mean it isn’t a requirement to make too much food on Thanksgiving? I never got that memo .
Spinach dip with wheat thins (made with Tofutti sour cream and Nayonnaise)
Dill dip and rye bread (ditto above)
hummus stuffed cherry tomatoes
veggies, maybe with hidden valley ranch dip (is that vegan?)
My neighbor is going to bring a nut loaf and mashed potatoes
Punk rock chick pea gravy from Vegan with a Vengeance or mushroom gravy
Vegetarian sausage, apple and walnut stuffing
Sweet potato casserole
Steamed green beans with minced onion
Candied carrots with dried cranberries
Cranberry molds from the latest Vegetarian Times magazine, because my normal cranberry relish uses jell-o, which is obviously not vegetarian
Pecan pie, not vegan, because it has eggs
Cranberry upside down cake, recipe from a blog somewhere that I have favorited at home
Some kind of non-dairy vanilla ice cream
I think I might be forgetting something. I go a little crazy over Thanksgiving,
This may or may not be on Thanksgiving. I may do this with a group of friends the following weekend, and take a smaller amount of food to my parents’ house for the day itself. What I am not going to do is spend all day at my parent’s house cooking while my dad makes the turkey and their yucky stuffing but otherwise everyone sits in a different room watching tv and ignoring me. If my neighbor stays in town, I am hosting the meal on Thanksgiving and inviting my family, although they may not come since I am not making a turkey. My kids are going to be at their dad’s house this year anyway, so I am not subjecting myself to all that. Plus, the cigarette smoke! Yuck-o.