Vegan Thanksgiving (for the first time!)

This will be my first Thanksgiving as a vegan.  I have spent the last few years of holidays as a vegetarian but this one will be a bit more challenging.  I am already getting the, “well what will you be eating?!” This will actually also be my first Thanksgiving with my family in over 5 years.  Normally Tom and I would celebrate this holiday with his parents but since they have both passed away and his brother lives in Denmark, we will be making the trip back to my home town.  My family always celebrates at my cousin Lisa’s house, it has been so long since I have seen a lot of my family so it will be such a great time!

So being the only person who will be at Thanksgiving that will not eat meat, dairy or eggs I need to bring a couple of things so I can actually eat haha.  I LOVE to cook and try new things so I picked out a few different recipes I plan on making and bringing with me.  Thought I would share my ideas and see if any other vegans out there have any fun recipes to share as well!

I just love Pinterest so of course this was the first place I checked out for some fun ideas and recipes.  I don’t want to go over board because they will think I am such a fatty haha.  But I also feel like if I make big portions, others will eat some as well so I am going to try it out and see what happens.

Here are the essentials that I feel like making this Thanksgiving:

Mashed Potatoes.  I cannot have a Thanksgiving without this yummy dish.  I know my cousin’s recipe will have butter and milk in them so I am going to make my vegan friendly one.  I am not worried about them going to waste (I have made this recipe before and you cannot tell the difference!)

I found this recipe here from the Minimalist Baker (who has a bunch of great recipes!)

  • 6-8 medium yukon gold potatoes
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 5-6 cloves roasted garlic (or sub minced garlic sautéed for 3 minutes in olive oil)*
  • 3-4 Tbsp vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), melted/softened
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives for topping

and in addition to this recipe I sometimes (depending on the consistency) will add some almond milk or any non dairy milk will do

You can click the link for the full recipe and instructions.  Trust me, this can be subbed out for the normal butter and milk mashed potatoes and no one will be able to tell the difference!

You can’t have mashed potatoes without gravy.

Here is a mushroom gravy recipe that I have made once before and it was such a huge hit that I was passing out the recipe to everyone at the dinner.

  • 1/2 small onion ( I like to use sweet onions)
  • 12-15 oz. mushrooms ( I used a mix of Portabellas and Shiitake before but any variety would be good)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine (find a vegan friendly brand!)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp. salt (I use pink Himalayan)
  • 2 Tbsp. flour + 3 Tbsp. water
  • 2 Tbsp. butter (I use Earth Balance)-I sometimes add more in but do a taste test first
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • pepper to taste

    1.Dice up the onion, mince the garlic and and thinly slice the mushrooms.
    2. In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onion in olive oil for 1 minute then add the garlic and saute another minute.
    3.Add mushrooms, salt, and herbs. Saute for 8-10 minutes.
    4.Add white wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
    5.Add broth and nutritional yeast, bring to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes.
    6.In a small bowl, whisk together flour and water and add to skillet
    7.Return to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.  You can add in some more flour if you feel like the consistency is not think enough
    8.Turn off heat and stir in butter until melted. Salt/pepper to taste if needed.

This meal also is not complete without stuffing!

My mother in law, Birgit, used to make this amazing stuffing and over the years we kind of adapted it to be vegetarian friendly by using veggie broth instead of chicken.  She would make 2 different kinds.  One with sausage and apples and the other with dried cherries, apples and nuts.  I want to keep some of those traditions alive so I came up with this recipe based off of my mother in laws. I do not have measurements for any of these.  They are recipes I have in my memory so bare with me haha.

  • 1 or 2 loafs of crusty bread chopped up small (I like sourdough)
  • veggie stock (I normally use 2/3 cartons) depends on how much bread you use
  • dried cherries or craisins
  • diced apples
  • walnuts
  • celery-diced up
  • carrots-diced up
  • garlic-minced
  • onion-diced
  • dried sage
  • dried thyme
  • dried rosemary
  • earth balance butter
  • salt and pepper
  1. Toast and cube the bread or leave out overnight to harden a bit.
  2. Saute over medium heat in butter the onion, celery and carrots
  3. Stir all veggies til onion is softened then add in the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.  cook for about 5 minutes
  4. Pour in the vegetable stock and stir
  5. I sometimes would add more butter at this point
  6. Add in bread and then transfer to a greased baking dish
  7. bake covered with foil at 375 degree for 45 minutes
  8. remove foil and back for another 15 or so minutes

The last item that I most certainly have to make is a dessert!!! I have not yet baked anything vegan yet so I am super excited about this! I found the perfect recipes to try.

Fall/Thanksgiving is never complete without lot and lots of pumpkin and apples!

Both of these recipes seems rather simple and soo delicious:

 Vegan Pumpkin cake with pumpkin spice buttercream

Salted caramel apple pie bars


I will have to see when I get closer which one I will plan on making

Do you have any fun vegan recipes to share??



Transitioning to Vegan/Plant Based Diet

So over the past few years I have really been becoming more conscious of what I consume.  Over 3 and a half years ago I decided to cut meat out of my diet completely, I haven’t missed it all.  I know that initial transition can be harder for some, but for me it was rather easy.  I was never a huge carnivore so once I put my mind to it I was able to cut meat out with no problem.  I did still eat seafood on occasion.  I think I kept the seafood in my diet more for the fact of making things easy.  When you go to most restaurants there is usually always some sort of seafood to order or if you go to eat at someones home and they know you do not eat meat but eat seafood then it makes it easier for them to prepare a meal you can eat.  Also, my husband is not on the same path as me food wise and still loves his meat, which is fine, to each their own, so eating seafood made it easier for us to have meals together too.

I finally made the push this past week to stop making excuses and start my journey towards a plant based diet.  Right now I have been cutting out all dairy, eggs, and of course seafood.  I think most people get scared when they hear the word Vegan and think, “Jeez, what do they eat, just fruits and veggies?!”  Well that is partially true but I think that the way society has become and the way everything has been made to be ‘on the go’ and ‘for convenience’ a lot of people have lost the desire for the healthy foods.  I made this wonderful Soba noodle meal last night that even my carnivore eating husband enjoyed.

What pushed me in this direction you may ask? Well, I have watched and read about the food industry.  It is sad how the norm is now soda and chemically ridden foods in almost every american home.  Most people do not think twice when having a soda with their meal, just the way the giant corporations that control our food intake want it to be.  If you take the time to do your research you will be alarmed to see how many chemicals are in the foods that most Americans keep stocked in their homes.  If you are interested in learning more I can recommend a few really eye opening documentaries that really helped me kick start my journey.  Forks over Knives, Cowspiracy, Food Matters, Fed Up, and Food, Inc. are just some of the documentaries out there trying to spread the word.  I have talked about this topic with a lot of people and I know that not everyone sees things the same way, and that is totally fine.  I am not trying to push this onto anyone or make them change their views overnight.  I am doing this for those who are curious and want to do their own research before making such a life changing decision.  As I said before, my husband still eats meat and I do not see him making a switch immediately either.

With all that said I want to share the Soba noodle recipe I made last night as well as some of the vegan/plant based foodies I follow who help out soo much when it comes to making this change!

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You can find this Soba noodle recipe here!

Some of my go to sites for finding healthy vegan/plant based foods are: Kris Carr, Food Matters, Rawfully Organic, and of course you can’t go wrong with Pinterest or even just google if you are looking for a specific recipe to try.

So with starting this transition I plan to eventually become completely plant based.  The main difference with Vegan and Plant based diets is that technically with a Vegan diet you can still eat Oreos (ya, not dairy like you may have thought..just all chemicals-yuk!) but when you are eating completely Plant based you cut out processed foods and eat a whole foods diet.  It is something that takes a lot of work and time but I do have high hopes of making this a permanent transition.  I currently do not eat any big name brands and I have lost any desire for most of those foods just from not consuming them for so many years. I hope that sharing this helps and I would love feedback from others who are making the same journey!

Any tips you can share for going vegan/plant based??