First of all- thank you all so much for the birthday wishes and nice comments! :-D
Now that I have relished in how kick-ass my birthday was this year, I can move onto my Thanksgiving summary, as promised.
First of all, I hopped on the band wagon! It was time to 'give back' on Thanksgiving. Mike chipped in to help me adopt a pretty turkey from Farm Sanctuary. Her name is Cicada and she is living her life peacefully and happily.
If you haven't already, you should also consider donating money/adopting a farm animal. It helps support the growth of the farm and continuing rescue and care of tortured factory animals.
Cicada says, 'Cruely is buggin'. Go veg.' ;)
Onto the food! I will warn you now- this isn't going to be a gigantic post with an awesome feast.
I am a VERY slow cook.
I was only able to prepare a tofu roast and a pumpkin pie Thanksgiving eve, so you can imagine how little time I had to cook on the actual day of Thanksgiving. Luckily, I didn't have to wake up at 6 in the morning to start.
My mother passed away this past April, so this was our first holiday without her. Normally, most of the family would have Thanksgiving dinner at her house and the rest would come over for dessert, drinks and a pleasant evening of family 'togetherness'. This year, everyone went to my brother's mother-in-law's for Thanksgiving. I was invited, but truth be told, the only way I'd sit in front of a depressing turkey carcass is if my mother made it. No, it doesn't make it all right that a turkey was tortured, murdered, injected with chemicals and fed to the masses. However, my mother loved spending time with her family and so I stuck around and ate the veggie side dishes and the premade tofurky.
This year, of course, was very different. So while most of my family was down in Dorchester, I was making a tiny, little feast for myself, Mike (after returning from lunch/dinner at his parents), my step father and my sister who is, by nature, a grazer and rarely gets full.
Now, I can give you a quick run-through of what I made, but there are no close-ups other than my yummy dessert and the cranberries cookin' because I thought it looked pretty. This is because not only did I burn the tofu roast to a crisp, I was also so stressed out and the weight of my mother's death was stronger than ever. I kinda just didn't want any pictures. I wanted to go to sleep. But I'm not going to make this a sad post and bring you all down. The truth is, most of the food came out really great (as tiny as my dinner was) and once my family arrived for dessert, I was feeling really good.
As a matter of fact, it was the perfect time to give thanks that I still have a wonderful, supportive family, including some extremely adorable nephews. My mother would have wanted us to be happy and to cherish our time together. If there is, in fact, an after life of any sort, I know she is watching us with pride and love.
So! This is what I made with love:
Mashed yam potatoes with kale- This was a savoury dish. I'm so used to the boring mashed potatoes with salt and soy butter, so this was quite a pleasant change. I added lots of spices, garlic and dijon (the secret ingredient to all salad and potato dishes as far as I'm concerned) and it was wonderful.
Next, I made fancy biscuits- I've made these before, so I'll do some picture recycling.
These biscuits are made with green onions and dill. Of course I like the plain white biscuits, but these make my taste buds dance with glee. My sister was a huge fan of these. In fact, most of my family had one, despite their full tummies. They were gone pretty quickly.
As a quick and easy 'oh my god, I have to get this done and there's practically nothing here to eat', I steamed organic carrots, string beans, corns and peas and threw them altogether. They made a very colorful dish.
I also made a miso gravy that topped the potatoes and biscuits beautifully.
I made a homemade cranberry sauce, much better than any globby mess you'll get out of a can! (Though it did drip on the floor, much to my step father's chagrin.) Here it is, simmering in sweet, organic maple syrup:
And, of course, the tofu roast.
I spent lots of time, carefully preparing this damn roast, I'll tell ya. I made an utterly delicious stuffing, packed with spices, garlic, wheat bread, sauces, golden raisins and walnuts, I drained two packs of firm tofu of all possible liquid, spreading it out on a colander, laying on the stuffing and covering it as best I could with the remaining tofu, proceeding to let it sit in the fridge over-night to drain. The following morning I whipped up a delicious marinade, spread some on the roast and tossed it in the oven.
All of these steps! Each one taken with love and care!
Wait... what did Suzie forget to do... for an hour and a half? She forgot to cover the dish with tin foil. That's right!
Cripsy tofu. Mmmm.
You can imagine my upset. Luckily I wasn't preparing a huge meal for a ton of people, else I would have been freaking out.
Not to go roast-less, I decided to spread some cranberries around the pathetic-looking tofu and put it out on the table. Some people tried it, despite my repeated disclaimer, then politely put it aside, saying, 'It's not THAT bad.'
::sigh:: Ah, well. In any event, the rest of the dishes were received favourably.
Now, for my 'gigantic' lay-out in all it's glory!
(You can imagine how silly I feel after having read all your posts and looked at all your amazing feast pictures!)
I have to ask, how did you all do it? Perhaps I'm a slow cook. Perhaps it's because I had no help whatsoever. Or maybe, just maybe, it's because I had no food processor and spent a good deal of time scraping down the sides of a rickety old blender, causing the spoon to hit the spinning blade, which in turn caused a gigantic blob of un-blended tofu to fly high up in the air, barely grazing the ceiling, falling flat onto my gorgeous pumpkin pie, cooling off on top of the stove.
In any event, I have a nice, new, amazing food processor, so perhaps next year will be different.
Being a new cook, I will be slow, I will be foolish and I accept that. It makes for a good story. Besides, the pie was salvagable!
Behold, the pumpkin cheesecake pie from Sinfully Vegan!
I can give myself a big round of applause, too, because this is the very first crust of mine that came out beautifully. :)
Ah, you win some, you lose some.
I'm not a huge fan of over-consumption and I'm obviously not big on the whole sickening dead turkey thing. I think the history behind Thanksgiving is bloody and awful too. But like most of you, I take this opportunity (and day off from work) to break bread with my family, make food with love (even if I burn things sometimes) and be thankful for all that I have.
Now I will show you a dish I was planning to make until I realized that the brussel sprouts were never purchased.
Dijon Brussel Sprouts:
I went to the supermarket that weekend and picked some up. I had planned on making them, the shallots were already chopped, so I figured, 'Might as well make some as a side dish to go with the left over lasagna from my party!'
Believe it or not, this was my first time eating a brussel sprout, at least that I can remember. The dijon, red wine vinegar, garlic and mustard seed mix really give it a kick (I think they are too bitter without some kind of sauce), but next time I think I'll double the sauce recipe. Brussel sprouts, to me, taste like little cabbages, but a little more 'earthy'. But not to worry! I have many recipe plans for these little suckers. ;)
And finally, I give you some simple party snack ideas that you probably already thought of before I even knew what 'nooch' was.
Nothing says 'party' like a bowl of popcorn or chips. The following are, thus far, some of my favourite snackables:
Stove popped popcorn and salt-free tortilla chips, covered in melted Earth Balance butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder, celery seed and tobasco sauce:
It really wasn't too spicey, though you could add more hot sauce if it suits you fine.
Next, a yummy tortilla cheese dip. This recipe I found in 'La Dolce Vegan' and it's one of the few fake cheeses I really enjoy. You melt a block of fake cheese (I use Vegan Gourmet's cheddar) with butter, flour (for thickness), Braggs (or soy) sauce, nooch, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
It also goes great on macaroni. =)
Lastly, for now, I give you the popcorn and organic pretzel stick combo, topped with soy butter, pepper and barbeque sauce mixture.
For some reason, these make me think of football games, or Friday night poker. I never really engage in either activity, but I'd love to throw a party just so I could serve these goodies.