Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Weekend Hodgepodge—Unbuttoned Pants Edition

A four day weekend! I hardly knew what to do with myself!

Actually, I am full of crap—I had my days over planned and over booked from the moment the weekend started. Of course, I didn’t accomplish everything I hoped to, but it was a fun, productive, feast filled weekend.

Vegan Thanksgiving Feast

Thursday was spent in the kitchen at my in-law's house, cooking, eating and being thankful for a huge vegan feast we prepared.

Click here for the full recipe set for our vegan meal!

Parents Thanksgiving

Friday was Thanksgiving, part two, at my parents house. We had our family's traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, yams with marshmallows, mashed potatoes, mashed turnips, broccoli, salad, cranberry relish and biscuits. The best line from Thanksgiving this year: "Linda, please stop exercising at the dinner table—You're ruining my food coma."

Pies

After a high energy game of tag with my niece and nephew, sister and brother-in-laws, we gained back some appetite for my father's pies and homemade whipped cream.

Melted Wax

Saturday, I was up early, working on making more Christmas gifts. Any guesses on what this could be?

Thai Thai II Basil Fried Rice

I met my parents and sister's family downtown for lunch and wandering. We went to Thai Thai II, where I got my favorite—Basil fried rice. This picture is just the leftovers!

Main St.

After lunch, we took a walk downtown, which has turned into a tourist attraction once again for the holiday season. Crowds enjoyed the nice weather as Christmas music pumped through the streets.

Christmas City Village

Since Christkindlemart moved to south Bethlehem, north side tried a new market with "Christmas City Village." About 20 vendors were set up in wooden stall in two locations downtown. It was cute, although not too many vendors caught my eye.

Occupy Bethlehem

At the end of our walk, we passed Occupy Bethlehem (in the Japanese tea garden), which, while still small, has grown from the last time I saw it.

Jumbars Frittata

Sunday started out with our usual Jumbars takeout. I got a crab, asparagus and provolone frittata.

Washed out bridge

We took advantage of the nice weather to walk down the Monocacy Way path from downtown Bethlehem to Illicks Mill park. The damage from the hurricane and early snow is still quite apparent, as you can see from this washed out bridge.

Geocache

Can you spot the geocache in this picture? Kevin found it!

Gertie Fox Sign

One geocache took us to Burnside Plantation, where we saw this sign that honors Gertie Fox, the woman whose lawn I waited on for my schoolbus. She stopped a bulldozer from taking down trees when she was an elderly woman.

Willow Trees

The whole walk was quite beautiful, except for when some inconsiderate people allowed their two huge dogs to run out of control through the woods. I know it makes me an awful person in some people's eyes, but I like the leash law. My idea of a good day does not include a doberman pinscher running at me through the woods as I am sitting on a point looking over a pond.

Blue Dresser

When we got home, we moved our old desk to a friend's house, then began work on stripping the paint from this dresser we picked up at a yard sale.

Theo's Gyro

We tried out Theo's Gyro on Linden St. for dinner. The food was fantastic. I had a traditional gyro, but the flavors run from cheesesteak to buffalo chicken to "Boolicious." Plus, they deliver! Finally, an alternative to pizza or Chinese for delivery!

Onion Garlic Crackers

The weekend ended with a sad realization I had to go to work the next day and a cracker baking marathon for my contribution to the Bethlehem Food Co-Op meeting and potluck on Wednesday. I made onion garlic crackers to go with butternut squash dip I'll be making.


Vegan Thanksgiving Extravaganza!

Yamming it up

Just yamming it up … har har.

Well, my food coma has worn off and I am in the process of concocting ways to use up the various leftovers we were sent home with from our two Thanksgiving feasts. This year, inspired by a visit to the Farm Sanctuary, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law requested a vegan Thanksgiving. My husband, who has grown to thoroughly enjoy vegetables and raises no complaint about several meatless meals each week, agreed to their request, with one stipulation: no fake meat or dairy products (i.e. no Tofurkey, veggie crumbles, chick’n, egg replacer, soy cheese, etc.). If we weren’t going to eat meat, we shouldn’t pretend like we were. I have to say, I supported that point—Vegan processed food is still processed and probably not very good for you. So, my sister-in-law and I set off on a quest to develop a menu that wouldn’t leave the omnivores dreaming of turkey, purchasing as many local ingredients as we could. The results were quite delicious and everyone seemed sufficiently stuffed! We dined on lentil loaf, stuffing stuffed apples, chili maple sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, mushroom and plain vegetable gravies, cranberry sauce, and apple and pumpkin pies. So, without further ado, the recipes for a delightful animal product free Thanksgiving feast! Oh, and a note: all of the recipes for this meal that require baking can go in at 375°.

Lentil Loaf (based off the recipe at My Vegan Cookbook)

I was a bit skeptical of this seemingly random mush of ingredients, formed into a loaf and baked, but it was so good! It was quite flavorful, not at all dry, and easy to slice. My husband is not a tofu fan and couldn’t detect it in this dish.

Lentil Loaf

After reading several recipes and reviews, I was afraid our lentil loaf would crumble apart, but this recipe stood up well!


Ingredients:

Tomato Topping Mixture

  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

Lentil Loaf

  • 1 c. oats
  • 1/2 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 c. medium onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1 T. tomato topping mixture
  • 3 T. corn meal
  • 3/4 c. cooked & drained lentils
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme (my garden)
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dried mustard

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Mix together all tomato topping ingredients in small bowl and set aside.
  3. Dice onion and red & green pepper, then sautée in 1 T. olive oil until onions are translucent.
  4. Meanwhile, pulse oats five brief times in food processor (you could probably also crush the oats in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin if you don’t have a food processor).
  5. Drain tofu and press out all extra liquid. Place tofu in large mixing bowl and mash with a fork.
  6. Add sautéed veggies and the rest of the lentil loaf ingredients, making sure to just add 1 T. of tomato topping mixture and reserve the rest. Mix well.
  7. Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil and grease the foil.
  8. Form tofu-lentil mixture into a loaf shape about 2.5″ tall and 4 inches wide on tin foil.
  9. Coat loaf with tomato mixture.
  10. Bake 20 minutes, then cover with tinfoil and bake an additional 10 minutes.
  11. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Stuffing Stuffed Apples

Stuffing Stuffed Apples

I think these were the biggest hit!

Ingredients:

  • 6 T. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 3 stalks celery (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 3 cloves garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1 T. dried sage (my garden)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme (my garden)
  • 1 medium loaf bread (about 4-5 c. cubed, we used cranberry-walnut from Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1 c. vegetable stock
  • 10 medium apples (Strawberry Acres)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut off top third of apples and scoop out insides, leaving 1/4″ wall, using either a spoon or small melon baller.
  3. Dice onion and celery and mince garlic, then sautée in olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven until onions are translucent. Add dried herbs after 1 minute of cooking.
  4. Meanwhile, cut bread into 1″ cubes.
  5. Add bread cubes to onion mixture.
  6. Drizzle vegetable stock over bread mixture.
  7. Stuff bread mixture into apples in large baking dish, heaping out the top of each apple.
  8. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes.
  9. Remove foil and bake 15 minutes, or until bread is golden brown on top.

Chili Maple Sweet Potatoes

Chili Maple Sweet Potatoes

Sweet & Spicy Chili Maple Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium sweet potatoes or yams (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 3 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut in wedges about 3/4″ thick.
  3. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil in 9×13″ baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle with chili powder and drizzle maple syrup on top.
  5. Toss to evenly coat.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Green Bean Casserole

My sister-in-law came up with this recipe—It tastes just like the classic version and made a ginormous pan full!

Green Bean Casserole

Just as creamy and crunchy as you remember it as a kid, but with no dairy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cup plain soymilk
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 4 cans (14 oz) green beans
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 9 oz french fried onions
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder (or 3 fresh cloves)
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a pot over medium heat add 2 cups soymilk, mushrooms, garlic, and pepper.
  2. Bring to boil then simmer.
  3. Dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 cup soymilk and add to pot. Stir for 5 min, then remove from heat.
  4. Drain beans and put in casserole dish.
  5. Add 3 oz french fried onions and soymilk mixture.
  6. Bake at 350 for 40 min.
  7. Top with rest of onions and cook til brown.

Mashed Potatoes

This makes a huge batch—We love our mashed potatoes!

Mashed Potatoes

My brother-in-law taught me a couple years ago that adding a few cloves of garlic to the boiling potatoes adds a lovely subtle flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs Lehigh potatoes (from Padula Potatoes, Yukon Gold is a close sub)
  • 4 cloves garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1/2-3/4 c. plain soy milk (this was the only “fake dairy” we used)
  • 4-6 T. vegetable based margarine

Directions:

  1. Peel and dice potatoes. Smash garlic cloves.
  2. Place potatoes and garlic in large pot and cover by at least 2 inches with water.
  3. Boil, covered, for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Strain potatoes.
  5. Add soy milk and margarine, then mash with potato masher or whip with blender.

Vegetable Broth Gravy
This recipe is also from my sister-in-law!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup canola or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (Queen’s Nutritional Products)
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 cup veg broth
  • 1/2 tsp sage (my garden)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Sauté onion and garlic in oil.
  2. Stir in flour, yeast, and soy sauce.
  3. Gradually add broth.
  4. Season and bring to boil. Simmer 8-10 min, or until thickened.

Mushroom Gravy

Mushroom Gravy

The mushrooms add a wonderful rich flavor to the gravy.

Ingredients:

  • 5 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 2 cloves garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 4 T. flour
  • 6-8 mushrooms (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 1 can beer (Yuengling)
  • 1.5 c. vegetable broth
  • sage, thyme, rosemary (from my garden) and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Dice onion and mince garlic.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic in oil until onions are translucent.
  3. Slice mushrooms, add them and herbs to onion and garlic and cook 1 minute.
  4. Add flour and stir until thick and pasty.
  5. Whisk in beer and let simmer until slightly thickened.
  6. Add vegetable broth and continue to simmer until hot and thick.

Double Crust Apple Pie

Apple Pie

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without pie!

Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. cold vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 c. ice cold water

Filling Ingredients:

  • 6-8 apples (I used a mix of Mutsu and Melrose from Strawberry Acres)
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 T. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • sugar to sprinkle on top of pie

Directions:

  1. Place flour and salt for pie crust in food processor. Cover and pulse 4 times to combine.
  2. Add shortening to flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. With processor running, add ice water until dough just begins to form ball and leave sides of processor.
  4. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice apples to make 6 c. slices. Place apples in large bowl and mix with lemon juice.
  6. Preheat oven to 375°.
  7. Remove one dough ball from fridge and roll to 1/8″ thick.
  8. Place crust in 9″ pie plate and press on bottom and sides, trimming excess from edges. (Save the scraps to coat with cinnamon and sugar and bake like cookies!)
  9. Add flour, sugar, cinnamon and ginger to apples in bowl. Mix well.
  10. Heap apples in crust in pie plate, mounding more in the middle than on the edges.
  11. Roll out second crust and place over top of apples.
  12. Fold two crust edges over each other and crimp to seal.
  13. Cut small vent holes near center of top crust.
  14. Sprinkle top crust with sugar.
  15. Bake 1 hour, covering crust with foil if it begins to brown too much. Filling should be bubbling near center of pie.
  16. Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks Pie

Our Apple Pie of Thanks

I can’t believe how quickly Thanksgiving snuck up this year. It’s always nice to have a little reminder each year to be grateful for what you have and sit down to share a meal with those you care about. It’s really easy for me to over think this holiday and become critical of its historical roots, but I’ll try to avoid getting into that here and just focus on gratitude and the fact that it seems Thanksgiving is the least commercialized of major holidays—No gifts, just food, family & friends (I really think there should be a special holiday for Friends Thanksgiving—No family obligations, just time shared with your close friends.

Anywho, I just wanted to pop on the blog this morning and thank everyone who reads this! I never thought I’d actually get a “following” online, so I am grateful for each one of you. Now, I’ll be off to my in-laws house for our first ever Vegan Thanksgiving complete with lentil loaf & mushroom gravy, chili maple sweet potatoes, mashed taters, stuffing-stuffed apples, green bean casserole and the above pictured apple pie. Look for recipes & pictures soon!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


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