What We Ate Wednesday: THANKSGIVING!

December 4th, 2013 - filed under: The Food » Food Styles


This year, as with every other year, our “Thanksgiving turkey” was alive and roaming free at a Farm Animal Sanctuary. For Thanksgiving 2013 we sponsored Martha – because really, just look at her!

Hello hello everyone! I hope that all of you out there in the Internets had a fantastic and delicious T-day celebration! Last week, I asked if you’d like to see a recap of my Thanksgiving, or if you thought maybe you’d be burned out on gravy and stuffing by now. But the answer was a resounding “YES!”, and so I present to you —> My 2013 Thanksgiving, in pictures . . .


Well first things first, and first comes coffee of course. A little note here: yes yes, I go back and forth on coffee. I’m on it, I’m off it, I’m on it again. Don’t bother trying to keep track, haha, because I certainly can’t. I know in the long run my body does better with tea, but for special occasions and when I’m traveling . . . oh gosh I just really really love coffee!

And I was traveling! Me and Waits and my sweetheart all went down to Orange County to spend the holiday at my aunt and uncle’s house. They’re not vegan, but they’re very accommodating, and basically gave us free reign to cook an entire gluten-free vegan Thanksgiving dinner alongside them while they cooked their traditional Thanksgiving dinner, in their less-than-large kitchen. It was so fun! But I’m getting ahead of myself, because first came breakfast.


Waits had oatmeal cooked in almond milk, with cinnamon and maple syrup, and a side of grapes. Plus more almond milk for drinking.


My man and I each had a few pieces of toast, made with The Best Gluten-Free Bread On The Planet™ (it’s official, the search is over) slathered in Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet cream cheese. This stuff is a rare treat ’round these parts – just perfect for a holiday morning!

After we were all breakfasted up, I took Waits upstairs to take a bath and get ready for the day ahead. I knew it would be a long many hours indoors, so I wanted to make sure we got out to the park to burn off some energy first. It was such a beautiful day! Gotta love Thanksgiving in southern California.

Also, on the drive to the park Waits ate almost an entire bag of snap pea crisps. Haha, whoops.


Oh, did I tell you I dyed my hair?

An hour at the park running, jumping, and splashing in the water was just what we needed. And once we were back at the house, it was time to get down to business. Kitchen business.


Prepping the kale. (As an aside, anyone else find men who can cook extremely attractive? Jeepers!) We made Isa’s Kale Salad With Butternut and Lentils from this CNN holiday article. It was great!


Brussels (baking sheet 1 of 2) all prepped and ready to roast. Also, note the second round of coffee brewing in the back . . .

While we worked, more family arrived!


Oh these two. That’s my granny on the right, age 87, and her sister on the left, age 94. They both have trouble seeing and hearing, but they’re non-stop gossip the second they get together. It’s completely adorable.


Snacking on hummus and carrots while we work.


This is a dish I haven’t eaten since going vegan, but it was a staple on every single Thanksgiving plate before then. It’s a simple, old-school “recipe” that basically involves four ingredients: petite peas, green onions, mayonnaise, and bacon.


This year I veganized it! I subbed in coconut bacon and Follow Your Heart’s Vegenaise (the BEST vegan mayo, cross my heart) and it was amaaaaazing. I know I know, it’s not the healthiest dish. But it tastes like nostalgia and decadence and holiday delight, and to have a vegan version made me happier than you can imagine.


There was champagne.


I made a big batch of Traditional “Dandied” Yams, which is an old favorite.




The roasted Brussels sprouts were finished off in the pan, with sautéed mushrooms, green onions, and coconut cream.


Our main dish was a creative experiment borne from the depths of my sweetheart’s mind. Tofu cutlets, marinated for 2 days, hollowed out on one side. Each hollow cavern filled with a paste of thick cashew cream, oven-roasted garlic, rosemary, and a bit of Earthbalance. Two caverns married to create a sealed center, all tied up with green onions like a little present, neat and tidy and stuffed with garlic-y rosemary creamy goodness.

They worked. Oh goodness how they worked!


4 o’clock. Dinner is served! The full plate, with kale salad, sweet potatoes, tofu, peas, Brussels sprouts, and mashed potatoes and gravy.

Can we take a moment to reflect on this gravy?

My man made it from scratch – gluten-free scratch – late late after work on Tuesday night. This gravy has 4 different types of mushrooms (button, crimini, porcini, and morel), pan-toasted flours (for full depth of flavor) turned into a roux, stock and nooch and sage and thyme and I wish I knew what all went into this gravy! While he cooked I was busy working on The BEST Gifts For Vegan Kids Of All Ages, and when he finished it was after midnight, and he brought it over to my computer, and handed me the spoon . . .

I think my exact words were: “I want to eat all of it. I want to eat a bowl of gravy soup.”

Or maybe something along the lines of “So what are you eating on Thanksgiving? ‘Cause this is all mine right here!”

By the time Thursday rolled around, the flavors had mingled and melded and omg, this gravy was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.

Thanksgiving success!


Well, for us at least. Wee Waits ate . . . bread. Have you ever heard of a kid who doesn’t like Thanksgiving food??! But no, not for this little guy. He ate bread with dinner and then later, a bowl of leftover lentils. *sigh*


Much later, when our bellies and bodies had had a bit of time to rest, we pulled out the pies. We’d gotten a store-bought pie this year, a gluten-free vegan pumpkin pie which tasted fantastic but ended up being . . . less than firm? We were having trouble serving it, until my sweetie, genius-as-he-is, plopped the whole sucker down in a cup. Brilliant!

Topped with vegan rice whip, of course.


And what about you guys? Did you have a delicious plant-based Thanksgiving? What was your very favorite dish??

Happiest Holidays!

♥ ♥ ♥

  • Blake Bakes

    You have to share that tofu recipe. It sounds fantastic, a real show-stopper! And the gravy recipe too, because I am all about gravy. My mom and I joke about doing gravy shots all day during Thanksgiving meal prep.

  • theresa

    My thanksgiving was not plant based, but did include more plants than usual, which I consider a relative success for my cattle-raising family!

    The tofu cutlets and mushroom gravy sound AMAZING, I’d looove love love to see those recipes on the blog ;)

    Glad ya’ll had a lovely thanksgiving!

  • Emily Byron

    My goodness! I wish I had half the culinary creativity (not to mention impetus) as you guys do. And how about that tofu recipe, hmmmmmmm???? :)

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I’m working on getting them from him! Hopefully I’ll have them soon . . . ;-D

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    That is success, congrats! Hope it was a great day!

    And yes, working on getting those recipes, haha.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I’m trying to get the tofu recipe! And the culinary creativity, well that’s mostly him. Or maybe, him and I feed off each other? I don’t know, we work really well in the kitchen together. It’s pretty awesome. =)

  • Kyleigh

    Wow, it all looks so amazing! The tofu is genius, I’ve been meaning to try Isa’s Kale/Butternut recipe, the peas/coconut bacon concoction is really interesting and the gravy looks mouth-watering! Awesome!

    We Did a Vegan Brunch this year, instead of dinner. White Bean and Tempeh Sausage patties, with Navy Bean Gravy, Tofu Benedict with Hollandaise, Home-made English Muffins, Home-made Black Forest Seitan Bacon, Home-style potatoes, Broccoli, Cheddar, and Bacon Quiche, and Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Glaze.

    Later on after our extended family finished dinner we enjoyed some delicious pies. Pumpkin Cheesecake, Banana Tapioca Pudding Pie, and Cannoli Pie – all vegan of course =)

    Glad you had such a lovely holiday! As others have already mentioned i’m definitely look forward to seeing some recipes! =)

  • http://luminousvegans.com/ luminousvegans

    So much yumminess and fun! I am just like you when it comes to coffee. Currently, I am “off it” on weekdays and “on it” on weekends. Sometimes I go through phases where I am “on it” 7 days of the week and other times I go completely off it. I do love my coffee so much though. Dang, now I want some.

    I really love the tofu concoction. It sounds creative and appetizing. I also really like the traditional dishes you made like the peas,bacon and vegnaise mix…oh my, that just sounds so good to me right now!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Oh my gosh that brunch sounds AMAZING! Holy moly, I’m salivating. =)

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Coffee is so hard! When I drink it my tastebuds are soooo happy, but after a while my body starts to freak out. Thus the on-again off-again thing. Bah. Coffee, Why can’t I quit you??!

  • Rebecca

    Is that white bean and basil hummus from Trader Joe’s? (I can’t remember if it has Parm cheese in it…). LOVE that stuff! Oh–and I NEVER liked “holiday” food! Still don’t. I stick with my old standbys: broccoli, shrimp cocktail (sometimes using little pieces of raw cauliflower instead of shrimp–try it!! Sounds weird but really the shrimp is just a “vehicle” for the cocktail sauce anyway)…and, more recently, these super amazing sweet potatoes I make. Melt some butter (vegan butter is fine) along with brown sugar and pop in a cinnamon stick. Let simmer for a smidge and then pour over sweet potato wedges. I’m salivating just thinking about it! I usually have a no sugar rule when it comes to non-desserts but for the holidays I say it is a-ok! (I’m not a pie eater either! So sweet potatoes it is!) Side note: The day before Thanksgiving there was a LARGE turkey just chilling in our neighborhood..taking a stroll. Oh Connecticut.

  • Kim

    I’m with Waits… I can’t stand Thanksgiving food!

  • Karen Gray

    Looks lovely! Go Waits :-) My eldest son had vegemite sandwiches for years for xmas dinner- he was a strange eater and I worried so much about his diet but he grew up healthy as! And was not a fussy eater after about the age of 15, haha

  • Kelli Roberts

    I love those little tofu presents! What an awesome idea!

  • Fran @BCDC

    I’d love to see the recipe (amounts) on the pea dish as well as the tofu (what you used to marinate, baking time, etc.) They both sound delicious! I’ve never heard of coconut bacon but I’ll be looking for it now! Great post!

  • Deirdre

    <3 Martha! We adopted Tulip and her photo is proudly hanging in the hall :) Those tofu parcels, Genius with a capital G. Wow. Just wow. Happy belated Thanksgiving. Oh and Why we Don't Eat Animals, great rec. Thank you!

  • http://thiskindchoice.com/ Emma – thiskindchoice.com

    Don’t you find that there are some non vegan recipes that just have so much nostalgia and memory that you just HAVE to veganize them and eat them at special occasions, even if the result isn’t the healthiest?
    And me and coffee are good friends too :P

  • Kylie @ FOTV

    It all looks delish!

  • http://www.marystestkitchen.com/ Mary L – Mary’s Test Kitchen

    What a DELICIOUS day! It’s pretty inspiring :-)

  • Kyleigh

    It was pretty good. Since we typically eat so simply most nights I like to really go ‘all-out’ for the holidays. I find my most decadent cook books, and my most decadent recipes and have at it =)

  • Nancy Miller

    I LOVE YOUR SITE! So funny & humorous and great, great ideas…..

  • Veronica

    This looks so heavenly! Culinary geniuses at work.
    Speaking of which: I made the raw vegan Sriracha from your recipe and my honey declared it “Better than store-bought!” So I thought I should defer that praise to you.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Ooh thanks for letting me know, Veronica! I love hearing that! =D

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