Thanksgiving 2016

What a beautiful day! With my son and daughter-in-law hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, I didn’t have as much cooking to do, which was wonderful! Nevertheless, I was up early on this day of expressing gratitude, cooking the rest of the plant based sides that were my contribution to the meal. 

My first utterance of thankfulness this morning was for the food processor that thinly sliced potatoes with such ease and speed that I was tempted to go buy another bag of spuds, just for the fun of it! 

The second occurrence that filled my heart with grateful joy was walking out into my garden, in late November, and snipping fresh thyme and rosemary for the potato and mushroom gratin. I also hoped my neighbors weren’t watching out their windows. I walked outside in a pajama top, yoga pants and a pair of loafers, because isn’t that how everyone dresses while cooking for Thanksgiving? 

The potato and mushroom gratin and the sweet potato casserole both turned out great, as did the pumpkin baked beans that simmered all night in the slow cooker. The cranberry relish was a hit too. 

Megan and Nate had a houseful today and they were such gracious hosts. Megan prepared a big traditional Thanksgiving meal, and the guests all brought sides, drinks or desserts. While everything looked and smelled  amazing, I wasn’t tempted at all to divert from my diet. Megan included a flavorful broccoli salad and perfectly roasted squash and tomatoes as side dishes. My plate was full. I ate well and healthily and I was satisfied in all ways with my first ever plant based Thanksgiving. 

Starting at the top and going clockwise: roasted squash & tomatoes, potato & mushroom gratin, broccoli salad, raw cranberry relish, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin baked beans. 

The greatest blessing of today was gathering with family. We were a big blended group with Megan’s family and Nate’s present. We missed Megan’s sister Tara, who had to work, and her family, and Dayan and Jonathan, who were with other family today.  

After the delicious meal, the kids headed out into the gorgeous sunshiny day to play and jump on the trampoline, while Frankie the youngest child present today, wandered about the yard under the watchful eyes of his parents and grandmother. Inside we visited and laughed and cleared away leftovers. 

Eventually we all ended up outdoors. The kids and adult kids divided into two teams for a fun and friendly game of kickball. The rest of us cheered from the driveway and laughed at the number of times one of the grown up kids ended up on the ground. It was a great way to spend the afternoon, soaking up golden rays of sun and for the more adventurous, getting in exercise after a big meal. 

Family was the focus of the day. Family members of all ages, having fun together, feasting, playing, talking, laughing, expressing their quirks and offering their love, that’s what was most important today. 

I finally had a piece of fully plant based pumpkin pie with coconut cream whipped topping late in the afternoon, after I got home. It tasted as great as it looked. What a perfect end, to a perfectly lovely day. Thanksgiving 2016 is a cherished memory. And I am full of gratitude.

Prepping for a Plant Based Thanksgiving

I often spend time on Sunday evenings planning out the next week’s meals. I used to cook up food ahead or prepare freezer meals for the slow cooker on this day. However, meal planning has become very simple these past four months, after switching to a plant based diet. My meals are planned around fruits and veggies and a few staples, like brown rice. 

But this week is Thanksgiving, and my family will be gathering at my son and daughter-in-law’s home. I enjoyed the perfect-for-me Sunday evening, sipping on hot tea, munching on raw apple slices and browsing through recipes for plant based holiday sides and desserts. 

Everyone is contributing to the meal. My sweet daughter-in-law Megan has offered to include some plant based options, which I appreciate. I also want to try out several new recipes that I can eat, and that the rest of the family might want to sample along with their traditional turkey and sides. 

Here’s what I came up with tonight, as strong possibilities for Thursday: 

Raw Cranberry Relish from Life Changing Foods by Anthony William. 

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Baked Beans from

Caramelized Brussel Sprouts from

Sweet Potato Casserole with Crunchy Oat & Pecan Topping from

Potato & Portobello Mushroom Gratin from

And for dessert, the roasted pears and apples I made last week, from Life Changing Foods and…

Pumpkin Pie from a Holiday Pies printout from Anthony William. 

I also found a Pumpkin Spice Cupcake, fully raw, from Kristina on YouTube that looks amazing. 

One of the things I discovered tonight is that I have to carefully look through the ingredients list. Not all vegan recipes meet my dietary restrictions. Some had sugar or flour in them. The recipes I selected are either fully compatible or very adaptable. For example, I can substitute raw organic honey for maple syrup in one of the recipes. 

I’m excited to share Thanksgiving dinner with my family this week. Being with my loved ones is my greatest blessing. Savoring healthy and flavorful foods is a great blessing to me as well. I am grateful for this opportunity to try new foods while remaining faithful to a plant based diet and my body’s health needs. 

I am also excited to try out my new food processor! I’ve never owned one before. Greg gave me this one over the weekend as an early Christmas present and I’ll be using it this week. 

I’ll update as I experiment with the recipes I choose to make and I will be sharing the results. It’s going to be a gratitude filled week!