No Harm, No Fowl: Vegan Thanksgiving 2011!

Last year I was an omnivore, and the centerpiece of my Thanksgiving table was a giant turkey breast. It was roasted over fennel, and had a bacon lattice over the top. It was decadent for sure, and fattening for certain. Never again! Bring on my all-vegan Thanksgiving, which was even better than last year: just as delicious, no one died, and it isn’t killing us from the inside, either.

Bacon Wrapped Torkey, from the Happy Herbivore. (Just assume when I say “bacon” it’s fake-bacon.)

Root Veggie Mash (potato, turnip and rutabaga), my idea!

Polenta Stuffing from Appetite for Reduction.

Honey Wheat Rolls (more hardcore vegans than me can use brown sugar rather than honey. Also, sub out the butter for applesauce! You’re welcome!) from November’s Vegetarian Times.

Everything together, including Cranberry Sauce, Green Beans with Almonds, Bacon, and Garlic, and Mushroom Gravy all over that mash!

Pumpkin Cheesecake from Happy Herbivore. I even made the pumpkin myself! And I topped it with a cream sauce made from 1/4 cup cashews, 2 tsp maple syrup, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of rice milk. My husband took one bite of this and announced it to be “perfect.” It really was the best pumpkin dessert I’ve ever had, and I can’t believe it’s not terrible for you. Because it is just as amazing as any full-fat counterpart. Beautiful!

This year I’m so thankful for my family, friends, and of course, the decision we made to eat a plant-based diet. It’s given us back our health, and brought me happiness in so many different ways. Not only did I lose weight (and my husband, did, too) but we’re doing something great for our long-term health, for animals, and for the environment.

I know that this is just the beginning of the adventure, and I’m so excited for what next year will bring. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Sweet Potato Pizza

Did you know you can use sweet potatoes as sauce? You can, and you should.

I accidentally invented this, because I was too lazy to make pizza sauce. I ran out of the big batch I had in the freezer, and just wanted something simple for dinner. I’d already planned to put sliced sweet potato on the pizza, and then a genius idea came into my head: just use it as the sauce!

I layered on the teese (good grief, that stuff is amazing), caramelized onions, garlic, fake bacon (facon), and sprinkled on a little parsley for color. Dinner is served.

Here are the steps you’ll need to make it–

Sweet Potato Pizza Sauce:

  • 1 sweet potato (of average size–about as big as two fists)
  • 1 tsp earth balance (or something buttery tasting)
  • 1/4 cup unmilk
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • dash of rubbed sage, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg

Wrap your sweet potato in foil and bake in an oven (or toaster oven) for an hour at 425 degrees. When it’s done the potato should be very soft and the peel should come right off. Mash the potato with the spices, nutritional yeast, and earth balance. Gradually add the unmilk until you have it at a saucy consistency (thinner than mashed potatoes, but not runny like a liquid). If you accidentally add too much unmilk, add a little more nutritional yeast until you get it to where you want it to be.

Now, make your caramelized onions. You can follow the link above, or you can make them this even easier way:

  • 2 regular vidalia onions, sliced into half-moons
  • 4 cloves of garlic

Put all of the onion and garlic in your cast iron (or other, boo) skillet and heat at low. Put in a few tablespoons of water, and cover closely with foil. Now, periodically check on them for 15 minutes, adding water as needed so they don’t burn. At 15 mins, spray with a little cooking spray, and continue to cook until the onions brown, once again adding water as needed. They are slightly less flavorful when you cook them this way, but since there are lots of other ingredients going on the pizza, they don’t necessarily need to stand out as much. Anyway, take your pick of recipes.

Assemble the pizza:

  • 1/2 recipe of pizza dough from Vegan with a Vengeance
  • Your sweet potato sauce
  • 1/3 cup of mozzarella-style teese
  • 2 T of bacon bits from the Happy Herbivore
  • 2 T fresh parsley, minced
  • Caramelized onions and garlic

Stretch your pizza dough as much as you can, in the best circle you can get it. Put the dough on your pizza pan, making sure to apply cooking spray and cornmeal to the pan. Spread your sweet potato sauce in a smooth even layer–it shouldn’t be super thick or super thin. Next, add on the teese, then the onions and garlic. Place in a pre-heated 500 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove the pizza and place on the very bottom of the oven for 2-3 minutes, until the bottom crust gets a little crispy. Now, remove the pizza from the oven and sprinkle on the bacon bits. Return to the oven and let them crisp, keeping a close eye that they don’t burn. When the pizza is finished, take it out of the oven and sprinkle with your minced parsley.

I put salt and pepper on my slices before I ate them, which was really terrific. My husband put hot sauce on his (of course) and he loved that, too. God bless teese, I think I may love it more than daiya. I feel weird saying that.

*Update!* You should totally put a little BBQ sauce on this. You can thank me later.

Fettuccine Alfredo…and Vacation!

First things first:

Those of you who have had this Happy Herbivore dish before realize my fatal error: I did not apply enough fake bacon! This dish desperately cries out for the facon, it needs it, it wants it! I will say that the first day I found this too be a little more nutmeg-y than I like, so I might dial it down on that end. But the second day, when I ate it for lunch, I didn’t really taste the nutmeg at all. I feel that I should issue a warning here: the texture of this dish changes a lot when you refrigerate and reheat it. I will say that it’s much like actual fettuccine, which also gets sort of clumpy and grainy the next day. It didn’t bother me at all, but my husband didn’t like it as much.

We also just got back from our mini-vacation to Wichita! Yes, I drove to Wichita just to get some Teese, since it’s the only place in the state that they sell it (shout-out to Food for Thought! I love you!). And to have fun! In Wichita! It was pretty neat–the city was sort of a cross between Topeka and Oklahoma City, which is funny, since it sits almost right between them. And it was nice to see a part of Kansas I haven’t visited much before (unless you include a stop at 1am to get gas when it was -10 degrees out “visiting”).

Anyway, here’s a picture I took while on the Flint Hills Scenic Byway!

Southern Home Cookin’

My husband thought this dinner tasted just like something your granny would make. But I guess she’d have to be your kick-ass vegan granny, which would be amazing. Of all the vegans I read about, senior vegans are the best. They went vegan in 1922, you dang whippersnapper!

Are you listening? I have two words for you. VEGAN. BACON. And BITS. Which makes it three, but you get the idea. Yeah. Happy Herbivore strikes again! I love these bacon bits. They were incredibly easy to make, totally fat free, and look and taste just like bacon. My clothes and hair even smell like bacon just like the (bad) old days!

So I smothered those bits all over some green beans. And made her baked beans (which seemed to be missing something, though I don’t know what), and hybridized the corn pudding/cornbread recipe. You see, I DID have silken tofu–yesterday. And then I went on some sort of crazed double-batch brownie extravaganza. Delicious,  unnecessary, and it stole my ingredients for corn pudding!

What I did was make half a batch of cornbread, added the full amount of jalapeño, corn, onion and turmeric, and baked it at 350 for 30 mins. That way both it and the beans were done at the same time. It turned out fairly well, if a little dense. I’ll try to get it right next time!