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!

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Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns

Oh the flavors of fall. When cans of pumpkin are everywhere, begging to be used in inventive ways. Like these sticky buns! With lots of pumpkin in the dough, you get the great orange color and a hint of pumpkin flavor. For an even pumpkin-ier experience, I’d smooth 2 tablespoons of pumpkin over the rolled out dough before sprinkling on the brown sugar and cinnamon.

Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns (makes 12):

  • 1 cup unmilk
  • 2&1/4 tsp active yeast (or one packet)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 T + 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 5 T pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/3 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/8 tsp allspice

Heat the unmilk until it reaches 110 degrees, and mix with active yeast. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes until the yeast is bubbly. Stir in pumpkin.

Place 3 cups of flour in bowl, and mix with sugar, 1 T cinnamon and salt. Add your milk and pumpkin mixture, and stir until a soft dough begins to form. If the dough is not coming together at all, add more unmilk, one tablespoon at a time, until dough is soft and slightly sticky. Knead dough for 5 to 10 minutes on clean surface until it is smoother and more elastic.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a warm towel. Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Then punch the dough down a little and roll out into a large rectangle (about 10×14). Sprinkle with the brown sugar and 1 T cinnamon. Roll tightly and cut 1 inch off of each end (side note: I usually save these, cut them really small, and then bake in the toaster oven for my toddler to eat. They have less sugar and are a nice size). Now cut into 12 one-inch circles.

Use cooking spray to grease a  round cake pan, pie pan, or an appropriate-sized casserole dish. Place pecan pieces evenly in the bottom, and put your rolls on top. Mix the remaining 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, allspice, brown rice syrup and maple syrup in a microwaveable container. Heat in microwave for 20 seconds, and then pour mixture over the cinnamon rolls.

Let rise in a warm place for 20 more minutes. Then, place sticky buns in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until they are golden and cooked in the center. For presentation you can flip the baking dish over onto a large plate, or if you are lazy (like me) just pull out a sticky bun and spoon the maple-pecan glaze over the top.

Happy Halloween! Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

I suppose the “latte” part is misleading, because these are really Happy Herbivore‘s Vanilla Chai Cupcakes with a Pumpkin frosting/glaze of my own design. My child was a cupcake for Halloween this year, so she asked that we also make special cupcakes to celebrate. Can do, kiddo.

The cupcake has a very dense texture, but I don’t know if that was partly my fault for over-stirring, or the nature of fat-free baked goods. Whatever the case, it tasted great, and really did have a great chai latte flavor. The pumpkin glaze I made is runny, but it’s also fat-free and super easy, so you take what you can get.

Pumpkin Glaze (for 8 cupcakes):

  • 3 T pureed pumpkin
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Stir ingredients until combined. Then, place mixture in freezer, checking periodically to stir and make sure the mixture is setting up properly. When as it’s as firm as you’d like (but not frozen) dab a spoonful on each cupcake. The mixture spreads quickly, so you won’t need to worry about making it look pretty. Sprinkle with cinnamon for even more fun.