Monday, December 01, 2014

Thanksgiving Joy

Happy Thanksgiving!
my mom's pretty table decor (& her yummy cranberry sauce!)

My family had a really lovely Thanksgiving celebration this year at my parents' house. It was simple and easy and fun and low key. Ahhh. No stress, no complications... just lots of ease and comfort. I am so grateful for that! 

securely snugged into a bowl and ready to be transported across town

My family always does our family gatherings potluck-style. Everyone is in charge of bringing something (or a few things), and that way, no one person is overwhelmed and everyone gets to contribute something.

The first thing I had to make was the magical cheeseball that I have so recently fallen in love with. For extra holiday flare, I did the version where the goop is rolled in chopped pecans, thyme and sage. 


Everyone wants a piece of that cheeseball!

As predicted, El Senor Cheeseball was unanimously approved by all present at the gathering. I even got to use my adorable little cheese plate with ceramic mice on it. One of my finest purchases ever. This picture documents Mr. VE&T taking the inaugural bite of the cheeseball, and his mom in close pursuit!

Also, just peeking off the side of the picture, you can see the hummus and fresh veggies that my mom made for appetizer. My mom makes a mean batch of homemade hummus. It's one of her specialties, and this was a particularly yummy batch!



Instead of making regular old vegan stuffing, I decided to make a batch of the Stuffed Thanksgiving Burgers from the PPK. I love this recipe sooooo much! I just served them as cutlets - and had mine with vegan gravy and cranberry sauce. Mmm. I especially love the roasted hazelnuts and chewy dried cranberries in there. Happily, there were a few left over, and we are planning to have them for dinner tomorrow night. 

For the gravy, I made a batch of Julie Hasson's Savory Gravy (the recipe is in her books Vegan Diner and i). In the past, I've always just used a mix to make gravy (*hangs head in shame*), but I've heard so many good things about this gravy that I really wanted to try it. It was super easy, quick to make, and very delicious! The recipe makes 5 cups, and since I would be pretty much the only person eating the stuff, I made a half batch and have lots left for my leftovers feasts this week. 

Vegan Biscuits by my dad!!

This year, we had an atypical amount of participation from the fellas! My brother made the "non-vegan entree" (if you know what I mean), and Mr. Vegan Eats & Treats made a huge, beautiful batch of Chipotle Chili with Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes (all by himself!*), and my dad decided to make biscuits! All on his own, he googled "vegan biscuits," found this fantastic recipe, did a trial run ahead of time to make sure they were good, and then made a beautiful batch of biscuits to go with our dinner. Oh wow! Such a luxurious treat to have someone make vegan biscuits for me!! 

*I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of the chili. It turned out really perfectly. Now that Mr. VE&T and I both know that he can make a perfect batch of chili, perhaps he will start to cook more often? 

My dad & his glorious vegan biscuits
In case you were wondering where my goofball qualities come from, now you have your answer!


Pumpkin Pie from Voluptuous Vegan

I love love love the pumpkin pie from Voluptuous Vegan (it's also the same recipe posted on the PPK). It's easy, quick to throw together, and delicious. It's also soy-free, which is great in our family because we have a VIP who is really allergic to soy. 

I made this pie the day before Thanksgiving and it looked perfect then, but by the next day, the surface had cracked a little. I don't know why it does that. It doesn't really bother me though, because the flavor is so super.

Here's a baking question for you. I'm trying to minimize my use of palm oil, and that means trying to use less Earth Balance when I bake. I used refined coconut oil in this crust, but I had the problem that many hard bits of the coconut oil didn't ever integrate into the crust. When I was rolling it out, there were solid bits of coconut oil and i had to pick them all out, and repair the crust. And the resulting crust was tougher than I would have liked (still good, I'm just sayin'). Any tips? 


Apple-Pear-Quince Galette

I also made this beautiful and delicious galette. I've been making it for years and it is such a delicious and sophisticated dessert. So many harmonious flavors inside. I also noticed that I have never shared this recipe, so I am planning a separate post soon entirely in honor of this special dessert. Recipe coming soon! For this crust I fell back on soy-free Earth Balance and the crust was stunning and perfect. Mmm. 


Now that Thanksgiving has come and blessed us with its presence for another year, I am already gung-ho for the Christmas Season. In fact, I'm already almost done drawing up my annual Christmas Cookbooklette, selecting cookie recipes for next weekend's cookie swap party, and working on my Christmas card design. This doodle was one of my Christmas card ideas, but lost out to something cuter. I didn't want it to go to waste though, so I'm sharing it here! Speaking of the Christmas spirit, I'm going to have two fun giveaways this month, a VE&T gift guide, and lots of other fun posts... so keep your eyes peeled for more fun stuff. Huzzah! 





21 comments:

  1. Everything looks sooooo delicious! So glad to see you and such a great feast!

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    1. thanks tws! It was such a sweet holiday this year. I'm still working my way through the leftovers, which suits me fine!

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  2. What a delicious looking meal! AND that pumpkin pie...I use to make it all the time. Its one of my favorites.

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  3. ErinDoesLife11:41 AM

    Wow, that looks awesome! And kudos to your dad for the biscuits! Re the pie crust issue... FWIW, I noticed in my pie crust there were some discernible chunks (not big, but noticable when I rolled it out) of shortening. However, they didn't pose a problem, even for the pecan pie I made. I think those chunks are part of what makes the crust flaky, as long as they're not too big.

    I used the Cooks Illustrated Foolproof Pie Crust recipe that uses a food processor to coat the flour with the fats (a combo of butter (margarine for me) and shortening) and part vodka in the dough to make the dough malleable without too much gluten formation (tough crust.) I'd be happy to send the recipe if that helps.

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    1. I've seen that Cooks Illustrated recipe but I had forgotten about it! Thank you for the reminder. I'll try that one for xmas! <3

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  4. ErinDoesLife11:42 AM

    BTW I totally Evernoted the table setting picture for use next year. It would be perfect for our setup. Your mom is a genius!

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    1. yeah, she's got great style for sure!
      :)

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  5. Yum!! How sweet that your dad made biscuits!! Everything looks so yummy!

    On pie crust: I would think leaving those chunks in there would be best. They'll melt in the oven and make the crust extra flaky! I still use EB in everything though. I've researched their palm oil, and they use sustainably sourced palm oil. Colleen Patrick Goudreau did a podcast on where EB's palm oil comes from and why she feels comfortable using their products, so I figure if it's good enough for Colleen, it's good for me! :-)

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    1. Hi Bianca, this is super helpful info - both about the EB palm oil and about the crust making adventures. thank you so much!!

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  6. Try letting your coconut oil warm to room temp all the way before you use it. Just let it sit out in a warm room (maybe next to the oven) so it heats up quicker. On a summer day, my coconut oil becomes liquid just sitting in the pantry! if its warm enough, all the little chunks will disappear :)

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    1. I wasnt' sure if it should be cold, because they always say to have the fat cold - or room temp. I'll try room temp next time. Thanks LM!

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  7. what a beautiful table! everything looks so yummy!

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  8. I second that; it all looks yummy!

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  9. Jennifer3:59 PM

    What a wonderful looking Thanksgiving feast! I'm going to check out the stuffed thanksgiving burger. I'm new-ish to reading your blog and I just want to tell you how much I enjoy it! Your positivity and enthusiasm radiates on every post. :)

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    1. Thank you Jennifer! Welcome to my little blog!! <3

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  10. susan5:01 PM

    Yes the coconut oil should be cold and solid. Its best to get the pieces small if you can. You want to be able to see tiny pieces which then steam and pop when baking. If they are too large you'll have pockets in the dough.
    Perfect looking meal. I need to make the burgers asap!

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  11. I like to freeze some olive oil and then cut it into small cubes to use as the fat. I also use coconut oil sometimes, but when I put it in the food processor to make the dough, it chops up all the chunks nicely. So if you weren't making the pie dough using a food processor, maybe that will help break up the larger chunks of the cold fat. Because you're right, you want it to be cold.

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  12. What a beautiful looking feast! I think we need to start a Thanksgiving tradition here in England as it always sounds such a wonderful holiday. I must make that cheeseball too!
    On the pie crust front, don't worry about the little chunks of coconut oil. They make the crust flaky and delicious! You might want to check out this post on the subject too: http://www.ohladycakes.com/2014/11/how-to-make-coconut-oil-pie-crust.html

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  13. So much good food! I especially love the look of the galette.

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  14. What an amazing Thanksgiving feast! I still have to make that cheeseball. Maybe for a holiday potluck later this month. I looked at the same biscuit recipe your dad used, but ended up not making biscuits at all because there were only 5 of us. Next time!

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    1. P.S. Excited for this year's cookbooklette!

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