Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Friendsgiving Feast!

This weekend, my pals and I had our annual Friendsgiving Celebration. It was so nice to be together. Back in the day, we used to have potlucks and gatherings so much more frequently, but these days all of our lives are a little more full and getting together takes a bit more work. It was a lovely evening together - catching up, eating, talking, and just enjoying each other's company. My friend's little boy has always been so shy around me and this weekend he brought card games to the party and we played Go Fish together - it was so rad, and a real highlight of the evening for me!

 Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls with Cranberry Pear Sauce

I wanted to make something "Thanksgiving-y" and savory, but I also wanted it to be gluten-free because one of my special friends is GF. I found this recipe for  Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls with Cranberry Pear Sauce from the Oh She Glows blog and I'm really glad I gave it a go. The texture was just perfect - they held together well, weren't too dry or too sticky, and the seasoning and textures are great. Lentils, walnuts, oat flour, dried cranberries... there's a lot going on in these little dumplings, but it's all very harmonious. I had three left over and I ate them for a snack on Sunday morning.

The cranberry sauce was quick and fun to make. I reduced the syrup by half, and substituted the rest of the volume with fresh squeezed orange juice. I also used an apple instead of a pear because I still have an abundance of apples from our apple tree!

These were pretty easy to make, and I could see having these as a weeknight dinner. 
They were also fun to eat!

Mashed Potatoes & Roasted Butternut Squash

Mr. H made a huge and wonderfully classic vat of mashed potatoes -- these were so good and I, for one, absolutely appreciated that there was nothing "modern" or "creative" about them. Mashed Potatoes are already a perfect food, and are an obvious necessity at any Thanksgiving Day celebration! 

My mom came to the party too (thanks to my pals for letting me invite her too!) and she brought a big bowl of roasted butternut squash slices. This is the way my grandma, her mom, always prepared butternut squash, and it is a family favorite. It felt good to have this nostalgic and emotionally important treat as a part of our potluck -- especially made by my mom and served in a ceramic bowl that she made herself, way back in the day! 

 Green Bean Casserole 

Ms. A made the Green Bean Casserole from Isa's newest cookbook "Superfun Times!" Also, Mr. VE&T just got a cool new smartphone and took a bunch of pictures for me - including this one). This casserole was creamy and full of green beans and broccoli (a clever adaptation to an insufficient supply of green beans!), with crunchy crispy onions on top. Green bean casserole was never a thing in my family, and in fact I'm not sure I'd ever had it before this weekend, but I know it's a holiday classic for lots of people and it was fun to finally try it. I didn't even bother with a small serving size to taste it first, I just dove in with a huge scoop, and experienced no regrets!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cornbread
photo by Mr. VE&T

Ms. A also made some lovely Pumpkin Cornbread, and used GF flour instead. It came out so well! It was just a little sweet and a little pumpkiny and still a lot cornbread-y. It really seems to me like gluten free flour mixes have come a long way, because this bread was really great! 

Vegan Classic: Sesame Nooch Tofus
pic by Mr. VE&T 

Our lovely hostess Ms. S made this batch of little baked tofus, which were So Damned Good. I swear to you. She said they were simple - marinated in tamari and then dredged in nooch and sesame seeds and then baked, but oh man, they were so good. I went back for seconds. I feel like I would enjoy having a huge tub of these in the fridge for nibbles and snacking. They were tofu perfections. I will see if I can track down the recipe and report back.

stuffing my pockets full of tofus

Massaged Brussels Sprouts Salad
pic by Mr. VE&T

Ms. N brought a big bowl of a lightly dressed Massaged Brussels Sprouts Salad. The brussels were sliced super thin (how did she do that?) and then turned almost into a slaw. It was a light and bright salad, a perfect balance to all the other rich and savory flavors going around, and a fun way to eat Brussels sprouts too. 

Plate of Nourishment
Good food prepared by friends I am so grateful for!

Look at that beautiful spread of deliciousness... How lucky I am to have such lovely friends who are also such great cooks and whose company I appreciate more and more with time! We were discussing when it was that we all first met each other (on the PPK, and then in person!), and it was sometime in 2007/2008. I feel super grateful to have made such meaningful and enduring friendships throughout. We had a great time eating away, sharing about what we had each made, and talking vegan food - among a myriad of other topics as well! 

my special buddies! 

Pumpkin Pie!

Of course you gotta have Pumpkin Pie! Ms. K made a lovely GF pumpkin pie with a nut crust that was really nice. I always love pumpkin pie and I like trying all the different variations that are out there in the world. When I first went vegan, it seemed like I would just never have pumpkin pie again -- and I'm so glad that assumption has absolutely been proven wrong!

Ms. S also made a big batch of pumpkin rice krispy treats and the were incredibly delicious but I somehow didn't get a picture of them. Negligent blogger! She used Pumpkin Dandies AND actual pumpkin in them, and they were great. I am a fan of all forms of rice crispy treats and hadn't ever had Pumpkin ones before! 

Pumpkin Caramel Tart with Walnuts

Boy Howdy! This was so fancy and delicious! Ms. N made this Pumpkin Caramel Tart with Walnuts - veganized and de-glutenized from this Bon Appetit recipe - and it was wonderful. The crust was nutty and shortbready but not too dense or heavy, and the filling was creamy and pumpkiny - but definitely a different spin than a traditional pumpkin pie. My favorite part of all was probably the candied nuts on top though. They provided such a great crunch and a burst of flavor.

Gingerbread Cookies

Lastly but not leastly, I brought along a batch of the Gingerbread Cookies from "But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan!" -- you'll probably have to see this picture again soon when I do my review of this great new cookbook. These cookies are gluten-free, and were easy to make, and are dark with molasses and all the right gingerbread spices. I love pretty much all things gingerbread! I also love having more and more great GF recipes for treats that I can bake and share with my gf friends, family, and yoga students. 

 Do you have a Friendsgiving celebration with any of your pals? For me, it has been a lovely way to spend some quality time with this special group of friends, and also a way for us each to have a fully vegan Thanksgiving - no questions asked: you can eat everything on the table! A celebration of both friend abundance and vegan deliciousness abundance!

"Aquafaba!" Winner!!
Speaking of gratitude: I'm grateful to Vegan Heritage Press for letting me offer a copy of Zsu Dever's newest cookbook "Aquafaba!" to a lucky winner: 
Congratulations to Comment #32: Kimmy the Vegan!


  1. Yay! I always love your Friendsgiving posts! Everything looks so amazing. Btw, I bet your friend bought the shaved brussels from Trader Joe's. I just discovered those (and bought some) last weekend at the Nashville TJ's. They're so perfect!

    We just had our annual vegan friendsgiving potluck too! I posted about it on my blog. :-) SO MUCH FOOD. SO MUCH FRIENDS.

    1. Nikki4:09 PM

      YES. You are exactly right about the brussels.

  2. What a beautiful spread of food, and a beautiful occasion to celebrate!
    I don't have an 'anything-giving' here, it is not part of our traditions.
    But your posts always make me want to have a big vegan pot-luck with friends, so perhaps I should get onto that in the new year!

  3. Your Friendsgiving spread looks amazing! I am especially interested in those lentil walnut balls from Oh She Glows. They look quite delicious and are going on my recipes-to-try list for sure!

  4. Nikki4:08 PM

    How did the brussels sprouts get sliced so thinly? ... We may never know! I bought them pre-shredded at Trader Joe's (whomp whomp).

    It was such a nice party! I'm so glad we were all able to get together again this year.

  5. You all did a great job coordinating to make sure all the Thanksgiving bases were covered. Such a well balanced plate!

    I am really hoping you can get your hands on that Tofu recipe - looks and sounds amazing!!!

  6. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    What a beautiful Friendsgiving!
    Everything looks super duper scrumptious-- the walnut meatballs with cranberry pear sauce and that pumpkin caramel tart...... but those gingerbread cookies...... *swoons*

  7. Oh your Friendsgiving celebration sounds wonderful! I have been hearing great things about that Superfun Times Cookbook, I'll have to check it out.
    That was so super nice of you to make gf things for your gluten-free friend. I know I always really appreciate it when they do that for me :)
    We had a nice Friendsgiving too, with delicious food. We always love spending time with friends around the holidays, especially since our family lives so far away.


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