First Thanksgiving without Connecticut, Big Kitty, and Deimos. Second Thanksgiving without my step-kids. Holidays are much quieter and emptier than in years past. I always miss Connecticut, and the kids, but today I’m missing Deimos a lot, because he was so recently here—I still expect to see tall ears pricking up at the sound of chopping vegetables, still expect him to be eagerly awaiting carrots or celery that have fallen on the kitchen floor. Over the last few days, I’ve finally started washing some of his bedding, and I stuck his bowl in the dishwasher (but then put it back in its proper place on the floor). And I took Ruby on our first solo walk today. It’s still very cold and icy out, so we just did a few blocks, but it felt strange. I used to take her on a walk by herself once in a while, because Deimos tired out so quickly, and Bubba has not been up to long walks for a while either, but for the most part the hounds were always walked together.
Anyway, I have my hubby and the animals, and we’ve had a good Thanksgiving. I got to sleep in, for the most part, at least until Caesar started screeching, “Good Morning” around 8 or 8:30. (She doesn’t actually say, “Good Morning,” she just screams. She only says a few words, like, “Baby Bird.”) When she thinks we should be up already, she does this. She’ll belts out a blood curling scream, and then waits for any activity upstairs. Ignoring her is not an option, because she will soon try again, and again, until one of us comes downstairs. This would be funny if it wasn’t so completely nerve-wracking and irritating to be jolted out of sleep like that.
On to posts of our vegan feast. On the menu:
- Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute
- Shepherd’s Pie
- Apple Sage ‘Sausage’ Chestnut Stuffing
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie
Instead of posting the entire recipe, I’m going to post the ingredients (and my subs) and link to the recipe online, if it exists.
Normally, when we cook a Field Roast Celebration Roast or Meatloaf, we pull out the Dutch oven. But the Hazelnut roast was a little on the large size and I wanted the “En Croute” to brown, so I followed the package directions.
The verdict: very tasty, but similar in taste to the Celebration Roast—I was hoping it would differ a little bit more.
Shepherd’s Pie (hubby’s improvised recipe)
- Filling: onions, frozen peas, carrots, grilled Portobello mushrooms, spices
- Mashed topping: yellow potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, Earth Balance buttery spread
The verdict: Good. A little al dente on the carrots and peas, but tasty and filling. Sweet potato/potato mash was yummy.
Apple Sage ‘Sausage’ Chestnut Stuffing
This is the one I spent the most time on. The recipe (link).
- 6-7 cups diced bread cubes [I used a prepared and spiced box of bread crumbs, mainly because that is all I could find last night that was vegan and I didn’t really want to start with fresh bread].
- 3 Tbsp vegan buttery spread
- 1 cup onion, chopped (white or yellow)
- 1½ cups celery, sliced thin
- ½ cup parsley, finely chopped [I skipped this]
- 1 Tbsp poultry seasoning (spice blend) [I had to Google a recipe for this spice blend]
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 cup roasted chestnuts, chopped [We had hazelnuts, so I roasted some. I like hazelnuts raw, but they were SO good roasted today.]
- ¼ cup roasted chestnuts, whole [Ditto]
- 1 medium apple, chopped (granny smith, fuji or honeycrisp varieties are my faves) [I used two apples]
- 5 leaves fresh sage, chopped [I used the spice]
- ¼ cup crushed walnuts [I omitted this]
- 1¼ cups vegetable broth
- 2 links Apple Sage flavor of Vegan Sausage, chopped (about 1½ cups)
The verdict: Good, hearty. Next time I’ll be sure to get all the croutons soaked a little better. Somehow not as good as Sunday night’s dinner, but hey, I’m not a chef.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie
- 16 ounces tofu cream cheese
- 1 can – 15 ounces canned Pumpkin Pie Mix (or sub ingredients) [I mixed up my own from can of pumpkin plus spices]
- 1 ¾ cups soaked raw cashews (soaked overnight in salted water) [Didn’t have quite enough of these]
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
- 2 graham cracker pie crusts (or your own recipe) [made enough for one pie]
- Handful of cashews for garnish [I opted to continue the hazelnut theme by putting hazelnuts on top]
The verdict: Decent, a little grainy (I only have a tiny food processor insert for my blender), but still not perfected. Better than my first try for last Wednesday’s VegNet potluck, as least this time I actually had cashews and it didn’t turn out runny.