♥ Giving Thanks For Leftovers

I hear a lot of supposedly good-natured ribbing that our Thanksgiving holiday is somehow lacking because we don’t cook a turkey. And I just do a mental eye roll and silently count to ten. Since when does the giving of thanks for the blessings in one’s life and gathering with family and friends only have meaning and significance when done over the mutilated carcass of a gentle and sentient being? Personally, I think the holiday has more value and significance when it is thoughtful and compassionate.

Peace on earth for ALL creatures.

Every year I swear that I won’t do it: that I won’t spend the entire Thanksgiving day (and the night before) in the kitchen cooking . And then, every year, I do it anyway. So much for resolutions. But, on the plus side, we always stretch the leftovers through the weekend. One marathon cooking day equals several days of feasting for us.

A good looking plate of leftovers.

Our Thanksgiving feast wasn’t lacking for anything. We enjoyed a Tofurky Roast baked with turnips, parsnips, fennel root and mushrooms. I made a simple baste for the Tofurky using the recipe on the box, but I added dried thyme and rosemary leaves, in addition to the sage, along with a tablespoon of pomegranate concentrate. Add a generous dollop of homemade cranberry sauce, Momma’s special holiday stuffing and savory red wine mushroom gravy over all. So good!

Sausage chestnut stuffing with mushroom gravy.

No self-respecting holiday meal would be complete without homemade rolls. I adapted this recipe for the bread machine for what is now our favorite dinner roll recipe (and it makes good doughnuts, too). I substitute plain soy milk and Earth Balance for the milk and butter and EnerG Egg Replacer for the egg. I also increase the amount of yeast called for in the recipe. Best of all, the bread machine does the work while the Tofurky and the side dishes are roasting in the oven.

These rolls are so light and fluffy; they practically melt in your mouth.

I like to try a new recipe every year, and this year I chose this recipe, from Urban Vegan. Fig-Pecan Stuffed Acorn Squash will surely make repeat appearances at future holiday dinners. The figs and pecans with the squash are such a delightful combination and perfect for Thanksgiving. I generally followed the recipe (as much as I ever do), but I increased the pecans to 3/4 cup and decreased the agave to 1/4 cup. I also stirred in a scant 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt into the filling before baking.

A side dish so good it should be served on a dessert plate.

As a kid (and still to this day), I detested the standard Thanksgiving side dish of candied yams with marshmallows baked on top. In fact, it is because of this childhood trauma that years elapsed before I willingly made a yam side dish for my own family at Thanksgiving. Now, it’s glazed yams (from fresh and not canned in heavy syrup) with candied nuts in place of the marshmallows, or it’s nothing.

Forget the marshmallows, walnut toffee is where it's at.

The Chinese five spice powder in the glaze makes this exotic side dish something special, and it has become a holiday staple for us. Of course, I don’t follow the recipe exactly. I substitute Earth Balance for the butter and I add a liberal sprinkling of salt and pepper to the glaze. I replace the corn syrup in the toffee with maple syrup and I increase the amount of walnuts to 1-1/2 cups. A word of warning, though: it’s a good idea to halve the recipe if you aren’t cooking for a crowd.

Past Thanksgivings, I made both a cranberry apple pie and a pumpkin pie (yeah, I spent a lot of time rolling pie crusts). Then I discovered this recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake With Candied Cranberries and now I make just one dessert. The combination of pumpkin and cheesecake with the candied cranberry topping provides the best of our favorite desserts and it is a perfect end to a Thanksgiving dinner.

A perfectly fitting Thanksgiving dessert.

I make my cheesecake with a gingersnap crust and I have found that you can easily halve the amount of sugar and water for the candied cranberries (like the recipe says, though, the leftover syrup is wonderful on pancakes and waffles). I recommend placing the cranberry topping on each slice of cheesecake just before serving (I learned this the hard way this year). Otherwise, the cheesecake gets a little sloppy. Still yummy, but not so pretty.

So, what are your favorite holiday side dishes?

♥     ♥     ♥

I hope everyone had a wonderful and memorable Thanksgiving holiday. And that life’s blessings, big and small, are bountiful throughout the year.

And may we have the strength to survive the remaining weeks of the holiday madness. ♥

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15 responses to “♥ Giving Thanks For Leftovers

  1. Your Thanksgiving spread was incredible! I was especially loving the stuffing (the only thing I really have to have on Thanksgiving-I’m all about the stuffing) and the acorn squash. I was especially happy to see the recipe calls for dried figs b/c I don’t have access to fresh, so I might be trying it!

  2. What a feast! I’d love to hear how you made rolls in the bread maker? Meaning, how did the rolls form?

    As for me, I decided to honor your resolution of no cooking so I went to Candle 79! 😉

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Ooops, I meant to say that I made the *dough* in the bread machine. But, the rolls are still really easy to make. When the dough cycle is finished, I roll the dough into balls and place 3 in each muffin tin hole. They rise about 20 minutes and bake for about 12 minutes. Easy peasy!

      Candle 79 sounds perfect to me! If only we had a good restaurant here in Tahoe for an elegant vegan dinner. The only option here on holidays are the meatcentric all-you-can-eat kind of thing at the casinos at the state line. Ugh.

  3. Happy holidays to you! Everything looks delicious. I love the idea of using a gingersnap crust – I’m going to have to try that. :

  4. No lack of sumptuous TG treats here — your spread looks glorious, especially since it contains an extra helping of compassion and appreciation for the creatures who share the earth with us.

  5. I’m loving reading about what everyone had. There’s so much great stuff and yours all looks wonderful! I’m going to be checking out the stuffed squash recipe. Yum!!

  6. Dude, what a weird reasoning! We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving (obviously), but I am very thankful for your Thanksgiving being turkey-less!

  7. Pingback: ♥ Sausage, Chestnut And Mushroom Stuffing | it's a Greyt Vegan Life

  8. Thanks for posting the recipes and Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. Pingback: ♥ Giving Thanks  – Teenspiration

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