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How to Vegan During the Holidays

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This was my first year being vegan during the holidays and at first, I thought we were up for a challenge. I've never been in a position where I've had to find alternatives for things, I do not have any food allergies and I was finally in a position where I was not going to worry about what I put in my body (calorie and fat wise) so this year was going to be quite different. As my husband and I did more and more research, I found it was not going to be as hard as I thought. We came across several different recipes, the only thing we needed to do was do some practice runs and put our own twist into them. This week, as opposed to showing you one recipe for the month, I'm going to show you what we've done for Thanksgiving this year for plant based alternatives so that you can try them for Christmas! All of these recipes (except the stuffing) came from a book or website so I'll be sure to give them the credit regarding the base however we did put our own spin on these so I'll be sure to include that as well.


Roast

My husband and I have practiced a couple of times in making our own roast, and honestly it tastes so much like Thanksgiving! We're still working on the consistency, however art requires lots of practice. Since this was our first vegan Thanksgiving, we decided to follow the recipe word for word as to not screw it up however over time, we're hoping to have this baby nailed down! This was the recipe we used from www.eatplant-based.com/vegan-roast/ be sure to check it out!


Ingredients:

- 2 cups vital wheat gluten

- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes

- 1 tsp garlic powder

- 1 tbsp onion powder

- 1/2 tsp dried sage

- 1/2 tsp rosemary

- 1/2 tsp thyme

- 1 tsp smoked paprika

- Salt & pepper to taste

- 3/4 cup overnight smoked garbanzo beans (used in place of recipes call for cooked beans)

- 2 garlic cloves

- 3-4 tbsp soy sauce

- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke

- 1.5 cups vegetable broth


Directions:

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, garlic & onion powder, sage, rosemary, thyme, paprika, salt & pepper; set aside.

- Add the beans, garlic cloves, soy sauce, vegetable broth, and liquid smoke in a food processor/blender and blend until ingredients are well combined.

- Add the bean mixture with the dry ingredients and stir together until well combined-once combined start to knead with your hands (if feels dry, add in a bit more broth). Knead for about three minutes (longer you knead, the more chewier it is)

- Form the mixture into a log; place on a piece of parchment paper and roll it up tightly, then take aluminum foil and do the same thing.

- Place the roast on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven; bake for one hour and flip it every 20 minutes.

- Remove from the oven and let stand for 15 minutes- enjoy!




Gravy

This one you may already know of, but did you know you can make gravy with vegetable stock? Instead of using chicken stock for your gravy and adding little bits of turkey to give it some added flavor, you can use vegetable broth. This was another recipe we took word for word, and it's brought to you by

https://www.noracooks.com/easy-vegan-gravy/


Ingredients:

- 2 cups vegetable broth

- 3/4 tsp onion powder

- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast

- 1 tbsp soy sauce

- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard

- 1/4 cup all purpose flour


Directions:

- Add ingredients to a medium sized pot, bring to a boil.

- Whisk over medium-high heat until the gravy thickens.

- Serve with your roast and/or mashed potatoes!


It's that easy!


Vegan Cheesy Shells

These are scary good and taste exactly like mac n' cheese with real cheese! The other amazing part of this is they are so incredibly easy to make! Since instructions for boxed pasta are incredibly easy to make, I will only go over the "cheese" making process which we found from the link below 😊

https://detoxinista.com/best-vegan-mac-n-cheese/


Ingredients:

- 1.5 raw cashews soaked in water for two hours

- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

- 3/4 cup water

- 1.5 tsp sea salt

- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

- 1/2 tsp chili powder

- 1/2 garlic clove

- 1/4 tsp turmeric

- Pinch of cayenne pepper

- 1/2 tsp mustard

- Freshly ground black pepper

- Oregano and basil (for garnish)


Directions:

- Drain the soaked cashews and combine with the lemon juice, water, salt, nutritional yeast, chili powder, garlic turmeric, cayenne, and mustard in a blender on high speed until appears silky smooth (if mixture is too thick, add 2-4 tbsps of water).

- Combine with your pasta of choice! We used elbow macaroni and shells.




Vegan Stuffing

Every year, my mother would make this AMAZING sausage, cranberry, and apple stuffing and I would honestly think about it all year long, that's how delicious it is, and I was at first a little bummed out that I might not be able to have it this year but then I remembered we could just swap out all the non-vegan items for vegan ones! So here's my mom's stuffing recipe swapped out for vegan items and it was just as amazing and delicious as before!


Ingredients:

- 1.5 cups of Pepperidge Farms Herb Stuffing bread

- 3 3/4 cups cubed white bread

- 2 packages of beyond meat breakfast sausage patties (break apart into a crumble as it cooks)

- 1 cup of chopped onion

- 3/4 cups of chopped celery

- 2.5 tsp dried sage (we used a bit more because we love sage)

- 1.5 tsp dried rosemary

- 1.5 tsp dried thyme

- 1 golden delicious apple, cored and chopped

- 3/4 cup of dried cranberries

- 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

- 3/4 cup vegetable stock

- 4 tbsp of vegan butter, melted


Directions:

- Preheat oven to 350; spread the bread crumbs and herb stuffing cubes in a large baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes in the preheated oven until the crumbs get toasted, then transfer to a large bowl.

- In a big pot, cook the sausages and break apart until the start to crumble, add in the onions and cook over medium heat until browned; add celery, sage, rosemary, and thyme and cook and stir for two minutes to blend together.

- Once cooked, add in the chopped apples, cranberries, and parsley, drizzle with the vegetable stock and melted butter and mix again lightly; transfer to large baking pan and cook for 25 minutes.

- Enjoy!



"Parmesan" Broccoli

For the greens on the plate, I made some "cheesy" broccoli, this was probably the easiest side to make for the night.




Ingredients:

- 1 bag of broccoli

- Vegan parmesan cheese (I used garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and basil)

-Vegan parmesan cheese


Directions:

- Sautee a pan in either olive oil or with butter (I used olive oil).

- Cut the broccoli into tiny florets by cutting the stems off.

- Season the broccoli with the seasonings of your choice (I never use an exact amount I always eye ball it), stir the broccoli the spread out the seasonings.

- Set the heat on the stove at medium and cook until the broccoli is tender, stirring it occasionally as to not burn it).

- Once the broccoli is tender, sprinkle the vegan cheese on top and stir until evenly spread.

- Enjoy!


Cranberry Sauce

This recipe you can actually find on any bag of cranberries, but I'll be more than happy to share it as I make it every year-this recipe is brought to you by OceanSpray.



Ingredients:

- 1 cup of sugar

- 1 cup of water

- 3 cups of cranberries


Directions:

- Put the sugar and water in a sauce pan and bring to a rapid boil.

- Once at a boil, lower the stove top to a low-medium temperature put in the three cups of cranberries, allow to boil for ten minutes.

- When finished, place the cranberries in a glass bowl and allow to cool. Once at room temperature, place the cranberries in the refrigerator to chill.

- Once chilled, enjoy!



Dessert

You have to have pie for Thanksgiving, it's part of the tradition, however this year we decided to change it up and make two desserts. The first one was a sweet potato pie (which is very similar to pumpkin pie just swapping the milk with either coconut or almond milk and using maple syrup in place of sugar) and the second one was vegan oreo cheesecakes! These were a big hit, plus their presentation was SO CUTE so I thought I would share this recipe 🥰 The crust and actual base of the cheesecake came from a vegan baking book we own called, "Whole Food Vegan Baking" written by Annie Markowitze, PhD. The oreo part of this recipe is our own twist to it 😉


Ingredients:

Crust:

- 1 cup raw cashews

- 1/2 cup raw walnuts

- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

- Pinch of salt

Filling

- 2 cups raw cashews (soaked in water for two hours, then drained)

- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

- 1/2 cup maple syrup

- 2 pitted dates

- 3 tbsp lemon juice

- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

- 1/4 tsp salt

- 4 oreo tops (filling), save the bottoms for the tops of the cakes


Directions:

- For crust, put all the cashews, walnuts, maple syrup, and salt in a food processor and blend together until well combined.

- Take 1/2 tbsp of crust mixture and line the bottoms of each four ounce jar.

- For filling, put cashews, applesauce, maple syrup, dates, lemon juice, vanilla extract, salt, and oreo tops into food processor and blend until smooth.

- Spoon the mixture into each jar filling to point desired (we filled it up until the jar was filled).

- Take the bottoms of each oreo and place on top of each jar.

- Seal the jars and place in freezer for at least six hours or overnight.

- Transfer to refrigerator for 20 minutes before serving.

- Enjoy!



Overall, this was an incredibly delicious and successful Thanksgiving! These recipes were not of our own making, however I'm so excited to see where our vegan cooking takes us in the future! I wanted to take this week to share different recipes that we used to show you, my readers, and the world that vegan food doesn't mean it has to be "weird", "unusual", "gross", etc, in fact this food is just as delicious as it's non-vegan counterparts, it's healthier, and we didn't feel incredibly bloated and ill afterwards!

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your holiday season and as always, peace and love.

We should just be thankful for being together. I think that's what they mean by 'Thanksgiving', Charlie Brown.
-Marcie (A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving)


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