Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vegan Mofo 28.1: Thanksgiving Long Weekend Update

It has been a long week at our place but it is ending on a high note. I love decorating for Christmas and I have been up to my eyeballs in Christmas bangles and baubles since Thanksgiving. Here is what we have been up to the last few days.


I started cooking at 8 am Thanksgiving for the meal with my parents at 3pm. It always fascinates me that it takes me all day to cook something that we eat in under an hour. Why do we go through this process every year? Oh yeah, it is tradition. *rolls eyes* ;-)

Much to my mother’s disappointment I went with a reasonably healthy vegan Thanksgiving. I say reasonably healthy because if it has just been us the meal would have been healthier. If only she knew how we eat most days, LOL. Here is what I made for Thanksgiving:

• Portabella mushroom filled with whole wheat bread stuffing made with pinot grigio braised veg
• Cauliflower and potato mash (approximately 85% cauliflower)
• Mushroom gravy with soy and truffle
• Spicy cranberry and orange relish
• Miso and orange glazed green beans
• Whole Dijon and maple glazed Brussels sprouts
• Quick cucumber pickles with red onion and tarragon
• Marinated portabella and roasted red pepper

My father particularly liked the cauliflower and potato mash. Dan’s and my favorite was the miso and orange glazed green beans. My mother, as usual, didn’t “like” anything. She cleaned her plate but complained that there wasn’t any turkey, mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie. Seriously, sometimes I can’t believe we are actually related. *shakes head* Oh well, I guess there has to be some family drama or it isn’t a national holiday, LOL.

I am sorry to tell you that I had too many things going to actually measure ingredients. However the green beans and cauliflower and potatoes will be showing up again since they were well received and I will measure the next time I make them so I can share the recipe. I am also going to make the cranberry again but include habanero next time to take the heat up a notch.

Friday: Christmas Decorating and leftovers

I adore Christmas! I love the decorations, music and giving presents. Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. You will probably not be surprised to learn that I go overboard decorating for Christmas. We spent Friday putting up the first and my favorite tree in the family room. I have had this artificial tree for over 20 years. It is 9 feet tall and is shaped in spiral topiary. I think I like it because it is unusual. Since our felines are still extremely active (at 9 years old) we have to use only unbreakable ornaments. Thank goodness Pottery Barn and Crate Barrel have had many to choose from over the last few years. I load up during the after Christmas sale when everything is 75% off.

We spent all day testing lights and getting the tree up. The felines are always fascinated with holiday time, just like their mommy. They feel the need to get involved in every aspect of the process.

Here is Binky sitting on an ornament box so that we couldn’t open it.

This is Luca Belle doing her imitation of the Grinch. She wanted to sit on top of the lights we were testing and was annoyed that we wouldn’t let her do that. Can you believe that sour expression? LOL, she needs a little green Grinch outfit.

Here is sweet Masi watching patiently on the tree skirt under the tree. At least we have one well behaved feline. ;-)

This is a picture of the first Christmas tree which is my favorite. It is in our family room.

Here is Binky giving me the “I am not doing anything why are looking at me” routine. A few minutes later he was in the tree. LOL, our felines are so darn cute. But then again I am a bit biased being their mommy.

Saturday: More Christmas Decorating and Lunch with the Parents

The next day we spent listening to more Christmas music (you have to love Pandora which we stream over our TV) and decking the halls.

Here is a shot of the staircase in process. It still needs to have its ornaments but we are getting there.

With all the decking the halls I decided to make something simple for dinner and that meant soup. I choose red lentils since they don’t need to be presoaked. I asked Dan how he wanted it seasoned and he selected Moroccan.

Here is what I did:

Moroccan Flavored Red Lentil and Tomato Soup
Serves 6


1 large yellow onion (approx 2 cups) peeled and finely diced
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced
1 pound dry red lentils, sorted through and rinsed thoroughly
14 ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably a low or no salt brand
14 ounce can tomato sauce, preferably a low or no salt brand
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, ground
8 cups of water
6 ounces tomato paste, a low or no salt brand
6 olives thinly sliced (I would suggest leaving these out if the tomato products have salt)
1 lemon, zested and juiced

Topping Ingredients:

¼ cup golden raisins, soaked in 1 cup water to plump, then drain thoroughly
1 lemon, zested and juiced
½ cup cilantro, leaves picked (minced if you are feeding finicky people)
2 tablespoons almond slices


Combine all the soup ingredients (except the lemon) and simmer until the lentils are soft. I simmered mine about an hour and a half. It takes a while to cook the harshness out of the ginger but it will happen. You can start with less ginger if you like though more is better since it a healthy ingredient.  Still the lemon zest and juice in at the end of cooking.

To make the topping combine the ingredients listed above and stir.

To serve, place a dollop of the topping on the soup. Stir the topping into the soup and enjoy.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 386.71
Calories From Fat (10%) - 38.71

Total Fat - 4.62g
Saturated Fat - 0.59g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 629.46mg
Potassium - 1327.59mg
Total Carbohydrates - 69.65g
Fiber - 13.44g
Sugar - 13.31g
Protein - 23.61g


This is a simple soup but one that has a lot of flavor. I added the topping to provide freshness from the cilantro, crunch and fat from the almonds, and brightness from the lemon. I think the fresh topping is a nice contrast to a long simmered soup. Even my omni parents finished their soup so it much have been fairly good at least, LOL.

To accompany the soup I made a simple salad of roasted parsnips, oranges, watercress and a miso and mirin dressing. I topped this salad with a few almond slices.

Happy Thoughts:

The long weekend has been good so far. Here are my happy thoughts now:

• We had a family gathering with a minimum amount of drama. I didn’t even utter a dead animal crack when my mother complained about the lack of turkey. Talk about self control. *pats self on back* LOL

• Dan loved the green bean dish which made me very happy. I love to make things that he enjoys.

• My father practically raved about the cauliflower and potatoes. Another score. ;-)

• While I did spend all day cooking it wasn’t at a rushed pace which meant cooking was actually pleasant this is not what usually happens on Thanksgiving.

• Since I was cleaning as I cooked the holiday aftermath was easy. You have to love that.

• The spicy cranberry sauce has serious promise. I need to make it hotter but I think that will be a winner when I adjust the heat level.

• Everything is starting to look like Christmas. We have lots more decorating to do but we have a great start on things. It is going to be a great holiday.

• The farmers’ market was a lot smaller this morning both in terms of vendors and patrons. We did manage to pick up a few things: cauliflower, lacinato kale, onions, collards, red potatoes, and broccoli. Our refrigerator was still a little stuffed with food so I had to hold it down today.

• We are listening to Christmas music as I type this. I love Christmas, LOL.

Signing out:

It is time for me to get back to decorating and cooking. I need to at least get the stairway finished today. Dan has decided he wants white bean chili so that will be the next recipe posted. White bean chili is one of Dan’s favorite cold weather dishes.

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday and a great long weekend. I will talk to you again soon. I should have another post up tomorrow as well as time to catch up on your posts. Tuesday may be rough since I am scheduled for jury duty. Woo hoo? I have my fingers crossed that my number is too high to be called but I don’t think that is going to happen. At least it means I can ride to work with Dan in the morning and meet him for lunch. At least that is something to look forward to.  Hopefully I don't get picked for a jury again I really don't have time for that at the moment.

Enjoy your Sunday and stay warm and cozy. ;-)


  1. Thanks for sharing your holiday, and your recipes, with us. I'm looking forward to seeing more decorating pictures. I need some inspiration. My m-i-l similarly complained about our feast, but I just drank my champagne and smiled.

  2. Jackie,

    Darn, why didn't I think of champagne, LOL. That would have made things easier to take. Hopefully I will remember that for Christmas. ;-)

    I will share more decorating pictures as I get things finished. The house is chaos currently. But I hope to have it all finished by next Friday. I am tired just thinking about it all, LOL.


  3. Love the kitty and decorating pictures. You are getting me in the mood for the holidays.

    That soup sounds delicious. I'm printing it out to make soon.

  4. Bitt,

    Thanks as you can tell we have been very busy decorating here. Christmas decorating seems to be never ending and my felines are always make themselves available to help. We humans can't be trusted to do it right without feline supervision you know. ;-)

    The soup turned really well I thought. It had a nice round flavor. I hope you like it as much as we did.

    I hope you had a great holiday long weekend too,

  5. Thanksgiving dinner looks wonderful - I'm glad it was mostly well-received! I hope you and your mom agree on other things besides food. My mom and I have our differences, too, but I probably wouldn't take it well if she complained.

    I am doing minimal decorations this year because I'll only be home for half of December. I love seeing yours, especially the banister decoration. All the work getting things up will give you a month or more to enjoy them, it looks great!

  6. Jessica,

    Sadly my mother is very anti-healthy food so my food is way out of her comfort zone. But that is why she is diabetic and my fasting blood glucose is in the 80's. *shakes head* I have tried to teach her how to cook healthy but she has no interest at all. Doesn't sound a bit like me does it? LOL

    I am glad you are enjoying our decorating. I will take more pictures when it is finished. At the moment my house is a disaster zone but it is always like this when decorating is in process. I wouldn't be doing much if we were going to be gone half the month either.

    Ciao, ;-)

  7. Wow that is a really good spread for a vegan thanksgiving! I reckon one of the best I've seen. What a massive effort. And yeah I hear ya on the whole spending so long to make some thing that takes so little time to consume. I'm Aussie so we don't celebrate Thanksgiving (but I live in Saudi Arabia with lots of expat Americans so I've beared witness to the tradition) but your Thanksgiving menu is very similar to our Christmas. GONE GONE GONE in under 60minutes after a day slaving over the oven. Ah well.

  8. i love the shot of the innocent cat by the tree.....

    i rememeber that spiral ree rom last year..and everybody being jealous of it!!lol its really cool! i love your staircase decorations!!!

    sorry about your mom, she probably just feels like she needs to complain, like its a habit now.

  9. Michelle,

    The innocent cat by the tree, LOL, yeah that is my little boy. He is innocent just ask him. LOL

    Glad you like the Christmas dec. We put a lot of work into it. However we stopped at about 7pm and headed to the gym and haven't been home long. I bet we sleep well tonight. ;-)

    You may be right about my mother, it could well be a habit.

    talk to you later,

  10. Hee hee hee - one of those sprouts has a smiley face :)
    Your cats are sooooo beautiful as are the decorations.

  11. Jeni,

    Good eye, I had to look to find the smiley face. LOL, it was funny once I saw it.

    The cats said thank you. ;-)

    Glad you like the decorations. We are still putting them up. It will be a few more days before they are finished. I will share more pictures once the house is done.

    I hope you have a good Monday,

  12. Your dinner sounds absolutely amazing. I made 1/3 the food and it seemed to take all day! I wish that I liked to decorate like you do, but these days it hardly seems worth the effort (especially since my husband doesn't help or appreciate it). I'm not sure why or where we lost the Christmas "spirit".

    If you still take omega-3 capsules, would you please suggest a brand or type? Thanks.

  13. Your Thanksgiving meal looks so tasty. Loving it all! That's great that your dad loved the cauliflower/potatoes. Your holiday decorations are gorgeous by the way!

  14. Just catching up on your Thanksgiving weekend posts. Your meal looks great--I am looking forward to that green bean recipe in particular. Your Christmas decorations are coming together nicely, and it looks like the kitties are enjoying them too, at least trying to ;) I think I'll get the tree out tonight. Catch you later!

  15. Ok seriously for christmas will you just send me all your recipes so I can just look at them in the kitchen all the time,that way I can make something more than brown rice and broccoli or soup everyday for two weeks straight... I really gotta make the potabello stuffed mushrooms asap!
    I am starving after looking your pics. Love all the kitty's helping!
    Parents are so hard to please. I made an all healthy Easter dinner for my in laws and they went to joke...they didn't even try it! *rolls eyes* whatever, more for me! I am going there for Christmas Eve, any idea's for food to take?

  16. I'm behind on blog reading this week, but I had to comment on your post. Your Thanksgiving looks delicious! I really look forward to being totally in charge of what we prepare hopefully in the near future. I want a spread as beautiful as yours.

    Also, I made a basic lentil soup this week that I'm spicing up differently every day. I am going to try the Moroccan spin for sure, inspired by your post.

  17. Yes, your Thanksgiving meal looks fantastic! Well done! Oh, I thought both of your parents ate your food willingly, without complaining. I guessed I've missed the fact that your mom isn't completely gung-ho. :) At least she joined you. :)

    Yay - I can't wait to get my tree soon. I only haven't yet because I can't imagine getting the ornaments down while our vacation mess still surrounds us.

  18. Laura,

    I think cooking becomes easier the more you do it, but I am not sure if that is why I was able to make as much as I did. But that is my best guess.

    I adore Christmas so I can't imagine the holiday without decorations. But then again Dan always helps so I have no idea what it is like to do it alone.

    After the supplement session at the Hopkins conference I am suspicious of all supplements at the moment. I would make certain the brand you choose has the USP label but beyond that I have no idea. I need to do more research on this topic. I do know there is an algae derived omega 3 but I don't know much about it. Sorry!


  19. Girl on Raw,

    Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate them.

    Thanksgiving and Christmas meals are very similar here as well. ;-) Every holiday there are hours and hours or cooking and it gone in a flash.


  20. Heather,

    It is a shame my mother isn't as open to healthy food as my dad since she is the one that needs it more.

    Thanks for the Christmas dec compliment. I love doing it. It really is a labor of love. ;-)


  21. Sarah,

    Dan loves the green beans so I need to make that again very soon. It is ridiculously easy. I can email you the directions if you don't want to wait for the post let me know. ;-)

    The fur kids are enjoying the decorations more than I would like them too, LOL.

    I hope you got your tree up.

    talk to you later,

  22. Brandi,

    You know me I was rushed so I didn't write anything down but I can describe what I did in an email for you.

    Bummer on your in-laws going out for fast food. They must be related to my mother, LOL.

    Are you just taking food for you on Christmas eve or to share with everyone? We can talk about this more and figure out something if you are sharing.

    talk to you later,

  23. Brigid,

    What a nice thing to say about my Thanksgiving meal. Thank you so much!

    That is brilliant to change the flavor the lentil soup leftovers every day. Thank you for sharing it. I hope you like the Moroccan version.

    I hope you are having a good week,

  24. Jenny,

    My mother hates to cook so she comes over for dinner. However, when I send my father home with leftovers, if she doesn't come then she doesn't always eat the food. She is the polar opposite of me when it comes to food. Unless food is unhealthy she doesn't like it. That is why she is diabetic among other things. :-(

    Christmas decorating does make a mess while you are doing it. Mine is still in process which means we are living in chaos at the moment. I really hope to be finished by Friday.



Related Posts with Thumbnails