I can’t believe Thanksgiving is already this week! Holidays can be tough for people with any restricted diet, no matter what the reason. My tips are as follows:
-let your host/hostess know in advance of any major restrictions. This is not imposing – this is good manners! If I know guests have allergies or restrictions, I can often make small accommodations that hardly change the meal at all but make it OK for the other person. I would be mortified if I prepared a meal with potatoes in two dishes when someone was allergic, or if someone had a reaction to an unusual inclusion of almond extract in a otherwise nut-free cake. For major restrictions that rule out eating almost any conventionally prepared food, tell your host/hostess that you are thrilled to have their holiday company, but that to make it easier for everyone you’d like to bring a dish to share for dinner.
-I always bring something I can eat that will be a protein source. I clear it with the host/hostess in advance, and get vegetarians to serve themselves first so they can get an entree sized portion.
-Basically, I try to deal with food issues in advance, not when I’m tired, hungry, and refusing to eat someone’s turkey in their house. I also don’t make a huge deal of it. If someone doesn’t know I’m a vegetarian and offers me meat or fish, a simple “No, but thanks for the offer” will suffice.
-Holidays, families, and food relationships are evolving things. Don’t expect everyone to adjust to your vegetarian or vegan diet overnight. Over time, perhaps you too will have a father who cooks stuffing with veggie stock instead of chicken stock, family who will eat your tofu-squash cheese-less enchiladas, and someone who asks you what you’d like *before* piling whipped cream and ice cream on a previously vegan pie.
All said, I wanted to share a few recipes that will be on our Thanksgiving table. After trying many different pies, our family favorite pumpkin pie right now is the Williams-Sonoma Classic Pumpkin Pie. For an entree – this year we are going with a Celebration Roast. My favorite gravy recipe is a mushroom gravy from Vegan With A Vengeance – it’s very similar to this recipe. If you can’t get the book in time from your library, you could wing it with the linked recipe. Finally, roasted winter vegetables are a great idea for a veggie side that stands up well to all the creamy casseroles and au gratins. Use this recipe as a jumping off point. I would add carrots and maybe an onion as well.
So now that you’ve finished Thanksgiving, what will you do with the leftover canned pumpkin puree? That’s where this photo comes in. It’s a family favorite – a variation on a Rachel Ray recipe I think. I start with shallots in a tiny bit of olive oil, add in sliced mushrooms and any spices I want – maybe cumin, cinnamon, garam masala, or nutmeg. Then a can of drained, rinsed black beans. Then a cup or two of pumpkin puree, and a cup or two of veggie stock. Go slowly to ensure you reach a good consistency. Cook till the beans are heated and veggies are done, and add over whole wheat or enriched pasta. I like to sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top for color and an extra flavor boost.
I have lots of knitting to share with you over the next week – including some knitting disasters. I also have a couple of ideas for fun holiday treats to make for friends and family. Hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!