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This was our (and by “our” I mean Brad and I) first Thanksgiving as vegans. No turkey, ham, chicken or animal products found here. Thanksgiving has never been about the turkey for me anyway and there are many benefits as we did not experience the post Thanksgiving turkey induced nap and best of all no animals were harmed in the making of our delicious food. Our feast spanned over a few days featuring warm fall food that could serve as main dishes at anyone’s Thanksgiving table vegan or not. The dishes were mainly centered on squash and pumpkin of course!

Before I get to the feast I want to talk about a special demonstration we took part in over the weekend. On Sunday we ventured to Niagara Falls and took part in the Marineland demonstration. Sunday marked closing day of the 2012 season for Marineland. The event was organized by Marineland Animal Defence (M.A.D.) and you can read more about them here.  They’ve lead a great grassroots movement of people concerned with keeping animals in captivity, specifically those within Marineland for our amusement. There was an amazing crowd out to show their support with reporting ranging from 600-800 people on hand to protest the treatment of animals in the park and animals in captivity in general.

For anyone who thinks protests are violent check out this video. Also click here for a great photo series of the protest from Jo-Anne McArthur of We Animals, she specializes in raising awareness and taking photos all over the world of animal abuse and misuse as well as highlights sanctuaries and conservation efforts to help animals.

NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo was on hand at the demonstration to lend her voice and plans to table legislation to ban the importation of marine mammals in Ontario. I’m hoping this legislation moves forward and sets a new standard in Canada. In Canada it is currently illegal to take certain cetaceans, such as beluga whales and orcas from Canadian waters and place in captivity in Canada; however it’s currently legal to take these same marine mammals from Russia waters, for example and place them in captivity in Canada. This loophole is very contradictory.

One last thought on this, I would encourage anyone who is considering to visit a marine mammal park or zoo in the future to consider, is it okay that humans have placed these wild creatures in captivity for our amusement and alleged education?

Now back to the Vegan Feast….

Over the course of a few days, we made several dishes and consequently several delicious leftovers: squash soup, spaghetti squash, no peak stew, pumpkin chilli, potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie and pumpkin peanut butter cups. Writing this post is making me hungry all over again. Below I’ve listed some of the dishes we made and included any directions and the links to where the original recipes can be found.

Spaghetti Squash
This was my first time making spaghetti squash and I was so nervous it would not turn out right, but it turned out great. Click here to view a great tutorial from Oh She Glows on preparing spaghetti squash. We tried it with some spaghetti sauce and I plan to make this dish again and again.

Pumpkin Chilli
I used a recipe from Fat Free Vegan. Click here to view it. I used a can of legumes instead of the meat crumbles in the recipe and instead of the chilli sauce  I added 3 tbsp of BBQ sauce, since I did not have any chilli sauce on hand. This delicious chilli is great filling comfort food on a cold day.

No Peak Stew
This recipe is one from my family and was a favorite of mine growing up. It’s Perfect comfort food on a warm day. Brad and I veganized it of course, really just substituting stewing beef for Gardein beefless tips.

Recipe:
1 1/2 cups of washed baby carrots
1 medium white onion chopped
10 stalks of celery chopped
1/2 head of chopped cabbage
1 1.56L can of tomato juice
1 5.5 oz can of tomato paste
1 package of Gardein beefless tips
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Layer vegetables in a large pan and add tomato juice and tomato paste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir mixture together. Place covered pan in the oven. Cook for 3 hours and make sure you don’t peak! Take pan out of oven and add thawed beefless tips. Stir and let cool.

Potatoes & Gravy
Prepare by boiling potatoes on the stove top or in the microwave. Instead of mashing the potatoes we just chopped them. We topped our potatoes with gravy using this recipe from Oh She Glows. It’s delicious. We’ve tried it on vegan meatloaves and I’m sure it would be great with fries and whatever else you enjoy putting gravy on.

Pumpkin Pie
Click here to view the recipe from Vegetarian Times. I substituted soymilk within the recipe for coconut milk. The pie filling tasted delicious; however I was not pleased with the crust. I’ve never had good luck with making a good pie crust. Please feel free to leave any suggestions or tips on how to make a better pie crust!

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cups
Click here to view the yummy recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of coconut oil and cocoa powder. These did not last long at all!

                                       

I hope everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving weekend. Kerri will be sharing her thanksgiving in a post later this week. On this Thanksgiving weekend  I am thankful for many things including my family and friends, but something that really resonated with me on Sunday was that I am thankful for the fact that I live in a country where I could take part in a legal protest and express my views and opinions.

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