December 01, 2013

Thanksgiving treats with recipes and recipe links


I usually get around to posting about Thanksgiving about two or three weeks after it occurs, but much to my relief, I'm close to right on time this year. We had a small group of only four adults and two kids at our celebration, though there didn't seem to be less cooking than usual. I can't help making a large spread no matter how many guests are expected. A holiday is a holiday is a holiday, and I'm so grateful to have nearby close family members to share it with.

Carrots taste better when they have crinkles, don't you think? :)

I like to cook as much as possible the day before so I don't feel stressed out on the day of the event, and I chose foods that could be prepared in advance — or whose components could be made ahead and combined and cooked right before serving. One of the things I actually made on Thursday was the first dish you see pictured above. You must try this, it's easy and fantastic. It's spinach artichoke dip with garlic cashew cream that I found on Glue and Glitter. It was so quick to make, and the taste and texture were excellent. Our omnivore guest said she would never guess that it was vegan. The only changes I made to Becky's recipe were to defrost the spinach by cooking it briefly in a sauce pan, baking the dip 15 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered, and sprinkling some coconut bacon over the top for decoration. I served it as an hors d'oeuvre with carrot and celery sticks (cut the day before) and corn chips, and, I'm not gonna lie — it was so good I ate the leftovers for breakfast on Friday. With carrots, of course, not chips.


Our main dish this year was Dreena Burton's festive chickpea tart paired with a quinoa crust from Pies and Tarts With Heart (review). To be perfectly honest, I wasn't sure I liked the tart on Thursday, but when we had leftovers the next night for supper, covered with the leftover gravy, I loved it. It tasted so good I was wondering if, in spite of my efforts to pace myself, I'd had 'cooking fatigue' clouding my opinion on Thanksgiving,. I actually made the crust and filling on Wednesday, but combined and baked them on Thursday, as part of my do-ahead scheme, but I just wasn't so excited about the tart as I'd hoped I would be after reading all the great reviews. The leftovers, though, as I said, were pretty great. I'm going to try the tart again as it's very easy to throw together, before forming my final opinion.


Because one of our guests doesn't care for pumpkin pie, I didn't make anything with pumpkin for dessert, so I had to get pumpkin into the meal somewhere. I made pumpkin biscuits — heart shaped pumpkin biscuits because the only cutter I happened to have was heart-shaped. I adapted a recipe from Opera Singer in the Kitchen, turning them into gluten-free biscuits. I really liked these, which is why I'm including a recipe below. I think they taste best in a smaller size, so if you have smaller cutter, use it.


It just wouldn't be Thanksgiving for me without my beloved cranberry-apple sauce. I've been using the same recipe for at least 20 years, but this year I changed it a little just for fun, and I like the new version better. If one of our guests wasn't a raisin-hater, there would have been some raisins in there, but it was still pretty good in spite of that. I'm posting the recipe below, mostly so I remember it for next time.

We also had our family's standard potato stuffing made from an old family recipe that came with my great-great grandmother from Russia. Our son made it, and used buckwheat instead of bread so it would be gluten-free. (I actually used to make it with buckwheat long before I ever knew what it meant to be gluten-free.) I love this stuff and could happily eat it for my entire meal, though of course I don't do that. I failed to photograph it but it was delicious.

The pie, before garnishing with coconut whipped cream.

And, of course, there was pie and whipped cream from Chloe's Vegan Desserts. The last time I made the recipe I made it into tarts instead a pie, so I thought I might as well try the pie this time. I used a different crust (which didn't work so well so I'm not sharing the recipe) and actually had to make the crust twice. The first time I put it into the wrong sized pie plate and there wouldn't have been enough room for the filling. I also over-baked the crust. I made a second, larger crust, and over-baked that, too, so the crust was not the best. The filling, though, was perfect  — rich and bittersweet. The whipped coconut cream in Chloe's book has 3/4 cup of powdered sugar which I reduced to one tablespoon of coconut sugar plus a spoonful of vanilla.


Here is one of our esteemed guests, before he became covered in cranberries and other assorted colors. He moved as I snapped the photo which is why he looks a bit blurry. Or maybe it's because he wasn't feeling his best. In any case, it was his first Thanksgiving, and he really liked the biscuits!

Pumpkin biscuits (GF)
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal plus 5 tablespoons ice water
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour mix (I used Bob's Red Mill) plus extra sorghum flour for kneading
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon evaporated cane juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 Tablespoon frozen Earth Balance margarine, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious coconut milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 
  2. Place the flax into a small bowl or glass measuring cup and add the water. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. 
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and spices. Blend in the margarine using a pastry blender, or buzz the flour mix and margarine in a food processor a few times until the mixture is like coarse breadcrumbs. 
  5. Whisk the flax and water with a whisk or fork until it is viscous (like an egg).
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, coconut milk, and flax goo.
  7. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until the mixture holds together. Knead lightly in the bowl, using just enough sorghum flour to cut the stickiness. Pat out to 1″ thickness. Using a 2″ (or smaller) biscuit cutter, cut the dough into circles. Or use any shape cutter you prefer, such as a heart.
  8. Re-shape the scraps and cut out biscuits until all the dough is used. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
  9. Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with gravy, jam or vegan butter.
A flax egg after sitting and whisking — thick and gooey.

Cranberry-apple sauce
  • 16 ounces fresh cranberries
  • four medium cooking apples
  • one heaping cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
  • cinnamon stick
  1. If the apples aren't organic, peel them. Core the apples and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
  2. Place the pineapple and water into a blender jar and purée. 
  3. Place all ingredients into a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down, and simmer until the cranberries and apples are soft. Cool. Place into a dish and refrigerate until cold. Leave the cinnamon stick in the bowl, or remove it. Your choice. (I leave it in.)

    40 comments:

    1. I already pinned that dip recipe! I love that it doesn't have any processed, packaged foods as ingredients. Definitely my cup of tea.

      The entire spread sounds really fantastic. It's too bad the crust didn't turn out for you on the pie but it sounds like the filling more than made up for it.

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      1. The dip was great. It made up for all the times I've stared at spinach artichoke dips I couldn't have because they weren't vegan. I highly recommend it! The crust wasn't a "company" crust, if you know what I mean. I didn't mind it except the texture wasn't right.

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    2. Your meal looks and sounds fantastic! That spinach artichoke dip looks lovely--that was one of my favorite things growing up. I love that your grandson is wearing a packers shirt :-)

      Courtney

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      1. The dip was the highlight in my opinion. That and the stuffing. Everyone in my family is a Packers fan, as you might expect. :)

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    3. Sounds like you had a calm, relatively small get together too. I'm a big, big fan of stuff that can be made ahead.
      interesting about the chickpea tart. Let us know when you try it again. It sounds like it would be great, but I guess you never know.
      Gorgeous looking Chloe pie! I would probably just eat all the filling straight, so the crust not coming out so well wouldn't be a problem :)

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      1. I practically needed a jackhammer to cut through the crust and get it out of the pie plate, but other than that, you know, the pie was good. I'm not so picky when I just cook for us, but I like company food to be just right. Maybe I should have scooped the filling and served it in bowls. :)

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    4. We wish we could have eaten this delicious meal with you! (especially Aaron)

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      1. I missed you! Wish you could have been here, too, but I'm sure you had a great time with your family.

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    5. It sounds like you had a such a lovely Thanksgiving, I'm so glad. Both of your recipes look delish, and your little guy is adorable. :-)

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      1. It was a short but sweet event. Babies make for early evenings. :) Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

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    6. SO much good food! I am still stuffed from last Thursday and the days of leftovers, but I guess it's time to start thinking about more holiday meals!

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      1. I ate the last of our leftovers yesterday for lunch — wait, I take that back. There are still a few biscuits in the freezer. Oh, and an extra pie shell. Sigh.

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    7. Happy belated Thanksgiving, Andrea! All your food loos so delicious and elegant. I might have to come back to this post for Christmas!

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      1. Thanks, Mihl. It's fun to cook for holidays, isn't it?

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    8. Andrea, everything looks wonderful--what a feast! I made Becky's spinach artichoke dip too (I have now made it on two separate occasions for an omnivore crowd) and it got demolished :) Obsessed with that recipe.

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      1. Did you bake it? It really is a great recipe that I intend to make again and again!

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    9. What a delicious feast! I want to try it all! Well, except for the cranberry sauce because I'm a raisin-hater AND a cranberry-hater. The spinach artichoke dip and the chickpea tart are so gorgeous. And yes, crinkle carrots are definitely tastier than straight carrots :)

      I like your heart-shaped biscuits. They kick conventional round biscuits' butt.

      Your tiny little dinner guest was very lucky to have such a delicious first Thanksgiving!

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      1. Since I have a few of my own dietary quirks, I'll ignore your cranberry problem. I highly recommend the baked version of the spinach artichoke dip, however. It's great. I'm still not sure about the chickpea tart, but maybe if I ground up the walnuts so I couldn't feel them crunch in my mouth, I'd like it better. Our sweet baby dinner guest is a big fan of food — especially biscuits and cranberries!

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    10. I'm full just from reading, but I still have my eye on that keugel...and pie...and whipped cream...and dip. Everything looks so beautiful; I hope you had a wonderful holiday.

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      1. Our Thanksgiving was short but sweet — babies don't stay as long as older guests. I thinbk you should make the dip, Abby. It's really good. And, bake it.

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    11. Man, your Thanksgiving feast looks amazing! I have to try Becky's dip soon. It looks delicious and I love that you topped it with coconut bacon. I am like you in that I like to prepare as much stuff in advance as well. It definitely lessens the stress.

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      1. I think Becky's dip is on my party list forever. In fact, I can't wait to make it again.

        Making things ahead is key to my being able to enjoy entertaining.

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    12. Phew! Look at all of that great food! But, really, I have my sights set on those Pumpkin Biscuits. They look incredible!

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      1. It occurred to me as I looked back over my photos that I'd completely left out the big bowl of steamed veggies that went with the meal. Wonder why I did that. The biscuits were delicious but I couldn't really taste the pumpkin — maybe more cinnamon would bump up the seasonal flavor. Really good, though!

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    13. lol...green and gold are always the theme colors in my family, no matter what holiday it is! :)
      I sympathize with your "cooking fatigue"...for me I'm usually so anxious that everyone is perfectly happy with everything that I need to stop and breathe and do a mindful reality check once in awhile. Hanging out with family is key...whatever doesn't work with dinner will at best be forgotten and at worst become a family joke down the road. Like the time my uncle tried to carve the turkey and it landed in his lap. The whole turkey, stuffing and all. :)

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      1. Wow. I thought turkey falls only happened in the movies! That must have been something.

        I'm a bit of a perfectionist and it goes with cooking, too. I want everything to be just right. And probably it was. :)

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    14. That's quite the spread you got there. The spinach artichoke dip is a must try. It looks really good! I just made coconut bacon for the first time on Thanksgiving, that stuff is like crack. :-)

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      1. Definitely try the dip. As for the 'bacon', I bought mine in a package but it's probably much better if you make your own.

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    15. That pie looks delicious. I have to get that book.

      And the biscuits sound amazing too.

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      1. I don't like a lot of sweetness and the pie was just the right amount of bittersweet for me.

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    16. What a nice Thanksgiving feast. I must make that spinach artichoke dip -- pinning it now! And I actually just made Dreena's chickpea tart for dinner tonight. I served it with cranberry sauce and I thought it was really good, although my kids were not convinced.

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      1. The dip was great! I thought the tart was good, but I was expecting to to be amazing. I'm going to make it again.

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    17. Oh I love pumpkin biscuits! I'll be trying your recipe.
      I'm glad to hear that the festive chickpea tart was worth it. I've had that page in the book dogeared but I haven't gotten around to making it. And it's good to know that it's one of those things better the next day.

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      1. I think I should make the biscuits to go with the soup I made for dinner tonight. Thanks for the reminder. The chickpea tart is good, but it really needs to be eaten either with cranberry sauce or gravy.

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    18. That sounds like a great supper, and what a cute houseguest to share it with!

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      1. Yup, everything tastes better when there's a cute houseguest sitting beside you. :)

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    19. Also, adding coconut bacon to my dip recipe was downright GENIUS.

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    20. It looks beautiful all round - particularly that incredible pie! Have you ever posted the potato stuffing recipe? I'd love to see a recipe that's travelled down the years!

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      1. The post has a link in it to the stuffing recipe right where it says "old family recipe" under the cranberry photo.

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