Thursday, November 24, 2011
Happy Thanksgiving From My Table to Yours!
Yes....I am a vegan posting a picture of a turkey. Turkey is a Thanksgiving tradition. And, I happen to love this painting.
My mom cooks a turkey every Thanksgiving. I won't eat it, but I can't resist opening the oven door several times to take a peek as it's roasting. The aroma is intoxicating. It smells like home. I snap photos of the finished product as it sits on a big white platter in the center of the dining room table. Every one claps and oohs and aahs. The turkey is glorious. Let the carving begin! The whirring of the electric knife as dad cuts into the bird brings our whole Norman Rockwell experience to a screeching halt. It looks and sounds more like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It's so funny, we all laugh 'til we cry! Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without dad wielding his electric knife.
I've cooked a turkey only once in my life. Everyone says it was delicious but the experience was so traumatic, I swore to never do it again. I say this now, but someday mom will be gone and someone has to take over. That would be me. Until then, I will continue to contribute my favorite foods to the Thanksgiving table.
So, what am I cooking up for Thanksgiving?
Green Bean Casserole:
Instead of cream of mushroom soup made with milk, I use Vegan Creamy Portabello Mushroom Soup. It comes in a carton, not a can. I do add the french-fried onions, however. From the can. And I add more than recipe calls for. My son would never forgive me if I omitted them. Green Bean Casserole is his favorite Thanksgiving dish.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes:
I cut up fresh sweet potatoes (skins on), toss them in olive oil, add salt, pepper, a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, and a handful of chopped walnuts. I roast them in the oven and about five minutes before they're done, I drizzle my potatoes with a touch of organic maple syrup. DELICIOUS and so much healthier than those sticky-sweet candied yams.
Butternut Squash Soup:
Time is limited so this year, I am cheating. I don't have the patience to peel, chop, cook and blend butternut squash. I am using Imagine Butternut Squash Soup, heating it up and dumping it into a big soup tureen. I'll doctor it up with freshly ground pepper and parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (sing it with me!). I will toss in homemade croutons and no one will know I didn't make it from scratch. I just have to hide the empty cartons in the bottom of the trash can.
A luscious dessert. Literally, sin in a bowl! There is no way to skimp on this dish or make it healthy. I've tried and it just doesn't work. I just have to roll with it. If you're from the South, you know what this is. If not, I'll explain. 'Nana Pudding is layers upon layers of Nilla Wafer cookies, sliced bananas and custard made from eggs, milk, flour, sugar and pure vanilla extract. It's topped with a gorgeous meringue made from egg whites, more sugar and then browned to perfection. It's a big production and a real pain in the ass to prepare. You have to make it early so it has time to set. It's in my fridge right now. This is my father's favorite dessert (he's from the South) and he always begs me to make it. I always refuse because it's so damn fattening. This year, what Daddy wants, Daddy gets.
In a few hours, our table will be overflowing with an abundance of all our favorite foods. My contributions, the turkey (a veggie burger for me), gravy, two kinds of stuffing (one vegetarian style), homemade mashed potatoes (my sister makes the best), corn pudding (mom's specialty), cranberry relish with oranges and pecans, peas with pearl onions, tossed green salad, homemade biscuits and rolls, apple, pumpkin, pecan and coconut custard pies, cheese cake, my evil banana pudding, sparkling cider, fruit, nuts.......
We will pray, laugh, sing, cry and eat until we cannot move. We'll disagree about politics and religion. I am the only Democrat in the family and therefore always the victim. I really don't mind. Someone will try to force-feed me a slice of turkey. Dad will quote scripture and share his favorite stories. Despite our differences, we'll express our love and appreciation for one another. Eventually, the men will collapse into tryptophan-enhanced comas in the livingroom while the women gather in the kitchen for gossip and clean-up. The kids will tear the house apart.
This is my favorite holiday!
I have so much to be thankful for. A wonderful family. My beautiful son. My amazing father who never complains. Even now, as he battles cancer, he remains a tower of strength for his family. Terrific friends--most of whom I've met in the darkest, most un-godly of places. A roof over my head, money in the bank, and an abundance of food to eat. I am thankful for my health, my determination and drive, my sense of humor and the ability to laugh even in times of sorrow. I am grateful for the gifts God gave me and the pleasure of sharing them with others. For finding love and losing it. For trials and hard times that make me stronger. For the mistakes I've made and the lessons I've learned. I give thanks for the promise of hope and the faith to believe in the promise of hope. I give thanks to God for His love, mercy and forgiveness. And I am thankful for you, dear readers. You are my inspiration to keep going and to keep sharing my heart.
Enjoy your family, friends and loved ones today. Cook, eat and indulge in all your favorite foods and treats. Bask in the glory of love, life, and togetherness. Tomorrow, just get right back on the path of healthy eating.
I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
And this is my Daily Cyn......