Throwback Thursday: Thanksgiving 2013.

Hello there. I meant to post about ol’ T-Gives last year, but never did. Highlights:


Cheddar Quick Bread loaded with Cranberries, Pecans, Daiya.


Then there was this masterpiece salad. I baked homemade ginger bread and subsequently turned most of the loaf into croutons. Add sauteed smokey tempeh, roasted chunks of squash, pickled ramps (!!!!), all on a bed of arugula. It was incredibly flavorful, so I opted not to dress it. Dressing would have ruined all of the amazing flavors. Family was very confused by it; I think it was mostly the tempeh. I had slipped the same smokey tempeh into a delicata squash/apple creation the year before (which was a big success), so I thought I would go a little bolder with the tempeh. For whatever reason, most of the table was scared by it. A few family members were brave enough to try it however, and those that did were fans. 🙂


Thanksgiving Day Spread.

I hope everyone out there had a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving. In the end, I made about 8 different dishes. Looking back, that was, perhaps, a little excessive, but oh well. I just wanted to be surrounded in delicious vegan goodness! Apologies in advance as some photos are better than others.

Apple Butter Peas

Apple Butter Peas

Apple-Thyme Bread Knots

Apple-Thyme Bread Knots

Marble Rye-Chestnut Stuffing w/ Bluefoot and Shitake Mushrooms

Marble Rye-Chestnut Stuffing w/ Bluefoot and Shitake Mushrooms

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole w/ Mushrooms & Fennel

Thanksgiving Plate: Tofurky, Mashed Potatoes, Homemade Cranberry, Stuffing, Greens Beans


Blueberry & Cranberry Cobbler

Blueberry & Cranberry Cobbler

Vanilla-Rosemary Apple Pie

Vanilla-Rosemary Apple Pie
Turkey Detailing

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

This was the only dish that I wasn’t very happy with. I didn’t end up using vegan cream cheese and while the taste of this dessert was good, the texture left something to be desired. I will likely never try a cheesecake that doesn’t use vegan cream cheese again.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Cranberry Sauce & also the blurriest picture of the day!

So, please forgive some of the terrible photos, I promise the food was good!



Wild Mushroom & Butternut Squash Bread Pudding.

Thanksgiving is almost here so I’m bringing you guys a Thanksgiving recipe. For anyone who reads this blog regularly, it is no secret that I enjoy Sunset magazine. The majority of the recipes found in Sunset are not vegan, but many of them are really easy to convert. Sunset also does include vegan recipes every now and then, but I have way more fun switching up their meat and dairy dishes. The November issue of Sunset had a lot of fun Thanksgiving recipes, some of which I have already done versions of, here and here. I also spied a recipe for a “Wild Mushroom & Butternut Squash Bread Pudding” that sounded really interesting and I wanted to try doing a vegan version. It had eggs, cheese, and half & half, and I figured those things would be easy enough to replace…..and they were!

This is a very filling, stick to ribs, comfort food type of dish. It can definitely be a stand alone dish, or pairs well with a simple green salad. Also, just so no one is confused by the title, this is a savory dish. The butternut squash does add an element of sweetness, but overall, it’s definitely savory. Bread pudding is sort of a deceiving title as this dish may fall more into the realm of a casserole. It also has enough elements to create a strata, but I think the ingredients work better mixed up than layered like you do in a strata. The only thing I would change in the future is adding a bit less liquid than called for, so I will include that edit in the version of the recipe below.

Wild Mushroom and Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

Wild Mushroom & Butternut Squash Bread Pudding


3 c uncooked butternut squash, cubed into 3/4 in chunks

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

about 4 tbsp Earth Balance, divided

3 leeks, white & light green parts, sliced thinly–make sure they’re cleaned thoroughly too

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 lb wild mushrooms, sliced–I used fresh chanterelles and white mushrooms. Blue foots and chanterelles would be a great combo, but feel free to use whatever mushrooms are available to you

1 tbsp fresh thyme

6 c rustic bread, cubed and toasted or slightly stale

2 3/4 c almond milk or cream substitute like coconut milk or soy creamer, or MimicCreme

4 tbsp ground flax seed

1 tbsp egg replacer or potato starch

1 tbsp flour

1 1/4 c shredded vegan cheeze–feel free to use a combo of you favorites. I used Cheezly White Cheddar and Daiya Mozzarella

salt & pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment. Place your cubed squash on the baking sheet and toss it with the olive oil and some salt/pepper. Bake until tender, just about 35 min. Leave the oven on.

Melt 2 tbsp Earthy B in a saute pan over medium heat and add your leeks. Add some salt and pepper to your pan. Saute until the leeks start to soften and then add your garlic. Saute for about two more minutes. Go ahead and empty your pan onto the baking sheet that has the butternut squash.

Using the same saute pan, melt the remaining 2 tbsp of Earthy B over medium heat. Add your mushrooms with a touch more salt and pepper. Cook the mushrooms until they start to release their liquid and start to brown a bit, around 5 or 6 min. Add the fresh thyme and remove from heat.

Now you can combine your mushrooms with the leeks and squash. Lightly oil a 9×13 in baking dish or something comparable. As you can see from the photo above, I used a large round stoneware casserole dish. Place your bread into the prepped baking dish and then add the veggies and mushrooms. Stir or toss that together so it’s good and mixed.

Whisk together your almond milk or cream substitute with the ground flax, egg replacer and flour. Add a bit of your cheeze and whisk. Pour this mixture over your bread and veggies. Top with your remaining cheeze. If you love vegan cheeze and want to add more, feel free to go crazy 🙂 Bake uncovered for about 30 to 35 min.

Enjoy. 🙂


Okinawa Sweet Potato Pie.

A while back, I was browsing one of my favorite food blogs, Eat the Love. While the blog isn’t vegan, it does have a couple of vegan recipes and Irvin’s creations are some of my favorite things to veganize. Whilst aforementioned browsing, I happened upon an interesting recipe for sweet potato pie. Irvin had primarily used an interesting variety of sweet potato that I had never seen or heard of; the Okinawa sweet potato.

Okinawa Sweet Potatoes

So, this sweet potato is in the same family as the other types found at the farmer’s market or grocery store, including those that are always labeled as “yams”. Yes, most of you already know, but some of you may not….a yam is not a yam at all, it’s a sweet potato. They all have the same basic shape and come in different colors, for whatever suits your fancy and nutritional needs. But, what I found especially fancy and amazing about this particular variety of sweet potato is that, are you ready for this? They are bright PURPLE on the inside. Yes! Unassuming beige colored outsides and velvety purple sweet potato insides. Ahh, purple vegetables please me to no end.


So, basically I had to make this pie that Irvin posted. It was an American Orange Yam Sweet Potato & Okinawa Sweet Potato Pie w/ Macadamia Nut Topping. I was headed to Woori Market  located in the Little Tokyo area of downtown to pick up some sweet rice flour, coincidentally for another recipe of Irvin’s I am planning to make vegan. I searched around and found my flour for an amazing price. Then I wandered the produce area for a bit and ran into a bin of these amazing potatoes. I hadn’t planned on making this pie that day, but I knew that since I had run into this bin full of potatoes that I knew were purple on the inside, well, something just had to be done. After picking up my goodies I was super happy. I only got two bags of flour and a few sweet potatoes, but I felt so satisfied and excited. I went home and immediately began prepping the pie crust. I have linked to Irvin’s blog above where you can find the original recipe. Here are my vegan notes:

Vegan Notes for American Orange & Okinawa Sweet Potato Pie:

American Orange & Okinawa Sweet Potato Pie

1. Regarding the crust: Pastry crust is typically easy to veganize. Just replace the fat. I used Earth Balance for this recipe and my dough was VERY soft, even after 2 hours of refrigeration. It was still workable for me and I used it. It baked up perfectly well and tasted great, but I think any one of these options will be easier to work with: combination of solid coconut oil and cold Earth Balance, combination of cold shortening and Earth Balance, cold Earth Balance Coconut Spread, or just plain coconut oil or shortening on their own.

2. For the filling: Replace full fat yogurt with equal parts So Delicious Coconut Milk yogurt. I used vanilla.

Replace 3 larges egg yolks with 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer. Do NOT whip with water. Add it to your filling dry.

Replace 1 large egg with 1 flax egg: 1 tbsp ground flax whipped with 1 tbsp water

Replace honey with agave nectar, barley malt syrup, brown rice syrup or a bit of maple syrup. ***I eat honey and have been fortunate enough to have taken home some  macadamia nut blossom honey from Hawaii from ethical bee keepers on Maui, so I did use my macadamia blossom honey where it is called for in the recipe. I also brought home macadamia nuts, red salt and lots of other fabulous Hawaiian goodies. I think we should all go to Hawaii right now.

With the notes above, prepare the rest of the pie according to Irvin’s instructions, just swapping out the above ingredients and you will have a gorgeous and unforgettable sweet potato pie with a touch of Maui. 🙂

Turkey Style Seitan w/ Roasted Heirloom Potatoes in Tempeh Bacon Cream.

Thanksgiving, or Thanksliving is approaching so quickly. I am starting to plan out the dishes I am going to make to bring to this year’s meal. When eating at my wonderful cousin’s house, there are typically always some vegan dishes that she prepares to ensure that I have something. I can’t say how much I appreciate the fact that she does that. She is truly awesome, what can I say. But nonetheless, I always try to prepare as much as humanly possible. I spend all day Wednesday, from morning until evening cooking. This year I am planning:

Cranberry Sauce w/ Hard Cider & Mustard (recipe from VT) I bring the cranberry sauce every year. I usually do my own recipe, but this recipe sounded tasty and interesting, plus I got some delish organic hard cider a few weeks back for my Halloween costume which was…..

They have the boy.

I’m also planning:

Apple Butter Peas

Marble Rye Stuffing w/ Bluefoot Mushrooms

Green Bean Casserole

Dinner Rolls w/ Apples & Thyme

Black Cumin Spiced Pumpkin Cheezecake

Rosemary Apple Pie

Hopefully I’ll be able to get it all done. Going to make the cheezecake on Tues as well as the pie dough. Everything else will be done on Wed.

I may also try to whip up some mashed potatoes or buy some of the vegan stuff from Whole Foods. I like to make everything myself and from scratch, but I feel like I need to accept the fact that it’s Thanksgiving and it’s okay to buy some ready-made mashed potatoes.

Anyhow, in preparation for the big day, I was cooking up some various Thanksgiving themed dishes. I decided to loosely adapt a dish from Sunset Magazine:

Turkey w/ Rosemary & Pancetta. While I have a recipe for vegan pancetta, I decided to use tempeh bacon instead. I used this recipe for turkey style seitan and sauteed it with the tempeh bacon and about 2 tbsp rosemary. Some veggies would have been nice in this as well, but I was also making a huge side of potatoes.

Turkey Seitan w/ Rosemary & Tempeh Bacon

The potatoes were an adaption of the Makah Ozette Potatoes with Bacon Cream–I didn’t have access to this particular type of potato, so I used local heirloom fingerling potatoes. Here is my version of the recipe:

Roasted Heirloom Potatoes in Tempeh Bacon Cream


4lbs heirloom fingerling potatoes

12 oz red pearl onions, blanched & peeled

2 tbsp Earth Balance

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 c vegan creme fraiche (lalalalaaa hohohhohoo–fraiche!)– I used a Spork sister’s recipe I had learned in a class I took with them. It is primarily vegan sour cream and cream cheese, so experiment and see what you can come up with. Jenn Shaggy also has a vegan creme fraiche recipe in her book, Veganize This! You could probably also just use some vegan sour cream like Follow Your Heart or Tofutti.

1 bunch chives, chopped

4 oz tempeh bacon


Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the potatoes in a big pot of salted water and bring to a boil, then simmer until they are tender, about 10 to 15 min. Drain and place in a big bowl. Then blanch and peel your pearl onions if you haven’t done so already. Next, add onions, Earth Balance, salt and pepper. Spread the potatoes out on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a silpat. Stick them in the oven and bake, stirring them around once or twice for about 25 min.

Saute your tempeh bacon with a drop of oil. Add your tempeh bacon and chopped chives to your creme fraiche (lalalalaaa hohohhohoo–fraiche!) substitute. Add some salt and pepper to taste to the creme and then start to combine it with the potatoes. It should melt and bit and coat them, but not heavily.

Roasted Heirloom Potatoes w/ Tempeh Bacon Cream

For Cranberry Lovers Only.

When I began writing this post, I was still in bed. I’m congested as hell. My lips are chapped. Couldn’t get a good night’s sleep. Ugh. I am NyQuil commercial and a mouth breather. Sigh. Being sick, if only just a cold is the pits. The pits I say. But before I came down with a case of the black death, I made all kinds of treats!

There was a cranberry spread in a recent issue of Vegetarian Times. Being a cranberry lover, I was all kinds of excited to see fresh cranberries popping up and figure out what kinds of delicious could be made with them besides cranberry sauce or relish for Thanksgiving. There were a couple of recipes in Vegetarian Times that piqued my interest; Spiced Cranberry Cider, Cranberry Sauce w/ Hard Cider & Mustard and Cranberry Bars. The cider and sauce recipes are both vegan and the cider is really delicious and sweet.

Spiced Cranberry Pear Cider

The cranberry bars on the other hand, are a different story. The two main ingredients in the bars were condensed milk and eggs. They just looked and sounded so good that I knew I wanted to try and veganize them. I mean, veganizing is one of my favorite things to do. The first batch were not to my liking. The filling set, but not completely and they were so, soooo tart. On my first attempt I had subbed out silken tofu for the eggs, but figured I didn’t use enough. I also tried to make a vegan condensed milk by adding some sugar to soymilk and reducing it. I ended up throwing them in the trash. I really hate when that happens, as I’m sure all cooks and chefs do. We all have failures and it sucks. Since I’m crazy, I wanted to immediately try again. It was late so I knew I would have to wait until the following day. As I was falling asleep, I decided on the changes I would make. I would add the full box of tofu, use canned coconut milk to make a condensed milk substitute and lastly, I wanted to add a bit of agar-agar powder. Agar is this gelatinous stuff taken from the cell walls of a red algae. It’s what they use to line the bottom of petri dishes. It also acts as a vegetarian substitute for gelatin, thickener, clarifier in brewing and tons of other uses. It’s about 80% fiber, so can be used to aid in digestion as well. Anyhow, I love this stuff. It can be really expensive, but luckily I found an amazing Thai market close by where I scored a bunch of packets of the powder for really cheap.

The second set of bars were great. They came out just the way I wanted them and I think they make a great substitute for the non-vegan version found in Vegetarian Times.

Cranberry Bars

Adapted & Veganized from Vegetarian Times

Cranberry Bar



3/4 c unbleached all purpose flour

1/3 c graham flour–Bob’s Redmill makes this, found at Whole Foods

1/4 c unbleached cane sugar

1/2 salt

6 tbsp Earth Balance, melted

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1 can full-fat coconut milk

1 c unbleached cane sugar

2 tsp agar-agar powder

1 lb fresh cranberries

1/2 c water

1/4 c honey, agave or brown rice syrup

1 box firm silken tofo (Mori-Nu Brand)

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp arrowroot powder

2 tbsp powdered sugar


First, make the crust. Preheat oven to 350°F. Very lightly grease an 8×8 pan–a light coating of cooking spray should be fine. Mix all of the dry ingredients together and make sure they are thoroughly combined. Then add the vanilla extract and melted Earthy B. Dump this mixture into the 8×8 and begin pressing it down with your fingers. I had enough so I could press mine partially up the sides of the pan, but if you don’t want side crust, just keep pushing the mixture down onto the bottom. Make sure to press it firmly. Bake the crust in its own for 25 minutes. Use this time to make the filling.

For the filling, shake up your can of coconut milk and add it to a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the 1 c of cane sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer the coconut milk until the sugar dissolves completely and the coconut milk reduces a bit. Stir in your agar powder and whisk it in there good to make sure it is fully dissolved. Cook this mixture a couple of more minutes and then turn the heat down as low as it can go. Now you just want to keep this mixture warm so the agar doesn’t begin to set just yet.

Take another medium saucepan (sorry to have you dirty two pans!) and add the 1/2 c water, the cranberries and the 1/4 c sweetener of choice. Bring cranberries to a simmer and cook around 10 minutes until most of the cranberries have burst. Take the cranberries to your Vitamix, blender or food processor and dump them in. Remove coconut milk mixture from heat and measure a scant cup. You’re looking for about 7 oz. Add the scant cup coconut milk to the cranberries. Now add the box of tofu, lemon juice, cinnamon, arrowroot and powdered sugar. CAUTION: If your mixture (cranberries or coconut milk) are still hot, remove the small plastic portion of your Vitamix or blender. Not the lid, but the small plastic plug fitted inside the the lid and blend with a dish towel or some paper towels covering the hole. If you blend something when it’s too hot, you’re risking a really messy explosion, so be careful. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of your Vitamix if needed. Your crust should be done by this point, or just about done. Remove your crust from the oven and pour the cranberry mixture into the hot crust. Reduce oven temp to 300°F and bake 23 to 28 minutes. Remove the bars from the oven and allow them to cool a bit. Then, put them in the fridge and let them set up for a few hours or until cold.


Thanksgiving Cometh Soon.

Before I say anything about food I just want to thank Earth for answering my calls for a low pressure system and some sweater weather. Finally. It’s been hot here in Southern California pretty much all of the autumn season so far. I mean, we didn’t really start having summer until August and I feel that’s why we’re getting a late start with the cool weather. Beginning yesterday, we had rain and daytime temps below 70°F. Yay!

Because of this awesome weather, I spent almost the entire day in my kitchen. I made a few different things that I’m excited about and am going to share here on this very blog in the next week or two. Just think cranberries, pumpkin, mock turkey, rosemary, creme fraiche (lalalalaaaa, hohohhohoooo, Fraiche!) etc etc.

Until then, I have something else to share. This is a work in progress, sort of, so if any one decides to make this and you have any helpful advice, please send it my way!

Thanksgiving Turkey Sliders w/ Cranberry Mustard

Adapted from Sunset Magazine


3 tbsp Earth Balance

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 to 3/4 lbs mixed mushrooms, stems removed and sliced–I would have loved to use chanterelles, but I went with creminis and shiitakes

1/2 yellow onion, sliced

salt & pepper to taste

1/2 recipe turkey style seitan, ground (recipe found here) The seitan recipe has a lot of ingredients, but it’s really delicious and totally worth making so go for it! Alternatively, you could use Match, Yves or another chicken or turkey style faux meat

1/4 c red onion, diced

1 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme

1/2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped

1/4 c Vegenaise, plus extra for the bunz

2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer

1/4 c whole wheat breadcrumbs

2 tbsp olive oil

about 2 cups baby arugula

buns or dinner rolls

cranberry mustard–recipe follows


First, make the seitan. Once the seitan is finished and cooled down a bit, squeeze out any excess liquid and pulse it a couple of times in the food processor to grind it up. Add the red onion, fresh herbs, egg replacer, Vegenaise and breadcrumbs to the ground turkey mixture. Set aside.

Next, grab your Earthy B and heat it over medium heat. Add your garlic and saute until fragrant. Then add the onions and mushrooms. Saute about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Back to the turkey. Moisten your hands and take a small handful of the turkey mixture and form it into a patty. I tried this recipe without the breadcrumbs first and the patties did not hold together very well. The breadcrumbs really help, feel free to add more if the mixture feels too wet. Once you’ve made some patties, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute your patties for a few minutes and then flip. You want them to have a nice golden color.

Now toast your buns.


Spread the top of the buns with a little Vegenaise. Add about a tbsp cranberry mustard on the bottom, then arugula, then mushroom mixture and then the turkey burger. Face stuffing commence.

Cranberry Mustard


8 oz fresh or frozen cranberries

1/4 c water

1/4 c agave, brown rice syrup or local unheated honey

2 tbsp stone grown or spicy brown mustard


Combine cranberries, water & sweetener together in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The berries will start to pop and the sauce will reduce. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. Add mustard and stir until combined