Thanksgiving 2013

crossroads thanksgiving 232We had a double Thanksgiving this year. It’s not uncommon. We kicked things off with the special Thanksgiving meal at Crossroads. We’d never been before and were excited to try it for the first time.

We arrived as they opened and there was already a line out the door. Inside, the the restaurant had a really nice atmosphere, unlike any of the other vegan restaurants in Los Angeles. It really felt like a special occasion. They also had a fancy bar and I wanted to try all their special edition mixed drinks.

crossroads thanksgiving 228 The meal started with a cream of celery and parsnip soup which was delicious.

crossroads thanksgiving 229Along side the soup, we were served sweet potato biscuits. These were perhaps my favorite item of the meal. They were moist and delicately herb seasoned.

crossroads thanksgiving 230The next course was an arugula salad with shaved persimmon and pomegranate vinaigrette. I am a big fan of arugula, so I was quite pleased with this simple, sweet salad.

crossroads thanksgiving 231The main course was a rosemary hazelnut scaloppini with stuffing, mashed potatoes, porcini gravy and maple mustard glazed brussels sprouts. The scaloppini was quite good, with a unique flavor. I quite liked the hazelnut. I’ll admit that I think I prefer something with a more traditional style like previous thanksgivings. I ended up taking home a bit of this dish and everything was even better the next day topped with extra gravy.

crossroads thanksgiving 233There were two dessert options, the pumpkin tart and the apple cobbler. I ate mostly the cobbler. It had a nice crispy top that I enjoyed with the ice cream.

It was a really nice meal and I look forward to revisiting Crossroads on another occasion. As I mentioned, I really liked the atmosphere and I’m excited that there’s now a more upscale vegan spot not too far from us.

Afterward we headed home and started cooking for Thanksgiving number two. Shawn made his family recipe stuffing and biscuits and gravy, to great success. I made seitan en croute, maple glazed carrots and green bean casserole. Jenn brought over a ton of food: mashed potatoes, golden gravy, marshmallow topped sweet potatoes and baked mac & cheese. It was indeed a feast.

Despite the double meal, I managed not to overeat terribly and really just enjoyed spending the day with family and friends.

Thanksgiving 2011

I can’t believe our tiny Thanksgiving break is almost over. It flew by in what seemed like a matter of seconds. I suppose that’s what happens when you have lots to do over a few days. We started off our celebrations at Madeleine Bistro for a four course Thanksgiving feast. We’ve been to Madeleine’s for the past few years but this meal topped them all. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a delicious Thanksgiving meal in my life. Everything was exquisite. Next year we plan to have Thanksgiving at our house and I hope we can make something even just a fraction of how good this meal was.

We spent the rest of the weekend with friends and family relaxing and eating lots. I did very little cooking considering. I made this wonderful green bean casserole and an apple pie. Yesterday Shawn was in a short film so I had the day to myself. I spent it watching British period dramas, knitting and sewing. It was pretty nice to not have to worry about work and projects for a whole day.

When I was a kid, after every school break I would make a list of all the cool things I did in my time off filled with movies I’d watched or things I’d made. This year if I made a list, the two biggest things would be finishing the binding on our wedding quilt (which took FOREVER) and hanging up some clothes that have been sitting in our bedroom for about a month. Pretty simple, but a major relief to have finished at the same time.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. What would you put on your list?

Thanksgiving leftover hot pockets

It may seem like I’m a little obsessed with leftovers. It’s true. But Thanksgiving always leaves you with so many of them. Even though we didn’t cook this year, we still ended up with a few nights worth of holiday food. I wanted to spice things up a little bit, just so we weren’t having exactly the same meal over and over. Hence the creation of the Thanksgiving leftover hot pocket.

thanksgiving leftover hot pockets

All you have to do to make these is make some pastry crust (I used the flakey pie crust recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking
) and assemble as if you were making ravioli. You could easily use puff pastry if you didn’t feel like making a crust.

Start by preheating your oven to 425° F. Roll out your crust (or one sheet of  puff pastry) and set aside one half. Put a few tablespoons of stuffing or tofurky or whatever leftover you want in a grid on the dough, leaving about an inch between each filling. The next part is really important, you must drizzle a little bit of gravy over your filling. Make sure the filling isn’t piled too high or your crust may crack.

Carefully lay the other half of the crust over the prepared fillings. Press the spaces between each filling together with your fingers, starting in the center and working your way out. It’s ok if a little bit of gravy or whatever leaks out the side, but try to seal it best you can around the edges. Using a pizza cutter or a pastry cutter, cut the hot pockets into individual pies. Slice a few diagonal slits in the top of each. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

thanksgiving leftover hot pockets

These would also be great with your holiday meal, they’re not just good for leftovers. Let’s face it, everything is better in a pie crust. We had ours with some celebration field roast, more stuffing and some kale.

The bottom line is that pretty much anything is good in these. Get creative. If you want them filled with sweet potatoes and dandies, I’m sure they’d be extra awesome. Feel free to keep them simple or get crazy.

Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck

Every year there is the question of what to do with all your leftovers from the holidays. Even if you eat through all your Tofurky and potatoes, there is usually some side dish that you’ve got an abundance of. This year, our friends Kim & Ryan had the great idea of having a day after Thanksgiving leftovers potluck with a handful of vegan friends.

thanksgiving potluck-roasted vegetables

While a bunch of people made new dishes, there were definitely a bunch of leftovers involved for sure. I made a ton of mashed potatoes, some carrots, and the fantastic gravy from The Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook. I brought a lot of food since I came with Shawn and both his brother Kyle and sister Amy who in tow.

thanksgiving potluck-stuffing

Surprisingly, without a ton of coordination, everyone seemed to bring different dishes. We had pretty much everything covered (except for tofurky, which was fine by me).

vegan thanksgiving potluck-kale salad

There was quinoa stuffing, green bean casserole, kale salad, bread pudding, various vegetables, sweet potatoes topped with dandies, crescent rolls and more I’m sure I’m forgetting.

vegan thanksgiving potluck-dandies covered sweet potatoes

Everything was fantastic and it was super nice to hang out, talk vegan food, and swap stories about our Thanksgivings and such. It was nice to just relax in a super cozy environment over some delicious food for the afternoon.

vegan thanksgiving potluck-bread pudding

Not to mention, we got to scarf what was left of Kim’s amazing Pumpkin Butterscotch Trifle, which was pretty much to die for. You really can’t go wrong when you have friends that can cook. That is something I learned for sure this weekend.

Hope everyone had an awesome long weekend. I can’t believe December is almost here.

Knit wolf hat

Happy Post Thanksgiving everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful day stuffing their faces with vegan goodness. We skipped making food this year and had an awesome brunch at Madeleine Bistro. (I’m pretty sure a certain Little Vegan Planet will be posting some drool-worthy photos very soon.)

I wanted to show off this cute hat I made for Shawn. He’s notorious for always wearing his orange hat, but chose this lovely brown cotton bulky yarn for this piece. I used this pattern and it came together quickly and easily. I just free-handed the ears and sewed a few pieces of felt on the inside.
shawn's knit wolf hat

Since it’s black Friday, I just wanted to urge readers to get creative this holiday season and try and craft up some of your gifts. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make things for people you care about. It’s a great way to put a lot of love (and not so much money) into gifts.

If you don’t feel so craft-inclined, I highly advocate checking out Etsy or a local craft fair this year. You can support local artist and people who really put a lot of creativity into their work. You’ll feel better getting something that is unique and special for your loved ones than getting something cheap and mass produced. I’m not saying not to snag a few of those half price Blu-rays either, but this season of giving, try something a little extra special.