Thanksgiving Feast: What I Ate + A Recipe

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I sure did because I ate scrumptious food, walked the COLD beach near my cottage and found pretty rocks, and saw Mockingjay Part 1!

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The Rocks

Mockingjay was great! Great actors (I ♥ Josh Hutcherson), wonderful and über tech-y but realistic sets, cool cinematography… and it’s all based on a series that I adore! But back to the food. That was the REAL star of the day.

Most Thanksgiving meals center around Turkey. Not at my house! The boys (both the meat-and-potato type) stuffed themselves on ham (eeew) and potato (See? Meat and potatoes). On the other hand, my mom and I ate a bounty of delicious vegetables. They rocked. The recipes are below.

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We ate on paper plates because we didn’t have warm running water at the cottage on Thanksgiving (so it was difficult to wash dishes!)!

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For dessert, I broke the caramel apple pie tradition and made and finally tried pumpkin pie for the first time!!! It was pretty tasty. I made it using a Chocolate-Covered Katie recipe.

Below are the recipes for what I ate for Thanksgiving dinner. They all highlight fall veggies and their delicious flavors! All of them are super duper scrumptious. Try them out and you shall see! My favorite dish was the butternut squash and kale, but I also looooooved the maple cinnamon sweet potatoes. What is great about these dishes is that they can be eaten for lunch or dinner. A typical dinner or for a holiday. They can serve one person or many (you may just have to double or triple the recipe!). Yay for options!

              Bon Appétit!

Maple Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes from Oh She Glows

Roasted Butternut Squash with Kale and Almond Pecan Parmesan from Oh She Glows

Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Nuts (recipe below)

Crustless Pumpkin Pie from Chocolate Covered Katie

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Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Nuts

Serves around 10 people as a side

  • around 4o brussels sprouts
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance or another vegan “butter”
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup nuts (1/4 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup pecans)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large pan, coat the brussels sprouts with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt. Put the pan in the oven and let the sprouts cook for around 30 minutes. Several times during this 30 minute period, stir the brussels sprouts around so they cook evenly. Take the sprouts out of the oven when they are crunchy and brown.

Cook the nuts in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until they are dark brown and crunchy.

While everything else is cooking, melt the butter in a pan on the stovetop. When it is melted, add the onions and  sauté (stirring occasionally) until the onions are golden-brown. This will take about 30 minutes.

Once everything is cooked, throw it all together in a large bowl and serve! Enjoy!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and long weekend! Have a happy day!

xx Ellie

This post is part of A Vegan Holiday, a collaboration among vegan and veg-friendly bloggers. Follow along on social media with #AVeganHoliday. Want to learn more or become a contributor? Find out more here or here

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Caramel Apple Pie

 Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a tradition. Our Thanksgiving tradition is a trip up north to our cottage for Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving day, my immediate family and I eat an early dinner and then go see a movie. That tradition started two years ago when the power at my cottage went out on Thanksgiving morning. The power runs electricity, but also heat and water. This meant that we ate Thanksgiving dinner by candle and flashlight! Our dinner included raw veggies, half-cooked sweet potatoes, and cold ham (which I didn’t eat), and water bottles. It was actually a really fun adventure! To get warm and to use running water (aka go to the bathroom), we decided to go to the local movie theatre to see Life of Pi. Thus, a tradition was born. This Thanksgiving evening, we’re going to see Mockingjay Part 1, which I am so excited about!

Another tradition I love is making and eating caramel apple pie.

100_3326 Caramel apple pie with a crumb topping has always been a Thanksgiving tradition at my house. Instead of eating pumpkin pie for dessert on Thanksgiving, we eat caramel apple pie. In fact, I’ve never had pumpkin pie before because I eat apple pie instead! Crazy, right!? One of these days I will make and try a vegan version, but for now I am happy with caramel apple crumble!

My family has always made the pie with a store bought crust and with non-vegan caramel. I figured that with Thanksgiving coming up, it was high time to make a healthier vegan version!

This version has a much healthier, protein-packed crust, a yummy date caramel, slices from local apples, and a vegan crumb topping!

Make and enjoy it for Thanksgiving or whenever you are craving an all-American apple pie.

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Caramel Apple Crumble

by Ellie Haun

makes 1 pie

Crust

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 and 1/4 cup dates
  • a tablespoon or two of water if needed

Blend everything together in a food processor. You’ll have to blend it for a few minutes in order for everything to stick together. If the mixture isn’t quite sticking, add a tablespoon or two of water as a binder. When the mixture is sticky, place it in the bottom of a prepared pie pan (parchment paper the bottom or spray the bottom with cooking spray beforehand). Shape the mixture into a pie crust by covering the pan with it. Place in the fridge to set.

Caramel

(based off the caramel from this recipe)

  • 17 dates
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice

Blend the dates in a food processor to break them into small pieces. Add everything else and blend until the sauce is completely smooth.

4 medium apples, skinned and sliced

Crumble Topping

  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance (vegan butter substitute)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix everything together. Use a fork to mash the butter.

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To assemble the pie:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Make the crust.
  3. Skin the apples and cut them into pieces.
  4. Add the apple slices into the pie. Add some caramel to the top after an apple’s worth of slices is in the pan. Do this after each apple until all of the caramel is gone and the pie is full.
  5. Add the crumb topping to the top.
  6. Put the pie in the oven for about 50 minutes.
  7. Take it out of the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes or so.
  8. Serve the pie! Enjoy the pie by itself, or top it with more apples and/ or vegan vanilla ice cream!

100_3328Have a lovely Thanksgiving holiday!

xx Ellie

P.S.: Look at how cute the top of the pie pan I used is!100_3337

This post is part of A Vegan Holiday, a collaboration among vegan and veg-friendly bloggers. Follow along on social media with #AVeganHoliday. Want to learn more or become a contributor? Find out more here or here

Peanut Butter Smoothie

I love yoga. I love being able to move my body into various shapes. I love that it clears my mind. I love that no matter what I’m doing or how I’m feeling, I can just twist into a yoga pose and I’ll feel better immediately. I love yoga and the way stretching makes me feel. Even if the stretch is painful while I’m doing it, I typically feel better afterwards. I love the exhilarating feeling I get when I stretch into a pose I’ve never been in before, or when I master a new pose. Actually, I just love any pose (minus warrior three because it’s a balancing pose and I stink at balancing)!

You know what else I love? Peanut butter.

Peanut butter and yoga sounds like the combination for a great day.

I combined the two yesterday morning when I wanted something sweet and filling that wouldn’t make me sluggish because I was going to go to yoga after breakfast. 100_3356

This smoothie that tastes like dessert was the perfect solution to my sweet craving. However, it’s still healthy so I could drink it and not feel gross before yoga! In fact, I felt great and ready for yoga awesomeness after drinking this yummalicious smoothie.

So, my recommendations for you:

  1.  If you’ve never done yoga before, I strongly urge you to try it out. Just do it. *insert Nike swoosh here*
  2. Make this smoothie! Your taste buds will thank you. Your body probably will too because you’ll feel fantastic after drinking it!

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Peanut Butter Smoothie

serves 2

  • 1 and 1/4 or 1 and ½ cups non-dairy milk (If you like thicker smoothies, use less. If you like more liquid-y smoothies, use more!)
  • 2 peeled frozen bananas
    • or the not as creamy and delicious version if you don’t have frozen bananas is to combine 2 bananas and 1 cup of ice, which is 8-10 ice cubes
  • 2 tablespoons coconut shavings
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 BIG spoonfuls (about 2 tablespoons) peanut butter
  • optional: 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • optional: a handful of greens

Add everything to a blender and blend it up. Pour into two glasses, sprinkle with coconut flakes if desired, and enjoy with a loved one!

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Yoga and smoothies. A winning combination.

xx Ellie

Hummingbird Cookies

I woke up today to an amazing surprise: no school! Today we got our first snow day of the year. Hooray for snow days! However, not hooray for icy roads and cold weather (the reason for snow days). I don’t mind the snow right now, but talk to me in January and my opinion will be very different.

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Look at the snow!

I thought to myself ,”Now, what shall I do today?”

The answer: BAKE!

100_3333100_3335Hummingbird cookies came out of my snowy morning baking. I made hummingbird cupcakes this past weekend, and I love hummingbird cake, but I’ve never heard of or made hummingbird cookies! So I made some. They have similar ingredients and flavors  as hummingbird cake, but they’re in cookie form! “Hummingbird” is such a funny adjective for these cookies, especially since they’re vegan, but they’re like typical hummingbird cake ingredient-wise (pineapple, banana, coconut, and nut) and flavor-wise. It makes me wonder how someone came up with “hummingbird” to describe this flavor combo! I’m glad they did, because I love the flavor it entails!

Without further ado, I present the recipe to you!

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Hummingbird Cookies

by Ellie Haun

makes 12 cookies

  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1/8 cup flaxseed meal
  • ½ cup oats
  • 5 dates
  • 1/4 cup dried coconut
  • 1/8 cup walnuts
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process until everything is combined and completely mixed together (it will take about a minute). Using a cookie scoop, scoop cookies onto a cookie sheet. The batter should make 12 or 13 cookies. Smush the cookies down with a flat object or your hands so the cookies are flat (not round). Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with dried coconut, then place in the oven and bake for 9 minutes. Let them cool, then enjoy!

These cookies make great outsides for banana ice cream cookie sandwiches! Make the cookies, then make banana ice cream (blend up a banana or two in your food processor with a few tablespoons of unsweetened nondairy milk). Place the banana ice cream in between two cookies, then enjoy!

100_3332Have a great day, and stay warm if it’s cold and snowy where you are! If not, enjoy the warmth you lucky duck!

xx Ellie

Thoughts on the Square Foot Garden + Special Seasoning Salt Recipe

The snow has come and it’s here to stay. That means no more green grass, no more flowers growing outside, and no more garden and grabbing food from the yard. I might even have a snow day at school tomorrow!

Here are my reflections on having a garden, and some pictures of the food we grew! Hopefully it cheers you up if it’s snowing or is gross outside where you live.

I loved having a garden. It’s so nice to just walk outside and pick some veggies to bring back to the kitchen and stir-fry or do whatever with! I’ll miss not being able to do so in the winter. This was my second year of planting a “square-foot garden” in the yard. A square foot garden is an above-ground garden with one foot by one foot squares in it. We covered the garden with a PVC pipe and chicken wire cover to keep the bunnies and other animals who like to munch out. It worked really well (it might have something to do with the fact that the garden lies on the 45th parallel). It produced lots of vegetables for my family and I to enjoy!

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kale yes!

The foods that did the best in our garden were kale, swiss chard, broccoli, lettuce, and green beans. Cauliflower did okay. We grew the lettuce last year and it naturally came up again this year (same with strawberries)! We had leafy greens coming out of our ears!

We also planted tomatoes, brussels sprouts, and jalapeño peppers, but we planted them too late in the season for them to do very well. Next year they’ll hopefully do better!

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Look at the size of that chard and those beans! Yummy greens! This picture was taken this fall. The veggies were still growing like crazy!
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Pictured: brussels sprouts, strawberries, broccoli, and lots of lettuce! The little yellow flowers sprouting from the lettuce made the lettuce spread like crazy!

With the veggies we produced from our garden, I made stir-frys, salads, and sautéed veggies to let their natural flavor shine! The seasoning recipe I love to use on veggies is listed below!

Special Seasoning Salt

Ingredients to make a handful

  • 1 and ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½  tsp onion powder
  • ½  tsp celery seed
  • ½  tsp garlic powder

Mix everything together and then sprinkle on whatever for a blast of yummy flavor! You can just add a little of each spice or you can make a mixture of everything above. It’s up to you!

If you’re thinking about starting a garden, you should totally do it! It’s not too much work, you just have to plant the veggies and water them every day. And you reap so much more than you sow!

Enjoy the green grass if you still have some! Happy fall/ winter!

xx Ellie

Hippie Cookies

 

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These cookies make a perfect snack. They’re sweet, vanilla-y and chocolate-y, crunchy, and delectable.

They’re also easy to eat in the car, which is nice when you’re going on a road trip like I did this past weekend! These cookies were a great snackie for when I was hungry on the road. I didn’t have school on Friday (woo0-hoo!), so my family and I packed our bags and drove about an hour to look at Michigan State University for college! They have a great food science program so I figured that it was a good place to start out the college search!!! I can’t believe that I am looking at colleges and will probably go to one of them in less than two years! We stayed the night at a hotel and continued our journey to the University of Michigan the next day. My family consists of strong Michigan fans, so they were excited to go. At both schools, we took a walking tour of campus, and at MSU we got to try out campus food. Both Michigan and MSU are great (in both the large and wonderful sense) schools and they both have vegan options in the cafeterias and surrounding towns which is a must! I’d probably be fine going to either. Who knows: maybe I’ll end up at one of them!

If you’re going on a road trip, or just snuggling up to the fire at home, these cookies would make a wonderful addition to your day. Try them out and let their sweet aroma warm your home! It’s snowing here so we need all the warmth we can get! Below is the recipe, which I’m extremely exuberant to share with you!

P1260336Hippie Cookies

by Ellie Haun, veganized from this recipe 

makes around 24 cookies

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 flax egg
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped dates
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • heaping 1/2 cup coconut
  • heaping 1/2 cup granola
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • heaping 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 and 3/4 cups chocolate chips

Measure out 1 tablespoon flax seed meal and mix it with 3 tablespoons of water. Put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes so it can firm up. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, cream Earth Balance and brown sugar until smooth. Add flax egg and vanilla and beat well. Stir in dates and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to soften the dates. Then beat at high speed for 3 minutes or until light brown and creamy. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl, breaking up any lumps. Stir into creamed mixture, mixing well. Stir in coconut, oats, granola, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Form cookies with a cookie scoop and put them on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes, then enjoy!

 

Have a happy day!

xx Ellie

Banana Bombs

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Banana bomb (noun): an explosion of banana, love, and chocolate in your mouth. They are addicting because they are so delicious. You MUST eat more than one, and you easily can because they’re super healthy and give you lots of energy. I give you permission to stuff your face.

I make and stuff my face with banana bombs a lot. In fact, I have the recipe memorized! I love making them for events where lots of hungry people are present. They’re perfect to bring for sports teams at sports tournaments, as well as to theatre cast and crew parties! I’ve done both. Last night was the cast and crew party for the fall play I was in at my school (The Matchmaker). I wanted to bring something dessert-like but still healthy to the party. That something? Banana bombs.

The cast party was really fun, especially since the cast and crew is awesome! We ate food, saw pictures of ourselves that were taken throughout the show, and found out who won mock elections! There are mock elections for every show at my school, and during the shows we have a chance to vote for who we think should win for each category. There are the typical “best cast,” “best crew,” and “best costume” categories as well as categories that have to do with the show. One of those categories was “most likely to keep eating the chicken” because one of the funny lines in the show was, “Stop eating the chicken! I can’t pay for it!”

Guess who won that award?

If you guessed the vegan, you were right. The irony is unreal. I was excited to get the award (and it’s a legit award, I got a certificate and everything) because it came with a cute little squishy chick toy that lights up if you press it.

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It was also a fun night because I ate lots of banana bombs, and eating banana bombs is a blast (haha get it!?)!

I just love banana bombs so much. You can eat them for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, dessert… anytime! They taste like banana bread. And they contain chocolate. And they only contain healthy, natural, great-for-you ingredients. And they’re magical. If these reasons don’t make you want to eat some banana bombs, I don’t know what will.

If you don’t like bananas, then these babies are probably not for you. I feel bad for you because you’re missing out. For those of you who do like bananas… prepare for nirvana.

Banana Bombs

makes 18-21 cookie scoop size banana balls

  • 2 ripe bananas, peeled
  • ½ cup pitted dates (14-16 dates)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups oats
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • optional add-ins: 1/4 to ½ cup each of coconut flakes, walnuts, raisins, cranberries, peanut butter chips… really whatever your heart desires! I like to do batches with 1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes and ½ cup chocolate chips, 1/4 cup walnuts and ½ cup chocolate chips, and batches with ½ cup raisins instead of chocolate chips to change it up.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Blend together everything except the oats and chocolate chips in a food processor. Then add 1 and ½ cup of oats and pulse in the food processor for 5 seconds or so. Take out the food processor blade and mix in the remaining oats and the chocolate chips (and possibly your other add-ins). Scoop onto a cookie sheet with a cookie scoop or a spoon and bake for 13 or 14 minutes. When they come out of the oven, let them cool for about 5 minutes, then enjoy!

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I hope your weekend has been wonderful. Have a relaxing day and treat yourself to some banana bombs! You deserve them because you’re awesome.

xx Ellie