Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?…A Vegan!

My sister has been a vegetarian for years.  Surprising since when we were growing up all she wanted was bologna and hamburgers from McDonald’s.  Anyways, she is an animal lover and advocate and it only makes sense she wants to protect animals – not eat them.

However she’s recently made the switch to veganism.  Wow, I’m impressed.  It takes dedication, time and planning to over haul your entire diet to one that is free of animals products.  I’ve written some vegan recipes.  But most are simple veggie recipes, purees and others with minimal ingredients.  I really didn’t realize how much effort it takes to eat vegan until I started planning the Thanksgiving meal.  My sister is coming (along with my brother-in-law and parents, fellow omnivors) and doesn’t want me to do anything special.  But come on.  I have to do something.  I write recipes and about food, I can’t get off the hook.  Plus it’s a challenge for me – which is always good. 

My sister is planning on making a butternut squash risotto – which sounds great.  We’re still having turkey.  The veggie is no problem – roasted root veggies or brussels sprout leaves.  But then the questions…  Do I do stuffing?  Does it go with the risotto?  Do I do mashed sweet potatoes?  Am I making too many starches.  Will it all fit in my refrigerator? 


I bought a vegan cookbook which I figured I would use to research and then give to my sister as part of her Christmas gift.  I bought a few vegan ingredients to see if I could recipe test and convert a few recipes to vegan.  First was Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks to replace butter.  The gentleman at the check out told me it was the closest thing to butter.  This is not butter.  So far I’ve spread it on bread.  No thank you.  This weekend I’m going to try cooking with it.  However I was very surprised by vegan sausage.  I bought this to try for a possibe substitute for the sausage in my sage dressing.  It’s a winner and I’ll buy it again. 

Then there’s my son’s request for pumpkin pie.  Remember we roasted that pumpkin?  So I decided to test the pie crust – an oil crust.  I was confused on the directions to “roll it out”.  It just wasn’t anything more than crumbles.  However I was able to press it into the pie pan with my fingers and the results were good.  Of course the pumpkin filling was not vegan, as I added my pumpkin puree to eggs and cream.  My sister called as I was baking and I made the mistake of telling her.  She told me she doesn’t even like pumpkin pie and doesn’t care about dessert.  However now I want to make a vegan pie (especially since the crust was tasty) for the challenge.  So I think I’ll make a non-vegan pumpkin pie and a vegan apple or apple cranberry pie.  Variety is good and I’m sure it won’t go to waste.  (I already made two pies and gave some to my son’s teacher and some to my neighbor).

I’m starting to feel like I’m neglecting the rest of the non-vegan guests – so I’m getting their weigh in on the final dishes as well.  Stay tuned… (and I’m open to suggestions).