Tag Archives: holiday food

Friendsgiving 2010 – Part One

As I’ve gotten older, Thanksgiving has become a problematic holiday. When I was a kid, the holiday meal rotated through the families annually, meaning one year at Aunt Nancy’s, one year at Aunt Patty’s, one year at Aunt Connie’s, etc. This tradition started to come apart late in my college years, as my generation of the family got older and started their own traditions, and the various jobs I had kept me tethered to the city for both work on Thanksgiving and its evil sister, Black Friday. So most of the family still gathered in one way or another, but I was mostly with one or two members of my little corner of the immediate family.

It’s not that it’s been bad times. Far from it. But I’ve missed the big sit-down dinners from Thanksgivings of my youth. Last year at Aunt Nancy’s, half the guests didn’t even eat because they were going to my cousin’s dinner a few hours later in the day. I hate to deride a family get together because everyone didn’t eat together… but come on, it’s freaking Thanksgiving. We can’t all sit down and eat? What’s the point of having a big meal then? Why not just everyone agree to show up already having eaten dinner and just enjoy some pie together?

Scheduling-wise, it just can’t seem to work out smoothly with family. Leading up to Thanksgiving, a thought occurred to me: the best sit-down big dinners I’ve been a part of this year have not been family gatherings (sad to say) but get togethers among friends. Keeping that in mind, myself and a bunch of friends decided to plan our own dinner, a few days before Thanksgiving, and dubbed it Friendsgiving. Having the nicest dining room (as those who looked at her Harry Potter setup can see), Jackie agreed to host, as well as tackle the key elements of the Thankgiving dinner: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and carrots. It would be an almost formal potluck. Everyone invited was asked to bring something, whether it was an entrée or side dish, dessert or beverage.

I admit, I was excited. Continue reading

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Good Morning, Cranberries!

The time is now to embrace the cranberry! Thanks to its harvest in late September, early October, the cranberry is in abundance this time of year in this region. Stock up, cause in addition to being a terrific addition to baked goods and an important traditional element to any Thanksgiving meal (vegan or otherwise), cranberries are rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals, and boast moderate levels of Vitamin C and fiber. Especially helpful in this cold and flu season.

I’ve gotten tired of the same old nut roll my family always brings to holiday gatherings. This year, I’m offering up a vegan baked concoction of my own (shhh, don’t tell the family!):

Halfway to Fruitcake
Cranberry Nut Bread

Ingredients:
– 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 cup orange juice
– 1/4 cup apple juice
– 1 tbsp orange zest
– 2 tbsp vegetable shortening
– Half a banana, mashed
– 1 1/2 fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
– 1/2 cup chopped nuts (more if desired for topping)

– Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
– Mix together dry ingredients. Stir in orange juice, apple juice, zest, shortening and banana. Mix until blended well. Stir in cranberries and nuts.
– Pour mixture into a well-greased loaf pan. Top with extra nuts if so desired. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. – Cool on a rack for 15 minutes.