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Thanksgiving Vegan Style

So Mom asked me over the weekend if this week’s column was going to be about Thanksgiving. To be honest, I hadn’t even thought about it. I did two columns last year on Thanksgiving. I was going to use this week for power snacks if you needed an extra boost in the afternoon. However, we talked over the weekend about what we were going to fix for Thanksgiving and what I could have. So when Monday came around and I started writing, I was writing about Thanksgiving and foods I could have.

During this season, I want to ask you think outside your family for the holidays. Think of your neighbor who lost their spouse this year and rarely gets visitors. Think of the kids down the street who always seem hungry and sad. Some people don’t have family to share the holidays with and there are some who can’t get out to visit with their families even if they want to and some can’t afford much to begin with. Remember these people this Thanksgiving. It’s easy. You can visit one of the nursing homes and just sit with them and talk for a little bit. So many of the elderly in nursing homes rarely get visitors and they love having company. Do you have an elderly neighbor on your street that rarely gets company? Invite them to your table for Thanksgiving. If they won’t join you, take them a plate with a little of everything. Is there a family you know that always seems to be struggling? Take them a basket of food but don’t just take them a frozen turkey, cook the meal for them and deliver it in aluminum trays so they have an easy clean up. Not everyone has an oven big enough to cook something like a turkey. Many of the churches help out with baskets of food. Contact your church to help out and maybe even suggest some names of those who may appreciate some help, but don’t want to ask for it. Now through the new year is the time of giving. Look outside your own circle and see if there is someone you can reach out to. You never know, you may just meet some amazing people and make some great new friends.

I am incredibly blessed and thankful. I am thankful my family is all still close by. The holidays don’t mean a trip out of town for me. We are all within just a few minutes’ drive of each other. I am blessed by the love of my family. I had a wonderful upbringing and still have a wonderful relationship with my sister. My sister and her children are a huge blessing and I love being able to visit them. My parents are both still alive and a large part of the woman I am today. We all have good health for the most part.

I am blessed with a work family that meshes well. We encourage each other and help out when needed. More than that, some have truly become like family. Tammy and I have lunch together most days. More than that, she is a good friend, a confidant and lovely lady. Anthony is a great sounding board. We are both creative people so if I need to talk about something I am stuck on, he gives me great advice and is very helpful. He is also a good friend who is encouraging and a great man who often thinks of himself last. Lori is not in our office but is a friend none the less. She makes me laugh if the days are rough and I am so blessed by it. We have so many similarities in our likes and personalities.

I have wonderful friends. I am blessed to have a roof over my head. I am thankful to have food on the table. God makes it all possible. His is the ultimate blessing and for that I am eternally blessed and thankful. So, look around you and know even the trials and loss and hurts are all blessings even if it doesn’t feel like it at first. Be thankful this season and count your blessings. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! May you have your families to visit and may your bellies be full. Be thankful and the blessings will overflow your cup. Make your grocery list and meet me in the kitchen for Thanksgiving dinner!

Cider Sangria

4 - 5 cups apple cider, to taste 1 750-ml bottle Pinot Grigio or a citrusy Sauvignon Blanc ¼ cup brandy ¼ cup orange juice 1 ½ cups diced apples 1 ½ cups diced pears 1 ½ cups orange segments 4 cinnamon sticks 2 cups frozen cranberries (this allows you to have it cold without having to use ice)

Optional: cinnamon sticks for garnishing glasses

In a large pitcher, combine 4 cups of apple cider along with the Pinot Grigio, brandy, orange juice, apples, pears, orange segments, and cinnamon sticks. Taste; add the remaining cup of apple cider if you want a more prominent cider flavor. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours before serving to give the flavors a chance to mingle. (I recommend at least 4 hours, if possible). Before serving, add the frozen cranberries to the pitcher or to the individual glasses. Garnish glasses with cinnamon sticks, if using.

Recipe adapted from .

Mushroom Gravy

1 Tbsp. olive oil

½ cup chopped onion

1 tsp. dried thyme

¼ tsp. salt

8oz mushrooms, sliced

¼ cup dry sherry

3 cups mushroom stock or vegetable broth

1 ½ Tbsps. all-purpose flour

2 Tbsps. water

2 Tbsps. avocado butter

¼ tsp. black pepper, more or less to taste

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté 1 minute. Add thyme, salt, and mushrooms and sauté about 8 minutes, or until mushrooms are browned. Add sherry and cook until liquid evaporates. Stir in broth. Bring to a boil and cook until gravy is reduced to about 2 cups (about 14 minutes).Whisk together flour and water in a small bowl. Add mixture to skillet; return to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter 1 tablespoon at a time and pepper.

Recipe adapted from .

Butter Rolls

½ cup lukewarm water

1 ¼ cups warm almond milk (100 – 110°F)

4 Tbsps. butter flavored olive oil, divided

2 Tbsps. granulated sugar

1 ½ tsps. fine salt

2 ¼ tsps. (1 packet) instant yeast

4 ½ cups bread flour

Combine the water, milk, 2 tablespoons of the butter flavored olive oil, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2

cups of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, turn to medium-low speed, and gradually add the remaining flour, kneading until a mass of dough begins to forms. Continue kneading on medium-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes until a soft and smooth ball of dough is formed. The dough should feel elastic and tacky to the touch. Only add a tablespoon or two of additional flour if the dough is extremely sticky. Lightly spray a large clean bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature or until the dough is big, puffy, and about doubled in size. Spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Gently deflate the dough. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and place in the prepared pan. Brush all over with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Lightly cover the dough with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 30 minutes, or until about doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm. Store leftovers in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.

Recipe adapted from .

Mashed Potatoes

5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed

½ cup vegan butter, plus more for serving

2 cloves garlic, minced

Freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsps. finely chopped chives, or ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions

Place potatoes in a large pot or Dutch oven, and cover the potatoes by 1 inch with water. Cover, place over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer until the potatoes are tender and a paring knife slides easily through the center, 20 to 25 minutes. Reserve some of the cooking water and drain the potatoes. Transfer 3 cups of the cooking liquid into a heat-safe measuring cup. Drain the potatoes in a colander. Place the vegan butter and garlic, in the now-empty pot. The heat from the pot and the still-warm, but off, burner should be enough to melt the butter. This is not completely necessary but makes it slightly easier to mix the butter into the potatoes. Return the potatoes to the pot and mash or rice them directly in the pot. Once the potatoes are mostly mashed, add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid and mash to desired consistency. Taste the potatoes and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with the chives or scallions and more vegan butter just before serving.

Recipe adapted from .

Wild Rice & Cranberry Dressing

2 cups wild rice blend

¾ cups dried cranberries

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 large onions


2 cloves garlic

¾ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh dill

4 scallions

Cook the rice blend according to package directions. Fold in the cranberries, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir just until incorporated (the mixture will look shaggy). Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, 5 to 6 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very tender and beginning to turn golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes more. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes; stir in the parsley. Add the onion mixture, scallions, and dill to the rice and toss to combine.

Recipe adapted from .

Okmulgee Times

320 W. 6th
Okmulgee, OK 74447
PH: (918) 756-3600
FAX: (918) 756-8197