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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vegan Mofo Day 24: Butternut Squash Soup & Thanksgiving Tips

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I've been busy trying to figure out what all I am going to make and bring to my family's house. I will bring a vegan side with plenty of veggie protein (there will be salads and I'm making Mashed Potatoes my way). I'm also bringing a couple vegan pies. I know Apple Pie is definitely going to be one of them, and I'm going back and forth between Pumpkin Pie and raw vegan Pecan Pie. I am really hoping things warm up tonight and tomorrow and we don't have to try to battle our way into the Eastside through ice and snow. It has been cold, and Seattle isn't the most equipped to deal with snow and ice.

Annie in her little jacket, ready for some playtime outside

What she really thinks of the camera.

Many of us are enjoying meals with family members who don't share an allergy or a life/food preference. It can be really difficult when people don't understand contamination and appreciate that using one spoon for two things can mean an emergency or severe discomfort to someone with a severe allergy.

Here are some very simple tips I will be following this Holiday.

1. Bring a dish or two that you can eat and share.

I will be bringing a vegetable protein rich dish and helping with sides that I know I am not allergic to and are vegan. If you are able to stand in the kitchen and watch some preparation, you can usually get a good feel for whether or not they understand contamination issues. If you are going to an omnivore house as a vegan, it's also a good idea to bring a couple side dishes. You would be surprised what people think is vegan (I've been offered fish and things with dairy).

Root Roast with Kreamy Parsnip sauce, Kale,
and cauliflower over Miso Cheeze

2. Love dessert like I do? Don't forget to bring yourself a dessert.

It can be very disappointing when you feel forgotten on a holiday. Don't let an allergy or lifestyle preference rob you of dessert -- bring your own.

Cranberry Apricot Tart

3. Bring protein bars.

Just in case you don't get quite enough at the dinner table, an allergy friendly protein bar has saved me from making poor food choices and grabbing something that I would react to or regret later. A Larabar has been my saving grace many times.

What we choose to eat is a very personal matter and can cause heated arguments. People are passionate about food, and usually they mean well. Those of us raised on a traditional diet have been fed nutrition advice by doctors in a very animal protein obsessed society. When I made the switch, my family was very concerned with my health, especially because I am very allergic to soy. I think they are becoming more comfortable with the notion, and I continue to educate myself on the topic. I've found that removing the emotion from the argument and just basing my argument on logical, rational facts surrounding nutrition, food contamination, and health is the soundest approach. I will be doing my best to avoid this conversation on the Holidays. That's not to say I don't speak my mind when prompted.

Butternut Squash Soup

This dish was inspired by Skinny Bitch's Curried Pumpkin Soup in her new book, although I took the dish in a completely different direction. I did like her idea of adding pumpkin seeds to her pumpkin soup for crunch and texture, and will probably try that next time.

2 TB olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
2 apples, chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
pinch of cinnamon
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup hard apple cider
2 cups carrot juice
1 tsp salt
1 roasted butternut squash
1 cup vanilla hemp milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the neck of the butternut squash from the bulb. Cut those sections in half and put them face down in a baking pan with about an inch of water. Cover the baking pan and squash with aluminum foil and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until you can pierce the squash with a fork. Once the squash is done, remove it from the oven and the pan to cool on a rack or plate.

Put a 4 quart+ saucepan over medium heat. Put in 2 Tb of olive oil. When the oil is ready, add the onion, apples, garlic, ginger, and cinnamon and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the onions look translucent. Add the hard apple cider and mix until the alcohol smell has died down. Add the carrot juice, butternut squash, and salt and cook until the apples are very tender.

Take the soup off the heat and put half in a high speed blender with half of the hemp milk. Put the blended portion in a serving bowl and repeat this step with the remaining veggie/apple chunks and hemp milk. Serve while warm.


  1. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving — I hope you can get through the holiday without having to defend your diet. And I hope you can get to the Eastside!

  2. Your plans sound wonderful. And the recipes for soup.

    Sienna and Annie need to have a fashion show with their cute doggie jackets. :-)