It's funny. Jeff and I have made Thanksgiving Dinner probably 8 times over the years. For the last five years or so, Jeff has fried a turkey. Usually mid October we have a conversation that goes a little something like this:
Jeff: What do you want to do for Thanksgiving this year?
Me: I think we should just go out somewhere. It's cheaper, faster, and much less work.
Jeff: Oh...But I like making dinner.
Me: It's a lot of work. it seems silly when it's just us. I don't want to go through all that crap. Let's just go out.
Jeff: But I want to make the turkey.
(At this point I am forced to wonder the point of this conversation which started 'What do YOU want to do for Thanksgiving?" Clearly it should have been, "This is what I want to do for Thanksgiving"....but I digress...)
Me: It's a pain in the ass. I don't want to.
Jeff: But, I'll cook. You don't have to do anything.
(Now, you'd think after falling into this trap for eight years, I'd learn....but I didn't)
And so the big day arrives. Jeff gets the turkey ready. He makes mashed potatoes. Then he makes enough hors d'oeuvres to feed an army. Then he goes out and heats up the oil. And he stands there and watches it. Then he puts the turkey in the oil. He stands there and watches it. He will make the occasional appearance in the kitchen to say how cold it is out there. (Duh! This ain't the south! That's why use OVENS! (Although, technically, I guess it is The South...we are south of the Mason Dixon Line!) He also empties his bladder of the beer that he is drinking while he's cooking--I mean watching--the turkey.
Meanwhile, I'm in the house doing "nothing." By nothing, I mean, making sweet potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, corn, cranberry sauce and rolls. Now, I've always complained about having to do "nothing" while Jeff made the turkey. However, I've also always wondered just what the big deal was. I couldn't understand why people got so stressed out about cooking. Or, why they got up at the butt crack of dawn...This year...I GET IT!
You see, my "nothing" that I complained about consisted of:
1.)Open box of Stuffing. Follow Directions. (Which I believe are add water and butter and stir
2.)Take Green Beans out of freezer. Open can of Cream of Mushroom Soup. Follow Directions. (Which I think it add milk and poor over beans. Real tough stuff!)
3.) Open can of yams. Pour in dish. Decide I need another can. Repeat. Add butter, sugar, cinnamon, brown sugar in no specific quantities. Put in oven. Top later with marshmallows. Burn Marshmallows. Scrape off and Repeat.
4.) Take corn out of freezer. Put in bowl. Add butter and water. Put in microwave.
5.) Open can of cranberry sauce. Fight to get out of can. Slice.
6.) Open up package of rolls. Put in oven. Realize they are burning when I smell the marshmallows also burning.
7.) Open can of gravy. Heat on stove.
That's pretty much it. And, then sometimes I'd "bake" a pie. Now, that consists of, Opening Box. Place on cookie sheet and bake.....
This year, Nettie, Steph and I started cooking about 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday. We were at it until about midnight. I got up and was back at it about 7:00. We ate at about 2:00 p.m....I never sat down.
None of our "normal" thanksgiving dishes are Treavor Safe. So, we had to make everything from scratch. For the first time ever, I made my own stuffing (ok, it was a group effort between Nettie, Steph and me...as was the whole meal). It was a cornbread stuffing. We made the cornbread using oat flour--which I ground myself! It was delicious!!! We also made a rice stuffing which we used to stuff the turkey. Also delicious!
We had all of the "traditional" Thanksgiving menu--but it was all tweaked a bit to be safe for Treavor. And, it was all wonderful!!!! We had mashed potatoes (with chicken broth and rice milk!), sweet potato casserole (with vegan "butter" and pineapple), gravy (made with cornstarch), cranberry muffins, pumpkin muffins, cranberry salad (made with fresh cranberries), fresh sauteed green beans, apple pie (with an oat crust)and carrot cake (gluten free). I took lots of pictures...which I can't upload at the moment. I will do that very soon. In the meantime, here's the cornbread stuffing recipe. I used Emily Hendrix's cornbread recipe from her book Sophie Safe Cooking. The stuffing recipe, I believe, is from Dreena Burton's book entitled Everyday Vegan. I found it online and it is credited to her.
Traditional Cornbread Stuffing
2 1/2 pounds cornbread
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken or turkey stock
Ingredient Options: use a gluten-free cornbread or dairy-free cornbread. Use a gluten-free stock.
Cut cornbread into 1-inch cubes, place on a large baking sheet and let "stale" for several hours or overnight. Place in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large skillet, heat butter or oil over medium low heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned. Stir in the thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Add mixture to cornbread and toss to blend. Slowly pour in stock and toss to moisten. Spread the stuffing in a buttered or oiled 9x15-inch baking dish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden.
Per Serving (5.5 oz.): 290 calories (90 calories from fat), 10g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 3g dietary fiber, 7g protein, 44g carbohydrate, 45mg cholesterol, 1080mg sodium