Much Thanks (+ delicious good food)

Thanksgiving Collage

Happy Thanksgiving Eve everyone!!

This is totally last minute (which is no surprise here) as I am finally getting around to thinking about what to grace our dining table with this year ;) .  My parents and brother are visiting from Chicago and we have been blessed with INCREDIBLE sunshine-Y weather.  For that I am so very thankful :)  Of course on the eve of Thanksgiving undoubtedly talk and thoughts around thanks and gratitude come up and this year more than ever I am thankful for the dark times just as much as the bright, beautiful and sunshine-Y times.  Because isn't it because of the darkness that we can fully appreciate the lightness?  I think so!  

Ok, now to the food!!  This holiday season it is so (soooooo) possible to enjoy delicious food with your family and still be good to yourself.  Below are some tried and true gluten-free and vegan favorites  Of course any holiday is excuse for me to daydream about what to create in the kitchen and next holiday when I am in my new house I will be hosting a full-scale dinner party...but in the meantime tomorrow I am making a vegan Hazelnut Tarte with Cardamom-spiced Pears + Coconut Creme, a raw vegan Pecan Caramel Shortbread, raw vegan jungle peanut butter cups with my brother and then my Mom and I are making roasted carrots with a chickpea puree along with a simple salad and my Mom is making a potato, sweet potato parsnip torte - YA-A-UMM!!!!!!!!

Happy baking, cooking, uncooking, slicing, dicing and eating!!!

Pumpkin Seed-Yam Pâté

This recipe is adapted from ExtraVeganZa by Laura Matthias and came courtesy of my Aunt Sue -  I omit the nutritional yeast and add in some winter squash with the sweet potato.  So delish that my friend Kellie now makes it for every gathering (of which I am so grateful ;)) 

1 C pumpkin seeds, finely ground
2 cloves garlic
1 raw yam or winter squash peeled and sliced
1/2 medium red onion
2 T olive oil
2 T tamari, coconut aminos or nama shoyu
2 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed (not from concentrate!)
1/4 tsp sage, dried and crushed (used fresh sage)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 T rosemary
2 T nutritional yeast, optional

Grind the pumpkin seeds into a fine consistency and set aside.  (Use a food processor, hand mill, blender, or clean coffee grinder)
Place all of the remaining ingredients, except the rosemary, in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
Add the pumpkin seeds and pulse again to combine them thoroughly.
Oil a loaf pan with olive oil, and sprinkle rosemary leaves around the bottom and edges of the pan; they will stick to the oil.
Scoop the mixture from the food processor into the pan and spread it evenly around the pan.
Place the pan in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for about 55 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow the Pâté to cool before serving.
This will keep for several days in the refrigerator, though it tends to dry out and little and is best served fresh.

Cinnamon-Orange Bosc Pear Pie

I found this recipe in an Edible Phoenix magazine three years ago and adapted it to be vegan and - oh my gosh- it was incredible!  The whole family loved.  I served the gooey warmed slices with a scoop of coconut ice cream...Thanksgiving Nirvana.


7 Bosc Pears, peeled, cored and sliced about 1/2 inch thick
zest of 1/2 lemon
2 T. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 T. all-purpose flour (can substitute with gluten free or coconut flour)
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. freshly grated ginger
pinch of salt
1 T. ground chia or flax seed mixed with 3 T. warm water
1 T. coconut oil, chilled and broken into small pieces
1 T. coconut milk

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (can sub with gluten-free flour)
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour (can sub with spelt flour or just add more gluten-free flour)
1 t. celtic sea salt
1/4 t. coconut palm sugar
1 c. + 1 T. coconut oil, chilled and broken into small chunks
6-8 T. fresh-squeezed orange juice


To make the piecrust:
Combine both kinds of lfour, salta nd sugar in a large bowl.  Break the chilled coconut oil into small chunks and toss into the dry mixture.  Using your hands, rapidly work in the coconut oil, breaking it apart and incorporating into the dry mixture until you're only left with pea-sized pieces of coconut oil in the mix.  Sprinkle in the o.j. and lightly toss the mixture with a fork until just combined (do not overmix!).  You can add in a bit more o.j. if needed, but not to the point that the dough is sticky.  Divide the dough into 2 balls of equal size.  Wrap in plastic wrap and press into a disc; chill in fridge for 1 hour.  Then unwrap dough, place between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out on floured surface until it is about 1/8 inch thick.  (Note: when rolling dough, push out not down.).  Using the parchment transfer the rolled dough to the pie pan by using the parchment paper to gently flip it into the pie pan.  Push the dough into the pan so there are no air pockets and the dough covers the entire pan.  Patch any holes or tears by using broken-off pieces of dough.  Roll out the second sheet of dough and set aside.

To make the filling:
Heat oven to 425.  As you slice the pears, marinate them in the lemon juice and prevent browning by tossing them with the lemon juice in a large bowl as you go.  Add in lemon zest, flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, grated ginger and salt until thoroughly combined.  Taste a pear and add more sugar if it seems to tart.  Set aside.

To assemble:
Whisk the chia/flax egg mixture in a cup and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.  Then lightly brush the entire bottom pie crust with the egg mixture, reserving 1/2 of the 'egg' mixture.  Pour pear filling onto the crust.  Dot with additional bite-sized pieces of coconut oil.  Gently drape the 2nd pie crust over the top and using your fingers press the edges together along with the bottom crust.  Brush the top of the pie with the remaining 'egg' mixture and sprinkle with coconut palm sugar.

Cut 3 vents in the center of the top crust and bake in center of oven for 15 minutes.  Then rotate the pie and turn oven temp down to 325 and bake for an additional 40-60 minutes until pears are soft and crust is nicely toasted.  To test, insert a small knife or toothpick into the pie - the pears should offer no resistance.  Let the pie cool on a pie rack for a couple of hours allowing the filling to set.  Serve slightly warmed with a scoop of coconut ice cream!

Fennel Arugula Citrus Salad

1 1/2 cups fennel bulb, sliced thin *about 1/2 an extra large fennel bulb
1 orange, peeled, de-seeded and sliced
1 small red onion, sliced thin
3 cups organic arugula
1/2 avocado, sliced

Fennel marinade 'dressing':
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp agave syrup or maple syrup
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Slice all your veggies.

Place the sliced fennel in a large bowl. Add vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper and syrup. Toss well until each fennel slice is well coated. Set aside.

For a gourmet presentation: Place a layer of arugula on each plate, top with a circle of avocado spears around the edges, sprinkle a few red onion slices over the top, drizzle with olive over, spoon a nice portion of the marinated fennel on top of the salad and finish with some orange slices and fresh ground black pepper.

Mashed Coconut Sweet Potatoes

5 or 6 large sweet potatoes or yams, chopped
water for boiling
1-14 ounce can coconut milk
3/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp curry
2 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, cover the yams or sweet potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes, or until soft.Mash the sweet potatoes to desired consistency and add in remaining ingredients.

Raw Vegan Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing

4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 cups freeze-dried corn, ground using a spice grinder or blender (you can find this at Whole Foods in the snack aisle by the dried fruits)
2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup coconut butter, warm to soften
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons Himalayan crystal salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries, minced
1/4 cup onion, minced, rinsed, and drained well
1 jalapeño chili peppers, seeded and minced (optional)


Put fresh and ground freeze-dried corn, almond flour, soft coconut butter, warm water, and salt in a food processer and process until smooth.  Add the minced cranberries, onions, and optional jalapeño chilies, and pulse briefly, just to mix. Do not puree.

Spread the batter onto a 16x16 inch dehydrator tray covered with a nonstick sheet. Spread the batter about ½-inch thick.

Dehydrate at 125 degrees for 1 hour. Flip the bread and remove nonstick sheet. Reduce the temperature to 105 degrees and dehydrate for another 4-6 hours or until bread is pliable but easy to handle without falling apart. 

And if those recipes are enough to satiate your tastebuds then check out a few of my past recipes that would make great additions to any Thanksgiving table!  Happy Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Roasted Squash + Beet Salad with Balsamic Sage Dressing

Vanilla Hazelnut Creme Pie with Chocolate Ganache

Nectarine Tarte with Macadamia Cardamom Crumble (why not swap out the nectarines for apples or pears and the macadamia for pecans or walnuts? YUM!)

Roasted Asparagus and Shallot Quiche with Tarragon 

Coconut Kabocha Squash Soup

Hazelnut Tarte with Coconut Cream and Rhubarb-Pear Compote 

RecipesJamie Wagener