Austin: Save-a-Turkey-Trot

Saturday, November 21
9:00am
Festival Beach
(North Lady Bird Lake Trail and I-35)

Every Thanksgiving across the United States, the local Turkey Trot race is an annual running tradition. Like these venerable races, we want to get people out and exercising and giving thanks for life. Giving thanks for life, we believe, is also having compassion for all living beings. So we say, “Save a Turkey!” Get out and run and walk with us as we spread the message of hope and compassion the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Preregistered entrants are guaranteed a 100% organic race t-shirt.

Overall male and female winners will have a turkey at Farm Sanctuary sponsored in their name.

Local, organic fruits from farmers at Austin Farmers Market will be available to refuel/refresh with. Entrants are encouraged to head over the market after the race to support our local producers!

Register or sign up to volunteer here.

RSVP with the VRA here here.

I’ve got my Thanksgiving turkey! Have you?

I adopted a turkey at Farm Sanctuary. You can do the same here.

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Turkey Myths

Is it true that turkeys are dumb?
There is a tendency for people who eat turkeys, or other animals, to perceive “food animals” as unworthy or undeserving of respect and compassion. One way for people to rationalize their choice to eat animals is to dismiss these beings as dumb. There is even a rumor that turkeys are so dumb that they will look up in the rain and drown. This claim is ridiculous and false. Farm Sanctuary has cared for turkeys for more than 20 years, and when it rains, the turkeys go inside their barn. No one who works at Farm Sanctuary has ever seen a turkey drown in the rain.

Do turkeys really suffer?

Every year, between 250 and 300 million turkeys are bred for slaughter in the U.S. Sadly, these turkeys are not protected under most state anti-cruelty laws, and they are specifically exempt from the federal Humane Slaughter Act. To meet consumer demand for white meat, commercial turkeys have been anatomically manipulated to have abnormally large breasts. As a result, the birds cannot mount and reproduce naturally, and the industry now relies on artificial insemination as the sole means of reproduction. In addition, most factory farmed turkeys, comprising the vast majority of turkeys raised for holiday dinners, endure painful beak and toe mutilations, because they are given only about three-square-feet of space on which to live. Through all of this physical manipulation, the industry has yet to grow an animal who does not feel pain and is not curious, social or friendly.

Thanksgiving Tradition


But Thanksgiving is a tradition – why do we need to change it?

Using a turkey as the centerpiece and symbol of Thanksgiving is a relatively new tradition invented and actively promoted by the poultry industry during the 20th century. Thankfully, humans are not bound by cruel traditions. Just because we’ve done something routinely in the past does not mean that it is automatically right. Traditions must evolve over time in order for our civilization to thrive. We must strive for better, more compassionate ways to interact with one another, and with other animals. Find more information on the history of Thanksgiving here.

What do vegetarians eat for Thanksgiving?
In addition to staple Thanksgiving foods like baked squash, savory stuffing, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, and cornbread, there is also a growing variety of products that have been developed specifically to take the place of turkey at the Thanksgiving table. One popular product is called “Tofurky,” a meat-free, faux turkey roast made by Turtle Island Foods in Hood River, Oregon. If people want to make something themselves, they can just stuff a squash or pumpkin, instead of a turkey. After all, celebrating a compassionate Thanksgiving entails celebrating ALL life by giving up the broiled bird. Find vegetarian holiday recipes and more here.

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Thanksgiving

Here’s what I had:

Wheatsville cranberry-orange sauce, Wheatsville tempeh with carrots and leeks, Veganomicon stir-fried collard greens, Wheatsville rosemary biscuit, homemade candied bourbon sweet potatoes, homemade seitan sausage balls, homemade roast parsnips, and Wheatsville mushroom gravy. This was SO GOOD. More pics on my blog.

We finished up with some coconut cream pie, also from Wheatsville.


Post your pics!

Countdown to Thanksgiving Part I: The Candy Lady

Thanksgiving is in but a few days, and to cut down on the stress of trying to make everything awesome in a day, I decided to spread some of the work over the next few days…and document it! 

Today’s culinary delight:
VEGAN TRUFFLES!
Oh yes, ma’am! I made up some cashew and hazelnut cream and folded it into some melted Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips, let it set up for about 30 minutes in the fridge and got to rollin’!!! It was messy, but deliciously so.
Here’s a shot of what I rolled the chocolatey goodness in;

chopped cashews

coconut

dark cocoa powder
And the finished beauties:



Don’t they look lovely? I tend to shy away from candy making, since I have ADD and standing in front of a pot staring at a candy thermometer waiting for the sugary goop to come to a ‘soft crack’ sounds like some new torture technique. But these suckers were SO freakin’ easy, I had to make ’em. Now to figure out how to keep the hubby from devouring them all tonight….
That’s all for today. Tomorrow: Adventures in bread making!

Thanksgiving Day Feast at Green

San Antonio vegans looking for a convenient Thanksgiving: Green will be having a feast from 11am to 2pm on Thursday, Nov 27th.

The menu, which is all vegan, will include the following for only $12.99 per person…

Wheat Turkey Loaf
Sage Stuffing
Sweet Potatoes
Fresh Green Beans
Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Relish
Fresh Biscuits
Pumpkin Pie
Tea or Coffee
R.S.V.P by email or phone. All contact info can be found at their website.

Guide to a Vegan Vanguard Thanksgiving, Part 3

Where Can a Vegan in Austin Go to Get Their Thanksgiving Grub On?
Cross posted from Vegan Vanguard

In Austin, there are many food-related events for vegans in the days leading up to, and including Thanksgiving Day.

Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts
Annual Very Best Thanksgiving Class and Luncheon
Great community-building event, where all dishes are vegan and gluten-free.
Class is 9:00am-noon, lunch is 12:15pm-1:45pm
Saturday, November 22
Class & lunch are $55 for the first person, $40 for the second, or attend lunch only for $25
512-207-0598
1701 Toomey Road
Austin, TX 78704

Royal Co-op
Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck
Enjoy a sense of camaraderie and meet new people
4:00pm
Sunday, November 23
512 478-0880
1805 Pearl Street
Austin, TX 78701

Happy Vegan Baker
Eat Thanksgiving dinner in your own home without having to prepare a thing.
Complete 8-part meals prepared by Inge
Order by 5 pm on November 25, pick up or get it delivered(for a fee) on November 26.
Full meal is $28 per person, but dishes can be purchased separately.
Order via the website, phone 512-657-3934, or email inge@happyveganbaker.com

Casa de Luz
Austin’s only totally vegan restaurant continues its tradition of offering lunch on Thanksgiving.
11:30am-2:30pm
Thursday, November 27
$15 includes full meal and dessert
1701 Toomey Road
Austin, TX 78704
512-476-2535

I know other cities are host to similar events, unfortunately, I don’t have any info about them.

Guide to a Vegan Vanguard Thanksgiving, Part 2

What Do I Eat, Now That Turkey’s Off The Menu?
Cross posted from Vegan Vanguard

I remember the panic of my first Thanksgiving. I had been a perfectly content vegetarian for about 4 months, and while I had experienced my share of food disasters, for the most part, I was having a lot of fun learning about nutrition and trying out new foods. Then, a few days before Thanksgiving, something occurred to me: for the first time in my life, I wouldn’t be able to join in the family traditions. I wouldn’t be eating the turkey, or the gravy, or the giblet stuffing, and I definitely wouldn’t be making my family’s annual Thanksgiving Jell-o. As I was only 14 at the time, this was a big moment for me, and I suddenly felt extremely alienated and isolated. Not because I wouldn’t be eating turkey, but because I would be breaking one of the few traditions we observed, and I would be the only one doing so. I thought that I would be left out. As it turns out, my mother was great, and set aside stuffing for me without giblets, the other dishes that couldn’t be converted were things I didn’t really care for anyway, so I was able to be part of the family and share most of the meal.

What did I eat instead of turkey for my first vegetarian Thanksgiving? I actually don’t recall. I think it was some savory tofu dish that seemed daunting at the time, and ended up tasting okay but was generally underwhelming. The point is, the food itself didn’t really matter, having my family make an effort on my part was enough to allow me to realize I could never not be a part of the family, and see how loved and accepted I was. I do know that for Christmas that year, and for the all of the Thanksgivings since that I’ve spent with them, my parents bought me a Tofurky. A whole Tofurky. Just for me. I’ve always appreciated the sentiment, even if I didn’t really enjoy the entrée itself….I rag on it a bit, but it does make things easy, and I know many people who enjoy it immensely.

I actually was not a big fan of turkey on Thanksgiving, because it usually came out kind of dry and wasn’t particularly flavorful, which may account for why I don’t miss turkey and don’t care for Tofurky roasts. Give me a variety of delicious side dishes, or even just a plate of dressing and cranberry sauce, and I could be totally happy. I do enjoy the ritual of cooking for days, having a big production leading up to the main event, and then the delicious sedated afterglow, though. Plus, JD, my love, has a healthy appreciation for tradition, so we do a full spread, and we do it right.

I’ve been away from my family for 6 years now, so I’ve had some time to work on my Thanksgiving dishes, and I’ve done many different things for the vegan entrée at my Thanksgiving celebrations. For a few years, I made a simple harvest bake by mixing fall vegetables like celery, onions, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, and parsnips in a casserole dish with tempeh or seitan, seasoned it all with soy sauce, garlic, herbs, and wine if I wanted, and baked until everything was tender. I’ve also made yummy but not especially festive protein dishes like tempeh marsala. Last year I tried making a tofu and gluten mock turkey, but it was terrible. I generally enjoy foods more when they’re not trying to mimic something exactly, so I should have known better.

I usually try to do something a little different each Thanksgiving. Here’s a recap of last year’s Thanksgiving feast. I haven’t finalized this year’s menu yet, and there are over 20 recipes in contention, including chocolate bourbon pie, cranberry sorbet, cranberry, currant and champagne relish, cranberry upside down cake –yes, I have lots of love for fresh cranberries–and yuba holiday “duck”. I do know we’ll definitely be making the Cranberry, Fig, and Walnut Cornbread Dressing and Spiced and Caramelized Butternut Squash from last year’s menu as well as traditional favorites like mashed potatoes.

Many blogs have compiled great recipes and ideas, some of my favorites include:

Vegan Bits – The link will take you directly to a compilation of holiday recipes, but check out the more recent posts for more Thanksgiving info.

PETA’s VegCooking – Tons of recipes, most of which look like they were tailor-made for home cooks with limited time.

Bryanna Clark Grogan
– The vegan food mogul and author offers up recipes for some of the most common holiday dishes. Great info, ideas, and recipes for soy-free vegans.

Karina’s Kitchen – Anyone with gluten or wheat allergies will understand why Karina is a Gluten Free Goddess. While it’s not a vegetarian or vegan blog, Karina does make sure her vegan readers have plenty of gorgeous recipes to try. In her pre-Thanksgiving post she includes tons of dishes that everyone can enjoy, just make sure click on any recipe that sounds inviting, as many of Karina’s recipes have tips or variations for vegans.

101 Cookbooks – Heidi’s compiled and organized all of her vegan Thanksgiving recipes, so you don’t have to search. She’s even separated all of the vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes on another page so everything is simple and easy for her readers. I love Heidi’s style because it’s simple, elegant, beautiful, and everything starts with quality ingredients.

Unturkey
– Do you remember Now and Zen’s UnTurkey? So do the vegans who created this site. They’ve opensourced the recipe, so you can recreate it in your home.

Finally, there’s Field Roast – many people serve the Celebration Roast version, but I’m partial to the Hazelnut Herb Cutlet. The official website also offers recipes.

Up next: Guide to a Vegan Vanguard Thanksgiving, Part 3 – Where Can a Vegan in Austin Go to Get Their Thanksgiving Grub On?

Thanksgiving potluck this Sunday (Austin)

Royal Co-op, a vegan cooperative near UT, is hosting a Thanksgiving potluck this Sunday starting at 4:00pm.

“Bring a vegan dish to serve at least 8. Bring a family, bring a friend or 2 or 10.”

Royal will be providing such dishes as:

Tofurky
Mashed Potatoes+ Gravy
Sweet Pootatoes
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Chipotle Corn Bread
Sauteed Zucchini
Stuffing
Rolls
Orange Salad
Lima Bean Salad
Chickpea Cutlets
Choclate Cream Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Gingerbread Cooies
Cinnamon Rolls
RIce Pudding
Chai Tea
Banana Bread

1805 Pearl Street
Austin TX 78701
512 478-0880