No, I’m not a Grinch!

So here in the US, Thanksgiving is almost upon us! At the risk of sounding like the worst, I really do not enjoy the holidays, and if I didn’t feel pressured to come in, I’d not do it. A few years ago, I mentioned this to my mother, and she called me a Grinch and a Scrooge. I think that’s a little, ahem, a lot unwarranted. I have no interest in interfering with anyone’s holiday enjoyment, and it has nothing to do with greed or selfishness. It’s just a personal preference. Currently I’m in an awkward situation where I live kind of close to my family, but not close enough, at about 100 miles away, so they expect me there. Even having to sit in the car for an hour and a half stretch is too much for my body, it’s a hassle to lug my vegan food around, and it messes with my autistic kid’s schedule, which can be an ordeal for him. But I know my family wants to see me and my kid, so I take a deep breath and do it. And since I want to try to have a big-picture vegan meal for my husband, son, and me, that means bringing in a few dishes, not just one or two. Some people may decide it’s not worth bringing in food, that regardless there will be x-amount of food, so it isn’t important to bring in vegan dishes and fine to eat whatever is there. And you know what? I totally agree! That is 100% completely valid and if that works for anyone, I say GREAT!

But it doesn’t work for me, and I can’t put into words why I won’t just do the easiest thing. As I’ve said before, it’s not something I fully understand about myself, and my husband struggles the same as me. I don’t miss actually eating meat or animal products but I also wouldn’t gag if I ate a piece of meat. It’s a neutral thing for me. I do miss convenience and ubiquitous availability, not going to lie! Meat and dairy products are just something I don’t think about. Do I think dairy cheese is tasty? Yes, I do. But do I ever crave it these days? No, I really don’t. Not that I’m trying to say this is a universal experience, I’m not trying to say if you GO VEGAN, you’ll never miss your favorite brie or extra sharp cheddar. In fact, if the only reason you haven’t considered reducing your animal product consumption is because of some animal product you love, don’t let that stop you! You don’t have to give it up, you don’t have to be a level-10 vegan. You may choose to still eat your favorite cheese, or you may find you’re like me, and just never give it another thought after a certain period of time. Or maybe you’ll miss it and become a vegan cheese artisan!

So that being said, I thought I’d share how I’ve handled Thanksgiving this year. I decided to make most of my dishes last week and pop them in the freezer. Those were green bean casserole, mac and cheese, and stuffing. I decided to be kinder to myself and bought some foil disposable cookware, which weighs significantly less and fits in the freezer more easily. No lugging around heavy ceramic casserole dishes for me this year. A few weeks ago, I found some Immaculate brand pie crusts in the fridge section at Grocery Outlet that have a date until sometime in December and they were only $1 for a 2-pack! So I bought two of them so I have 4 crusts. Tomorrow evening I plan to make apple, pumpkin and pecan pies. The only non-vegan thing about apple pie is usually butter, and thankfully vegan butter is easy to find here. I prefer the Country Crock plant butter sticks for cooking. My pecan recipe is from Nora Cooks, and I think every recipe is vegan on her site. I’m not sure which pumpkin pie recipe I’ll use. I do know that most of them require corn starch and a can of coconut milk, and I have those. Likely I’ll either use another Nora Cooks recipe or It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken. I find both of them to be super reliable when it comes to recipes! You aren’t going to end up with liquidy goop or chia seed, black bean, kale concoctions that claim they taste just like your favorite desserts. (Yeah, I’ve stumbled upon those recipes when trying to find a recipe for vegan brownies. I didn’t want *healthy* brownies. I just wanted standard brownies without eggs! By the way, I found a good recipe over at Hersheys.) Tonight I’m going to pull out my Gardein roast, my CoCo Whip, and those three frozen dishes out and put them in the fridge to thaw. Thursday morning I’ll cook my casseroles and cranberry sauce, pack them up in insulated bags, and throw in a few hot packs or cold packs, depending. I think my frozen Rhodes rolls need to thaw out overnight so I’ll pull them out Wednesday. I’ll bake them in disposable cake pans, and it’ll be like a vegan Sister Schubert experience. 😉

I think Thursday will be stressful but hopefully less stressful than in years past. A few weeks after that, I’ll be throwing a birthday party for my son, and then the winter holidays will be upon us just a week after that. I can’t wait for the holiday hubbub to be over! But in the meantime, I’m hoping a little prep and some hacks will see me through.

One thought on “No, I’m not a Grinch!

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  1. Great post! I’m having a helluva time trying to get to Thanksgiving with family this year. I’m planning to fly in late Wednesday night, stop off at a grocery store somewhere to buy one of those frozen “veggie roasts” (like Trader Joe’s turkey-less, Gardein holiday roast, Field Roast holiday roast, etc), pop it an oven somewhere on Thursday morning, and wing it from there.

    Long story short: just eat my veggie roast with whatever side dishes are there. Plus desserts. 😀 Not worrying about the veganness of any of the other stuff, I think it will all be vegetarian / mostly vegan when it comes side dishes. I’ve been enjoying an elaborate all vegan Thanksgiving dinner almost every year for about 20 years now. This year I’ll be lucky if I even make it to my destination. NOT EVEN KIDDING! Just “going with the flow” will be good enough for me this year!

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