Going to skip over the whole ‘it’s been awhile’ spiel and barrage of excuses as to why we haven’t been very active on here lately. Life doesn’t slow down for blog posts, and (enjoyable) chaos doesn’t always draw inspiration. I said I wasn’t going to spend time recapping our absence, but here I am doing it.
We spent several days in a gorgeous mountain cabin filled with beautiful, mountain-views, crisp weather, and quality family time during the week of Thanksgiving in one of my very favorite places – Asheville, North Carolina. My little family of three has spent a few vacations in this gem of a city, but this was the first trip with the whole crew – my family, Callie’s family, and our parents. Between the two sisters, we have three minis, who truly are the best little cousins and friends. There is something really magical about knowing that they are starting to fill their memory banks with these life moments. It’s a great reminder to prioritize family time, and keep this tradition going year after year.
So yes – lots of time spent hiking, exploring, rolling down hills (the kids), drinking wine (the adults), playing games, and eating delicious food. Oh, the food. That’s really why you’re here right now. This was the first Thanksgiving when everyone agreed to my very strategic plan to eat totally plant-based (I did volunteer to spearhead the cooking, so it was a fair bargain). And I really decided to go all out. I wanted the non-vegan (yet ;)) members of my family to not even miss the traditional meat and dairy-laden dishes. And I think (as modestly as I can sound here) it was a massive success.
It would’ve been a pretty daunting task to create original recipes for everything, so I relied on a few found on various plant-forward blogs for my inspiration/foundation (all are linked below). The menu covered everything from unique items like vegan shepherd’s pie, to classic spins like sweet potato casserole. Let’s be clear here: even when I wasn’t vegan, I was really only focused on the sides at Thanksgiving. So being vegan really means I just doubled down on that part of my sides-loving personality (heyyyy everything and anything potato).
Giving you an (almost) complete breakdown below – a few photos missing because I had a very impatient/hungry crew waiting to dive in while I took these. Hoping to inspire you to give a few of these a try this holiday season (or really, any other time of year)!
1. Vegan shepherd’s pie (slightly adapted)
2. Smoked gouda
4. Sweet potato casserole (my own creation, and topped with crunchy gf/vegan cereal)
5. Jalapeno cornbread muffins (these were kind of a cheat – a bag mix, and the jalapenos were my addition)
6. Jalapeno poppers with cranberry-orange dipping sauce (I basically did my own thing with the filling and used a vegan stuffing base).
7. Assorted grilled veggies
(*Not pictured: garlic mashed potatoes, apple pie, various beers and wine ;))