Now that I got your attention, this post may not be exactly what the title proclaims. See this isn’t your 911 on how to roast a turkey. No siree! I believe turkeys should be off the table period. If you want to hear my thoughts why you can read it here: I wrote this a few years back but because the insanity of the “bird” on the table still exist, I decided it was worth repeating.

If you’re reading on thank you! We are officially one week away from Thanksgiving. If you haven’t thought a hot second on what you’re serving for the big day then clearly you’re not a Southern. See it’s in our blood to start planning for Thanksgiving weeks in advance. Gathering family recipes, putting together the menu, building a grocery list, shopping ahead of the crowd, ironing the linen’s and polishing the silver. Southerns know it’s time to put our best foot forward.

I act no differently today even though I’ve been vegan for almost a decade. I love planning and the challenge to veganize a family recipe. I love the grocery shopping, the decorating and yes…all the cooking. In fact I love it more today. It’s extremely gratifying to serve people delicious vegan food and showing them they can still enjoy all their favorite dishes; maybe even like them better!

Let’s also talk about the struggle the holiday time can be for many of us who are separated from family due to distance, loss of a loved one, or simply those who choose not to be together. The holidays are especially hard for me and I don’t mind admitting it. My holidays look and feel different then what they were in my past, but I cherish those precious memories and they are very precious. I’ve learned to accept my new norm and try my best to follow my own advice on how to survive the holidays here:

Now on to some food y’all! I’m giving you a couple of links for some great holiday add-ins. One is a family recipe and one is a recipe I totally vegainzed from another notable Southern. Hope you will try and enjoy both! I’ve also listed another family recipe I’ve veganized and although it may sound less crowd pleasing, I promise you it’s delicious.

This recipe is a great fall dish or can feel like a healthy sweet. It’s a kid favorite too!

Family recipe:

Unless you want critters bombarding you while your cooking up your feast it’s best to serve up some snacks. Make these total yum balls days in advance to do the job.

Southern veganized:

My momma is a fabulous cook. I’ve never tasted anything the women made that was not total deliciousness. Maybe it’s because we only ate them twice a year but her holiday staples were especially tasty. This recipe originated from my Grandmother Hallie and was one of my favorites. It was easy to veganize by replacing eggs with tofu. No harm done!

Side note: I left home at 17 and couldn’t cook to save my life, but this girl loved food and it became apparent to me I needed to learn a thing or two to survive. At one point I was living in New York and wasn’t able to come home for Thanksgiving. I asked my momma to mail me some recipes (cause that’s what you did back in those days) and in her gorgeous handwriting she wrote them down and mailed away. I still have them and pull them out each Thanksgiving (yes, my family calls me Kathy).Pea Salad

1 can peas – drained

2 chopped sweet pickles

2 pimentos chopped or small jar of  pimento

2 T. chopped onion (purple or red)

1 half of a block extra firm tofu, pressed overnight, drained and cut into to small pieces

2 T. unrefined sugar

3 T. juice off the sweet pickles

Salt and pepper to taste

Seriously just combine all the ingredients except the tofu, then add the tofu and stir gently, let rest in the fridge for several hours before serving.

I hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving. Be grateful for those gathered at your table and the chance to stop and give thanks together.

If you can’t be with the ones you love (you know who you are 😉) you can still find a way to be grateful by taking a silent moment of gratitude for them, toasting a glass of wine or bubbles in cheers to them, or doing this novel thing…dialing up the phone to call and tell them how much they mean to you. I’ll take all three!

Thankful for you.



Photos by Kat Mendenhall





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