Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkeyless Turkey Day ???

Several have asked, "just what DO you eat on Thanksgiving if you don't eat turkey?"

Well, I DO eat turkey (most years) because my mom usually makes a little one and I have some bites over there or she brings some bites here. But this year we won't be eating together since I'm hosting the Thanksgiving dinner at my church and mom isn't' up for that this year.

So this year we'll be having our vegetarian turkey loaf. I know your mouth is watering... much as it might just before you upchuck... But actually, it's pretty good. As my dear friend Linda says, "I don't make bad stuff".

Now, unfortunately, if you don't already have the ingredients for this on hand, you're probably out of luck this year. But you could get your pantry stocked before Christmas dinner rolls around.

The base product here is a vegetarian soy protein product that is produced by the Kellogg company and distributed through Morning Star Farms and Worthington. You've probably seen Morning Star Farms products in your local market's frozen foods section - vegetarian burgers (Grillers) and other sandwich patties are quite popular, also the "Meal Starters" soy protein meat substitutes.

The "Meatless Smoked Turkey" comes in a 4 lb. log about the size of one of those fire starter things, but it's a lot tastier. I'll share the recipe just in case you're wondering (or, perhaps you have your own frozen log of "Meatless Smoked Turkey" right now...)

Meatless Turkey Loaf

4 Cups Ground Soy Meat – Turkey or Chicken
1 Cup Light Cream
1 Cup Hot Water
1 teaspoon McKay’s Chicken Style Seasoning
1 teaspoon margarine
1 Cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs (Pepperidge Farms Stuffing)
½ Cup Chopped Onion
1 Cup Chopped Celery
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Accent
Salt to taste
Thyme to taste

Sauté onion and celery in 2 Tablespoons margarine.

Make broth of McKay’s, water and 1 teaspoon margarine. Combine all ingredients and pour into GREASED loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 ½ hours. Let stand 15 minutes before inverting.

Hints: After greasing loaf pan, lay wax paper cut to fit bottom without overlapping sides.
After loaf stands 15 minutes, invert and immediately peel wax paper from “top” of loaf.
Garnish with tops of celery stalk, radish flowers, pepper rings etc. Great for holiday dinners.

This is another family favorite that is SO yummy. Raw Cranberry Salad. The mere name just starts my juices flowing! I look forward to it every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas (the ONLY time we ever eat it...and a little tiny bit the day before and a couple of days after, if we're lucky.) This is a family recipe that was passed down from my great-grandmother, Bess. She made it up in the 1930's.

Now, if you're accustomed to eating that red jellied stuff with the can ridges still on it - you might just want to leave now. Close the browser and you may not want to ever come back. We just don't do things like that around here.

If you know me in real life, you know I'm all about EASY. This is NOT a difficult recipe - especially if you have a food processor.

Raw Cranberry Salad
Great Grandma Bess White, circa 1930

1-2 Cans Crushed Pineapple – drain and save juice
1 Pkg. Raspberry Jell-O (6 oz)
1 Pkg. Cherry Jell-O (6 oz)
1 Envelope Unflavored gelatin
2/3 Cup Sugar
2 Cup Boiling Water
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 ½ Cup Fresh Cranberries – ground (consistency of pickle relish)
1 Small Orange, wash, and grind in food processor
1 Cup Chopped Celery
1 Cup English Walnuts – chopped.

Add water to pineapple juice to make 1 cup of liquid. Dissolve Jell-O in 2 cups boiling water. Add lemon juice and pineapple liquid. Chill until partially set.

Add crushed pineapple and remaining ingredients.

Pour into 2 qt. mold or bowl and chill overnight.

This is best the second or third day.

It's probably too late for you to run out and get the ingredients and if the store is open - they're probably out of what you'd need. I know there's been no celery here for a couple of days now.

But THIS is a yummy twist you might have all the stuff for right in your pantry...

Sara's Mashed Potatoes

For 5 lbs. potatoes yellow golds - scrub half and peel the rest, cube and boil.

When the taters are fork tender, drain and either pour them back into your cooking pot or into a big ol' Kitchenaid mixing bowl.

Immediately throw in an 8 oz bar of cream cheese, 1 stick of salted butter and about 8 oz of sour cream. Throw in some Kosher salt and grind in some black pepper to taste.

Whip them up - but leave some lumps! (Yummmmm)

These taters don't need gravy to be good. It's totally OK, and still incredibly yummy to go low fat on the cream cheese and sour cream.

If you want garlic mashed potatoes, use red skinned potatoes and crush 6 or 7 cloves of garlic and throw them in the pot to boil with the potatoes.

An hour before you boil the potatoes, cut the top off a large head of garlic, drizzle with olive oil and grind some pepper on the top. Roast it in a 350 degree oven in a clay garlic roaster or heavy tin foil twisted at the top for about an hour.

After you drain the potatoes, throw in all that other stuff, and a few of those soft, roasted garlic cloves. You can throw in a half cup of Parmesan cheese too if you want - the fresh shredded stuff - not out of the green can... Oh man, baby! These are yummy and require NO gravy whatsoever!

Life is short - and good food makes it all that much better. Of all the things to be thankful for - FOOD has got to be right near the top of the list!

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. Today my friend Revis sent me this - and I think it's the perfect sign off...

May your stuffing be tasty

May your turkey be plump,

May your potatoes and gravy

Have never a lump.

May your yams be delicious

And your pies take the prize,

And may your Thanksgiving dinner

Stay off of your thighs!

(Just forget that "no lumpy potatoes" part...)


  1. Wishing you a Blissful Thanksgiving and a Bountiful year ahead!!!

    Love Ya!

  2. That all sounds absolutely delicious! But what about a recipe for sweet potatoes? Isn't that an American staple at Thanksgiving also? Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

  3. My sil made a vegetarian turkey one year. Thought I would hate it, but it was actually pretty darn good.

    Happy turkey day!

  4. Jealous here! I'd love to try some of your vegetarian Turkey loaf, but we will also be having a version of it for our thanksgiving dinner. Love to you and the family from us here in California.

  5. Happy (Non) Turkey Day!!!!
    Hope you all have a wonderful time at church!!!!
    :) Hugs, Heather S.

  6. I had a little of both today..the real thing was good..and so was the fake thing..all and all I felt well balanced.

  7. I ate a little meat for you this year. No ham....just turkey. Lisa~


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