Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Virtual Thanksgiving Potluck with EatPrayBake

Happy Thanksgiving! Welcome to our First Virtual Potluck! What better way to connect with friends and family living elsewhere during this special holiday?

Around the same time last year, I recall making these delicious mashed potato-meatloaf cupcakes (previously featured on our blog) at Ricelessasian’s home in Toronto. Since I’m thousands of miles away in Vancouver now, I thought it would be a good idea to connect with my East Coast friends who I haven’t seen in a while and bake something ‘together’ this weekend. I’m so glad that my partner-in-crime, Ricelessasian, was also on board with the idea!

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Naturally, we decided to invite our friend and classmate Helen from EatPrayBake to participate in our virtual potluck. Helen is a fellow food blogger and a nutrition enthusiast. With her experience and interest in baking (especially in vegan treats :)), we thought she would be the perfect person to ask! To learn about some amazing vegan recipes and to see Helen’s potluck contribution (hearty Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagne & Baked Sweet Potato Fries), visit her post here: http://eatpraybake.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/virtual-thanksgiving-potluck-with-underground-culinary-lab/    We know we can’t wait to try out her recipes one day!

Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly to be thankful for each day, but because of this virtual ‘assignment’, I’m thankful for having such amazing friends and fellow food bloggers to share recipes and travel stories with.

Wishing and hoping you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving wherever you are,

– Matchachoco

Criteria for the Potluck
1. Prepare a homemade dish
2. Use pumpkin as the Thanksgiving-related key ingredient

Pumpkin Bread (Ricelessasian’s contribution)

In keeping up with the pumpkin-themed baking Matchachoco has been doing lately, I decided to bake a simple pumpkin bread recipe for the virtual Thanksgiving potluck.

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To be honest, I’m not really a huge fan of pumpkin desserts, but I recall enjoying a piece of pumpkin bread sample that I once got to try during a school event. Fortunately, recipe cards were also being given away at the event, and I was able to get the recipe for the pumpkin bread. Now I often misplace recipe cards that I get, but for some reason, I did not lose this one. I’m glad I didn’t! It’s been hanging around in my room for about two years now, and it’s only now I that I finally get to use it 😛

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Some changes I made to the recipe were using canned pumpkin puree (to save time) and garnishing the top of the bread with pumpkin seeds. The pumpkin seeds did not only give the bread a nice touch, but it also gave the pumpkin bread another layer of texture along with the walnuts.

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I think I might have slightly overbaked the pumpkin bread as the crust felt a bit dry to me. However, the inside of the pumpkin bread still turned out soft, moist, and had fine crumbs—just how I wanted it. I found myself snacking on the pumpkin bread in small pieces throughout the day (help!).

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P.S. I already ate two slices by the time I took the last photo.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies (Matchachoco’s contribution)

Recipe: http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/cookies/r/pmpkncookies.htm

I think this was one of the simplest recipes I’ve made, but ironically my sister said this is one of the top 5 things I’ve ever baked. Haha which begs the question: is the simple route the best way to go?  Knowing me, I really love to take on a good challenge and get bored of making something rather ordinary sometimes. But I don’t think I’ll hesitate to make these cookies for another potluck in the near future.

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I enjoyed this recipe for many reasons! My favourite part about this cookie was that it was chewy in the center and a little crunchy on the bottom. I also had most of the ingredients already at home in my baking drawers (woohoo!), which was pretty awesome. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any dairy-free chocolate chips at home to make this authentically vegan, but this recipe is versatile enough to be made for those without any dietary restrictions as well.

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I originally thought this recipe would taste too ‘healthy’ for my family, in terms of them being bland, but the addition of dark chocolate chips made the cookies rather decadent and rich. The chips really spruced up the subtle flavour of the pumpkin and oats. This is definitely one guilt-free cookie that you can really love and enjoy second and third rounds!

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Balsamic Kale and Cranberry Pasta

It’s that time of the year again! Leaves are turning brown, everything is pumpkin-spiced, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This week is also my reading week at school, so I get to have some time to cook/bake again 😀

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Here’s a dish inspired by Laura Vitale’s Kale with Cranberries and Balsamic. This is one of my favorite ways to cook kale, and the cranberries give the dish some sweetness and a Thanksgiving feel to it.  I added pasta (I’m not really sure what type of pasta I used, but it’s a cool shape!) and some toasted walnuts to Laura’s recipe. I love the combination of ingredients, and I think it makes such a light and healthy autumn-themed dish, in contrast to Thanksgiving dishes which tend to be very heavy. If you like, you can finish it off with a sprinkling of some Parmesan cheese.

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This dish could be part of the Thanksgiving table as a light alternative, or if you’re looking for a recipe to make using leftover turkey, it can be included to the dish as well for added protein.

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Hope you’re having a great Autumn!

Kale me maybe,

– Ricelessasian

No-fuss Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Happy Autumn everyone! It was sad to give summer a farewell party a few weeks ago, but I quickly remembered that the best is yet to come this year. Yes, I’m talking about PUMPKIN SEASON.  The best part about the month of October is having the excuse to make all kinds of festive pumpkin desserts. When the amazing aromas of holiday spices like nutmeg and cinnamon fill your kitchen, you’ll start to realize that the end of summer ain’t all that bad.

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I wanted to make a lighter and healthier alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie. I did a little research online and found this lovely vegan recipe. This recipe is perfect for those who want to make a no-fuss, quick and simple recipe. Most of the ingredients are mixed together in a food processor – easy peasy! Though the recipe makes 6 mini sized pies, I made a large 9 inch pie instead, with some left over batter.

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I was surprised to see one special ingredient in this recipe which was tofu! Ricelessasian mentioned before that tofu can also be used in vegan brownies, which we may feature in a future post. Along with the added nutritional benefits of tofu, it added a creaminess to the pumpkin puree mixture, which was great!

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To even make this lower in calories or sugar, you can substitute the regular graham cracker crumbs with store-bought low-fat graham cracker crumbs or make your own homemade crumbs. You can also remove the pecans on the top if you wish to reduce calories; however, I think it looks much festive with them on – don’t you agree? 😉

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Enjoy the everything-pumpkin season!

– Matchachoco

A Modern Thanksgiving Twist

I remember as a kid that it would take at least two days for my parents to prepare a Thanksgiving meal including time to defrost, marinate, roast the 12 pound turkey and prep for other side dishes. It wasn’t really until these last few years away from home that I’ve been really able to appreciate the time and effort that my parents went through to make Thanksgiving a special day out of the year for my family.

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Our first attempt

Through experience, with ‘X’ number of dinners under my belt, I’ve realized that Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be overly complicated. This year, taking refuge at Ricelessasian’s lovely home for Thanksgiving was a unique experience because we had the opportunity of revolutionizing our own Thanksgiving and create our own new traditions. Ricelessasian suggested that we should create a modern twist to the traditional cupcake by making a savory Thanksgiving-themed cupcake. She found the perfect recipe – which was a very refreshing take on the traditional, often bland-tasting, meatloaf. I enjoyed this recipe also because it uses turkey which makes it a leaner, more guilt-free alternative. And who could forget mentioning the faux cupcake ‘frosting’ of roasted garlic mashed potatoes topped up with cranberries? Cuteness overload.

I was impressed with the overall flavour profile. It was a simple recipe but all the flavours associated with Thanksgiving that I was nostalgic for, were there – all in one cupcake. Who would have thought?

It was a real treat for me to help make, and eat, all while in good company.

Happy Thanksgiving,

– Matchachoco

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Turkey Meatloaf Cupcakes with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potato Frosting (makes 9-12 cupcakes) 
Turkey meatloaf recipe from Skinny Taste

Ingredients

For the meatloaf cupcakes:
1.3 lb extra lean ground turkey
1 cup grated zucchini, all moisture squeezed dry with paper towel
2 tbsp onion, minced
1/2 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1/4 cup ketchup
1 egg
1 tsp kosher salt

For the roasted garlic mashed potatoes:
3 large to medium yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped into equal size pieces
2 garlic bulbs
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Garnish:
Dried cranberries
Dehydrated thyme

Directions

Turkey Meatloaf

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, zucchini, onion, breadcrumbs, ketchup, egg, and salt.
  3. Place meatloaf mixture into muffin tins and bake for about 18-20 minutes until cooked through.

Roasted garlic mashed potatoes

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. To roast garlic bulbs, chop each garlic bulb horizontally and spread olive oil into the cut portion of the garlic. Wrap the garlic bulbs tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for about 45 minutes. Once the roasted garlic has cooled, squeeze out the garlic from the bulb. Set roasted garlic aside.
  2. Boil potatoes in a large pot with salted water until potatoes are fork tender. Meanwhile, heat milk and butter in a saucepan.
  3. Using a potato ricer, mash the potatoes with the roasted garlic. Slowly add milk and butter mixture to the mashed potatoes just until you get the consistency you want. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the cupcakes, pipe the mashed potatoes using a decorative piping tip on top of the meatloaf. Sprinkle with dehydrated thyme and garnish with dried cranberries. Serve with gravy, of course 😉

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