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Thanksgiving is upon us once again here in cattle country and while we may not enjoy the turkey, we are saying thanks for all of the vegetarian and vegan options available to us. From Tofurkey and Field Roast to desserts, there really is something for everyone. We will gather with friends and family who have a range of dietary requirements and can’t wait to see how some of the dishes go over. Here are a few of our favorites, and ways we will alter them to appease vegetarians and still appeal to the rest.

Main Dish:

Tofurkey and Field Roast both have a stuffed roast for holiday gatherings. This year, since we’ve procrastinated, we’ll go with whichever is left when we get to the market. We’ve historically made a Tofurkey roast, and we love them, but Field Roast has found its way onto our favorites list with other meat substitutes, so we’d like to try the celebration roast a try. For our meat-eating guests, we’ve secured a free range, organic turkey from


Green bean casserole is pretty much vegetarian as long as you leave out any bacon pieces, so that’s a no brainer. Just replace any chicken broth with vegetable broth if making this from scratch, or check the cream of mushroom soup can to ensure you are getting a vegetarian version.

There is this aunt who makes amazing cornbread stuffing. Of course, her original version uses chicken broth, but when we started playing with the vegetarian lifestyle in these parts, she took it upon herself to make a batch with vegetable broth one year. Everyone loved it! The only thing she changed was the broth; so if you have a favorite family recipe, give that a try. (She did not use bacon grease to season her cornbread pans in the first place, but if your recipe calls for that method, you might want to use vegetable oil, instead.)

Gravy is tricky. Since it typically comes from drippings, it’s not exactly vegetarian friendly. We’ve made some from milk and vegetable bouillon powder with a little cornstarch to thicken it. While it tasted great, it turned out green and visitors didn’t care to try it. (Who can blame them? This isn’t a Dr. Seuss story.) We’ll go with mushroom gravy this year, but would love to hear about any vegetarian or vegan gravy recipe you enjoy.

Candied yams are one of those sides that really should be dessert. The marshmallows, red hots, and generous amounts of brown sugar rival any pie we can think of. While the vegetarians can only enjoy this if the marshmallows used are vegan, Sweet & Sara brand makes it possible to alter this for everyone while maintaining the flavor.

We have this desert/side that we’ve dubbed Green Shit. Yes, it’s green, but it’s quite delicious. Basically, it’s a cottage cheese salad, but since it was historically made with green Jell-O, it’s not vegetarian friendly without alteration. We’ve used pistachio powder, and that came out like silk, but not as solid as we had hoped. La Cocina Encantada has a beautiful recipe for a vegan pistachio pudding that might go well in our recipe, so we’ll try that. While the carnivorous family members typically laugh at the Tofurkey roast, we’ll give this a try and see if they can tell the difference. While the cottage cheese definitely is not vegan, at least it will lack the gelatin in the original version. Alternatively, lime flavoring and agar agar will make a jiggly desert, so that might work, too.

We’d love to hear from you about your favorite items and alterations around the holiday season.

Until next we meet, enjoy great food and keep a happy heart.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving; we’ll see you next week.

We’ve often talked about how great it would be to have a fridge full of food we could  just heat and eat without all the chemicals and preservatives involved in typical packaged meals. How much we would love to open the pantry and find measured ingredients already chopped and ready to assemble, if only we weren’t too cheap to hire personal chefs. Then we found Greenling.

With locations in Austin, San Antonio and now Dallas, Greenling delivers certified organic and locally grown groceries to your door. And the best part: you pick your level of involvement! If you want to plan your meals and order ingredients to prepare yourself, do it. If, like us, you dream of a time when someone will not only suggest what you should eat each day, but also wash, measure, chop and package everything you’ll need to make that dish, your dreams just came true.

We first heard about Greenling when a friend posted a 10% discount coupon on FaceBook. While we didn’t immediately use the coupon, we did research the service that we knew was too good to be true. Besides, even the Jimmy John’s a few miles away doesn’t deliver to this area, so what are the chances something this specialized will? Well, we were wrong. This is too good, but it’s also true. On top of that, the greater Dallas area’s delivery service even goes to the suburbs. Is this real life? Organic vegetables, delivered to your door, AND you can support local farmers? Yep. It’s real life, all right. We went with the Station 2 prepared diet plan and got our first box on Friday.

Screenshot of 100 degree tempurature on Friday, July 20 from dateandtime.comStill skeptical, we opened the bright green box thinking we’d find a wilted vegetable stew. Instead, we found a still-cold (after sitting on a porch for a couple of hours at least) box of bags, cans and crisp vegetables all bundled and marked with “Day 1” to “Day 5” depending on when we should use them based on the plan we ordered. (More versatility is available, too, we just didn’t want to think about anything in the first week.)

First impressions of this company are good. Our packing slip, taped to the outside of the box, had listed answers to ordering questions. One of those questions referred to pets, so we, being a bit silly (although honest) said we officially had cats, but listed some of the random other critters that wander around our place, including skunks and coyotes. The person packing our box actually too the time to be silly back and hand wrote a note. Kudos to any company who embraces fun and passes it along, even if they don’t see us in person.

Welcome packet with recipes, discounts and a stickerFrom the top, we found a welcome packet with an advertising bumper sticker, company brochure and refer a friend coupon. Our recipe kit for “5-Day Meal Kit 3” from the Engine 2 Diet listed what we would eat for each of the next five days, with ingredient lists and recipes that included “hands-on time estimates.” We removed the packing materials and a freezer pack that covered everything, keeping it cold.

Greenling box items, organized by day to useUnderneath, we saw potatoes in paper bags, pre-measured peppers, salsa, and other refrigerator items in their own plastic cups, and everything organized into bags to make unpacking as mindless as possible. Had we not been taking pictures of the entire process, we could have been finished unloading and had the box ready to return in less than five minutes. (It may have taken 15 with the discussion and random stops to snap a shot.) The bottom of the box is lined with shredded newspaper and more packing material.

We ordered enough to have one meal for two each day for five days. That’s 10 meals ready to assemble and eat. Our total came to 81.99, including a one-time container deposit of $10, putting our meals at just over $7 a pop. We did get a 10% discount on this order (Thanks!), but even at $8 a meal, that’s still what we normally pay when go to a restaurant. Only we know these ingredients are organic and often locally grown. Some of the farmers listed on Greenling’s site are in Rockwall. That’s only about 20 minutes by car from where we opened the box. You can’t get too much more local than that without growing the food yourself.

Yes, some assembly is required, so if you are allergic to your kitchen, this won’t be your best option. For us, though, knowing we can order a week’s worth of food and just put it together like a Lego set is perfect. We’ll let you know how the recipes turn out next time.

Until next we meet, enjoy great food and keep a happy heart.

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

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