Tag Archives: cheesecake

Thanksgiving Meal Ideas {vegan}

thanksgiving meal ideasThanksgiving can be a really fun or really stressful holiday for vegans. While Thanksgiving is about family and giving thanks, 46 million turkeys are raised just to be slaughtered for this one day. Not to mention the number of undercover videos and charges of animal abuse exposing huge companies like Butterball. I try my best to have a compassionate Thanksgiving. I like having a small “Thanksliving” meal at our house that is completely vegan and cruelty-free. Last year we had a combination of a pre-made Gardein Holiday Roast and a bunch of homemade sides. I’m still debating doing another Gardein roast this year or to do stuffed seitan.

Gardein Stuffed Roast

The following recipes are all either my own recipes, or recipes I’ve tried and would recommend as part of a delicious holiday meal. Whether you are looking to put together a completely vegan spread, or are just looking to make a vegan dish for guests, all of these are guaranteedto please.

And don’t forget to adopt a turkey! This is a Thanksgiving tradition that we started doing 3 years ago. You can adopt up until Nov. 24th and chose email certificate to have it in time for Thanksgiving this year.

Main CoursesDSC_1778

Seitan -Try this one stuffed with shiitakes and leeks.

Harvest Stuffed Portobellos – I made these a few years ago for my mom for Thanksgiving, and we both loved them.

Pot Pie or Shephard’s Pie (I like making the pot pie in a large baking dish instead of ramekins and making drop biscuits for the top)

Pre-made meals like Gardein, Tofurkey, or Field Roast. (We’ve had all of the different Gardein Turk’y varieties and really like them. Just make sure you buy double whatever the serving size says on the package, ie if it says “serves 8” it’s closer to 3-4 real servings.)

Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Sides

Veggies and dip – Slice up some veggies and pair with 1 container of Tofutti Sour Cream and vegetable dip packet of your choice.

Mashed potatoes – Use your normal recipe and sub butter with non-dairy margarine and milk for almond/soy milk.

Mushroom Gravy – I usually skip the wine and just add more broth or water.

Cranberry sauce – If you’ve never had real cranberry sauce, give this super simple recipe a try.

Cranberry Sauce

Stuffing – I love stuffing, this is a great basic recipe. I like to throw in cranberries too.

Deviled potatoes – These are really good!

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts 

“Cheddar” Bay Biscuits

Roasted Veggies

Pumpkin and Corn Curry Soup

Mac and Cheese or this sweet potato mac and cheese

mushrooms8Stuffed Mushrooms

Green Bean Casserole – I do this super simple and roast green beans with minced garlic, onions, and loads of nutritional yeast.

Pumpkin Pie

Desserts

Pumpkin Pie – Make this! It’s simple and amazing.

Cheesecake (or these mini pumpkin cheesecakes)

Apple Pie

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting – This is one of my absolute favorites.

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies

Italian Apple Cake – Another Chloe Coscarelli recipe that is out of this world.

Cranberry Orange/Pineapple Bread – Really good!

Cranberry mini loaf

What will you be eating this Thanksgiving? Do you have any family traditions that you do every year?

Weekend Update: Birthday Edition

Saturday was my birthday and yesterday was my government birthday*. The celebrations started on Thursday with a trip to Vegan Treats in Bethlehem, about 2 hours away.

Vegan Treats display case
Vegan Treats display case

We got a chocolate encased chocolate chip cheesecake on a stick, a soft serve ice cream cone, 2 cannolis to take home, and a cannoli cake for Saturday. The cheesecake was good, it was very rich and a bit too sweet for me…not that it stopped me from eating it.

Chocolate Encased Chocolate Chip Cheesecake (on a stick)
Chocolate Encased Chocolate Chip Cheesecake (on a stick)

The soft serve was blueberry cheesecake swirl and it was AMAZING. It was probably the best soft serve (dairy or non) that I’ve ever had. I kept saying “this is SO good!” despite all of my husband’s massive eye rolls.

Blueberry Cheese Cake Swirl
Blueberry Cheese Cake Swirl

We ate the cannolis later that night (yes we gorged on sugar that day), and they reminded me of getting pizza and cannolis on Saturday nights from this Italian restauant as a kid. We’d stop every night after dance class, and while we wouldn’t *always* get cannolis, it was probably my favorite part. I like the plain ones better as opposed to the chocolate dipped ones, but they were both to die for. I think I actually started eating healthier when I became vegan because the sheer amount of crap wasn’t as easily available. I’m pretty glad Vegan Treats is 2 hours away, otherwise I’d probably be 20 lbs heavier, and a lot poorer.

Cannolis
Cannolis

My parents came down for the weekend to visit. I made mock lobster rolls for dinner on Friday, and my mom’s favorite enchilladas on Saturday. (Speaking of my mother, the 27th marked her 1 year vegan anniversary! She had blood work done from WellnessFX, and her cholesterol levels are now awesome!) We had the cannoli cake for dessert and it was great. I was a little nervous at first because I used to fall for all the pretty cakes in the glass display at the local diner, but they never had any flavor, they just tasted like sugar.

Cannoli Cake from Vegan Treats
Cannoli Cake from Vegan Treats

This one was pretty and it was tasty. The chocolate was moist and rich, and the cannoli cream was slightly tart. It probably could’ve had a little less frosting on the outside, but once again, I ate it with no complaints.

Cannoli Cake from Vegan Treats
Cannoli Cake from Vegan Treats

My husband ordered me chocolates from premiumchocolatiers.com, and I have love/hate feelings about it. He got me 3 packs of No-No’s (both plain and “peanot butter”), 6 chocolate bars (2 dark, 2 milk(less), 2 white), and 3 packs of peanot butter cups. Everything is delicious (yes, I’ve tried a little bit of everything), but the peanot butter cups taste almost identical to Reeses cups, except more flavorful. I love the taste, but oh my goodness I have zero self control. Just knowing the stuff is in the fridge is torture.

Vegan Candy
Vegan Candy

Oh a slightly healthier note, I did Jillian Michael’s Yoga Inferno level 1 this past week, and thought it was pretty good. Not going to lie, I kind of skipped the cardio parts, and just went into a deeper stretch, but I was sore for the next few days, which is always a good thing.

I’m also thinking about starting the Whole30 in a few weeks. I generally eat pretty healthy, but I need to kick this newly found sugar habit. If anyone has any tips, especially for vegan meals, I’d love to hear them. I think my plan is to find a few basic meals and repeat them 4 times or so.

(*The day I was actually born on is not the same day the SSA/IRS says I was born on, and they refuse to change it. So two birthdays for me!!!)

Raspberry Cheesecake

cheesecake2As a vegan, it’s always a little weird going to people’s houses for meals, especially big holiday gatherings. There’s a fine line between politely declining something, and seeming like a snob. I always get a little nervous, just because I don’t want people to think I’m being pretentious, and I also don’t want anyone to feel they have to cater to me. (Although, my aunt made a vegan tofu dish one time when I was home visiting, and the fact that she went out of the way to do that blew me out of the water.)

For Easter this year, we were going to my husband’s aunt’s house, so I wanted to make sure we brought something. For one, so that I would have something to eat and it wouldn’t be awkward just sitting there while everyone else was eating, and second, to show people that vegan food can taste good. To insure the latter, I wanted to be sure to make something not weird, and it had to be appealing.

We brought macaroni and cheese (from Chloe’s Kitchen, which I HIGHLY recommend), and a raspberry cheesecake. Everyone really enjoyed both, and no one even suspected they were vegan. The macaroni and cheese basically disappeared, and my husband (who never says anything is more than “okay”) made sure that we brought home the few pieces of cheesecake that were left and brought them into work for a snack.

Both dishes were a small step down from the usually more healthy dishes I make at home, but they are great meals to feed to non-vegans. And they both taste totally amazing. Recipe is down below.

Notes: I like to use ginger snap cookies for the crust, because the flavor goes really well with the cheesecake. My husband and mother, neither who like ginger snaps, like the crust because it doesn’t have a strong ginger flavor. It’s more sweet and buttery. Also, this cake will take about an hour and 45 minutes to bake, it will need to cool on the counter at room temperature, and then will need to set in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours so plan ahead. I made this one the day before Easter.

cheesecake

The consistency is exactly like a normal cheesecake.

cheesecake11It’s sweet and slightly tangy just like a normal cheesecake, too.

swirls

I got a little carried away with all the raspberry swirls.

swirls0swirls1cheesecake3

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, vegan
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 1.5 cups cookie crumbs (ginger snaps or other)
  • ⅓ cup melted margarine (more if needed)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
Filling
  • 3 (8 ounce) containers vegan cream cheese (I like to use Tofutti)
  • 1.5 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
Instructions
  1. Spray a 9 inch spring form pan lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Crush up cookies or blend in processor.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine cookie crumbs with non-dairy butter and sugar. You can add a little more melted butter if the mixture won't stick together.
  4. Press mixture into bottom of pan.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a food processor or blender.
  6. Add lemon juice. Start with 3 tbsp, taste, and then add more if desired.
  7. Finally, beat in the cornstarch.
  8. If you're doing swirls or fruit on top, blend fresh or frozen fruit in a blender, then heat in a small sauce pan until liquid. This should only take a few minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and stir 1-2 tbsp of the filling mixture into the fruit sauce to give it a thicker consistency.
  10. Pour the filling into the crust and then dollop the fruit topping onto the cake. Run a knife through the the dollops of fruit and swirl around the cake.
  11. Bake for 45 minutes. Then turn off oven and let bake for another hour.
  12. Let cool on the counter in pan on a wire rack and cover with an inverted plate. Once room temperature, set in fridge at least 6 hrs.
Notes
I like to use ginger snap cookies for the crust, because the flavor goes really well with the cheesecake. My husband and mother, neither who like ginger snaps, like the crust because it doesn't have a strong ginger flavor. It's more sweet and buttery. Also, this cake will take about an hour and 45 minutes to bake, it will need to cool on the counter at room temperature, and then will need to set in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours so plan ahead. I made this one the day before Easter.

If you’d like another amazing cheesecake recipe (Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes anyone?), head over to Tofutti’s blog, where they featured one of my recipes!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes