Thanksgiving Vegetable Trio

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We were feeling especially thankful (pun intended!) to Raddish Kids for including this trio of vegetables recipes in Travis’s Gourmet Gobble kit. And yes, you can make all three in the amount of time that a vegan roast cooks in the oven!

Spinach Gratin

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Ingredients:

  • 20 ounces frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 and 1/4 cups plain non-dairy creamer
  • 1/4 cup vegan Parmesan shreds
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded vegan mozzarella.
  1. Place the spinach in a colander and thaw under hot running water. Squeeze out excess water and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add the creamer, Parmesan, garlic powder, and salt.
  3. Spoon the spinach mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle with the mozzarella. Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes, until bubbly.

Orange-Glazed Carrots

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound carrots
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  1. Peel the carrots and cut into 1/2-inch rounds. Transfer to small saucepan and add the orange juice, butter, and salt.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for 7 minutes.
  3. Uncover and continue to cook for 20 minutes, or until the juice is a thick glaze. Sprinkle with the thyme before serving.

Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts

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Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds small Brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 slices cooked and chopped vegan bacon (such as Lightlife)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Trim the Brussels sprouts and slice in half. Transfer to a bowl and add the olive oil and salt.
  2. Spoon onto a baking sheet lined with foil and bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the chopped bacon and maple syrup.

The verdict was yum to all three of these! The recipe card had fun facts we could check out over our meal, including food differences between the first Thanksgiving and the modern era, and tips on getting kids to try new foods.

To wit: Next we want to try Brussels sprouts chips (the outermost leaves tossed with a little oil and baked at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes)…

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…or shaved raw Brussels sprouts tossed with dressing for a salad.

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Turkey Cheeseball Appetizer

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This appetizer is not only adorable, but delicious, too!

Ingredients:

  • 5 multigrain crackers
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 8 ounces vegan cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoon Earth Balance butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Crackers (for serving)
  • Pretzel sticks (for serving)
  • Red bell pepper strips (for serving)
  • Raisins (for serving)
  1. Place the crackers in a zip-top plastic bag and seal, then crush with a rolling pin. Mince the thyme and rosemary, and add to the cracker crumbs.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter, salt, garlic powder, and 1 tablespoon crumb mixture; beat until blended. Spoon the mixture onto plastic wrap, wrap up, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. To serve, spoon the cream cheese mixture into a bowl and shape into a ball with a smaller ball on top as the turkey’s head. Use additional crackers and pretzels as tail feathers, two raisins for eyes, and two bell pepper pieces for the wattle.
  4. Serve with more crackers, pretzels, bell pepper sticks, and raisins. Gobble gobble!

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Bacon-Wrapped Dates

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This two-ingredient appetizer makes quick work of the first course for a holiday meal. Travis loved prepping the dates… and then loved the taste so much he nearly ate it all himself!

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Ingredients:

  • 9 slices vegan bacon (such as Lightlife)
  • 9 pitted dates
  1. Working with 1 bacon slice at a time, place on a cutting board and place a date on one edge. Roll up tightly, then secure with a toothpick. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil.
  2. Repeat with the remaining dates and bacon slices; bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.

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Six Thanksgiving Games

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We’re celebrating Thanksgiving without extended family this year, and no doubt your family is, too. But don’t think little… Think big! To make the holiday special for the kids, I still wanted a big feast, special recipes, the parade on TV, and lots of silly or thought-provoking games. While recipes simmer in the kitchen, treat your kids to the following:

Turkey Feather Float:

For this first game, we took turns blowing a craft feather up in the air. The player than shouts out a Thanksgiving food (Sweet potatoes! Cornbread!) and then gives another huff to keep the feather afloat.

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It’s a lot trickier than it sounds!

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Kernel Counting:

Candy corn isn’t vegan, but we had some in the house for non-vegan family and it was the perfect seasonal candy for this activity. Give each player a bowl or plate filled with candy corn as well as an empty plate and a plastic spoon.

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Set the timer and see who can transfer the most kernels in one minute. Bonus parent move: you’re sneaking in some math, too! If you have big kids and want to make it trickier, have players hold the spoon in their mouth, instead.

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Potato Roll:

You’ll earn super-silly points for this one: Take a few extra potatoes from your mashed potato pile (round red potatoes worked best), and have kids move them across a room using only their nose. First one across is the hot potato!

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The kids not only got a kick out of this, but then wanted to play potato toss and potato soccer. On a rainy Thanksgiving day, why not?

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Thanksgiving Menu:

Print out a colorful menu template and and then talk your kids through the meal, everything from apps to dessert. It was fun for Travis to see it all written up, and older kids might want to write out the recipes themselves!

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Thanksgiving Poll:

While chatting with relatives (whether in person or over Zoom!) poll them on their favorite Thanksgiving foods, whether during the main course or at pie-time. Travis then tallied up the results in two ways.

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We used a bar chart for the main course answers and a pie chart (ha) for the dessert answers. More sneaky holiday math!

Thanksgiving Chatterbox:

This classic origami game is easy to adapt for Thanksgiving. We used a template from Raddish Kids with funny suggestions hiding behind the numbers like “Pretend it’s windy for the next 5 minutes” or “Make up a song about pumpkins and sing it”.

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Your kids can easily come up with their own actions, too. Needless to say, the chatterbox had us giggling around our dessert table. The above link has a reminder on the rules of the game, as well as a how-to for folding the chatterbox paper.

Happy Thanksgiving!