Happy Trails Compassionate Thanksgiving Dinner

Can you believe Thanksgiving is only 2 weeks away? Get planning, folks! Last weekend I had the honor of attending Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary's annual Compassionate Thanksgiving event in my hometown of Stow. After speaking with our tablemates, it became clear that this year's event was much more hopping than previous years. Just look at that line for food! I couldn't capture the entire line, plus we went up in sections to get our food because the place was so packed!

In such a small urban area like northeast Ohio, I was truly shocked, impressed, and touched to find so many vegans or veg-friendly folks gathered in one spot. The real kicker? I didn't know any of them! So my handful of vegan friends weren't even a part of the total tally! It was a great feeling. Reminded me of VVC. <3

The event's catering was provided recipes by Chef Scot of the late VegiTerranean. This was the major pull for me deciding to attend, seeing as I won't have another chance to eat Veg recipes, since the place closed down. The meal was fantastic, too. Gut-busting, even - I couldn't move afterwards! Let's begin.

Appetizers were served upon our arrival: butternut squash hummus with pita bread and veggies, as well as a nice and simple veggie dip. This hummus was outstanding! I can never make a decent hummus, but I'm seriously going to try my hand at this one... it was thick and creamy, slightly sweet with that familiar tang of lemon and the heartiness of the chickpeas. Damn. (I foolishly went back for seconds!)

First course: celery root soup and greens salad with roasted root vegetables, dried cherries, and a balsamic vinaigrette. The soup really shined here, and I had no idea what to expect, never having had celery root anything. It was creamy and mild, reminding me of broccoli stems (yum) and with the right balance of saltiness. I no longer fear the celery root!

The salad... I was not crazy about. There's something about roasted vegetables served cold that turns me off. Plus I couldn't identify some of the veggies and that worried me. There were some odd textures and it just didn't add up. The cherries and balsamic, however, complemented the greens nicely and so we both ate around the veggies.

Oh gosh, the main course. How did I ever have room? Here we have stuffing and a thin, herby gravy, sweet potato casserole, green beans, and Gardein's Savory Stuffed Turk'y. The plate was just wonderful: sweet, salty, crunchy, creamy. The turk'y, which I've prepared on my own and loved, was a bit dry, but I attribute this to the buffet-style serving method (heating element underneath and open air above). I hope this did not turn anyone away from this impressive product.

And what's that hiding in the background? Pumpkin pie? VEGAN pumpkin pie?! Yes. It was delicious, delicious torture to polish off this slice, but I made it happen folks...

We had happy bellies, good conversation with our fellow guests, and a renewed understanding that Thanksgiving can be delicious and enjoyable without cruelty.

Ahh, and here is proof of my homemade turk'y dish! Served with canned green beans (nostalgia!) and smashed red tatoes with garlic. The gravy that comes with these nuggets of awesome is some of the best I've tasted, by the way. Give it a try!

Now, onto planning for Thanksgiving proper! I will be having my dad, his partner, and my brother over again this year and am serving up our fourth year of vegan T-give eats and sweets. What are you super-mega-excited to create this year??

Labels: ,