Another Canadian Thanksgiving in the books for us in Europe, and I couldn’t be more thankful for what and who I have in my life. I’m so thankful for the opportunity that I have, to live and work in a different country with the person I love. I’m thankful for the health of my family and myself. I’m so thankful for the ability to live an active lifestyle. I’m thankful for my friends back home in Canada, and all of the friends I have met living abroad. I’m thankful for all the delicious food I have access to (and Belgian chocolate and beer). And of course I am thankful for my dog, Cooper.
Living abroad during holidays is a little bit difficult sometimes! It’s sad not being with my huge family back home, celebrating with all the people I love, and a big feast full of many pumpkin and apple desserts. Luckily, we are always able to make the best of it, and can be very thankful for what we have over here.
Each year we are lucky enough to have friends that are like family, and to be able to celebrate with them. Whether they are other Canadians who also want it to feel like home for the day, or European friends who have no idea what Thanksgiving is, and just come for the food, it’s always a good time. This year, I asked many of my friends here what they are thankful for, and as it’s not a holiday they practice here, they found it to be a really nice moment to express what they are grateful for in their lives!
This Thanksgiving was a little bit different for us, food wise! Last year, we were in the first couple of months of our vegetarian diet change, and we hosted a large dinner for many friends! As we wanted them to have a full Thanksgiving experience, I still cooked a turkey for them, and Rob and I just ate everything else but the Turkey.
This year, I decided to make a fully vegan Thanksgiving dinner, and man, it was delicious. I wanted to let you in on our menu, so for your next family holiday dinner, you too can try serving your guests a vegan meal!
We still had all of the Thanksgiving classics…mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and so on. I’ve been making my own stuffing for years, and luckily it’s always vegan, so nothing changed there! It’s a simple recipe with bread, carrots, celery, onion, vegetable stock, and lots of spices and herbs! I also use a flax egg instead of a real egg to help make it stay together a bit! Stuffing has, and always will be, my favourite part of Thanksgiving dinner. I also whipped up a quick batch of my butternut squash soup…which was EXTRA smooth and creamy thanks to my brand new Vitamix
Rob was in charge of the mashed potatoes this year (as a true Polish man he loves potatoes lol), and again, we kept them really simple! We use almond milk to add a little liquid creaminess when mashing! We also had the classic side dish of roasted carrots and sweet potato with maple syrup and brown sugar!
Our vegan gravy was what shocked us the most. It honestly was better than regular gravy, and so easy to make! I used a combination of vegan butter, onions, flour, vegetable stock, vegan worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and your typical ‘poultry’ seasonings to create this delicious, creamy, buttery, sauce to cover my entire plate.
And now a drumroll please…to replace the turkey…we made Oh She Glow’s Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls! These were ABSOLUTELY delicious. They were full of flavour, and were a perfect replacement for the turkey. They were even a hit among our non-vegan/vegetarian friends! They were pretty simple to make, and definitely didn’t require the 5 hours in the oven that a turkey usually does! The cranberries in them made these balls the perfect fall recipe. Will definitely be making these for many Thanksgivings to come.
Let’s face it, it isn’t Thanksgiving without some Thanksgiving themed dessert, right? Our meal was complete with Minimalist Baker’s Pumpkin Sugar Cookies, and her delicious, delicious apple crisp. One of our friends also brought a tasty chocolate cake to top everything off!
Overall, vegan Canadian Thanksgiving in Belgium was absolutely amazing. The food was great, and the company was even better. We all have so much to be thankful for, and should practice gratitude every day, not only for one day in October. So take a moment now, and think of what you are grateful for
Also…did I mention Thanksgiving leftovers………..YUM.