a not quite traditional thanksgiving menu

ok, so here is what will be cooking at my house on thanksgiving day.

that soup up there is supposed to have toasted pepitas as a garnish but i walked right past them at trader joes so you are going to have to imagine what they'd look like.


pumpkin soup with toasted pepitas
(recipe below)

garden lettuces with local oranges, dried cranberries and walnuts
(recipe coming)

white bistro chili enchiladas
(recipe coming)

spicy potato stacks
i use half the oil they recommend and they come out great.

assorted tortillas

apple pie with vanilla soy ice-cream

spicy pumpkin soup with pepitas

1 cup vegetable broth
1 heaping T of jarred jalepenos
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 can light coconut milk
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice

i chop the jalepeno finely and then add the rest of the ingredients to a saucepan and whisk it all together.
i like mine a bit hotter so i garnish mine with more chopped jalepeno.
top with toasted pepitas


hey did you know that you'd save more water by not eating a pound of meat
than you would by
not taking a shower for 6 months.

something to think about.


  1. Amazing little fact about water conservation. Hard to believe--But I do when it's you telling me the facts.

    Also, that menu sounds so good! I would rather come to your house for Thanksgiving than where I'm headed.

  2. That menu sounds gorgeous, I should introduce thanksgiving here, much better idea than Xmas!
    Fascinating fact about the meat! xxx

  3. This Thanksgiving Dinner sounds so divine, I'm rethinking my plan.

    Do y'all know Almond Dream vanilla ice cream? It's the best ice cream I've ever had

    On the water front ....

    Water Saved By a Plant-Based Diet

    Per Day*--
    Meat-Centered Diet = 4,000 gallons of water
    Vegetarian = 1,200 gallons of water
    Vegan = 300 gallons of water
    2,500 gallons of water yields--
    100 pounds of potatoes
    50 pounds of fruit
    1 pound of meat

    See the rundown here:

    The numbers on greenhouse gases on the IDA 'quick facts' are from '06. A widely cited 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Livestock's Long Shadow, estimates that 18 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions are attributable to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, pigs, and poultry. But recent analysis by Goodland and Anhang finds that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions.

    World Watch Report

    Great chart here

    Veganism & the Environment: BY THE NUMBERS

  4. I really liked your post on how to handle dinner invitations. From a non-vegan/vegetarian standpoint you handle it really well and I wouldn't be offended if I invited you to dinner. I am wondering about this Thanksgiving menu. Don't your sons eat with you and don't they want turkey? Would you be offended if a guest brought meat? I am asking because my in-laws are vegetarian, and I HATE the fake meat. They always bring their fake meat when they come over to my parents for dinners and I think it should work both ways. Thoughts?

    1. all of my family love these enchiladas and b/c they are a lot of work i rarely make them so they all look forward to this meal. also, a big old turkey on the table appeals to no one in my family so there is that too.

      i am not offended when people bring meat here. 2 yrs ago we had some relatives come by during the holiday season and they brought chicken croissant sandwiches and it didn't bother me at all.

      the way i look at it is that it is only one day. we can all be a little more kind and grateful, even if it means stepping out of our comfort zone.

    2. Janet, may I say this: I love you! :) Really, you touch my heart.

  5. I'm going to make your spicy pumpkin soup..!

    On your prior section, Claudia was asking about protein in vegan diet. It's almost impossible to get a protein deficiency.
    As long as you are eating any reasonable selection of unrefined plant foods, if you take care of the calories, the protein takes care of itself.
    The scientific evidence has been clear for over a century. In order to get a deficiency of protein, or any of the essential amino acids, you'd have to eat a bizarre diet.
    You'd have to eat nothing but apples, or nothing but extracted sugars and fats, or (as is much more likely) nothing but alcohol.
    Also, check out Dr. Greger’s video on vegan protein status showing that vegans had higher circulating protein levels than omnivores due to reduced inflammation in the liver.

    Elizabeth - I'll give you my answer to the question you asked Janet. YES I'd be offended if a guest brought meat to my house. It's only ONE meal - if they feel they HAVE to have turkey meat they can not come over. I want to see what answer Janet & other vegans give. This topic was discussed at length the other day on Mc Dougall forums.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.


    2. meant to add this:

      Also, check out Dr. Greger’s video on vegan protein status showing that vegans had higher circulating protein levels than omnivores due to reduced inflammation in the liver.

    3. Shell,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share the important health information. Very helpful. Much appreciated.

      Sam Twain

    4. sam, don't you think shell needs to write a blog? i keep telling her to start one!
      shell - you need to!:)

    5. Janet,

      I often send the health/diet information provided by Shell along to colleagues and friends.

      One of those friends had breast cancer. As a result of receiving Shell's information, she did further research and is now on a healthier and cruelty free diet.

      Kudos to Shell for taking the time to share the health/diet information that isn't commonly available. And kudos to The Gardener's Cottage for welcoming information on health/diet, environment and the destructiveness of animal agriculture.



  6. Yum! All the components to this Thanksgiving meal look divine. My mother is a vegan and we have many vegetarians in the family so some of your ideas will come in handy. As well, I am always looking for good recipes for those more often than not meatless nights. By the way, is that Mikasa Italian Countryside I see holding the soup? I have that. Love the simple elegance of it. It is what we will be using on our Thanksgiving day.

  7. The water fact is amazing - I've been thinking about it all morning and have shared it with others in my office.
    Your Thanksgiving menu sounds delicious. I can't wait to try the soup and potato stack recipes and am looking forward to your enchilada recipe (one of my favorite foods!)

    1. Hello L,

      Yes, those water numbers are astounding.

      To really amaze your office mates, e-mail them this nifty chart.

      Veganism and the Environment: BY THE NUMBERS

      More numbers ~

      --Percentage of overall greenhouse gas emissions:
      Due to animal agriculture: 51%
      Due to vehicles (cars, trucks, trains, planes etc.): 13%
      (World Watch / World Bank report)

  8. HI there, I checked out your post on how you lost 15lbs....very inspriring...I'm going to give it go! I too am in my 50's...56 to be exact and at 5'2" I can look heavier than I should with just a smidge too much weight! I applaud the Vegan lifestyle and have slowly been adding in more vegetable and fruits and trying to have more meatless meals. I will say that I really do love any meat on the grill....but I also want to be as healthy as I can be as I'm aging and realize I need to at least limit the amount of meat I eat, if not eliminate it entirely! Keep those menus and recipes coming with pictures...they make my efforts seem worthwhile! Laura

    1. Laura-When meat is cooked at high temperatures, amino acids react with creatine to form heterocyclic amines, which are thought to cause cancer. That’s why cooking meat by grilling, frying, or broiling is a BIG problem. Grilling is double trouble because it also exposes meat to cancer-causing chemicals contained in the smoke that rises from burning coals and any drips of fat that cause flare-ups. Best thing you can do to lose weight and be healthy is stop eating meat and dairy & oil.

      even eating meat less than once a week is not good for us....


      advanced glycation end products:



    2. Whose blog is this? This woman is commenting to Janet and you're responding?

      If someone came to your house with meat, you'd be offended. If I had a blog and someone butted in on all my comments, I'd be offended. Creating, writing and photographing for a blog is a lot of work and you're stealing someone else's show. Why not start your own blog rather than pirate this one?

    3. Gosh you sure sound nasty-I'm trying to help people with health info. Chill out.

    4. That's odd, I think you sound nasty. You're changing the kind and thoughtful tone of this blog.

    5. Don't fight girls, you're both pretty...lol.

  9. this sounds amazing!
    and such a simple soup.
    eagerly awaiting your enchilada recipe : )

  10. Wow the soup looks so delicious you've really made me hungry now ! XX

  11. You are sooooooooo cool. This is a different Thanksgiving dinner than the one I followed two years ago. I am not able to prepare dinner this year, so my sister in law is, but hopefully after my surgery on the 29th, I will be able to!!!

  12. I am drooling over the soup. But the coconut milk...isn't it terribly fattening? I mostly eat vegetarian but always have to cook meat for my husband. He will not consider eating vegetarian, so you are lucky that your husband and boys are so flexible/tolerant whatever they are. I have to look for that 15 lb weight loss post of yours cause I need to get myself back on track too! Your blog has a way of being so synchronous with what I'm all about. Love it.

    1. oh darn, i use light coconut milk. i'll go make that note now. i've made this soup with soymilk and almond milk too. they are good but the coconut is so rich and sweet, it's perfect with the pumpkin.

  13. ...is synchronous a word? I don't know but you get the idea.

  14. Janet, I love the non traditional Thanksgiving menu. Having a entirely vegan family allows me to really mix it at holiday time. I think it is awesome!

  15. All of this sounds great. I'm eager to see the enchiladas. I wish I could get friends to agree to do this but it's hard to deviate from old traditions. I get in trouble if there's orange zest in the cranberry sauce.

  16. Hi Janet, does this recipe require the large can of pumpkin or the 15oz?

  17. The soup is that easy? I can't believe it--- I have everything in the kitchen, I'm going for it!

    1. i should have added that it is better the next day. i think i'll add a note to that now.

  18. May I come to your house for Thanksgiving? I have been making a similar soup with butternut squash and it is delicious. And believe it or not, I was just telling a friend today that I wished I could forgo the traditional turkey and just cook enchiladas instead. Cannot wait for that recipe. I always enjoy your posts. They are a welcome source of comaraderie -- for a gal like me living in Oklahoma.

  19. Pumpkin in cans? What a convenient world!
    It is fun, chopping the pumpkin with a sharp knifem though.

    I don't know why, but fall 2012 seems to be the right time to change the eating habits. Looking forward to regain some energy and thank you for posting all the recipes!

  20. My family loves spicy pumpkin soup and it's a great meatless Monday meal for people who aren't used to vegetarian. We add carrots, onion, and stewed tomatoes from the freezer and I can feel good about the kids getting all their veggies without even making a side dish :) Stevie@ruffledfeathersandspilledmilk.com


kindness is never out of style.

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