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Recently Colleen was asked what we eat for our Thanksgiving meal. We have ten children, six of whom are married to meat eaters, and we have 12 grandchildren, all of whom are being raised in homes that include meat daily. We serve the following:

The first choice in our Thanksgiving buffet is a choice of starches such as baked potatoes, tortillas, and traditional choices of mashed potatoes and sweet yams. These are followed by greens and veggies that are used to top a baked potato or to go into a tortilla wrap. We also offer a lovely salad that can be eaten as is, or stuffed into a wrap. Next we feature several sides of vegetables such as green beans and candied carrots, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and a divine asparagus dish that doesn't ever last very long. These are followed by an abundance of fresh fruit choices. The last offering in the buffet is a plate of sliced turkey. Some in the family partake of the turkey, others do not That's it! It isn't very complicated, and it is enjoyed by all.

At one time if was hard for me to endure the smells of meat when all the family got together, because of my addiction to meat. I once raised a lot of farm animals that we ate, and I was also an avid hunter and fisherman. Meat was my primary staple. However, this addiction has left my soul and now I am relatively unaffected by the smells of meat during a holiday meal, so long as the plant-based choices are the primary offering: Hearty starch choices  + Salad + Fruits + non-starchy vegetable choices. 

A son in law told me a few years ago that he was pretty nervous coming to eat in our home initially, and was very grateful that we always had some meat on the buffet for him. He said that because we did this for him he tried everything else on the buffet and surprisingly liked it very much. He now loves coming to our home for dinner and chooses to eat the way we do at business and in his home. He said that before becoming a part of our family he never dreamed he would ever come to love plant-based foods the way he does now. It just wasn't a part of his upbringing, nor is it for many people.

As we teach correct principles through non-compulsory examples of goodness, it is very inviting and natural for others to discover the goodness of wholesome herbs and fruits (all plant-based foods). Except for holidays, we don't serve meat at home from day-to-day, because our younger children have eaten primarily plant-based foods all of their lives, as compared to their older siblings who developed addictions to meat when it used to be the primary entree to every meal in our home. 

May all who enter your doors this Thanksgiving feel welcomed, loved, and invited without compulsion to eat more healthily!

Jim and Colleen

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Thank you for sharing what you do with your family. I like the way you approach it. Funny, I bought the Amish turkey for our large family gathering, and I'm the most vegetarian/plant based person of all my family. I just wasn't sure how other LDS plant based families did Thanksgiving. Thank you for taking the time to explain your traditions to us a all! Is there somewhere I could go on the website to get your asparagus recipe that "doesn't last very long"? I just might have to try it! Thanks Brother and Sister Simmons! Have a wonderful feast with your family! Warm regards, The Swalberg Family

Hi Bethany,

Our family loves asparagus that is cooked in a large pan where it can be spread out and cooked with in a few spoonfuls of coconut milk with a touch of tamari added to the coconut milk. We only use enough coconut milk so that it turns into a glaze about the same time the asparagus is ready. This is also my youngest son's favorite way to eat green beens. He asks for them everyday right after he gets home from school. Best!

Bethany Swalberg said:

Thank you for sharing what you do with your family. I like the way you approach it. Funny, I bought the Amish turkey for our large family gathering, and I'm the most vegetarian/plant based person of all my family. I just wasn't sure how other LDS plant based families did Thanksgiving. Thank you for taking the time to explain your traditions to us a all! Is there somewhere I could go on the website to get your asparagus recipe that "doesn't last very long"? I just might have to try it! Thanks Brother and Sister Simmons! Have a wonderful feast with your family! Warm regards, The Swalberg Family

Thank you for sharing this.  I have a tendency to get caught up in doing something "right," with little patience for the process (for myself and others).  Your example of patient, loving diligence is inspiring and helpful in so many ways. 

Thank you for this. I will incorporates some of your ideas from now on! In place of a turkey We have served marinated and sautéed portabllo mushrooms.

Yum! I'm going to make some marinated and sautéed portabello mushrooms. How do you like to marinate them? Jim

Allison W said:

Thank you for this. I will incorporates some of your ideas from now on! In place of a turkey We have served marinated and sautéed portabllo mushrooms.

Thanks for describing your feast.  It's good to hear that we can break with long-held traditions and start new ones that are more nourishing.  But this year I feel bound to the traditions because we are hosting Thanksgiving for all of my husband's family (35 people, all meat eaters) and I have been nervous about cooking the turkey. I have very little knowledge of how to cook meat, especially a giant bird.  Will it be tender and juicy?  Will everyone else like it?  But then I decided that it doesn't matter.  I am not eating it, so I don't really care.  If it's dry, oh well.  Then maybe everyone will eat more of the vegetable dishes I will be serving! :)

We use vegan worcestershire sauce and garlic powder is all, then we sautée the mushrooms in the marinade until tender. Sometimes I make up my own Worcestershire sauce from reading the label and trying to replicate the flavor. That is when we are making a large amount, it is much cheaper to make vegan worcestershire than to buy it in those little bottles. It's super easy, either way.




James Simmons said:

Yum! I'm going to make some marinated and sautéed portabello mushrooms. How do you like to marinate them? Jim

Allison W said:

Thank you for this. I will incorporates some of your ideas from now on! In place of a turkey We have served marinated and sautéed portabllo mushrooms.
We posted our plants only menu, and our whole family is excited to enjoy a NEW tradition! I honestly thought they might decide to eat turkey elsewhere! I've been testing recipes since MAY when we ditched all animal foods!

I can't wait for Thursday!
Do you mind posting your plants only menu? Thanks.



Erin Stout said:
We posted our plants only menu, and our whole family is excited to enjoy a NEW tradition! I honestly thought they might decide to eat turkey elsewhere! I've been testing recipes since MAY when we ditched all animal foods!

I can't wait for Thursday!


Please feel free to post your plants only menu here. I'm sure many would love to see it. Best!
Allison W said:

Do you mind posting your plants only menu? Thanks.



Erin Stout said:
We posted our plants only menu, and our whole family is excited to enjoy a NEW tradition! I honestly thought they might decide to eat turkey elsewhere! I've been testing recipes since MAY when we ditched all animal foods!

I can't wait for Thursday!
This is our plan, we'll see what I can really pull off!!!
Veggie and pita platter with hummus, ranch, and guacamole

Stuffed mushrooms

Pesto bruschetta

Quinoa white bean patties

Mashed potatoes

Mushroom onion gravy

Sage and onion stuffing

Orange glazed sweet potatoes

Rainbow roasted veggies (all the typical things, but I roast radishes too! Try it!)

Whole wheat rolls

Pumpkin pie with pecan oat crust

Lavender chocolate truffles

Orange chocolate truffles

Spiced cider

I know this is a little over the top, and certainly a richer menu than we have been eating for the last five months. I wanted to go all out for my family, to show them, we can have a fabulous meal without using any animal products. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wonderful! And thank you for sharing... I think I'm going to go more "all out" for the fun of watching my family enjoy what I make. or perhaps we will come to your house:)

Erin Stout said:

This is our plan...


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