Thanksgiving – Cooked and Raw Food style

Happy Thanksgiving! This year I am thankful for many things. 18 years with the best furry Party Cat ever, is one of them. Were he still with us, he’d have been on that plate of turkey in no time. Glaring and chomping away.

As it was, we settled on a new tradition of dog fights and blood drawing (oddly enough not between any family members, and more the result of two big doggie ‘tudes in one small kitchen). This was joined with family traditions of yore, like my mom hosting Thanksgiving.

It’s been a heck of a year for the lass, and when she offered to host, we all happily accepted. My good in-laws also trekked over from Amherst for the holiday.
Ready. Set. Eat. My mom even made cranberry sauce from scratch – quite a step out in her culinary repertoire, and tasty, too. My sister’s raw feast can be seen in the background. She also ate some cooked vegan foods as well, which was quite nice for the family. No quibbling or teasing, everyone enjoying company of some sort.

Albany John brought some gluten-free bread (with dates, nuts, cranberries, and raisins). I helped him make dressing/stuffing (which means I prepped everything and made him do the assembly/seasoning).
The pooches post-fighting. Water under the bridge. Must be nice to have the memory of a dog, right? Funny part of the night – the little one ate more than the big one.
Dessert time! My sister made a raw apple pie (coz she ate the raw pie I made) on the left. I made the pumpkin swirl cheesecake at center, and Mama and Papa Amherst brought ice cream from Flayvors (Inez and Pumpkin, yum!).

Pumpkin cheesecake was stupid easy to make. Take some regular cheesecake batter, and mix it with pumpkin pulp. Then swirl in. Done! My cheesecake had three cracks, though. I was quite pouty. No perfect cheesecake for me. :/

Here is the raw pie I made that my sister ate. I only brought 3/4 of it. I had to sample it earlier, to make sure it was worthy of bringing. And then I had to sample a slice to my sister as well, to make sure it was truly acceptable to the person who most enjoys raw food. I mean, if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have made it in the first place, you know? I wouldn’t bring it if she thought it sucked.

What’s it made of?

Coconut cashew cream with pecans and cranberries, TYVM. On a sunflower seed chocolate crust.

Here’s what I like most about raw foods. You can pretty much wing it. No baking times means that many ingredients are flexible. A lot of raw crusts call for almonds, pecans, cashews, or other expensive nuts. I soaked sunflower seeds for the majority of this crust. Way more economical, and you can’t really tell it apart from any other soaked nut.

Chocolate Sunflower Crust Recipe:
1/4-1/3 C virgin coconut oil, melted (dehydrator, your hot little hands, hot oven, etc)
1 C sunflower seeds, soaked until soft (30-60 mins in hot water) then ground/minced
1/4 C cocoa powder
2 T liquid sweetener (I used maple syrup. I know it’s not really raw, but it’s what I had at home. Go for agave syrup if you’re gonna have a fit about it)
1/4 -1/3 C almond meal
Mix it all up, then press in a pan.

I liked lining my pan with plastic wrap. Made it easy to spread and take out to serve later.

Step two: filling. Coconut cashew cream. This is just plain awesome. You don’t need to like raw food to like this. I had a ton of filling left over, and boy did I enjoy each and every spoonful.

Coconut Cashew Cream Recipe
1 C cashews, soaked ~2 hours
1/2 of a fresh (dried) coconut. The brown kind of coconut that you have to crack.
1/4-1/2 C liquid sweetener
1/2 of liquid from coconut (as needed to blend)
1/2 C coconut oil

Blend together until it has a paste/pudding consistency. I put this in an electric blender for several minutes until it was smooth.
Then add in some chopped cranberries and pecans. You can add as many cranberries as you like. The richness from the coconut cashew cream will balance out the tartness. Go for about 1/4 -1/3 C to start.
All mixed together.
Then you just plop and freeze it all together. You can take it out of the freezer an hour or two before you want to serve it, or just serve it frozen. This holds up surprisingly well (when I brought a slice to my sister before Turkey Day, it kicked around in a tupperware in my car for a few hours with no ill effects or mis-shaping).

I wouldn’t say this is an extremely rich pie. If you’re used to cooked food, this is probably a fine and dandy pie on its own to you. If you’re trying to eat foods that are a little less refined, you will also like this pie. If you like creamy tasty fillings, oh holy moly, you will freaking LURVE this pie.

I’m most thankful my sister was chill about me using maple syrup in the pie and not freaking out about it being a form of sugar and not being raw. And she sneakily ate the remaining 3/4 of it on Thanksgiving while cooking, and sheepishly admitted to it while we were serving up dessert and I was like “Hey, where’d the rest of mah pie go?!” . Now I’m starting to believe we actually are related. Sneakily eating almost a whole pie, and being cute about eating it all? Happy Thanksgiving indeed.

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