Friendsgiving Gluten Free Vegan Style

Thanksgiving is a very special time of year for my family. As we use this time to bring all of my dad's side of the family (my dad is one of twelve children) together.

This is the one time a year where everyone tries their best to be in once place at the same time.
With family as far north as Canada, as far west as California, and as far south as Florida - you can imagine the difficulties we face each year trying to come together.

It becomes evident how important family is and the importance of embracing your family for what they are and loving them unconditionally, no matter how crazy they might seem.

Each Thanksgiving, we cram in as many crazy Italians under one roof as possible. We make both the traditional turkey dinner, add in a ham, and of course all the Italian specialties - including antipasto, pasta, meatballs, lasagna, eggplant parmesan and much more! What can I say, Italians love to eat!

With my focus being set on spending time with the ones I love, it has never bothered me that I am unable to eat the provides Thanksgiving food, nor is
there really any additional kitchen space for me to create myself a holiday meal. I typically pre-make something and bring it along. I am always careful not to create something that needs to either be refrigerated or frozen - as you can only imagine the lack of space.

This year, I decided, I miss having a huge labor-intensive meal for myself to enjoy! Thus, friendsgiving came about.

A couple friends and I all went through our kitchens - okay and a run to Whole Foods, and brought together some autumn ideas and a miss mosh of ingredients and we got to work being creative and resourceful!

On the menu we created the following:

  1. Pumpkin Almond Gnocchi
  2. Acorn and Carnival stuffed squash
  3. Flaxseed popovers
  4.  Kabocha pumpkin sauce / soup / yummy
  5. Toasted pumpkin seeds
  6. Sweet potato banana carob chia seed dessert
There are no real recipes for these delicious items, as we truly just winged it and tossed most of these items in a Vitamix and blended until we felt it was yummy! 

Pumpkin Almond Gnocchi
Here we took a can of Libby's Pumpkin and mixed it with ground flaxseeds, thyme, and almond flour. When we went to cook it like traditional gnocchi in a pot of boiling water - they gnocchi began to fall apart - so we just quickly tossed them into the oven for a little baking time! 

Acorn Squash and Carnival Squash Stuffed with Apples
For this delicious entree, we cut the squash in half. Cleaned them out and cooked them at 425 for a good 30 minutes or until they started to soften.  

Then we stuffed the squash with cored and peeled apples, dried cranberries, dried dates, ginger, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. 

We continues to cook them at 350 for about another 20-30 minutes

Flaxseed Popovers
This was truly the most far-fetched recipe of the night. I took a pancake mix that I had just chilling in my cabinet. Added in some non-dairy milk and started to soak some flaxseeds (for 15-20 minutes). 

I preheated the over to 400 and tossed in the muffin pan to warm up. 

I then mixed all the ingredients together. Cooked them for 10 minutes at 400 and then reduced the heat to 325 for another 15-20 minutes. 

These popovers looked a bit unappealing, but was one of our favorite creations and super healthy for you!

Kabocha Pumpkin Sauce
We realized we needed a sauce for our gnocchi and we didn't want to waste / not use the Kabocha squash so we cut this baby in half and cooked it at 400 for about 30 minutes. 

We then proceeded to eat the skin while we took the flesh of the squash and tossed it into the Vitamix. We added some non-dairy milk, thyme, cinnamon, almond butter, ginger, and some nutmeg. Tada - this one was ready!

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
With our goal to be "no waste left behind" we took all the seeds from our different squash varieties and dry roasted them in the oven. They made for a great snack and topping!

Sweet Potato Dessert Cups
This one was another creative effort on our part that came out fabulous and very healthy!

I baked the sweet potatoes until soft. Added them to the Vitamix with a can of coconut milk, chai seeds, frozen bananas, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, and whatever else was laying around. 

I blended until smooth and then dished into their own single servings and placed them in the fridge to continue to set while we finished our prep work. 

All in all, this was a very successful meal and I can't wait to plan another!
I am so grateful for the amazing people that I do have in my life. 
I am grateful for the health that I do have and the fact that I can get up every morning!

Remember to take time this busy holiday season and remind yourself that you do in fact have a lot to be thankful for!


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