This post was sponsored by Sprouts. Thank you for supporting the partnerships that allow Brewing Happiness to grow and exist. xoxo.
I landed back in Atlanta, and my first stop was Sprouts. They asked me to develop a plant-based, family-style Thanksgiving recipe, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I spent Monday hanging out with Kim-Julie of Brussels Vegan, and shooting a fun vegan Friendsgiving recipe for her. So my brain was ripe with plant-based Thanksgiving ideas. PLUS, this week (the first week of November) Sprouts is having a major sale on some of their plant-based brands. SO JUMP IN YOUR CAR NOW AND GO LOAD UP.
This second reason this was perfect timing is because I recently ran into a friend of mine who is vegan and we started to talk about how hard Thanksgiving can be when your family isn’t super health conscious. (That happens a lot in the south.) So I sorta developed this recipe with all of those people in mind. This is basically a full Thanksgiving meal, and it’s super easy to make. So no matter if you’re fully plant-based or just healthy-ish, it’s always nice to have some health-ier alternatives at the table.
The kabocha mash is so simple to make, you just have to bake it and then blend it. Kabocha squash is a little less sweet and pronounced in flavor then say a butternut squash. So it makes a great base for other flavors. That’s why I love it next to the savory Vegan Apple Thyme Stuffing and the sweetness of the Sprouts Brand Organic cranberry sauce.
SIDE NOTE : I served this to my dad for dinner, and he loved it. That’s significant because he’s both a carnivore and a person who says he “hates squash.” So if he liked this meal, I’m pretty sure everyone at your table will like it. xo.
Vegan Apple-Thyme Stuffing with Kabocha Mash
- 1 small kabocha squash
- 1/2 cup non dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons vegan buttery spread
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Vegan Apple Thyme Stuffing
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 golden delicious apples, diced
- 14 oz veggie sausage (I used Lightlife) (sub veggie burger patties)
- 2 teaspoons Sprouts Brand turkey rub spice
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup Sprouts Brand vegetable stock
- 2 cups baby kale, packed (sub spinach)
- 1 can Sprouts Brand Organic Cranberry Sauce
For the Kabocha Mash
Preheat oven to 450.
Cut your kabocha squash in half, remove the seeds, and place open face down on a baking tray. Add a small layer of water to the baking tray, just enough to cover.
Bake your squash for 30-35 minutes, or until soft and easily separates from skin.
When your squash is done baking, scoop out the inside into a blender or food processor. Add in non dairy milk, vegan buttery spread, and salt. Blend or process until smooth.
For the Vegan Apple-Thyme Stuffing
While your squash is baking, heat olive oil and yellow onion over medium-low heat, and sauté for about 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, add in your diced apples, turkey rub spice, fresh thyme and salt. Cook for another 2 minutes.
Add in your veggie sausage, and break it into small pieces using your spoon. Increase the heat to medium-high, and sauté for another 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
When the veggie sausage starts to get crispy, add in your baby kale and veggie broth. Reduce the heat to medium low. Cook until the kale is wilted and the liquid is evaporated.
Plate with cranberry sauce, and top with extra fresh thyme.
Change is inevitable. It’s happening constantly. And usually, when it comes to our lives – our self growth – it’s seen as a positive thing. We are ever evolving and adapting. To me, that’s one of the most beautiful things about humanity. Our capacity to change.
And yet, I find myself judging my body when it does the same. We go through emotional cycles, purifying ourselves. But when my body cycles, or modulates, I look in the mirror and feel confused. It’s a cruel double standard I find that I impose on myself.
For all the countless hours I’ve spent working on my mental health, retraining my brain patterns to find kinder, gentler ways of dealing with my body – I am still caught off guard by the natural cycles of my body. Of course there are going to be days when I am more hungry, or bloated, or acne-prone than others. That seems obvious and natural.
You know the story. It happens and I fall back into old patterns of negative self-talk. This, in itself is another cycle I engage in. And yes, it gets easier. I am better now at catching the thoughts and ending them than I have ever been. But it still happens.
I create room for my emotional life. I crave change in my social life. I constantly adapt in my work life. But my body – god forbid that go through changes! It’s crazy for me to think this way, but I have a deep feeling that I’m not alone.
We create a rigidity around our bodies and what they look like, or rather, what they should look like. But our bodies are alive. They are growing, changing, adapting probably faster than we will ever know.
Let’s make space for that.
Yes, the holiday season will probably change our bodies. Yes, you will probably want to impress people you only see once a year. But do no limit the cycle of your body by the fear of judgement. Your body is allowed space. It is allowed time. It is allowed change.
And it is beautiful in every iteration.
So this holiday season, I hope we can all take a deep breath and remind ourselves that it’s all a process – we’re always evolving. Allow yourself to grow, change, and adapt. Allow yourself to be new each and every day. Because the truth is, that is one of the most beautiful things about being a human. So don’t diminish that. xo.