Thankful...For Food

November is a month of gratitude. Being thankful that you have a little brother to annoy you and remind you of what innocence looks like. Thankful for parents who push you to be the strong independent woman you are but are always there for you when things get difficult. I feel like I have a special kind of gratitude for the presence of my family because of the difficult times type 1 diabetes has put me through. Every day has been a struggle since my diagnosis with T1D. Some days are better than others, and as I've grown I've learned how to deal with those struggles in a more independent manner. But one thing T1D has taught me is just how much my family cares about me. They must love me a whole lot to have learned about one of the most complex auto-immune diseases in the world for my own benefit and to support the outrageous medical bills that come with it. So, thanks mom and dad. You too, lil bro.

This is also the season for thanking loved ones for traveling across the country to over-eat with you and thanking the cute barista for the coffee to make tolerating extended family members easier. I can't relate to these reasons of gratitude this Thanksgiving season because most of my family lies outside the United States. I guess that's something I'm thankful for. Not that they're far away but that I have a reason to visit Europe more often than other people and I don't have to deal with answering questions like, "What'd you study in college again?" or the follow up question to that, "Oh, so what will you do with that?"around the holidays. I've contemplated writing down staple answers so that way I don't trip on my words when trying to prove that I am indeed doing something with my life despite not majoring in a science nor business field. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have studied a variety of disciplines from anthropology to politics with a spotlight on Europe. I'm thankful because I am a firm believer that if I didn't take on the complex major that is Global and Regional Studies: Europe, I wouldn't be writing this blog post today because I wouldn't have started this blog because I wouldn't have decided to study nutrition. Does that make sense? Probably not.

Okay, now lets talk about what I am REALLY grateful for this November. FOOD. This thanksgiving was my first vegetarian Thanksgiving. I don't really have an exact date that I stopped eating meat; it was a gradual process as I started cutting out red meat while studying industrial agricultural for my senior thesis in college. Then when I was living on my own, I found that beans were cheaper and more delicious (to me) than chicken or turkey so I just cut out meat entirely.

I didn't miss the turkey for a second this Thanksgiving because of the delicious vegetables my mom and I roasted up! My main course was a big hearty salad. This isn't much of a recipe since I just tossed a bunch of seasonal and festive goodies in a bowl with some balsamic but below is a complete list of what came to be a beautiful salad:

Acorn Squash Salad

  • Spring mix (for those leafy greens)

  • Acorn squash (cut into 1" pieces and roasted with walnut oil at 350 F for 20 minutes until soft)

  • Red potatoes (boiled for 5 minutes, then roasted for about 20 minutes with some salt and peppa)

  • Pomegranate seeds

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Pecans

After combining in a bowl, I drizzled balsamic vinegar on top and served! Looking back, I'm realized that red onion would've made a great (and stinky) contribution but maybe next time a.k.a Christmas.

It wasn't until a couple days before the feasting that I remembered that gravy isn't vegetarian but is my favorite part of the meal. So I hopped on Pinterest like the basic gal I am and found a bunch of mushroom gravy recipes. I didn't follow one in particular but here's what ended up happening:

Shroom Gravy

  • 1 Portobello mushroom (washed and sliced length wise and one time


  • 2 King Oyster mushrooms (washed and sliced length wise)

  • 1/2 yellow onion (diced and cooked down with sage and thyme)

  • 1 tablespoon of oil (olive, avocado, walnut etc. whatever floats your boat and cooks down your mushrooms)

  • 1 cup red wine (1/4 cup for the recipe and 3/4 to get you through mingling with family members)

  • 1/4 cup of vegetable broth

  • Just enough Wondra flour to get the desired consistency

  • Spices: I added a dash of cayenne and some garlic salt

First, I added the diced onion with sage and thyme and a bit of oil to a heated pan and cooked down the onion until it started to turn brown. Then I added the onion to a pot with more oil and the mushrooms to cook until the 'shrooms were a darker color and pretty soft. After the mushrooms were ready to go, I added the wine, Wondra, and vegetable broth. Finally, I added the spices until it tasted A M A Z I N G. Even my carnivorous father and grandpa liked it.

Well, that concludes my Thanksgiving. Though these ideas might've been more useful pre-festivities rather than the week after, the holidays are just around the corner and you can bet I'll be doing this again. PLUS they made for great leftovers. I used extra ingredients from the salad and gravy to make an epic salad for lunch and dinner the next day. Buon Appetito!

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