vegan cranberry sauce & a quick toddler lunch

It’s Thanksgiving week!  I am so excited to start the cooking.  First, here’s some news from our weekend:

Gavin surfed in the Carlsbad Classic surf competition this weekend.  He was in the longboard division & made it to the finals.  I was pretty bummed that I missed it (um, we were sleeping in…), but he had a great time.

Here he is on his way up to the nose:

(edit: I guess this move is actually called a “cheater 5” or something.  I stand corrected.  I just like the way his tush looks in the picture…)

We stopped by Whole Foods on Saturday afternoon to pick up some Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage (vegan, of course) for our Thanksgiving stuffing and then took a 4 hour nap.  America!!

Sunday we got to see Gavin’s cute sisters who are visiting from college for the holiday.  How cute are Gavin & Paisley?

That brings us back to Monday. And Thanksgiving food. First up, Cranberry Sauce. The easiest Thanksgiving dish on the table to make, by far.  Cranberries naturally contain a lot of pectin, so the resulting “sauce” is actually more of a jelly.  It is one of my favorite holiday dishes and can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.  Here is my vegan version:

(Yields approximately 2 cups)


  • 3 cups fresh organic cranberries (about a 12 oz bag)
  • zest and juice of 2 organic oranges
  • water as necessary (2 oranges should yield about 1 cup of juice. If you end up with less than this, make up the rest with water.)
  • 1/2 cup- 1 cup of organic vegan sugar* (adjust to your taste.  more sugar makes for a sweeter, less tart sauce)

1.  Rinse and drain your cranberries.

2.  In a medium saucepan, bring your juice, water, and zest to a simmer.  Add the sugar and gently stir until it has dissolved.  This will make a syrup-y base for your sauce.

3.  Once the sugar has dissolved completely, carefully dump in your cranberries.  You will start to hear them pop almost immediately. Let them simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring gently every few minutes to prevent burning.  You will see your berries start to change:

4. When the berries have all burst open & are translucent, remove the pan from heat and let them cool to room temperature. Transfer to an air-tight container and chill until ready to serve.

*Not all sugars are the same.  Conventional granulated sugar actually contains a lot more ingredients than you would expect, one of them being bone char.  We use Trader Joe’s Organic sugar.  It is vegan & a great option if you are avoiding excessive processing, chemicals, or animal ingredients.  They also carry coconut sugar now.  Hooray!

I wanted to also share a quick lunch I made for Ireland earlier today. It was too simple to merit its own post, but hungry little herbivores need to eat, too 🙂 .

(Note: this is not a creamy mac & cheese dish. I have a few heartier recipes I will share in the future. This tastes more like buttered noodles with parmesan, for those of you who still remember what parmesan tastes like…)


  • 1 lb organic whole wheat noodles
  • organic frozen peas
  • earth balance vegan margarine (we use the Soy-Free version)
  • nutritional yeast*
  • powdered garlic (or raw garlic, if you have some on hand)

1.  Cook the noodles according to package directions.

2.  While the noodles are boiling away, place a few handfuls of frozen peas in the bottom of a bowl to thaw a bit.  Don’t defrost them- no one likes soggy peas!

3.  Once the noodles are done, drain them.  I like to rinse my toddler’s with a little cold water to cool it down quickly.

4.  Add noodles, about a teaspoon each of earth balance & nutritional yeast, and a little sprinkle of garlic.

*For those of you going “huh”?  Nutritional yeast is a very nutrient-dense ingredient that can be used as a seasoning.  Many vegans use it because it packs so much b-12.  It has a cheesy flavor and reminds me a bit of parmesan (maybe.  It’s been a while…).  It does take a bit for some people to get used to eating it (and digesting it-lots of nutrients!), so start with a little at a time.  You can find it in the bulk bins at most health food stores.

Do you have a favorite vegan mac & cheese recipe?  I really enjoy this one, but I want to branch out & try a few new (and healthier) types this month.   What about a cranberry sauce recipe with less sugar or using a sugar alternative like brown rice syrup?  I’d love to give that a try for Christmas Dinner.

See you tomorrow with a yummy pumpkin recipe!



Filed under Cooking, Holidays, Husband, Recipes

2 responses to “vegan cranberry sauce & a quick toddler lunch

  1. So… the Cranberry sauce gets served *with* the quick toddler?

    • kjlovesgav

      Ha! I didn’t serve them together…I suppose you could, if you are into that sort of thing. It may defeat the whole “vegan” aspect of the dishes, though 🙂

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