I just received this email from YU fan, Lauren, and I am sure she isn’t the only one—with 3 days left until Thanksgiving—wanting to make sure her omni and herbie guests are equally satisfied with her plant-based recipes.
“I just found your website and am super excited to try some of your recipes. I have never made desserts with some some of the variations listed in your recipes to make them dairy/gluten free. Is there anything you think I should know? Do they taste the same or similar to traditional desserts (i.e. Pumpkin Pie? Chocolate Pecan Pie? The Gluten-Free Pie Crust recipes?)
I want to try some of these recipes out for thanksgiving, but am a little hesitant to have my guests be the first one to test it on, seeing as that they are very happy to eat traditional white sugar, gluten, etc.
Any advice or suggestions your might have would be very much appreciated. Thank you!”
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One of my main reasons for creating YumUniverse is that I wanted a site to exist, filled with plant-based recipes, that even meat-eaters and the most die-hard skeptics would love. I was finding that most vegan, plant-based foods lacked creativity and suffered from “tasting vegan.” You probably know it—that flat, cardboard-like, earthy taste that is ok—edible—but not cravable or so good that you forget it’s vegan. That had to change. So I got to work…
All of my recipes are tested on meat-eaters and folks who eat refined sugar, butter and other dairy products, and unless it gets a thumbs up from these people, it doesn’t make it onto YumUniverse. So, you can be pretty sure that these recipes will be loved by the mixed company at the Thanksgiving table. They taste just as delish, if not better than most traditional desserts—whole food ingredients lend much more depth of flavor, not to mention a nutritional punch.
Some of my suggestions for confidence, success happy guests and a happy YU:
1. Serve the dish or dessert without telling folks it’s plant-based. Don’t let any skepticism enter their dining experience. Just tell ’em you made it from scratch with whole food ingredients—then after they are raving—blow their mind with the truth.
2. You can always prepare a half or quarter of a particular recipe (dividing all ingredients by 1/2 or 1/4) so you can taste it beforehand—ultimately you know your guests better than I do and this is a great way to make sure you are confident on Thanksgiving Day.
3. All of the recipes in the Holiday Survival Guide are loved by omnivores and herbivores alike—so get a copy, you won’t be sorry—these recipes are amazing every day, not just for holidays.
And since it’s crunchtime, here’s a discount code YU can use for the next 3 days to save $10: YUHLDYG10 (expires 11.21.12).
4. The Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Pecan Pie and Pie Crust Recipes are all winners. The year I developed these recipes I served them to a mixed party of 22 and we had nothing left at the end of the evening.
5. One of my biggest tips, and I can’t stress it enough is—do not substitute ingredients unless you are a seasoned gluten-free, plant-based baker. Follow instructions and use all ingredients listed for total success. Plant-based, gluten-free baking is a delicate science… trust me, I’ve spent a ton of dough (literally and figuratively) to figure out what works so YU don’t have to. It’s not like conventional baking where you can sub ingredients and skimp on exact measuring here and there. If you want to play with adaptations (which I definitely encourage so you gain confidence in the kitchen), do it on days where you are not preparing foods for others.
6. The majority of awesomeness Holiday Dessert recipes are in the Holiday Survival Guide, but these are some of my favorite, easy and scrumptious ones:
Granny Smith Apple Crumbles topped with dairy-free, soy-free vanilla ice cream
That should do it! I’m sure no matter what you choose, everyone will be happy (including YU), but please be sure to let me know how it goes. I’ll be in total suspense until then…
I hope everyone is surrounded by loved ones, laughs and delicious food this Thursday. Hearts.