Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Holiday Events To Look Out For in Austin

With Halloween and Thanksgiving having passed in the blink of an eye, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s are racing towards us. To make the most of this holiday season, you’re going to need some fun and festive events. Here are some of the most exciting holiday events coming up in Austin.

Blue Genie Art Bazaar

When: Nov. 19 – Dec. 24

Where: 6100 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78752

What: An online and in-person shopping fair where local businesses offer a variety of handmade and unique goods that make great gifts!

Peppermint Parkway

When: Nov. 26 – Dec. 26 

Where: Circuit of The Americas

What: A driving tour filled with synchronized lights and holiday songs that you can view from the comfort of your car!

Austin Trail of Lights

When: Nov. 27 – Dec. 31

Where: Zilker Park

What: Drive through Zilker park which will be fully decked out with decorations and Christmas lights. 

Hanukkah Candle Lighting

When: Dec. 1

Where: View the live stream here!

What: The Temple Beth Shalom will be live streaming their Chanukiyah lighting and invites anyone who wishes to join to watch! 

Downtown Holiday Stroll

When: Dec. 2

Where: Starting location TBD, check out this link for more info!

What: A festive walking tour of downtown Austin complete with live music, caroling, shopping, and the lighting of the Christmas tree at the Texas State Capitol.

“The Nutcracker” by Ballet Austin

When: Dec. 4 – Dec. 23

Where: ZACH Theater

What: Ballet Austin will be putting on performances of “The Nutcracker” with accompaniment from the Austin Symphony Orchestra throughout December.

Austin’s New Year

When: Dec. 31

Where: Auditorium Shores

What: Annual New Years celebration with live music, local food trucks, and fireworks.

If none of these events were quite your speed, there are plenty more happening all throughout November and December! Check out Do 512 for a more comprehensive list! If not, there’s definitely something to be said for cuddling up with a cup of hot cocoa, putting on the fireplace (or maybe the ‘Fireplace For Your Home’ on Netflix if you live on campus) and watching a seasonal movie. Happy holidays! 

Featured image by Morgan Scruggs

5 Films to Add to Your Thanksgiving Celebrations

You could be like most Americans and watch the football game on Thanksgiving night, or you could watch a movie. But what if you’re not ready to get into the jolly holiday spirit? What can you watch? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, here are 5 films to consider watching while you gobble down that Thanksgiving turkey.

Ratatouille

Rated: G

Rotten Tomato: 96%

Stream: Disney+

Disney Pixar’s “Ratatouille”

A Pixar classic about a French rat cooking in a high-end restaurant. Why it’s the perfect Thanksgiving film, and I’m sure we can all relate to a rat learning to cook. 

“Ratatouille” follows the story of Remy, a rat who wishes to go against the social norms of rats and become a chef. Along with his human friend, Alfredo Linguini, he does just that. The film is all about cooking and how food is a labor of love that connects us all. Gather your friends, the kids, the grandparents, and settle in for the delicacy that is French cuisine.

Knives Out

Rated: R

Rotten Tomato: 97%

Stream: Amazon Prime Video

Lionsgate’s “Knives Out.”

This one is not for the children. This is for the adults and all those who love Chris Evans. What better time to watch a murder mystery than Thanksgiving? “Knives Out” takes its audience on a journey to find out who murdered the famous author, Harlan Thrombey. The film has a stacked cast with Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, and Lakeith Stanfield. It’s a wild ride sure to get you more riled up than any family drama can.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Rated: Not Rated

Rotten Tomato: 100%

Streaming: Apple Tv+ on Nov 22 2020 at 6:30pm CT

CBS’s “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.”

This is not technically a movie, but it’s a classic, so “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” has earned its spot. Watch this adorable 30 minute TV special following Charlie, Snoopy and the gang as they celebrate Thanksgiving. If 30 minutes is too short, no worries, you can add “The Peanuts Movie” to the watchlist. In this 2015 film, Charlie has a new crush, and Snoopy is off fighting in World War I. It is available to stream on Disney+.

Free Birds

Rated: PG

Rotten Tomato: 20%

Stream: Rent or buy on YouTube

Reel FX’s “Free Birds.”

Ok, this film was not a critical success. But, a movie about two turkeys going back in time to fix turkeys being the traditional Thanksgiving dish — it’s got to be worth checking out. The film stars Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Amy Poehler. It’s sure to be a fun way to laugh and waste an hour and thirty minutes while you ignore your relatives.

Addams Family Values

Rated: PG-13

Rotten Tomato: 77%

Stream: Amazon Prime Video

Paramounts’ “Addams Family Values.”

Our favorite odd family is not just a one-holiday-wonder; they dabble in Thanksgiving, too. In the film, the Addams children, Wednesday and Pugsley, aren’t too thrilled to have a younger sibling, so they try to get rid of them. They are not successful and thanks to their new nanny, they’re in for a glorious stay at summer camp. “Addams Family Values” is the perfect Thanksgiving film for those who still hold onto their favorite spooky holiday.

5 Questions you WILL get Asked during Thanksgiving Break and How to Talk Your Way Out of Them

  1. Can you believe the election results?

How to escape: Avoid political conversations during Thanksgiving at all costs. Even if your entire family magically happens to have the same political opinions (which they definitely won’t), nothing good can come out of bringing out such a controversial topic during what is supposed to be a peaceful time. Make a vague comment then use that comment to transition away from politics, like “Yeah, the whole election season was crazy. My friends and I all went out for Starbucks after voting to relax. Did you see Starbucks put out its holiday menu? We should go try it sometime. I heard the toasted white chocolate mocha is super good!” Politics get avoided and you might get you a free coffee, courtesy of your family members.

Photo by Lauren Breach

2. “Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet?”

How to escape: If you do, that’s great! Take the opportunity to brag about your SO. If not, that’s okay! Don’t rush just to please your family. Pivot to something you do want to brag about. For example, “Nah, right now I’m trying to focus on this incredible organization/internship program/class I got into.” Then, flex away. Remember: You do NOT need a significant other to be impressive. You are more than impressive enough on your own.

Photo via NDTV Gadgets

3. “What are you going to do after college?”

How to escape: No one can see into the future so why does it seem like every relative keeps asking this? Just keep it vague and let your family interpret your response in the way they want to. Try something like “After I graduate, I want to work as a (insert general term for your major like nurse/videographer/advertising team member). Eventually, I want to work my way up to (insert dream job).” This shows you have a plan (even if it’s a loose one) and the ambition to go through with it. That’s all your family really wants to know.

Photo via pxfuel

4. “How’s (insert your ex’s name)?”

How to escape: Ouch! Being asked about the ex is never fun. It’s going to be stressful but just try to answer this like you are being asked about a friend. Give an honest but brief reply and don’t let the conversation dwell on the ex.

5. “Can you help me with my phone/IPad/other electronic?”

How to escape: You can’t. As one of the “young ones” in the family, you will never stop getting asked this question. Just know it doesn’t come from wanting you to be annoyed or trying to get you to spend half an hour arguing with Grandma about why you can’t block every spam call. Your older relatives didn’t grow up as digital natives and you’re helping them a lot. View it as an opportunity to help and teach someone you love instead of an irritation.

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and we all know what that means – family, football, and FOOD!

Illustration by Sierra Rodriguez

In case you’re vegan, starting a plant-based diet, or just hoping to eat healthier this holiday season, here are some tasty Vegan thanksgiving recipes that are easy to cook and even easier to eat!

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Vegan Butter
  • 6 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
  • 3 14oz Cans Coconut Milk 
  • 1 cup Vegetable Stock
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 3 tsp Onion Powder
  • 3 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 Thick Slices White Bread (Toasted)
  • 2 Tbsp Vegan Butter (Melted)
  • 1 18oz package of elbow macaroni

Directions:

  1. Add the vegan butter to a pot and let it melt. When it’s melted add in the all purpose flour and stir it vigorously with the melted butter.
  2. Then pour in the cans of coconut milk and the vegetable stock. Use a hand whisk to whisk out the lumps. Keep whisking until it starts to boil and then keep whisking for a few minutes after it has boiled until it thickens. It will continue to thicken as it cools, so it doesn’t have to be all the way there when you remove it from the heat, as long as it has thickened considerably from when you started.
  3. Remove it from the heat and add in the dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and whisk in. Now your sauce is ready, you can prepare your macaroni.
  4. Cook your macaroni according to the package directions and then rinse and drain.
  5. Add the cooked macaroni into the pot of sauce and toss it up with the sauce.
  6. Then transfer the macaroni and sauce to a 9×13 baking dish and smooth down.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  8. Prepare the crumb topping by breaking up the 3 thick slices of toasted white bread and placing into the blender. Pulse blend until you have crumbs. Then transfer to a mixing bowl, and add in the melted vegan butter and toss up the crumbs with the melted butter.
  9. Place the breadcrumbs evenly over the top of the macaroni.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes until the topping is golden brown and crispy.
Image courtesy of Unsplash

Vegan Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs russet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 5 large garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened unflavored almond milk
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Rinse and scrub potatoes and place in a large pot.
  2. Cover potatoes with hot water and bring to a boil, salt generously (about 2 teaspoons).
  3. Boil potatoes until a fork can go all the way through.
  4. While potatoes are boiling, sautee diced onion and garlic in a skillet with a teaspoon of olive oil.
  5. Cook garlic and onions until done (about 5 minutes on medium heat or until onion is translucent).
  6. Puree garlic and onion mixture with almond milk in a blender until it reaches a paste texture.
  7. Once potatoes are soft, mash them in a large bowl or pan and add garlic/onion puree, vegan butter, and salt and pepper to taste ( I used an additional 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper).

Vegan Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Ingredients

  • 3-4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 4 Tablespoons coconut sugar, or granulated sugar of choice
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 and 3/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 4 Tablespoons melted coconut oil, or neutral vegetable oil of choice
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • Coarse sea salt for topping

Directions

Mix the coconut sugar, yeast, and warm water together in a large bowl. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes in order to activate the yeast. Once the yeast has foamed, add the oil, maple syrup, salt, and pumpkin puree to the bowl and mix it all up.

  1. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until fully incorporated before adding in another full cup of flour.
  2. Use the last cup of flour to dust your hands and the dough throughout the kneading process. Lightly knead the dough until a slightly sticky dough ball forms, this should take about 2-3 minutes. (You may not need the full cup of flour. I use anywhere from 1/4-3/4 cups of it.) 
  3. Once the dough comes together shape it into a ball. Then, lightly coat the bowl and the dough with a bit of oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise for 45 minutes.
  4. Turn out the risen dough onto a floured surface. Depending on the size of rolls you want, cut the dough into 9,12 or 16 evenly sized pieces. 
  5. Form each piece into a ball by pulling and tucking the edges of the dough underneath itself. Gently roll the dough ball, seam side down, on an unfloured surface to create a smooth ball.
  6. Transfer rolls to a lightly oiled oven safe dish.
  7. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow the rolls to rise for another 30-45 minutes.
  8. Once the rolls have doubled in size, bake at 400ºF for 14-20 minutes or until the tops brown.
  9. Brush the warm rolls with oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Vegan Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 10 slices (450g) bread of choice cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (add more if needed)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

  1.  Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. Spread the bread cubes across two large baking sheet. Bake for about 5-8 minutes until dried out and very lightly browned. 
  3. Next, melt the vegan butter in a large skillet or pan over medium-high heat. When melted add the carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the veggies soften and begin to brown. 
  4. Stir in the thyme, rosemary, sage, salt, and pepper. Then add the toasted bread cubes, vegetable broth, and dried cranberries -no need stir at this point. Remove the pan from heat and cover, then let sit for 10 – 15 minutes until softened. Stir well to combine and serve hot.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

For Pie Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ lb vegetable shortening (½ cup + 1 tbsp) cold and cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup non-dairy milk

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together. 
  2. Add in the cubes of vegetable shortening, using a fork to cut it into the flour until the mixture reaches a crumbly texture.
  3. Next, drizzle the milk over the flour mixture and mix with a fork until everything is combined enough to form a ball of dough. Be sure not to overmix!
  4. Clear your work surface and lightly dust it with flour. Then, scoop out your dough, shape it into a ball and place it in the center of your floured work surface.
  5. Roll out your dough into a circle. It should be a few inches larger than your pie plate in order to make room for the sides and edges of the crust.
  6. Transfer the dough into your pie plate. The easiest way to do this is by wrapping your dough around a rolling pin before carefully setting it into the dish.
  7. With a knife, trim off the excess dough around the edges of the pie plate. Fill any holes in the crust with extra pieces of dough.
  8. Finally, pinch the edges with either your fingers or a fork to add the finishing touches to your beautiful vegan pie crust! 

For Pie Filling 

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Your pie crust should already be prepared inside your pie plate and ready to go.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the canned pumpkin, brown sugar, coconut milk, cornstarch, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and salt until fully combined and smooth.
  3. Pour mixture into the dish lined with your pie crust and spread evenly with a spatula.
  4. Bake for 1 hour and let cool for 30 minutes at room temperature. Cover the pie and chill in the fridge overnight, or for 4 hours at the very least.
  5. Slice, serve, and enjoy!