My Vegan Friendsgiving

Sometimes you need a holiday break to be a real break.

Not that holidays aren’t nice…

This year I was feeling run down after training so hard from my competition, working, and  – yes – consistently blogging.  I love all of these things, don’t get me wrong.  I also love my family.  However, a true vacation getaway was in order.  When Heather and Kirk (her hubby) extended an invitation for me to crash their Thanksgiving vacation on the slopes in Vail, CO I jumped at the opportunity.

We ate fantastic food, drank amazing wine, skied, cooked a vegan Thanksgiving, and even ran a 5K (my first in at least 6 months).  There was also a tasting dinner before we left for Vail, but that’s another post.

I am relieved to report that after a 2 year break, I can still ski.  There were a couple of falls, but nothing bad and after a couple of runs I was able to keep up with Heather and Kirk on their snowboards.  I can tell my legs are much stronger now than they were two years ago.  I guess hack squats work…

We took a break from the slopes for Thanksgiving.  We earned our turkey with a 5K Turkey Trot!  It was a lot of fun… and I realized exactly how much harder it is to run at 9000 ft.

Following the run, Heather made her famous doughnuts.  These were her Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts with Cranberry Frosting.  All vegan, and all delicious.  Heather had to adjust the recipe due to the high altitude; I’m totally impressed by her ability – they were absolutely perfect.  I ate mine at a painfully slow pace (like my 5K – haha).  It was so delicious I didn’t want it to end!

I should also note the lovely orange plates provided by the condo owners.  Seriously.  Doesn’t they know that orange does NOT photograph well?!

We spent the rest of the day watching football, playing Scrabble, and being bums.  It was awesome.  We got up every once in a while to begin another dish for out dinner, so when it was time to eat everything pulled together quickly.

This was my first vegan Turkey Day.  I’ve never been a big fan of traditional Thanksgiving food anyway, so this was absolutely perfect for me.  With a spread like this, why would anyone miss the turkey?

Clockwise, left to right: Kirk opening the champagne, Heather’s Beer & Butternut Mac ‘n Cheeze, the spread, and our vegan hazelnut cranberry roast en croute.


Each dish was better than the last.  Heather’s vegan mac ‘n cheese was every bit as good and the “real” thing.  She also made the first cranberry sauce I’ve ever liked!  I made a version of other Heather’s Caramelized Onion, Cranberry & Kale Saute.  It was basically the same except I added jalapeno and used fresh orange juice in place of maple syrup for the vinaigrette.

My (orange) plate:

Much more to come on our adventures, but I’m sure you’ve seen enough orange plate photography for one day. :)

Thank you again to Heather and Kirk for letting me crash their holiday and being such incredible hosts!


I fell in love with Colorado.  I may have considered pitching a fit when I had to go to the airport.

Have you ever had a “Friendsgiving” or another friend-holiday?

What was the best dish at your table this year?


  1. says

    This looks like so much fun! I’ve never seen snow before, so I’m giddy with excitement – it’s apparently due to snow in London in two weeks :) I know I will soon learn to hate it when I can’t ride my bike to work anymore, haha.

  2. says

    Glad you had a great holiday away- the pics look so fun! I had a Friendsgiving a few years ago and it was such a blast….there were about 8 of us in the kitchen and we had as much as fun making all the dishes as we did eating them! The best (and only) dish on my table this Thanksgiving was pumpkin pie a la was actually my first taste of a pumpkin-based dessert and I was sold!

  3. says

    Glad you had such a fun Thanksgiving with your friends. While the husband was in the military, we wouldn’t always go home for the holidays. Two, or maybe three ( i forget), we stayed in North Carolina and enjoyed Thanksgiving with a huge group of friends. It was perfect, and such a great time. Friends, food, beer & football… i mean can you really ask for more? :)

  4. says

    What a fun Thanksgiving! I just loved following your pics on IG– the scenery was absolutely breathtaking :)
    So happy you were able to have such a wonderful time with friends!!!

    PS….I am in love with your rainbow socks 😉

  5. says

    I’m so glad you got away and really focused on having a great vacation! It sounds like a perfect getaway! For me, the dressing always steals the show at Thanksgiving. Really, I need just that and crustless pumpkin pie…and my little family too really make the best holidays!

  6. says

    What a fabulous time you had! I was following your daily adventures through many different social media platforms!

    Me and skiing, let’s just say we haven’t seen each other in over a decade! lol

  7. says

    I am so glad that you had SUCH a great week, and that I got to spend some time with you in Colorado! I’m sure you know how much I dream about one day living there, and I hope that you get out there too!
    Awesome that you could still ski! And the Thanksgiving meal looks incredible. And I know how great the food that you, Heather and Kirk make is… I can almost taste it through the screen! Can’t wait to read about more!
    And- HOLY CRAP running a 5k in Colorado is hard! I did one in July there- much tougher than here at sea level!!

  8. says

    yaaay for a fun friendsgiving! I used to do those in New York City with my friend Katie… oh how we lived it up :)

    we had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year – some of my favorite people all in one room! NOW the holidays have begun – I am so looking forward to Christmas…

  9. says

    Aww, so glad you had an amazing time! And yup, jealous of that roast. But mostly of the mac n’ cheeze? Why isn’t that a traditional Thanksgiving dish? It needs to be. I need to just toss out my one yellowish-orange plate, because it somehow seems to be the one all my food ends up on.

    • Laura says

      Mac and cheese was a tradition in my house! This was better than what we had though. How can you go wrong when it has bacon, jalapenos, and bacon bits?!

  10. says

    That roast looks amazing! I spend my thanksgiving partially over at a friends (vegetarian) and then the other time at home. This was all in October of course. I didn’t have any turkey but I had quite a bit of pumpkin pie 😛 Wasn’t too foodie of a Thanksgiving but it was spent with loved ones :)

  11. says

    Oh, wow- that all looks fantastic! I’m so glad you had a much needed break. I took a big step back from blogging this weekend to hang out with family and it felt sooo good. Now I’m curious what all I’ve missed!

    The last few years, we haven’t traveled for Thanksgiving so we’ve hosted other family-less friends and those are some of my best holiday memories!

    • Laura says

      I’m sure the family-less friend appreciate it! I know I have in the past… and I’m sure they loved all your food!

  12. says

    Wow that all sounds amazing. I think your friendsgiving sounds pretty darn amazing! I’m glad you two had such an awesome time! I kind of love that it was all vegan, it looks better than mine was;)

  13. says

    If I had the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving in Vail, CO I definitely would have taken it too. I went there a few years ago and it is absolutely gorgeous! Vegan mac ‘n cheese actually sounds better to me than the “traditional” heavy and artificial kind. My favorite dish this year was my aunts sweet potatoes- oh my gosh were they delicious!

  14. says

    Awww, I’m SO glad you made (and enjoyed) the kale saute! Yay! Everything looks/sounds incredible…especially that mac ‘n cheese! And it sounds like you had the perfect vacation…only thing that would have made it better would have been my appearance of course!

    Best dish at the table this year: I gotta say my mom’s super juicy turkey breast was definitely the highlight…followed oh so closely by my kale saute (ok, so maybe I only said that so I don’t sound so conceited! ;))


  1. […] you don’t have slopes near by sign up for a winter fun run.  We got festive for this Thanksgiving run, and I’m doing the Santa Speedo Run in Atlanta in a couple of […]

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