Vegetarian Thanksgiving made easy
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By Mickey Zeldes  November 22, 2013 12:00 am

When I first became vegetarian many years ago, I remember the holidays being especially stressful. My mother would fuss and worry about what she was going to make that I could eat.

Every year I would reassure her that she didn’t have to make anything special. There was certainly no shortage of food on the table – salad, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and with small accommodations (making some stuffing for me that was baked in a casserole instead of stuffed in the turkey for example) – so I always had a very full plate. What she couldn’t get her mind wrapped around was the idea that there wasn’t a “main dish.”

That’s easily taken care of nowadays with the advent of Tofurky, field roasts and other fake meat entrees. One year, I made a delicious stuffed tofu dish, and another year I made stuffed acorn squashes that were a very pretty (and filling) main dish.

The whole family rarely gets together now that we are all spread around the country (and world, this year – as my brother is overseas), so it’s not an issue anymore. My husband is easily satisfied with just a few seasonal dishes and we are both willing to not stuff ourselves silly just because it’s Thanksgiving.

You might want to try to get to know some turkeys this year and put new meaning into the expression “I love turkey!” Animal Place in Grass Valley will celebrate turkeys with a “Thank the Turkeys” celebration on Nov. 23. Your ticket includes time with the animals, a vegan meal, a silent auction and a chance to listen to three amazing speakers. Go to for more information.

Why should the President be the only one pardoning a turkey this year? Farm Sanctuary celebrates turkeys with its “Adopt a Turkey” Project, encouraging people to save a turkey at Thanksgiving through sponsorships to help them rescue animals and provide care for birds at the sanctuary. For a one-time donation gift of $30, you can sponsor a turkey that lives at one of Farm Sanctuary’s three shelters. For more information, go to

I used to offer my recipes, and they are still available if anyone is interested (email me and I’ll send some to you). Now, just by Googling Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes, you will get more delicious ideas than you can possibly try (21 million to be exact). Or you can still do the easy route and just bake a Tofurky and buy pre-mashed potatoes at Trader Joes. My point being that there is nothing to stress about if you have a vegan/vegetarian showing up to your house for the holiday. Relax and just enjoy the celebration with friends and family.

Upcoming events

Got casino fever? Spin the wheel for great discounts during our “Gamble on Love” adoption event. Discounts include 2-for-1, $20 adoptions, half off and other special rates. We still have kittens. Stop by and bring home some love for the holidays.

• No more lost pets: Get your free pet ID tags and microchips for all Rohnert Park and Cotati pets. Stop by the shelter during our open hours to protect your pet: Wednesday 1-6:30 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday 1-5:30 p.m.; and Sun 1-4:30 p.m.

• Fix-it clinics: Monthly spay/neuter surgeries – cats are free and dogs just $60, for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents. Call 588-3531 to schedule an appointment. 

Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at

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