Kids & Pets
December 13, 2017
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Kinder Thanksgiving traditions

By: Mickey Zeldes
November 17, 2017

It’s obvious that for at least some people in Sonoma County the holidays are going to be tough.  They are not just without a home and the things in it. For many it will be the end of life long traditions. Recipes have gone up in flames as well as the special dishes they were prepared in.  Many traditions will have to end and I would like to just suggest that instead of doing the same old thing and trying to modify it to fit your current circumstances (which may make the loss hit harder), that you use this as an opportunity to try something completely different.  Perhaps even something as different as a vegan Thanksgiving!

If you go into the holidays with a positive attitude and really want to express appreciation, gratitude and thankfulness that you made it through the fires, then having a compassionate meal is very fitting. And by shaking things up, you are less likely to dwell on the traditions that are over (no more turkey made in grandma's special pan, no more of your aunt’s special holiday recipe that is gone now, no more gathering at a particular person’s house or trying to cram too many people around that too small a table). Grab the changes with gusto and you will come up with some new traditions!

For practice and tasting there are a couple vegan Thanksgiving dinners happening if you’d rather not do all the cooking yourself.  Friday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m. there is a vegan dinner at Muir’s Tea Room in Sebastopol to support Compassionate Living. The menu sounds delicious (all their food is!) and is fairly traditional. Cost is $50 (plus tax and gratuity) and reservations are required since seating is limited. Go to for details and to reserve a spot. You can also opt to celebrate Thanksgiving with Compassionate Living at a vegan pot-luck on Thursday, Nov. 23 at 4 p.m. at the Monroe Hall in Santa Rosa and only have to cook one dish instead of a whole meal. Go to for details and to register. 

If you’re looking for quick and easy ways to add vegan items to your Thanksgiving table, both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have ready-made To-furkys and Field Roasts.  Both would make a delicious main dish for any vegan/vegetarian that is coming to join you for the holiday. It doesn’t take much effort to make the side dishes vegan-friendly. Use margarine instead of butter and one of the alternatives to milk instead of the real thing. They even sell soy whipped cream for your dessert!

If you’re up to experimenting with homemade options I encourage you to google vegan Thanksgiving recipes. You will be overwhelmed with more than 6,000,000 websites touting delicious options! is one of my friend’s favorite sites so it comes with a high recommendation. Even Martha Stewart and the Food Network get into it with recipes on their sites.  

There are so many delicious foods available this time of year – squashes, quinoa, mushrooms, nuts and legumes, that there is no reason for anyone to even miss the turkey. And the turkeys certainly would be thankful if you skip them this year!

Upcoming Events:  

No More Lost Pets – free microchips and pet ID tags for residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati City. Stop by the shelter during our open hours with your pet to get one! The shelter is open Wed 1-6:30 p.m., Thurs-Fri-Sat 1-5:30 p.m. and Sun 1-4:30 p.m.

­Fix-it Clinics – Free spay and neuters for cats; and $60 dog surgeries (up to 80 lbs.) for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents. Call 588-3531 for an appointment.


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