When Jenni Kayne and Kate Mulling of The Chalkboard asked me to teach a Thanksgiving cooking class for their new series ‘In the Vegan Kitchen’, my immediate response was ‘Yes!’ (and how flattering). But then I got nervous. Not only am I not a vegan ‘expert’, I’d never taught a class before. Despite years as an actress, I get shy in front of a group (especially knowing there would be a camera involved). To calm my nerves, I decided to focus on what I do know: the flavors of Thanksgiving. Nothing says Thanksgiving to me more than my great grandmother’s famous Pumpkin Praline Pie (see last year’s post for the original recipe). I started from there and figured out a way to turn half and half and butter into a vegan counter part that was still worthy of my family’s traditions; I think the results are solid! From there, I created recipes for appetizers, squash soup, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. The key to vegan cooking isn’t about using a bunch of strange, new substitute products; for me, it’s about focusing on great produce and familiar tried and true techniques. Amy further alleviated my nerves by designing recipe cards for everyone in the class to take home (even if the recipes sucked, at least they would be presented in a pretty fashion!). Luckily, the recipes turned out well and the class was a success. I know that entertaining can be stressful, so I created a Thanksgiving Timeline to figure out how to get it all done! Jenni set a cozy table with succulent filled pumpkins; read more about the how-to details and table settings on her chic blog Rip Plus Tan. After the class, we all sat down to enjoy the meal and oohs and ahhs about the mushroom & leek stuffing solidified what I already knew: with enough sage and cornbread, no one will miss the Jimmy Dean sausage. For all of the recipes, click on the links below!! Happy (Un)Turkey Day!!