SG547: Holiday Menus with the Lovely Anna Thomas from Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore

The holiday season has started and Anna Thomas is here to inspire us with menus for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Anna Thomas is the author of several books including Vegan, Vegetarian, Omnivore and she also appeared on episode 537 of the Still Growing podcast. Anna’s scrumptious holiday menus create excitement for the upcoming holidays. With wisdom and warmth, Anna reminds us once again that the most important part of the holiday season is not what is served, but who is present, at your holiday table.

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“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson.

Holiday Meals with The Lovely Anna Thomas from Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore
Holiday Meals with The Lovely Anna Thomas from Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore
Holiday Meals with The Lovely Anna Thomas from Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore
Holiday Meals with The Lovely Anna Thomas from Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore
Holiday Meals with The Lovely Anna Thomas from Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore

All photos are from Anna Thomas' book, Vegan, Vegetarian, Omnivore, and taken by photographer Victoria Pearson.

Interview Questions

Why don’t we start by you sharing your thoughts on holiday cooking in general and how to tackle hosting responsibilities.

Time Stamp: 10:35

Let’s talk a little bit about menu planning and sharing duties. Is there an art to who brings what?

Time Stamp 16:35

You were referencing this pumpkin back in episode 537 and I want to share your story again with the audience today.

Time Stamp: 22:35

When I was reading Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore, you talked so much about introducing old and new dishes during the holiday season. Please tell us how you’ve incorporated that to the dinner table.

Time Stamp: 28:25

Do you have dishes that you put together the day before entertaining guests?

Time Stamp: 38:30

Let’s pretend we are going to your house for Thanksgiving. It’s a large gathering. What can we all expect? What’s on the menu?

Time Stamp: 42:05

Before we roll through the Thanksgiving menu that’s featured in Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore, can you read the paragraph on page 20?

Time Stamp: 47:40

With your stuffing, do you make that ahead of time?

Time Stamp: 54:40

Thanksgiving for garden cooks naturally includes a lot of vegetables, so your cookbook is a perfect fit. What are some ideas you have for incorporating vegetables into a gardener’s Thanksgiving? 

Time Stamp: 58:10

You have a crumble recipe that you can modify in any way that you want. Mind sharing that with us?

Time Stamp: 1:05:10

Let’s talk garnishes. How would you approach this?

Time Stamp: 1:09:40

Would you garnish your soups with herbs?

Time Stamp: 1:13:35

Let’s fast forward a little bit. We’re all coming over to your house to celebrate Christmas eve. Could you please read the dedication in your cookbook? This is a very special holiday for you.

Time Stamp: 1:15:35

Let’s talk about the crostini that’s on the holiday menu.

Time Stamp: 1:17:15

If the audience is a persimmon virgin, what advice do you have for them?

Time Stamp: 1:17:15

There are two signature dishes that are part of your Christmas eve menu. The first is the pierogi and then porcini soup. Let’s talk about both of these.

Time Stamp: 1:22:05

Can you talks to us about your Green Soup with Mushrooms? What is this all about?

Time Stamp: 1:32:05

You believe there really are some secret ingredients that elevate soup. What are they?

Time Stamp: 1:34:35

I have to ask you how you do your caramelized onions. Take us step-by-step on how you make them. 

Time Stamp: 1:37:00

Now, you really love to use crostini in most of your menus. What are your tips on crostini?   

Time Stamp: 1:38:45

I love that you created an Italian menu. Can you please read the second paragraph on page 28 and then walk us through this delicious Italian menu.

Time Stamp: 1:40:55

Okay, we’ve made it to New Years. You said that this menu leads towards room temperature dishes. So, what are the room temperature items that are on this menu?

Time Stamp: 1:48:20

Before we close, I’d like to talk about planning for the holidays. It can really send you into a downward spiral if you’re not careful.

Time Stamp: 1:54:40

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I never write reviews but this is the best gardening podcast out there. Jennifer has interesting topics and guests and is not one bit annoying like some others are. I love that she involves her kids at the end of the podcast - usually with poetry or music. Really good podcast.

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Still Growing is one of the reliably informative gardening podcasts from North America. The format consists of an intro (personal gardening status chat, seasonal remarks), an extended interview with a guest, and an outro with funny outtakes, side remarks, and some chatter (poems, readings) from the host's children. The podcast is focused on reliable knowledge - the guests are typically experts like academics, master gardeners, gardening entrepreneurs or public garden leaders. The intro and especially the outro give it a homey feel. Given I live in the high northern region, just a little below the Polar Circle, I'm always looking for more cold-weather oriented gardening information. Jennifer Ebeling is in Minnesota, so that's helpful to me! Vegetable gardening (my main interest) gets a good share, but is not predominant. Most topics transcend your specific gardening interest and are applicable to many styles: landscaping principles, vermicomposting, greenhouses. The episodes are typically an hour long, which is just fine for me.

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Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
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