Via My California Roots: The Creamiest Vegan Mashed Potatoes


I know that’s totally not a thing. But really, I’m usually more thankful for Saturday than I am for Friday. Although last night I did get to drink my favorite hard cider from See Canyon Hard Cider Co. Having a beer / hard cider is seriously the thing I look forward to most on Friday nights. Is that bad?

At least I don’t drink during the week 😉

So, I’m pretty sure I can say with confidence that everyone looks forward to mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving. I mean, it’s a thing. If you have Thanksgiving, you have mashed potatoes. And if you have mashed potatoes, you have…. nevermind.

The Mashers are everyone’s favorite side, whether they admit it or not. It’s one of those dishes that you give yourself an extra large heaping scoop, then look at your plate a little forlornly because it doesn’t look like quite enough, so you dive in for another. It’s that dish.

Standard mashed potatoes have lots of tasty flavor components, like butter and cream.

But if you’re the kind of person who avoids those ingredients for whatever reason, making really creamy mashed potatoes can be… challenging. I’m not vegan myself, but choose not to eat dairy most of the time. The exception I make is cheese, because…… cheese. But I use vegan butter and non-dairy milks nearly 100% of the time.

So, I’ve tried many variations of vegan mashed potatoes. Some were okay (I mean, really, it’s mashed potatoes – they can’t be that bad). Some were pretty good.

But none have been as creamy as these.

I did something pretty crazy here to achieve that super creamy, melt-in-your-mouth taste that traditional mashed potatoes have. I’ve tried all sorts of non-dairy milks and was never super impressed with the result. But this time, I did it. Two words:

Cashew. Cream.

That stuff has been my jam lately. Not really like jam jam, but you get it. I am using it all over the place and LOVING it. It’s so good.

And for those of you who say “I don’t have a Vitamix/Blendtec so I can’t make it, poohey” – let me tell you one thing. My blender cost $40. It’s an Oster and I don’t think you can even get it any more. And it works amazingly well for cashew cream.

It’s all about technique, I’m tellin ya.

So these potatoes! Aside from the cashew cream, they have some Earth Balance butter (or whatever kind of butter you want), salt (of course), roasted garlic, and crispy shallots. Roasted garlic and crispy shallots! Even if you have no intention of ever making vegan mashed potatoes, you must put roasted garlic and crispy shallots on your mashers next time. Promise me.

To make these super creamy, I used my KitchenAid mixer to whip them up. It is by far the easiest way to make them nice and fluffy. If all you have is a potato masher, that’ll work too. You’ll also have nice toned arms afterward. Get to it!

In my version, I left the skins on and stopped whipping them before every single little tiny lump was out. That’s because the skins are tasty and nutritious, and because I like my mashed potatoes to have a little texture to them. BUT, if you prefer your potatoes to be skinless, or if you want only creamy and no potato chunks, then be sure to peel your taters and whip them for a few extra minutes.

Ok, I’ve been staring at these pictures too long. I’m off to go eat the rest of these now. (PS. they make amazing leftovers)

Happy weekending!

Hosts and hostesses sometimes worry about what food to serve at their child’s party, or wonder if they can handle all the work of a theme party. It’s hard to find food that everyone likes, and making party decorations and favors can be tiring.

Why not make food or crafts the theme in a “make your own” party? Guests can make their own food as part of the party fun, and then everyone can make food according to his or her taste. Guests can make masks, jewelry, or other crafts. There are ideas along this line for almost all ages. Here are some suggestions.

1. Make Your Own Pizza

This one has all kinds of possibilities, from sweet to savory. For individual pizza crusts, you can use pita bread, homemade or store-bought mini pizza dough or crusts, bagels, or English muffins. Some toppings you can put out might include some of the following:

Make Your Own Pizza

* Peanut butter
* Jelly
* Chocolate chips
* Tomato sauce
* Shredded cheese
* Pepperoni
* Olives
* Peppers
* Ham
* Pineapple
* Cream cheese
* Fruit

These pizza ideas can be mixed and matched, some eaten cold and some baked. Just be sure an adult does the baking for a kids’ party!

2. Make Your Own Shish kabob

Make your own

Like pizzas, shish kabobs have all kinds of possibilities. Set out some of the following foods along with skewers. If you like, you can cook meats ahead of time and just heat the kabobs under the broiler or in the microwave.

* Cheese cubes
* Chunks of cooked chicken, beef, and ham
* Bell peppers
* Onions
* Cherry tomatoes
* Chunked fruit such as pineapple, bananas, cherries, melon, apple, kiwi, etc.
* Marshmallows

3. Make Your Own Cupcake or Cookie

Cupcakes and cookies can be decorated or made by the guests. For cupcakes, it might be better for guests to do the decorating. Cookies might be fun if guests cut them out with cookie cutters, bake them, and then decorate them. However you do it, here are some ideas for decorating those cupcakes and cookies.

Make your own cupcake

* Frosting in various colors (Use a separate butter knife for each color, or put the frosting in plastic zip-top bags, snip a tiny bit off of one of the bag’s corners, and squeeze the frosting out the hole)
* Candies and chocolates
* Sprinkles
* Sugar paste (This can be rolled, shaped, and cut into all kinds of decorative shapes, even flowers)

4. Make Your Own Stuffed Animal

There are several ways you can do this kind of “make your own” party. You can:

* Go to a store where guests can choose their own “unstuffed” animal, and then store workers stuff each child’s animal.

* If you’re handy with fabric, you can sew unstuffed animal “skins” ahead of time, leaving a small opening for guests to use polyester or cotton fill to stuff their creations. Then stitch the small opening closed.

* Use white socks, fabric glue, and fabric markers or paint to let kids create their own sock creature. Guests can decorate the socks before stuffing, and the socks can be tied shut once stuffed.

5. Other Ideas

Make your own chocolate

Some other quick ideas which you can use as a springboard include:

a) Make Your Own Candle
b) Make Your Own Chocolate Bar
c) Make Your Own Sundae
d) Make Your Own Mask
e) Make Your Own Jewelry

Depending on the age of the children you are inviting, the time of day, and other factors, what kind of food you’re going to serve at a child’s party can vary. Make sure you check with the parents of all the guests to find out if there are any food allergies among your prospective guests.

Here are some party food ideas according to various ages.

1. Toddlers

For a party with toddlers as the main guests, it helps to focus on finger foods that toddlers can pick up and eat themselves. Make sure the foods served are soft and not choking hazards. Some party food ideas include:

Party Food Ideas

* Slices of fruit (melon, strawberries, peaches, and ripe pears are good)
* Cheese slices
* Small sandwiches with soft filling like peanut butter and jelly, cheese, egg salad, and so forth
* Pizza bites, either frozen or simply pizza that’s been cut into small slices or pieces
* Cookies that are relatively soft, not hard or that contain nuts
* Jell-O cut into fun shapes

Party Food Ideas

2. Preschoolers

Like the food at toddler parties, preschoolers’ party food is probably best if it is simple and can be eaten with the fingers. However, preschoolers have more advanced coordination, are less prone to choking, and can enjoy a wider range of foods. Here are some part food ideas for preschoolers: 

Children’s Party

* Fruit pizza (made with vanilla cookie dough and topped with cream cheese-based icing and fruit)
* Chips and dip (corn chips and salsa, potato chips and French onion dip, pretzels and honey mustard, etc.)
* Apple slices and caramel dip

Children’s Party

* Hot dogs on a bun cut in half. Condiments can be according to each guests’ taste, but it might be less hassle to make the half-dogs up ahead, putting ketchup on some, mustard on others, and so forth. Then the guests can choose.
* Pizza

3. Gradeschool

Gradeschool spans a wide range of ages, from 5 to 11 years old. For younger kids in gradeschool, say between 5 and 7 years old, the same kinds of foods as you’d have for preschoolers can be served. For kids ages 8 to 11, here are some possibilities:

* Fruit kabobs (older kids know better than to use the skewers in inappropriate ways!)
* Watermelon fruit basket (it’s not too hard to cut a watermelon into a basket shape)

Children’s Party

* Build-your-own sandwich – set out breads and various sandwich spreads and fillings such as deli meat, cheese, sliced vegetables, etc.
* Quesadillas with salsa and guacamole dip. You can cut these into fun shapes, too.

4. Middle School

Older kids might appreciate more “sophisticated” and interesting foods. For kids of middle school age, here are some party food ideas to try.

Children’s Party

* Camp fire cookout. Middle schoolers can cook their own food over a campfire, or cook out on a grill (with adult supervision, of course).
* Build-your-own pizza, where kids can add toppings according to their tastes. Bagels, English muffins, or homemade or store-bought mini crusts make good choices for the pizza base.
* Ethnic foods can be fun for this age. Try serving various foods from different countries and see how everyone reacts to the new flavors.