Our Giving Gathering Focused On Changing Our World
2016 has been a year of radical change, uncertainty about our future and divides of the past resurging and rooting down deeper than ever. With so much affecting the future landscape of our political sphere, environment and...
by Heather Ash

2016 has been a year of radical change, uncertainty about our future and divides of the past resurging and rooting down deeper than ever. With so much affecting the future landscape of our political sphere, environment and humanity, this Thanksgiving - more than ever - is the ideal time to step away from ourselves and reflect on what is happening in the world around us. What worries you? What ignites a spark in you? What can you do to make a positive impact on our future?

Start by shifting your meaning of Thanksgiving to a Giving Gathering - the 'giving' part of this holiday. We know Thanksgiving as a time to reflect inwardly and be thankful for the good in our lives but let's change our intentions to reflect outwardly and focus on giving back when it's more important than ever. While we're still using this time to be thankful, this year rather than writing our 'thankful' notes down, we are writing down ways we want to give. 

We gathered as a team to set our intentions of giving back, celebrate what's to come, and enjoy one another's company. We were inspired by the rugged coastline of the Pacific Northwest that is wild, natural and pure. We brought our favorite dishes and recipes to share with each other while discussing causes we're passionate about, how we're getting more involved in our community, and how we're planning on making a positive impact on the world we live in. How are you giving this year?


Vegan Stuffing Recipe


  • 2 French baguettes cut into 1" cubes
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 3 large stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, unpeeled and diced
  • 2 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 2 tsp. Himalayan salt
  • Fresh ground peppper to taste
  • 1 cup vegetable stock

Preheat oven to 300° 
Put the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes, until slightly crispy.
In a large saute pan, combine the onion, celery, apple, rosemary, salt and pepper. Saute for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is soft.
In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, mixture, and vegetable stock until well mixed. 
Bake the stuffing in a large pan for 30-45 minutes, until the top layer is golden.
Serve with gravy and and dried cranberries, if desired.



French Green Bean Casserole Recipe


  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans
  • 1/2 lb baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 cans cream of roasted garlic mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 package french fried onions
  • 3 oz gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mince garlic, dice shallots, and slice mushrooms then sauté with olive oil for about 7 mins.
In a bowl, mix the condensed soup, milk, shallot/garlic/mushrooms, and pepper. Stir in the beans, half the cheese (grated), and half of the fried onions.
Pour mixture into a casserole dish.
Bake for 25 minutes, uncovered until the mixture is hot and bubbling.
Top with the remaining onions and grated cheese, and bake for 5 minutes more, or until the topping is nicely browned.



Banoffee Pie Recipe

For the caramel:

  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 4 oz white sugar
  • 14 fl oz condensed milk (1 can)

For the banoffee pie:

  • 5 oz digestive biscuits, crushed
  • 3 oz butter, melted
  • 3 large bananas, chopped
  • 10½ oz double cream, whipped until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting

For the caramel sauce:

  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 4 oz brown sugar
  • 4 fl oz coconut milk

For the caramel, place the butter and sugar into a non-stick pan over a low heat, stirring until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.
Add the condensed milk and slowly bring to the boil, stirring continuously, to make the caramel. As soon as the mixture thickens and begins to smell of caramel, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, for the banoffee pie, place the crushed biscuits into a bowl. Add the butter and mix well.
Transfer the mixture to a 10in cake tin. Press in to pack the mixture evenly into the base.
Add the chopped bananas to the caramel mixture and mix well, then spread the mixture over the biscuit base.
Transfer to the refrigerator to cool for 30 minutes.
Remove from the fridge and spread the whipped cream evenly over the top of the banoffee layer.
Dust with cocoa powder.
For the caramel sauce, place the butter, sugar and coconut milk into a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and cook for 3-4 minutes, until it forms a thick, light golden-brown sauce.
To serve, cut out slices of the banoffee pie, place onto plates and pour over the caramel sauce.



Here is how our team is giving back:

  • Supporting stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline: Currently, it's Native American Heritage Month surrounding the news happening at the dakota pipeline. The tribes of Standing Rock Reservation are people peacefully protesting to protect not just their land, but their centuries old land. In return they are being shot with water cannons in freezing weather, rubber cannons and tear gas in return. This is the time of year to support this tribe in protecting their home. Kim Tallbear, a professor of Native Studies, sums it up perfectly "Maybe for non-Natives who thought that the West was won, and the Indian Wars were over, and Native people were mostly dead and gone and isn't that bad – now, they're like, 'Oh wait a minute, they're still there? And they're still fighting the same things they were 150 years ago?' Yeah, we are." #NODAPL DONATE HERE | SIGN THE PETITION HERE
  • Giving back and helping others through, New Citizen Project. A non-profit organization dedicated to the integration of refugees in the United States.
  • Give more of ourselves and our time. Cook more, call often and be present with friends and family. 
  • Volunteering at local nonprofit, Promise2kids. If you are San Diegan, this is an amazing cause that supports foster childern and teenagers. 
  • Give back to our earth through recycling, conserving electricity and water. We pledge to be more environmentally conscious.


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