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A Green Thanksgiving for Everyone

By Jana Ballinger
November 16, 2011; 2:33 PM ET
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We are hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my house this year, and like many of you out there I have the monumental task of making a wide variety of people happy. I've got a newly vegan mom, a picky sister and a brother-in-law with meat-and-potatoes sensibilities, plus a dad who may or may not have wanted to host Thanksgiving himself and now wants to come over early to help cook the meal. In fact, now that I think of it, my 5-year-old nephew will probably be the easiest one to please.

But I also have to make myself happy and stay true to my beliefs-and what's important to me is that the holiday be as eco-friendly as possible. So here's my plan of attack:

The turkey: No factory farms! Our turkey will be organic, hormone-free and free range all the way. I am guessing my brother-in-law won't even know the difference, but I will. And the extra money I shell out for this I'll save by not spending any money on festive napkins or cheesy decorations (more about this later).

Vegan, too: Lucky for me, Care2 has lots of meatless main dishes for me to choose from (well, maybe I should let my husband pick since he's the one who actually does the cooking around here). Something from this collection of favorite Thanksgiving main dishes plus plenty of vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, lima beans-organic, of course) and my mom will have plenty to choose from. If you're going for an entirely vegetarian or vegan Thanksgiving, read Melissa Breyer's suggestions for a bird-free feast.

Mmmm, potatoes: In an effort to be healthier we've been eating an awful lot of brown rice lately and while I love brown rice, I am looking forward to the mashed potatoes.

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