You Will Be Visited by Three Mashed Potato Ghosts… and Seitan Bacon Gravy

Mashed Potato Ghosts with Seitan Bacon GravyI love time travel stories. The thought of being able to see the world throughout history, throughout our own lives, or throughout the lives of those we love is a very appealing idea. Imagine how we might behave differently if we had the vantage point of true perspective on our side. They say you don’t know what someone else is going through until you’ve walked in their shoes, but time travel would equal things out, giving a real three dimensional perspective on the effects of our actions over time.

When I trace my love of time travel stories, they go back in time from the recent film, About Time, to Doctor Who, to the book, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and of course, Back to the Future. But I think it all started with A Christmas Carol. Like many of us, as a child I’d watch the story play out at Christmastime. But my love for Christmas couldn’t be held to just a few weeks in December. Along with my favorite Christmas album, in the summer I’d run my VHS tapes ragged with replays. A good story is a good story, you know?

Seitan Bacon Gravy & Mashed Potato GhostsWith Doctor Who, they say that the first Doctor you were introduced to is the Doctor who will always be your most revered. (Over the years, multiple actors have played the title role.) I wonder if it’s the same for any story in which different actors will be playing the same part.

I was introduced to A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott as Scrooge. To me, he is the quintessential Scrooge. (I also have a deep well of affection for him because he looks kind of like my Grandpa did, but my grandpa wore considerably more rainbow suspenders than Ebenezer.)

Mashed Potato Ghosts with Seitan Bacon GravyEvery year, it’s David and my Christmas tradition that we watch multiple versions of A Christmas Carol. This year we watched the Albert Finney version for the first time (after a glowing recommendation from Katrina at Suburban Snow White). We also hit up The Muppet Christmas Carol, which sticks so beautifully to the original story, despite involving a barnyard of puppets as the cast. Plus, the songs are just terrific. And how can you not love Cratchit when he’s played by Kermit the Frog? Impossible. We viewed Mickey’s Christmas Carol, the Black Adder Christmas Carol, and even SNL did a new Christmas Carol sketch, bringing up our total. (I still haven’t seen the version with Patrick Stewart as Scrooge, and that’s on my list for next year.)

There’s something very appealing about the idea that we can all change our lives at any time. We have the power to look in ourselves, see where we’ve gone astray, and to do better. Even Scrooge, who was an old man steeped in bad habits, could alter the course of his life for the better.

Today’s Mashed Potato Ghosts with Seitan Bacon Gravy were made as a send-up to old Scrooge. When Marley showed up at Scrooge’s bedside, Scrooge didn’t believe his own eyes.

More of Gravy Than of GraveMarley asked, “Why do you doubt your senses?”

“Because,” said Scrooge, “a little thing affects them. A light disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”

(Scrooge needn’t have worried. There’s no underdone potato here and certainly no beef.)

The potato ghosts were inspired by the adorable mashed potato ghosts at Wing-It Vegan. (River also recently made Chili con Queso with my Creamy Cauliflower Queso, which looks fantastic.)

These potatoes are on the firm-side to keep their shape.  I used a pastry bag to pipe cooled mashed potatoes onto the platter and then smoothed them with a knife. (They are easier to form when cool and can then be warmed in the microwave.) I added capers for eyes and mouths made by forming a hole in the potatoes with a toothpick.

Mashed Potatoes & Seitan Bacon GravyThe rosemary and sage-scented seitan bacon gravy uses one of my favorite vegan bacons, Upton’s. I adapted the recipe for Creamy Sage & Pepper Gravy from Vegan Diner by adjusting spices, adding some onions, garlic, browned seitan bacon, and smoked salt.

Mashed Potatoes with Seitan Bacon GravyDotted with chewy seitan, it is not only marvelous on mashed potatoes (ghost-shaped or otherwise), it would also be the perfect gravy for a biscuit & gravy breakfast. For another idea, this morning I had it over a tofu scramble in a breakfast burrito, and it was three or four levels of delicious.

Scrooge & MarleyI hope that this season finds you in good spirits, and that if you celebrate Christmas, all of the guests at your home will be welcome ones. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Mashed Potato Ghosts with Seitan Bacon Gravy

Serving Size: 2-4 (Makes 2 cups of gravy)


  • 2 large Russet potatoes (about 20 ounces), peeled and cut into even medium-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vegan butter
  • Salt, to taste
  • Capers (optional)
  • For the gravy
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped small
  • 10 strips Upton's seitan bacon, diced
  • 2 cups plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons vegan butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper, to taste


  1. Fill a soup pot with water and bring to a low boil. Carefully add the potatoes and cook for 12-15 minutes, until soft enough to easily puncture with a fork. Drain the pot and add the potatoes to a large mixing bowl. Using an immersion blender or potato masher, mash the potatoes until soft and creamy. Slowly add non-dairy milk until you've reached your desired level of creaminess. (Keep in mind that if you are going to form the potatoes into ghosts, they keep their form better when not too soupy.) Add vegan butter and salt and continue mashing until fully blended.
  2. Let the potatoes cool and then scoop them into a pastry bag, adding more to the bag as needed. Squeeze the mashed potatoes into dollops and then smooth them with a knife. Use a toothpick for form mouths and capers for eyes.
  3. For the gravy
  4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour and nutritional yeast flakes and set aside.
  5. Bring a large skillet to a medium heat. Add extra virgin olive oil to the skillet and sauté garlic and onions for a few minutes, until fragrant. Add seitan bacon and sauté for a few minutes more, until the seitan has browned.
  6. Add the non-dairy milk to the all-purpose flour and nutritional yeast mixture until totally combined and smooth with no lumps. Turn the heat on the skillet to low and slowly add the mixture to the pan, stirring constantly until the gravy thickens. (This should happen almost immediately.)
  7. Add the vegan butter, dried rubbed sage, dried rosemary, smoked salt, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Fully combine the spices with the gravy. Remove from heat and serve over mashed potato ghosts.


Gravy adapted from Creamy Sage & Pepper Gravy in Vegan Diner




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Curried Ginger Men & Olive Pit Pottery Update

I’m so excited to be posting over at Keepin’ It Kind today for Kristy’s annual cookie swap party. Kristy is such a terrifically warm human being and a person I feel blessed to call my friend. Keepin’ It Kind is always a well of good feelings and mouthwatering food (photographed by her equally fabulous husband, Chris). Also did you hear that Kristy is currently working on a cookbook? I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! (You may remember that I did a video interview with Kristy in September. If you missed it, it’s available for viewing here.)

While you’re over at Keepin’ It Kind, you’ll definitely want to poke around a bit, check out Kristy’s recipes and the insane delights that other bloggers are bringing to this all-vegan cookie swap.

mainimage1What’s my entry? Indian falafel with a peanut curry dipping sauce, of course. They’re also known as Curried Ginger Men. Doesn’t sound like a cookie to you? Well, you’ll have to head over to Keepin’ It Kind, where everything will be explained.

But before you go, I wanted to let you know that my Etsy pottery shop, Olive Pit Pottery, has been updated. The stock is full, and I’d love it if you’d take a peek. I have cute button bowls, sauce dishes, and some Doctor Who ornaments (representing Tom Baker, Peter Davison & Matt Smith) for those Whovians on your list.

In addition to making pottery for the shop, I’ve gotten the chance to do a couple of commissioned pieces lately. One was for someone who wanted a mug that was Sherlock related.  I came up with the idea of making a mug that incorporated Sherlock’s famous address.

sherlockmugAnd one was for someone who wanted owl mugs:

owlmugs(I made a couple of extras, and so I have a similar owl mug available in my shop.)

I’m really delighted with how the commissioned pieces turned out, and I’m planning on making more of those styles in the new year.