Celebrating Soy and Bringing it to the Thanksgiving Table

By Kriss Nelson, Iowa Soybean Association

There is “soy” much to be thankful for during this season of gratitude. From candles to turkey to crayons for kids’ coloring activities, join us in celebrating all things soy!

Whether it’s soy candles burning as a Thanksgiving centerpiece; soy ingredients used in preparation for the Thanksgiving meal, or even the crayons being used for coloring at the children’s table, there is “soy” much to be thankful for this holiday season.

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For soybean farmers Cassie Cannon and Kerri Bell, as the season of thanks approaches, they reflect on both the blessings of farm and families and how fortunate they are to supply a soybean crop that helps to feed and fuel the world

Cannon, her husband Will and sons Oliver and Case (both sentimentally named for tractors driven by their great-grandfathers) operate their family farm near Prairie City.

Not only does Cannon relish in the fact that one acre of soybeans produces 82,000 non-toxic crayons, but she is also thankful for a product that helps to provide her son Case with nutrition. Soy will be a staple at their Thanksgiving meal.

“He was born with a milk protein allergy, so he is not able to drink animal milk,” Cannon says.

Soy yogurt and soy milk are just some of the products that are a part of Case’s diet.

“One acre of soybeans produces 2,500 gallons of soymilk,” says Cannon. “My son drinks about one-half gallon of soy milk in a week’s time.”

Cannon also recognizes the part soybeans play in meat production.

“It’s easy to think I am eating tofu – this is made from soy. But, when you think about the different meats that we eat, including poultry, beef and pork – all of those come from livestock that include soymeal as part of their feed rations,” she says.

Thankful for Farm Life

For Bell, a second-grade teacher at Mid-Prairie East Elementary in Kalona, she is thankful for the opportunities and values that come with farm life. Bell and her husband Lance farm near Keota and are parents to 19-year-old twin daughters Ellie and Sophie. Although their daughters both attend Iowa State University, they also still play an active role on their family farm. Ellie and Sophie embrace the opportunity to someday carry on as the next generation to run the family farm.

“I am thankful to have been raised on a farm and to have instilled those values into our daughters. They are passionate about agriculture, and they are very appreciative of the roots they have been given,” she says.

Bell is honored to supply the world with such a diversified product as soybeans.

“Not only are we feeding the world, but we are also thankful to provide for so many products that use soybeans,” Bell explains.  “Soybeans convert to biofuel for the school bus and crayons for my classroom,” she says.

At the Table

Enjoying a Thanksgiving meal by candlelight or providing a fragrant candle as a gift for the host and hostess is another way soy shines during the holiday season.

On her western Iowa crop and livestock farm, Michelle Myers, owner of Dirt Road Candle Company makes her candles from soybeans. In 2016, Michelle and her husband bought a farm on a dirt road. Born out of a desire to bring wonderful scents indoors, her aptly named candle company was born.

“You can be confident they are clear of harmful ingredients. Soy wax is all natural and sustainable,” she says. “The soybeans are grown right here on our farm and by other farmers in the Midwest just like us. We are proud to use 100% soy wax in our candle creations.”

Soy-candles are free of carcinogens, and Dirt Road Candle Company’s scents are also made without using toxic chemicals.

“Our candles are truly quality candles that you can feel good about burning as without worrying about what you’re breathing in or soot building up on your walls,” Myers says.

Note: All Roads Lead Home candle and Sunday Brunch candle melt photos courtesy of Dirt Road Candle Co.

The Feast

Pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and corn casserole are just a few recipes that can be made using soy ingredients.

Soyfoods are versatile, high in protein and contain many important nutrients. Blending them into many traditional recipes is an easy way to savor the benefits.

For example, try adding a half cup of textured soybean protein or textured vegetable protein to prepared soup, and let it simmer until heated through. The result is a delicious soup with  higher protein. Adding canned black soybeans to soups and salads also adds an easy punch of protein.

“Canned black soybeans have so much more protein than a typical can of black beans,” says Funk. “This means less carbs, more protein and a lot of healthy benefits.”

Other soyfoods to consider incorporating into your Thanksgiving meal or every day could be water-packed tofu, edamame, soy cream cheese, soy sour cream or soybean oil whenever a recipe calls for oil.

If you are unsure where to find these soy products in store aisles, Funk recommends asking store staff.

“Ask your grocer where to find the various products. Every grocery store has them in different locations,” she says.

For more ideas, recipes and health information visit www.thesoyfoodscouncil.

Tofu Pumpkin Pie

Serves 8

12 ounces Mori-Nu Silken Tofu, extra firm
15-ounces canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons soybean oil
2 tablespoons dark molasses
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash ground cloves
9-inch unbaked pie crust
Soy whip topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F degrees.

In a blender or food processor, add tofu, pumpkin, oil and molasses, blend until smooth. Place in a large bowl.

Stir in sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, vanilla, nutmeg and cloves; blend.

Pour into unbaked crust. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 to 60 minutes or until filling is puffed around the edges. Chill 2 to 3 hours.

Serve topped with whipped topping. Refrigerate leftovers.