thanksgiving success.

While I deviated from tradition in many ways this year, it ended up being one of the best Thanksgivings in recent memory. It’s also the first year I’ve had a bad ass camera so please excuse the gratuitous use of pictures in this post.

As I said in this post, I made a completely vegan meal aside from Bill’s turkey breast. For years I’ve used a stick of butter under the turkey’s skin but after seeing Shea Sylvia’s technique I brined the bird for 36 hours as well. Both Bill and our friend Dustin approved. I didn’t achieve a beautiful, caramelized color but the guys said it was moist and yummy.


I was a little nervous about my protein option this year but was pleasantly surprised by gardein’s holiday roast! I made a basting glaze of soy sauce, apricot preserves, dijon mustard, orange juice and coconut oil and roasted it over onion, celery, garlic and fresh herbs. The “meat” was moist, the vegan gravy was tasty, and the cranberry stuffing in the middle was delicious.

I made these dinner rolls the day before Thanksgiving. They were so delicious straight out of the oven I almost had to bake another pan. I used whole wheat flour and ground flax seed as an egg substitute (1 tbsp flax + 2 tbsp water, mix and let sit a few minutes). Much easier than anticipated. I will definitely make these again.

While I did miss the pound of bacon I usually use in my green beans, these almond beans were pretty satisfying. I skipped the olive oil, used 3 tbsp Earth Balance instead of butter (in the future I think I’ll use coconut oil instead), and only used one white onion. Maddie and I both gobbled these up.

Mashed potatoes are almost always found on a Thanksgiving menu but because my husband hates mashed potatoes (I know, I KNOW), garlic rosemary red potatoes have been a staple of mine for years. Typically I cube half a bag of potatoes, mince up 5-6 cloves of garlic, dice up a half stick of butter, chop up some fresh rosemary, mix it up with salt and pepper and bake for an hour at 400. This time I roasted two heads of garlic in olive oil for 40 minutes at 400, then squeezed the cloves and oil over the diced potatoes. I skipped the butter but the rest of the process was the same. Nom.

I have been a fan of Ocean Spray canned cranberry sauce for as long as I can remember. Even slicing my thumb open on the can, getting five stitches and spending Thanksgiving in the ER nine years ago didn’t deter me from eating the can-shaped deliciousness. However, I found this recipe for cranberry pear sauce on skinnytaste and decided to make it from scratch. A few modifications though: 16oz of pomegranate juice instead of water, added the juice and zest of one orange, used 2 tbsp of honey instead of agave and let it boil down for a good 30 minutes. Maddie was practically licking her plate.

And the star of the show, Hasselback sweet potatoes. These are AMAZING. I (almost) didn’t miss the mini marshmallows! Be sure to spoon the gooey syrupy yumminess onto your potato when it comes out of the oven.

Now onto dessert. Bill doesn’t like pumpkin pie or traditional apple pie (how we’ve been married this long I really don’t know) so I wanted to experiment with something new. I found this whole wheat apple cranberry galette on Pinterest and figured with enough ice cream on top he might like it. He actually loved it even without ice cream! I used Earth Balance instead of butter and flax seed instead of wheat bran. I also used more apples (granny smith and golden delicious) and cranberries than called for, and upped it to about 1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar. Definitely on the tart side but so good. It has been perfect for breakfast for the past few days.

Pumpkin pie is pretty much my favorite dessert of all time. So much so, my mom made it for my birthday a couple times growing up even though my birthday is in February. I’ve tried all variations over the years but Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe will always be the gold standard. However, this one is pretty freaking good. I made my own oat flour by processing a cup of oatmeal in the Ninja blender, used raw honey instead of brown rice syrup and completely forgot the Earth Balance that was supposed to go in the batter. I think coconut oil would have worked perfectly in its place. The crust is spicy and nutty and the filling is nice and creamy. Very tasty. I made my own whipped cream out of coconut milk by following this recipe but added about a tablespoon of white sugar for sweetness.

Overall, dinner was a complete success! We’ve devoured the leftovers and I only have one plate left for lunch tomorrow. Just one short year ago I would never have dreamed about a vegan holiday dinner but now I can’t imagine going back.


About sarahkscoular

Sarah K. Scoular (@sarahkscoular on twitter) has 15 years customer service experience including face to face, over the phone and via digital interactions. Sarah is currently Enterprise Community Manager for uCern, the enterprise 2.0 social platform where Cerner Associates and Clients connect and collaborate. She ensures the 100,000+ member network is connecting people with others in similar roles or special interest groups, sharing information and finding answers to the questions they're looking for. Sarah helps others who are helping to revolutionize Health Care. Outside of work, Sarah is the wife of a graphic designer/laser engraver and the mother of seven-year-old Madeleine. She loves to cook clean, plant-strong foods and is a certified yoga and Les Mills BODYFLOW instructor.
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