Family Time + A Vegan Practice Thanksgiving (Plus Turkey)

by Kim on October 30, 2012

We had such a nice fall weekend over here!

It started out with a little photo sesh. I wanted some pics of Mason with our pumpkin family (dad, mom, and baby pumpkin)…


View Pumpkins

…aaaand we got a little carried away…

View Pumpkins2


On Saturday afternoon, I got to spend some time at a coffee shop working on freelance projects. For a stay-at-home mom who’s used to being trapped in the house (almost) 24/7, it was soooo luxurious. I got a white peach tea and sat by the fireplace with my laptop. It felt like college again.

Later in the day, we bundled up the little dude and headed to the zoo.


bjorn Nothing melts my heart quite like a man in a Baby Bjorn.

We messed up our timing and ended up getting there 15 minutes before they closed (oops!), but it was pretty cold out anyway, and most of the animals were inside, so I thought it was actually a perfect amount of time to do a quick loop.

We still got to see the pumpkin hill:

pumpkin hillYeah, I can’t explain the connection between a zoo and a pumpkin hill either.

And Mason the baby polar bear:

polar bear Lower, Dad, much much lower. I’m nowhere near getting my mouth on this.

And an ostrich, one of the few animals that was actually out:

zoo Why does HE get to chew on the fence??

Plus, we got to take this awkward family self portrait:

self shot What a treasure.

Freezing and exhausted from our 15 minutes of outdoor time, we decided to continue the party at a local favorite hot spot, the Great Dane.

daneLove these handy car seat holders they have at some restaurants (I think they call them “slings” for some reason??).

After looking LONG AND HARD at the menu, I realized there was literally nothing I could have, except for these pretzels:


…but they were pretty awesome-especially the cranberry mustard dipping sauce they came with (YUM).

On Sunday, I helped out with the preschoolers at church in the morning (I switched from toddlers to preschoolers this year, and it’s SOO much easier! I love not having to do jumping jacks on the tables all hour just to keep their attention). Then, I came home to start working on a special dinner: a Vegan (Practice) Thanskgiving (with turkey-so not really vegan at all, technically).

It’d been a long time since I’d roasted a turkey, and I’d never actually done it 100% by myself. So I did a bunch of Google research and managed to confuse the crap out of myself…why do there have to be so many different ways to do this?? Don’t you just throw the thing in a pan, put it in the oven, wait a few hours, and take it out?

To keep it interesting, I combined techniques from a bunch of different sites (always a great idea, right?), and ended up doing this:

–Brined the turkey (soaked it in a salt water bath). I actually started this process the night before, so the turkey sat overnight in the fridge simultaneously thawing and brining.

–Stuffed the cavity with rosemary and red onion (just because I had them lying around and needed to use them up).

–Brushed the entire turkey with olive oil and sprinkled pepper on it.

–Laid the turkey in a roasting pan with a mixture of broth and water.

–Baked it (uncovered, breast side up) at 350 for about 2 hours. (I’d read that the rule of thumb is 13 minutes per pound, but our little 7-pounder didn’t seem quite done after the allotted 91 minutes.)

–Cranked the oven up to Broil for 10 final minutes to give the turkey some color.

–Removed the turkey and let it rest. (Partially because this is what you’re supposed to do, and partially because it was too dang hot to touch anyway.)

And lo, we had turkey:

turkeyI purposefully chopped off the top in the photo because I’d been using a knife there to check doneness (we don’t have a meat thermometer for some reason), and it wasn’t looking too pretty post-surgery.

I knew my pictures would turn out all janky and poorly lit since it was after dark when we ate (aka 5 PM), but I was afraid you wouldn’t believe me without photo evidence. So there you go.

Along with the turkey, we had cornbread stuffing (made with Earth Balance instead of butter), cranberry sauce from the jar, and this vegan sweet potato casserole from Oh She Glows (plus marshmallows):

potatoes Janky photo #2

The sweet potato casserole, in particular, was a HUGE hit. We didn’t miss the butter at all. Hubby paid it the highest compliment of all by going back for more even after he’d announced he was completely stuffed.

Oh, and speaking of holidays and vegan stuff, look what I stumbled across at the grocery store last week!

cookiesNo gluten, peanuts, dairy, eggs, or tree nuts-and ohsogood. Especially the chocolate mint ones.

I’ve also discovered a new vegan cooking blog to add to my lineup-Healthy Happy Life. I’m dying to try Kathy’s vegan peanut butter cups (I’ll have to use sunflower butter) and butternut bliss fall salad, among other things. (She even has a vegan cheesecake pumpkin pie recipe!)

Maybe I’ll be able to survive the holidays on my limited diet after all…


Do you have a favorite turkey roasting technique?

I thought my hodgepodge of methods turned out ok, but I’d like to experiment a little more.

What’s your favorite holiday food?

I’m a big fan of the turkey…leftovers! (Does that count?) I just had a turkey sandwich for lunch yesterday and it was awwwesome.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

E October 31, 2012 at 9:25 am

Still… Huge props to you. M is so so very fortunate :)


E October 30, 2012 at 9:52 am

You are seriously super mom. Your dedication to breast feeding a little guy with many allergies and not giving up is so admirable:)


Kim October 30, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Aw thanks. Although part of it is the fact that I’m too cheap to buy formula… :)


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