Thanksgiving one of three

As I mentioned before, Saturday was spent with my mom’s side of the family in So Cal.  It was a really fun day with good food, good company, and of course, the adorable Finn.


I was in charge of bringing a vegan dish, so I thought why not test out a recipe that’s been on the back burner for a while now.


Thanks to the Foodbuzz foodie gift exchange, all the goods for this meal were provided by Danica…although I did go astray a bit.  Here’s the OG recipe with my alterations.


Harvest Grain Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Artichokes


  • 16 oz Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend (I used 8 oz of the bag and added in brown rice)
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil (I omitted this and instead used the oil from the marinated artichokes)
  • 12 oz. jar of marinated artichokes (I only used 1/2 the jar)
  • 8.5 oz sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped (I only used ~2 tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar (I only used 1/4 cup)
  • Trader Joe’s 21 Spice Salute (no amount was specified, but I used 1 tbsp)
  • salt & pepper to taste


Cook Harvest Grain Blend with vegetable broth as per the package instructions.  Once the grains are tender, stir in chopped artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, oil, balsamic vinegar, and TJ’s seasoning.  Enjoy hot or cold.

And now some photos of the cooking process…







The next morning I transported it from the pot to the serving bowl.


Having the night to sit allowed all the flavors to meld together.  Yummy!

It was all soft like risotto and the flavors were stellar.  I’m typically not a sun dried tomato person, but with all the other flavors it was mellow enough for me to enjoy.  My favorite part was how many different grains were in the blend, though.  Orzo, baby chickpeas, Israeli couscous, red quinoa…so many different textures for my tongue to enjoy.  And the TJ’s 21 Season Salute makes seasoning so simple, even a caveman kitchen novice could do it.  Thanks Danica for making this a no brainer meal.  After all, Saturday was only my first Thanksgiving…Sunday’s round two meant my day of cooking was only half way done.  You can expect another recipe coming your way soon.

The rest of Saturday’s dishes were just as delicious and I was pleasantly surprised at the number of vegan offerings.  Veganism is becoming mainstream, yo! 


There were veggies and dip, dried fruit and nuts, and a layered guacamole dip to start…but I only had one handful after seeing Finn take double dipping to the next level.  Half-eaten slobbery cherry tomato anyone?

While I caught up with my cousins, g-ma, and other family members, my uncle was “hard at work” in the kitchen.


Or something like that?  This is definitely hall of shame candidate number one 🙂


How cute are my aunt and uncle’s new tattoos?  I guess after 30+ years it’s safe to make your wedding band a permanent part of your body. 


And now the food…


My cousin made this cranberry jelly, and it’s probably the best home-made version I’ve ever tasted.  Don’t think I’m ghetto, but I’m partial to the Ocean Spray kind complete with ribbed can marks.  But this recipe from the LA Times certainly made me rethink my stance on home-made sauces.  The cinnamon and orange zest were surprising twists that added a yummy zing.




Salad.  Green bean casserole.


Setting the mood (this photo is for you g-ma).


Above: non vegan stuffing.  Below: vegan stuffing


This. Was. Delicious. 


The gracious host stirring away. 


My first plate was loaded with salad, Harvest Grains, vegan mashed potatoes (made with Earth Balance & soymilk courtesy of my other cousin), vegan stuffing, and cranberry sauce


Not amazing lighting, but you get the idea.  Not an opening on the plate.  That’s the goal at Thanksgiving, right?


Good gravy!  (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist such a perfectly cheesy joke)

I went back for seconds after discovering there was a vegan green bean casserole that I didn’t see on the first round.


Sorry about the less-than-stellar photo, but the dish was mostly eaten when I dug in for my own serving.


If my fellow vegan chefs are reading this, please email me with the recipe, it was tasty!  The mushrooms were a nice little surprise. 

We left a bit early to drive down to San Clemente for Thanksgiving number two, but it was wonderful to spend the day with my family.  I love them so much. 

*Don’t forget to enter my vegan ice cream giveaway – both US and Canadian winners will score two pints of Coconut Bliss.

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Comments (17)

  1. Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine

    I have to say that I love your aunt and uncle’s ring tattoos. I’ve always wanted to get that done, but people think it’s so trashy because Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee have them…I think it’s romantic!!

    And I’m kind of jealous of how many vegan options there were for you. I’m hoping I can at least eat a few things this Thanksgiving!!

  2. spabettie

    I starred this in my reader… the Harvest Grains look AWESOME, and if I cannot get it together by this thursday I will be making them SOON after!



  3. hippierunner

    Ooh, what a feast!

  4. danica

    Yeah, so glad the Harvest Grain Salad worked out for you. I loved your addition of brown rice, I need to try that. Gah, I just need to make it again after seeing yours. I love that everyone thought of you and made vegan entrees 🙂 I’m curious about the green beans too….however, I never read the can of campbells cream of mushroom soup. Is it vegan? If it is, then this recipe would totally be just like the regular green bean casserole. If not, maybe they whipped up their own version of a creamy vegan mushroom soup….I am so intrigued now.

    Have fun making all the rounds….xoxo!

  5. BroccoliHut

    Ah man, I just went to TJ’s and missed that Harvest Grain blend–oh well, it gives me an excuse to go back soon:)

  6. Katie

    I love grain salad – yours looks delicious.

    I also love the ring tattoos! I’ve always wanted to get my (married) last name tattooed there on my left finger – I think it’s pretty cool they did that after 30 years!

  7. Holly

    cutest. kid. ever.

  8. MarathonVal

    I LOVEEEE TJ’s Harvest Grain mix!!!! So, so, so, soooo stinkin good.

    And if you can’t find your vegan host’s version, I really like my green bean casserole recipe in case you want to try it out.. I made it last year and am making it again this year!

  9. edenseats

    First off, I want to adopt your uncle! That apron pic made me laugh!
    I think its cool your spreading out your thanksgiving. Having one day where I have to cook for everyone puts a lot of pressure on me. I kinda wish I would do a vegan thanksgiving because it would save me all that labor that turkey entails!

  10. Pure2raw twins

    Finn is adorable!!!

    And all this food looks amazing!! Now I really cannot wait to eat some Thanksgiving food : )
    Lori and I usually do most of the cooking, but this year everyone is helping out!!


  11. Katie

    What a fun meal! I personally LOVE having multiple Thanksgiving and holiday meals, because it can be really stressful trying to fit every single family member- especially when you have two families to take into account- into one afternoon.

  12. actorsdiet

    aaaaah jealous of all your early tgiving feasting! whatcha gonna do on the actual day?!

  13. Paula

    I’m gonna let you in on the special secret ingredient in my homemade cranberry sauce…… candied ginger! I chop some up and mix it in when I transfer it to a dish to cool. Seriously, try it. Especially since you’re such an addict 🙂 you’ll love it.

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