Thanksgiving Recap

The past few weeks have been absolutely wonderful. I love the holidays and all of the joy the season brings. From Thanksgiving until New Years, everyone seems slightly happier despite the shifting temperatures (read: cold), and there’s a definite sense of camaraderie among strangers. Or, maybe that’s just in the Midwest. Whatever it is, I am truly grateful to have spent the past few weekends with loved ones, and I am so excited to spend Christmas with my family, and am especially excited to celebrate my niece’s first Christmas with her.

I spent Thanksgiving with my dad at his place in the south, which by the way was no warmer than it is up here. I was severely disappointed by the temperature, but the moderate-yet-more-than-Ohio-has-gotten-in-a-while sunshine was a pleasant consolation prize. And of course, my dad is the cutest and the bestest ever, so seeing him made me a million times happier.

There are a few days in the year that “fat free” ingredients just won’t cut it, and Thanksgiving is absolutely one of them. Other such days include Christmas, New Years Eve (hors d’oeurves and champagne galore!), the Super Bowl (a variety of dips are the best part of any sporting event), your birthday, your significant other’s birthday (they can’t eat chocolate cake alone, you know?), and National Chocolate Day, obviously. This year’s Thanksgiving menu was no exception. We used real butter, real cream, real cheese, real deliciousness.

The key here is portion control, and combining small portions of heavy, fatty, yummy entrees and sides with lighter, healthier options too. Which is why we made a salad, obviously.

Many people are curious to know what vegetarians eat at Thanksgiving in lieu of a turkey. When the table consists of mostly meat-eaters/turkey lovers, vegetarians often resign to eating a plate full of gravy-less mashed potatoes and bread rolls. While I do load up on mashed potatoes every year, our fully vegetarian meal features some sort of pasta (usually ravioli or lasagna) as the main entree. Always carby and delicious.

Here’s a picture of our spread (individual recipes to follow):
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ClockwiseCaramelized Onion Gravy,  Sweet Potato Tikka with Corriander Chutney, Apple and Raspberry Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese, Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes, Daddy’s Special Lentil Soup, French Baguette, and Four Cheese Ravioli with Tomato-Cream Sauce and Fresh Basil.

Dad and I are generally extremely informal when it comes to Thanksgiving, because, well, it’s usually just the two of us. Therefore, we sat on the sofa, used the coffee table as the dinner buffet, and watched football/Harry Potter while we ate. But we did bring out fancier plates! It’s important to remember that Thanksgiving isn’t about the formalities and the fine china and extensive tablescapes. My Thanksgiving this year was my perfect Thanksgiving, spent with my most incredible father (who I still call Daddy all the time by the way), eating yummy food that we only get to eat once a year, browsing the sale ads in the newspaper, creating a strategy for the shopping to follow, and sharing a giant bowl of chocolate ice cream with my dad, in our sweats, at midnight.

Dad and I at a late night screening of ‘Last Vegas’. 

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Breaking B[re]ad…

See what I did there?? Okay, I might be too obsessed with the upcoming Breaking Bad series finale…

Anyway.

I’ve thought of blogging at length: several hours spent considering how and what and when and why I would blog, and with whom I would share my posts. And, thanks to Pinterest, I’ve spent several more hours pouring over others’ blogs, collecting recipes inevitably forgotten about on my expansive pin board. Oops.

Recently, I shared a few recipes with my older brother. He’s a new dad to the most precious little girl I’ve ever known, a weekly business traveler, and more recently, diagnosed with high cholesterol. He gchatted me in a tizzy — what should I do? What should I eat? I need to exercise more and more and more and more! Obviously, my reaction was to make him a detailed 20-slide PowerPoint presentation on moderation, goal setting, and making small changes.

What makes me an authority on the topic? Well, nothing really. Maybe experience? 13-months ago, I started an incredible journey to become healthier. It hasn’t always been easy, and I’m not done yet, and honestly, I haven’t always been 100% compliant, but I’m getting there, one step at a time. My goals were simple: lose weight and get in shape. I read dozens and dozens of articles online (I’m an academic, what can I say?), and started tracking all of my food, water and exercise, and cutting out daily post-dinner bowls of ice cream.

I think “dieting” is hard for everyone. I don’t think that it was quantitatively harder for me in anyway, but it was not without its challenges. As a life-long vegetarian, a notorious picky eater, the owner of the world’s largest sweet tooth (unofficially), and a lover of eating out, I had several hurdles in my path. To make things more challenging, I started my journey just weeks before my birthday, which unofficially starts the holiday season. Uh oh. And just for fun, one MORE challenge: a hungry boyfriend. Double uh oh.

So with these challenges in mind, I got started. And with support, tenacity, and a few cheat days, I have made significant progress…and without a grumbly stomach. I’m not yet at my final goal. But I’m almost there. I’m 80% to my goal, and I ran a 5K (slowly) with my best friend over the summer. I can fit into several of my old clothes, and the last pair of pants I bought? FOUR full sizes smaller than my old pants. It’s pretty cool to see the before and after pictures, which I’ve included below.

To make a long story short, my purpose with this blog is chronicle my journey, and provide information and yummy recipes to whoever stumbles upon my site. Even if the only people that see the site are related to me — if they can get anything out of it, I’ll be happy. I’m looking at you, Dad.

Anyway, let’s eat.