Mmmm … the smell of burning oven debris is in the air. It’s time for Thanksgiving.
That stench that you may actually smell where you are is me running the self-cleaning oven setting. I’m getting ready for Turkey Day by hauling out the knife sharpener and cleaning the oven for the family meal.
Notice I didn’t say family feast, despite the chance at alliteration. This is no belt-buckle-popping orgy. Instead it’s a chance to gather everyone around the table (in our case, the patio table) and give thanks for friends, family and food – real food, not stuff that comes in boxes and cans.
Yeah, there’s a little of that, in my husband’s family recipe for scalloped corn, which requires creamed corn and crackers, but for the most part, you can recognize the vegetables, which are not gasping for air under greasy onion strings or cheese sauce.
I like to have some absolutely unadorned things on the Thanksgiving menu. Want my secret recipe for green beans? Here it is:
Yep – steamed green beans with nothin’ on ‘em. It’s sort of a palate cleanser for the bacon-festooned Brussels sprouts and cornbread dressing. But never fear, those recipes come from places like Cooking Light magazine and the latest Hungry Girl cookbook. (She has really come far in using unprocessed foods in her recipes.)
If everything is cheesy and saucy and bubbly and creamy, isn’t it overkill?
As for the turkey, that’s the husband’s job. We’ve been cooking it on the Weber kettle grill for years, and every year it comes out perfectly. I order a fresh turkey from Whole Foods (much better than those giant frozen bowling balls) and it’s totally worth the extra cost, especially since turkey is pretty inexpensive to begin with.
Our fresh turkey Thanksgivings began when we lived in Delaware. One windy night after work, I drove halfway down the state (it’s not that big!) down a tree-lined, unpaved dark road to a turkey farm and stood in line with others as farmhands walked past us with buckets of bloody turkey guts. We then discovered why fresh is best.
Will Thanksgiving derail my weight loss? No way! Turkey is about the best lean protein there is, and if you keep the sides clean as well as desserts, then it won’t be a problem. Plus, I have this little built-in appetite suppressant – working all day in the kitchen. By the time mealtime rolls around I don’t want to look at food, so I usually pick at my meal and enjoy the leftovers for days to come. I also make sure I do some sort of informal “turkey trot” in the morning – there’s nothing like a brisk 5k to rev you up for a day of sticking your head in and out of the oven.
So, as for my weight loss, I have FINALLY! gotten the scale to move – 3 pounds to be exact. Once again, I am a mere pound away from pre-baby weight.
What has helped? Snapping photos of every meal and snack for Stefan Pinto’s C Diet over on Facebook. I really like the idea of an “impartial jury of my peers” looking over my meal choices. I’m far less likely to eat a bowl of cookie dough ice cream and call it dinner if total strangers are going to see that. I’m also being really consistent with my exercise, averaging five days a week.
I get sucked into the hype every stinking time. I have to keep reminding myself that the only thing that works -- the only “miracle” -- is a balanced diet of the correct calorie level and regular exercise.