Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I decided to stay in Fayetteville for Thanksgiving. I was really sad about it, but I worked to have a good attitude. I also thought it was the best thing for my back/hip/health, even though I would have loved to see my buddies in Missouri. I hope I get to see them soon.

I also devised a strategy so as not to overdo it on Thanksgiving. I think I was moderately successful. The strategy was basically to really kill it on the veggies and fill up there. I made three kinds of (delicious) veggies: asparagus, corn, and peas. They were good. If you know me, now you know I love love love carbs, especially potatoes. In fact, on Facebook I even asserted my love for stuffing, hashbrown casserole, and mashed potatoes for all to see. In the past, I have made all these side dishes and more (sweet potatoes with brown sugar and pecans on top - YUM!), all full sized dishes of course, and all for n=1=me. Gluttonous. I knew that these could be my undoing, so I made myself pick ONE of these delicious side dishes. At first I selected hashbrown casserole -- you know, the stuff with cheese, sour cream, butter, onions and tons of deliciousness (sometimes even with crumbled chips on top!). That stuff is so good. However, I was honest with myself and knew that I had potatoes already at home, and would probably end up making both the mashed potatoes and h.b. casserole, so I decided it was wisest just to go with the mashed potatoes only. I was really proud of myself.

For meat, I decided to get a hamsteak -- you know, the thick slices of ham that come all by themselves (i.e., you are not having to buy an entire ham). I now think they are big (around 1-1.25 lbs of meat is a lot!) but I used to think they were perfectly sized. Times, they are a-changin'. In case you would like my secret to what I think is a perfectly cooked hamsteak, do the following. In a bowl mix honey and mustard. I used honey I picked up from Pike's Place in Seattle made from bees pollinating raspberries -- delicious-- and a little bit of the mustard with whole seeds and a heapin' helpin of Grey Poupon. Probably 3 parts honey to 2 parts mustard. Mix them up and then brush half the honey-mustard mixture liberally on the side #1 of the hamsteak. Let it cook for a little bit, flip it, and then brush the remaining mixture on the other side. Let it cook, and you will have a delicious hamsteak to eat. Yum. I prefer this ham to almost any other type.

Now, let me be honest and transparent about the mashed potatoes. I used 5 medium sized redskin potatoes, which I know is huge portion. Believe it or not, it is way less than I used to eat though. SERIOUSLY!! I could eat a ton of mashed potatoes and not even be breathing hard. In fact, my family typically had me go last at Thanksgiving when passing around the mashed potatoes because they knew when it came to them, I was all business. In addition to the potatoes, I used REAL butter, and was not stingy about it. I also added fat free sour cream, 2% sharp cheddar cheese, about 2/3 a package of the ranch dressing mix (the powdered stuff), and enough milk to make the texture right. It was great. Seriously.

To prepare the asparagus, I washed it, cut off the ends, brushed it with olive oil, sprinkled it with freshly cracked pepper and sea salt, put in on a foil-covered cookie sheet and baked it at 350F for about 15 minutes. I used a recipe from Eating Well for a delicious sauce -- it has mayo (I used FF), lemon juice, water, and freshly-grated Parmesan cheese. It is so good, seriously. Yum.

The peas and corn were the steam-in-bag variety. Voila.

All of this stuff was super easy to prepare. It seriously took me less than an hour (probably about 45 minutes) to prepare everything, so I ended up eating at 10 AM-ish while watching the Macy's day parade. Totally non-traditional.

For dinner, I made a crustless pumpkin pie. It was really good, and I ate the whole thing in one sitting. I used an entire can of my the delicious FF whipped cream I have raved about before. Afterwards, I thought "Now, seriously -- was that necessary?" It totally was not and I did regret the gluttony. Lesson learned. And, believe it or not, I actually did feel uncomfortably full afterwards. I am glad I am learning to feel that feeling.

While I did not do stellar on portions, I feel good about many of my choices and would give myself a C- for the day. I would have preferred a B (I think earning an A+ when eating on a major holiday like that is unrealistic for me), but I can do it in the future. Huge huge huge progress from the F- days of the past. Still plenty of room for improvement.

On the plus sides, I am glad that Thanksgiving did not send me off on a bender because I felt lonely. I am glad that I was strong enough to allow myself ONE treat sidedish instead of a full-out carbfest, and to make myself one relatively-healthy pie that had no crust, not 5 pies with all the delicious dairy-based enhancements (ice cream, whipped cream, etc.). I am glad I planned it so there were no leftovers (though splitting the pie over a few days would have been better). There were several things I did right, and would like to continue in the future.

Finally I should say I am thankful for my health (I WILL conquer this back/hip issue, and am glad to have my blood pressure regulated, my heart working normally, and all of my faculties with me) and my family and friends who I love dearly and who love me too. And, I am super-grateful for the feeling that I am headed in the right direction and that my life is no longer spiraling out of control. This was not a bad Thanksgiving, even though there were some unexpected bummers and speedbumps. Overall, my life is headed in the right direction.

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