Happy Week of Thanksgiving!

As the title of this post says, Happy Thanksgiving Week, friends!

As a special Thanksgiving treat, this little turkey decided to sleep for almost SIX (!!) hours straight IN HER CRIB last night, so I feel like a brand new woman!

Last we spoke, I was regaling you with tales of sleeplessness and wanting to continue getting Penny used to her crib. And so, in desperation, I ordered the Baby Merlin Magic Sleep Suit on Amazon and while this thing may make her look like an actual human marshmallow, dang, does it work!

 
I’ll definitely review it in more detail soon, but so far I am extremely happy with having purchased this baby snowsuit. Penny’s slept in her crib for four nights now, and is sleeping for increasingly long stretches of time. Last night’s six hours was certainly a record… praise be!

Anyway, all of this great sleeping and almost getting her on an actual bedtime schedule comes just in time to wreck it completely by traveling, hehe. Sean, Penny, and I are doing up Turkey Day with the Fox Family in Texas this year, and we’re so excited! Having already flown with Penny once, it’s nice not to be worried about the trip itself, and it’s going to be so great to introduce Penny to so many members of her family, including her great-grandmother!

This truly has been a week packed with family fun, since Penny got to spend some extra time with my parents during the week while I ran around to various post-car accident doctor’s appointments, and then this past weekend we also jaunted down to Williamsburg for a day to introduce Penny to her other great-grandmother on Sean’s side. 🙂

Sean’s mom prepared a huge Thanksgiving lunch for the occasion, so I got to stuff my gullet full of turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, potatoes au gratin, and cranberry sauce. I loooooove Thanksgiving food, so I was a veeeeeery happy camper. And I’m even more excited now to repeat the culinary experience on actual Thanksgiving, hehe.

My college bestie, Bethany, also lives in Williamsburg with her hubby and their littles, so we stopped in to see them as well and did some baby swappin’ hehe.

And then we also stopped by Sean’s parents’ house house on our way back home too for a quick visit with his dad (who wasn’t able to join us in Williamsburg.)

The family fun didn’t stop with that, of course, since I convinced my brother and sister-in-law to come out and take some family photos of us the next day, hehe. I definitely learned a lot about what to do and not to do when it comes to taking professional photos with an infant, lol, but despite the windy weather and the fact that I woke her up from her nap for it, I’m confident we got at least a couple of good shots!

I’m so excited to get the photos back and put together our holiday card this year, since we have an especially wonderful reason to celebrate the season! We’re already entering my favorite time of the year, and it really is all the more special and exciting now that we get to share the holidays with Penny. I’m so thankful for this little nugget! I know I pretty much complained every single second of my pregnancy, but hot damn, was it worth it.

Okay, okay, I’m ceasing with the sappiness. I’ve just got lots to be thankful for this year, that’s all. 🙂

Anyway, with the traveling and craziness of the holiday, I probably won’t be checking back in on here until next week, so until then, happy, happy Thanksgiving!

Confessions

Hi-dee-ho friends! I hope you’ve all successfully worked through a modicum of your Turkey Day leftovers and are fueled up to be (sigh) back at work. I thought I’d start this week off with something fun mildly humiliating to brighten your days. It is the season of giving, after all.

So my girl Cassie from Back to Her Roots does these awesome Confessions posts over on her blog, and they always make me feel so delightfully human. So I figured I would totally rip her off and do one of my own. Ready? Okay!

1. It is solely due to my fear of being judged by others that I don’t take the elevator to my new office on the 2nd floor.

IMG_7124.jpg

2. I very rarely (like, almost never) walk my dogs. I know it’s terrible, but I’ve always justified it by saying they’re very small, and they get to run around in the backyard like 5 or 6 times a day. In fact, that only reason they’re even being walked at all these days is because we’re doing major landscaping renovation on our backyard, and I *have* to. And I still resent it. Me = awful dog owner.

3. This weekend, for the first time since I graduated from college, I slept in until noon. Well, until 11:45, but that’s close enough. It was glorious… and guilt-inducing. My day flew by WAY too fast, so I think from now on I’ll stick to my body’s natural 9-ish weekend alarm clock.

IMG_8157.jpg

4. Occasionally, I still get McDonald’s breakfast. Ooooooops. At least they’re posting all the calorie counts on their menus now? (And yes, I know the photo above is pretty much unrelated, but evidently I don’t capture any photographic evidence of my McDonaldsry… for obvious reasons. Hahahahaha.)

IMG_0065.jpg

5. I ate my body weight in mashed potatoes and stuffing this weekend, and I regret nothing.

Go ahead, get it off your chest! What do you feel like confessing today?

Turkey Day 2012

IMG_0020.jpg
IMG_0025.jpg
IMG_0023.jpg
IMG_0028.jpg
IMG_0022.jpg
IMG_0026.jpg IMG_0027.jpg
IMG_0018.jpg
IMG_0040.jpg
IMG_0042.jpg
IMG_0029.jpg IMG_0030.jpg
IMG_0033.jpg
IMG_0034.jpg IMG_0035.jpg
IMG_0050.jpg
IMG_0037.jpg IMG_0036.jpg
IMG_0057.jpg
IMG_0049.jpg
IMG_0062.jpg IMG_0047.jpg
IMG_0063.jpg
IMG_0064.jpg
>IMG_0065.jpg
IMG_0044.jpg
IMG_0070.jpg
IMG_0048.jpg
IMG_0066.jpg
IMG_0074.jpg

Twenty-two pounds of bird, twelve people, five hours of cooking, and two miniature schnauzers schnauzers. The food. Ohhhhh the food! Roasted turkey, butternut squash and sausage stuffing, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potato and spinach salad, green bean bundles, roasted brussels sprouts, cranberry pear compote with port wine, and turkey gravy. (Wipes drool from chin.) Then, to end the night, a trip down to Stafford to see Sean’s parents, where they had ALL THE PIES.

Yeah, I think it was a pretty good Thanksgiving. 🙂

Holiday Mental Check

I love holiday season. I love the festivities, I love the food (duh), and I love the general feelings of goodwill towards man that flow through the air from November through January. Everyone seems just a little friendlier, a little more willing to say hi or lend a hand. Also, presents.

IMG_0266

But the holidays are also a time plagued with other issues for me. The constant, continual offerings of food and feasting, drinks and dessert, have been very conflicting for me in the past. I’m sure it’s far too generalizing to say that it’s an issue that anyone who has struggled with eating issues has had, but I’d venture to guess that it is. It’s very wearying to have a running battle inside your mind, pitting your wants and desires against each other.

Yes, I want to eat and be merry and have fun with my family. No, I don’t want to overeat and feel guilty and stuffed, or look like a pig. Yes, I want to be able to indulge in food that I usually only get to eat once a year. No, I don’t want to gain that holiday weight. Yes, I want to eat pumpkin pie. No, I’m not sure I’ll be able to stop at just one slice.

Pumpkins Pies

It’s exhausting. So this year, I’ve put some pretty serious thought to mentally checking myself for the holidays. It might sound kind of silly, maybe a little bit like an overreaction, to have to mentally prepare for a meal. But c’mon, food is a pretty pervasive thing during the holidays. And I do have known and admitted, past and present, issues with food, my body, eating, and the feelings that that are wrapped up in those things. I try to embrace both parts of me when it comes to holiday meals now: the part that still loves the food, the smells, the spirit AND the part that wants to strive for balance and health in her life. It’s what led me to create some of my awesome healthier-but-still-awesomely-indulgent holiday recipes.

Stuffing Ingredients

I am SO looking forward to Thanksgiving tomorrow. I can’t wait to start prepping tonight, to get together with my family in the kitchen tomorrow, and have my only job for the day be to cook, and then eat. But I am going into the entire day with thought and purpose. And in that spirit, here is my Thanksgiving credo: I will eat what I choose. I will enjoy every bite, and not eat for the sake of eating. I will listen to the cues of my body, and strive not to stuff myself to the point of belly-rubbin’, jeans-poppin’, about-to-burst fullness, BUT if I do, I will not beat myself up about it. I will not obsess over what the scale will say afterward.
I mean, c’mon. It’s freaking Thanksgiving, you know?

Daxters

I sincerely hope you have an awesome holiday, filled with friends, family, food — or however you choose to spend it!

Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Part of me is literally flabbergasted that Thanksgiving is one week away. ONE. WEEK. I don’t know about you, but Turkey Day has seriously snuck up on me this year! I know I probably say that every year, but this year really does seem like it’s flying by. Craaaazy.

Thanksgiving is my third favorite holiday (the first being Christmas, duh, and the second being my birthday because YES MY BIRTHDAY IS A HOLIDAY SHUT YOUR CAKEHOLE) so I’m definitely happy it’s so soon. I’ve taken root as the primary cook for our family Thanksgivings, which is a huge joy to me because I love to cook so much. That said, planning out Thanksgiving dinner is not without its stressful moments.

This year will be the largest group of my family members to gather for a Thanksgiving meal that I’m head chef-ing up. Luckily, I’ve got my mom and two of my aunts who are all wonderful cooks as well, so I’m sure we’ll be able to tackle everything without a problem. I can’t wait to get everyone together, but I am trying to be a smidge more proactive this year. So far, that’s included actually designing the menu ahead of time! And here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

Gobble!

Turkey. Uh, duh. As in years past, I plan to use a Gretchened-up variation of Alton Brown’s Good Eats Roast Turkey recipe, which includes an overnight brine. This recipe honestly yields the best turkey ever. The brine keeps the turkey breast moist and delicious, and it seriously feels foolproof. There’s no basting, no checking, no turning of the bird. It requires the first 20 minutes on super high heat to seal everything in, and then you just turn down the heat and forgettaboutit. I always serve with pan-drippings gravy as well. Nom nom nom.

Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes

I mentioned a couple days ago that I was testing out a new mashed potato recipe, but that it didn’t quite live up to my Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes. Well, that’s because I believe few things can. I still am in love with this recipe, and I haven’t had a chance to make it for most of my family yet, so I’m very excited to. This recipe involves absolutely ZERO butter, making it far more waistline-friendly than your average taters. Instead, it uses roasted garlic, olive oil, and a splash of heavy cream. So good. So freaking good.

Stuffing with Butternut Squash and Apples

I am also planning on recreating my Stuffing with Butternut Squash and Apples recipe, which turned out truly fantastic last year. Usually there are a couple of vegetarians present at our family gatherings (my sister, in particular), but since Jenny and Dan are spending T-Day with his parents this year, I’m thinking about adding a little sausage into the stuffing as well. Either way, stuffing is my 2nd favorite Thanksgiving meal component (taters is #1), so I can’t wait!

Other meal components will include maple bacon roasted Brussels sprouts, this cranberry and pear compote that my mom and aunt made the last time we had a family dinner (it blew my jalapeno-cranberry relish recipe outta the water!), and I also want to try a new spin on kind of a green bean casserole. You know, find a way to make something with all the traditional flavor, but none of the Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom? Hahaha. We’ll see how that shakes out.

Still haven’t made any decisions on dessert yet, but you can rest assured there will be pie. OH SO MUCH PIE.

Man, I love Thanksgiving.

What’s your favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal? Are you all about the turkey, more of a sides person, or seriously into dessert?