Thanksgiving DOs and DON’Ts

Good day to you all, and TGIT(before Thanksgiving!)  If you’re as excited about the holiday season as I am (but don’t want to unload all your bank accounts to fund it), check out my Guest Post over at Cynthia‘s blog titled: Rich Girl Living on a Poor Girl Budget!  Curious how I afford my LAVISH lifestyle?  Well ALL is revealed (almost. There’s nothing about the magic beans I got from that shifty salesman when I was a young lass.)

I’m so thankful. This time in two days, I’ll be at home, with my family, maybe even helping out with some sort of recipe. Or maybe I’ll be on our annual Turkey trot (since my family of 7 is made up of a chunk of late sleepers). And, while I’ve had a fantastic past few Thanksgivings with family and friends, this year I’ve decided to make sure that I maximize my Turkey day without feeling awful and sluggish for the next few days. Or weeks. Because yes, that’s happened before.

DON’T get in an accident halfway through your 12 hour ride to Thanksgiving dinner and have to rent a car on Thanksgiving day. 

Uh Oh.

Last year, Ryan and I managed to burst a tire 20 miles outside of Sevierville, TN. 6 hours from our starting point. 6 hours from our destination. On Wednesday night, before Thanksgiving.

You know what aren’t open on Thanksgiving?

98% of rental car places.

A 50 minute cab ride to the airport later, and an all-out, temper tantrum (by me), we got a rental car and THANKSGIVING WAS SAVED!!

DO be able to laugh about it when things go wrong

Oh, Dolly.

In case you weren’t aware, Sevierville, TN is the home of Dolly Parton.

So yeah, if you get stuck, make a new friend! Even if she’s a cardboard cutout of Dolly Parton. Roll with the punches, life’s full of them.

DON’T feel obligated to buy butter in a seasonal shape

RIP Butter Turkey

There’s never any need for a giant thing of butter in the shape of a turkey. And you’ll feel like you have to finish it on Thanksgiving. It’s ridiculous (and hilarious), but spend that money on a sweet turkey shaped…. hat or something.  The hat is much lower in cholesterol.

DO deep fry, smoke, and roast turkeys

Turkey Smorgasbord!

If you can, try a smoked turkey. Try a deep fried turkey. Eat roasted turkey.

They’re all delicious. And all SO different!! Love those turkey options.

DON’T eat every casserole in sight

Six casseroles. Sure, why not?

I think sweet potato casserole is my downfall.

Wait. Scratch that. ALL casseroles. I can’t even control myself. Note to family: If you see me going back for thirds of casserole, grab a wooden spoon and THWACK!

Then, get me a beer. Because that wooden spoon hurt.

DO try a little bit of all your favorites, on a PLATE!

I LOVE variety. I love tapas and appetizer samplers and so Thanksgiving is just my dream holiday. Turkey’s great, but so are mashed potatoes, and mac & cheese and buttery rolls and green beans and I like to try a little of everything. But make sure you limit yourself to what you enjoy on a plate. I’ve found that if I pick and nibble at things without putting them on my plate, I eat MUCH more.

Plate your victuals, and don’t go pickin!!

DON’T forget about dessert!

Pie in the Sky

While I’m no Ed Levine (Read: Don’t fantasize about an all-pie Thanksgiving), I do love pie. In fact, when I was 10, I won a pie-eating contest with pumpkin pie! The prize?

More food (namely a GIANT tub of caramel corn.)  Delicious.

DO spend as much time with your family/loved ones as possible!!

Sisters, Aunts, Cousins, Nieces

That’s what I’m most thankful for, without question.

And even though Ryan will be celebrating his family in Key West (hard knock life, right?) I’ll be thinking about how thankful I am to have such a great beau in my life! (Especially one that will brave Dolly Parton-land with me.)

What are your favorite parts about Thanksgiving?

Any Thanksgiving DO or DON’T you live by?

Not Every Occasion is Special

Good afternoon folks!

It’s a beautiful hazy Tuesday here in the Dirty Durham and I’m enjoying last night’s Gossip Girl as I wolf down last night’s leftover spaghetti squash. It’s even better than it was last night, if that’s possible.  Complimented with that sad little basil plant, spinach, some chopped pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese (and a liberal smattering of crushed red peppers, of course), so flavorful, and so rich.

I didn’t take a picture because honestly, it was a twin to last night’s meal, even served in the same bowl.

I paired the meal with a delicious low-cal dessert.  My old friend, J-E-L-L-O!

Jiggly! (click for source)

I went with the strawberry-kiwi today and it was divine.

For today’s snack, I’m trying something I promised myself I’d never eat. I’ll reveal later how it went, but wish me luck!

In other news, I’ve come to a realization. As I stood on the scale at the gym yesterday, I realized my weight had ballooned and blossomed several pounds since my last check-in.  I tried to think back about this summer and figure out what I did wrong.  Then I remembered.

Aviator Brewery Tour? Fried pickles are a must!

Trip home to the shore? This calls for Charlie's Wings!

Cousin's bridal shower? PIle on the Pizza Dip!

A new beer is released? BEERSHAKES!

Basically, every “occasion”, big or small, has been a “special” occasion for me this summer. It’s been full of wedding celebrations, beer events, and, of course, my birthday! And while I always told myself that I’d never let my weight loss efforts get in the way of enjoying things like food at events.  But when you travel two weekends a month and have at least one beer outing a week, and there are still tailgates, parties, and BBQs to be had, sometimes you need to step back and remember that not EVERY “occasion” is one of those “special occasions” that you promised yourself you wouldn’t miss out on.

It’s okay to indulge now and then, but letting your plans and healthy eating go out the window every time someone announces, “It’s not going to rain this weekend! Let’s get a pizza!” is a bad habit to get into.

It’s a bad habit I got into a lot this summer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the heck out of every summer.  But, realistically, I’ve celebrated every moment to the fullest, mostly when it comes to my stomach. It’s no mystery that many of life’s biggest events revolve around special foods (birthday and wedding cakes, homemade meals, tailgate food, etc) but I think that I just needed to remember that the focus wasn’t on just enjoying every last bite of a special meal. It’s about the special occasion itself, and the food can just add to the fun.

Whew.

Okay.

Honestly, that post was mostly for me so, in the meantime, please enjoy this video, shared by Courtney of Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life, which will now embody my future as I play it on repeat.

Do you overeat during special occasions?

Or, for more constructive advice, how do you stop yourself when you seem to just be eating to celebrate?