So we are a week from what is my favorite holiday. Surprise, surprise, I know, but Thanksgiving holds a special place in my heart. In my family, everyone comes on Thanksgiving. This includes both friends and family. Often times we will have over 20 people for dinner. This year it looks like it is going to be upwards of 30, quite the party.
Everyone cooks so the kitchen is always packed. People are bumping into each other tasting this and that, giving their two sense, sometimes wanted, sometimes not. Laughter radiating through the house, as someone always drops something or forgets an ingredient through the hustle and bustle. Efficiency isn’t our strong suit, but I love every ounce of it. The host generally gives the outline of the meal (protein, main sides, ideas for desserts) and then everyone else fills in with their ideas. Some are staples every year, like my Aunt Tracy’s Sweet Potato Pie (insanely good, and definitely not Weight Watcher approved, but I always make sure to have at least a bite) and my Grandmothers green jello salad. The rest are just ideas we come up with, saw on a Food Network show, or whatever magazine we are reading. We always have way more food then necessary, but with everyone chipping in, the meal is eclectic and delicious.
This year, Thanksgiving is going to be at my parents house in California and my husband’s family is going to be coming with us. I am thrilled about sharing this special day with them and sharing some Pittsburgh flair with my side of the family. My Mother-in-Law is a great cook so it will be fun to add her into the craziness of the kitchen.
My mother and I have been planning this for months. We live to throw a party, especially together. Because my mother is diabetic and I of course try to keep healthy, we always sprinkle in foods that we can eat confidently and everyone else will also enjoy. Most don’t even notice the difference. I have navigated Thanksgiving fairly successfully for the past few years. If we are trying to stay healthy or lose weight, we often look at this holiday like the challenge of the century. I get it; there is food everywhere and eating all day. It’s really the one day a year that everyone, collectively, decides to overeat, and if you struggle with that, it can be tempting to join in. Not to mention the staples (cream filled mashed potatoes, stuffing, pecan pie- need I say more?) aren’t exactly weight watcher friendly. Here is my number one piece of advice for anyone trying to get through this holiday without gaining 10 pounds: bring a big, huge bowl of something that you like (very important) that is zero points. When ready for dinner, fill over half of your plate with this zero point item and the remainder of bits and bites of what you really want that you can only have at Thanksgiving. Don’t deprive yourself of your favorites, just force yourself to have a smaller portion because most of your meal will be your zero points item. No one will notice that you aren’t fully committed to the Turkey hangover. You will seem like you are joining the glutinous festivities but won’t regret it when you wake up in the morning, post pie haze.
To help you navigate this and hopefully give you some ideas, in the next few days I will be posting recipes that are low point, healthy sides and even an easy turkey recipe that will gives you flavors of Thanksgiving, without having to move your belt a few notches. I promise you, you can get through Thanksgiving without derailing your efforts and I hope to help you get there.
These stacks are as beautiful as they are easy. Your guests will gawk at the cool concept, slight sweetness and crispy edges, while a slight smirk appears on your face, knowing that it is zero points and so easy.
As always and especially next week, Happy Feasting and stay tuned for more Thanksgiving dishes coming your way this week.