Thanksgiving for Two menu

After going a week without bread, I decided I wanted to warm up the apartment on Friday night by making my own. Now I’m kind of obsessed with making soda bread because it’s so fast and requires no special ingredients. Instead of buttermilk, I used whey that was leftover from making yogurt.

irish soda bread

 

By Saturday night, we finished the loaf so I made another one on Sunday morning. Warm soda bread paired with coffee from the chemex. Simple pleasures.

chemex coffee

I have to admit, I can’t handle bread the way I used to. I used to loooove good bakery bread and could eat a baguette by myself. Now, we can keep it in the house and I don’t even touch it. After eating all of the soda bread, I was not even in the mood to eat pizza for dinner Sunday night. Sometimes, I’m not in the mood for pizza because I don’t like the heavy feeling from so much bread. I don’t know when that happened because I used to say I could eat pizza all day, ever day. Buuut, I still consider pizza one of my favorite foods of all time.

Hey, it’s Thanksgiving week! Is it time to eat yet? I have to work on Friday, so it will just be the two of us hanging out at home on Thanksgiving. I don’t mind it at all; I’m looking forward to quiet and calmness. The downside to Thanksgiving for Two is that I don’t get to eat a few bites of 10 different side dishes. Waaaah. Since it’s just us, the menu is staying really simple.

While I was at work on Saturday, Brian went to the farmer’s market to get the supplies. Unfortunately all of the turkeys were in the 16-lb range – wayyyy too big so we got a lil roast chicken.

the plan:

I guess that looks pretty plain huh? Isn’t this what the average American family eat this on a regular Sunday night, haha. It’s special enough for me! Challenging, even. I’m ok with roasting chicken, the pie is Brian’s specialty, and the brussels sprouts are in my regular rotation. But I never make mashed potatoes or stuffing so I’m not sure how those will turn out. I don’t think I’ve ever made a good stuffing so maybe this year will be the year.

I’m making the paleo stuffing for myself not because I’m worried about eating clean for Thanksgiving (I will be eating pie! and mashed potatoes!) but stuffing is one of those things I would binge on if it’s there, and then see my previous comments about bread. If I dive into that stuffing I probably wouldn’t save room for pie. Plus I’ve made that recipe before and I genuinely love it.

 

Now I have to figure out what to make the night before and for lunch while I’m cooking. Um, pizza?

Pre-holiday detox

Over the last month, I overindulged a lot. I ate way more burgers, fries, bread, pizza and restaurant meals than I should; I definitely ate from all of those categories at least once a week since mid-October. Yikes! It was no surprise that when I finally got on the scale on Sunday, I was horrified. I hadn’t weighed myself in a while and suddenly I was up 5 lbs. This is despite keeping up with my running schedule and two 14-mile runs during those 4 weeks, which means I was super duper over-eating.

My clothes still fit the same, so I knew it was mostly water weight, but I definitely needed to reign things in. The weight gain made me feel really crappy and sad about myself because I felt like I sabotaged all of the progress I made this year. However, I’m trying not to feel hopeless about it. Setbacks are not hopeless.

Since Thanksgiving and holiday dinners are coming up, I didn’t want to let things slide. My husband agreed that our dinners have been off the charts, so I made us a detox healthy foods menu for this week. No pizza allowed! From now until Thanksgiving, my goal is to eat reset my body by stuffing it full of clean, nutrient-rich foods and as many veggies as possible.

The Menu:

Sunday & Monday – braised cabbage and potatoes with turkey kielbasa; I ate chicken sausage instead of kielbasa

Tuesday –  Roasted squash with quinoa & arugula salad. This recipe happens to be vegan and it’s by Michael Symon. I haven’t cooked many of his recipes but I feel like I should get to know him more. I’m not gonna lie, I felt like the quinoa would’ve tasted better with a touch of bacon or feta cheese.

Wednesday – Whole Foods date. I met up with a friend to go to a sports nutrition workshop so we ate at Whole Foods before the session. I ate Indian chicken curry on spinach buuut I also got one samosa.

Thursday & Friday – Lentil bolognese with brown rice (vegan)

stuffed squash

Carnival squash with quinoa salad

My breakfast and lunches for the week will be Harley Pasternak smoothies. I already prepped my snacks too: veggies, hummus, chicken, and yogurt. It’s a lot of work to make the smoothies every night but on the 4th morning of my “reset diet” and I’ve already lost 2.5 lbs of the vanity weight I gained.

Weight Loss Transformations – the good and bad

In honor of Transformation Tuesday, I want to share two videos that have been making the rounds on the interwebs that I found really powerful –

1) Buzzfeed has a video on how to fake a Before/After fitness transformation using clever angles and lighting tricks. Infomercial secrets revealed! I knew that bodybuilders get those dark tans because it shows off their muscles but to see the lighting difference in real time was really neat.

Excuse me while I walk around with my body twisted at a flattering angle.

2) Youtube fitness guru Obese to Beast stripped down to his underwear to show what your skin really looks like after losing 160 pounds. Watching this video made me emotional for reasons I can’t yet articulate. Instead of feeling hopeless, he comes across and confident and comfortable with what he’s got. He is so genuine; watching him the video automatically makes me wanna give him a hug! For me, the video made me think that I need to stop chasing after the “perfect body” but rather, we ALL have perfect bodies. It’s just individualized; you can only go after what is perfect FOR YOU. The video also confirms to me that the more we expose real bodies with all its cellulite and wrinkles instead of crazy photoshopping, the more comfortable we will be with ourselves in real life.

Party Foods – Loaded Sweet Potato Bites and Brie Cups

You know how people complain about stores and advertising pushing Christmas on us earlier and earlier every year? I think somehow the universe heard about this and is trying to do the same. December weather and party season has already forced its way into my November.

First of all, we’ve already seen snow. Then on Saturday, I woke up to these temps:

novtemp

It’s only November 15! Not allowed. I had to wait around for it to “warm up” to the above 32 degrees before I could head out for a 14 miler.

Second hint that Christmas is starting early: I’ve been on an appetizer-making spree for various entertaining duties. How is it party season already? I had a couple of party food fails but these two came out really good. One recipe is sorta clean/healthy, the other is indulgent. They were both so easy I can barely call them recipes. Oh, and both of these will make enough apps for about 4 people.

Loaded Sweet Potato Bites

sweet potato bites

Sweet potatoes topped with sour cream, bacon, and scallion

Directions:

  • 2 sweet potatoes (choose ones that are long and skinny)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 slices bacon
  • scallions, sliced
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • optional: chipotles in adobo sauce

1. Slice the potatoes about 1/2 inch thick, toss in olive oil and bake at 375 until they are cooked.

2. Cook the bacon, pat it dry, and then chop it into little pieces.

3. Mix the sour cream and lime zest. Optional: stir in a tiny of chipotles in adobo for spice.

4. Can you guess what happens next? Top each potato slice with a blob of sour cream, and a sprinkle of bacon and scallion.

My inspiration for this was a recipe that I have for dinner sometimes – Sweet Potato Skins from Cook Yourself Thin.

The next recipe is pure fat, salt, and sugar. It’s barely even a “recipe” – TLDR: crescent roll dough baked with brie, topped with jelly.

Brie Cups

brie cups

Brie with fruit preserves and puff pastry is a classic recipe, but it can be fussy. Here it’s made into individual bites.

Directions:

  • a hunk of brie cheese
  • can of crescent roll dough
  • jelly such as quince, fig, apple, almost any fruit will do.

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Unroll a can of crescent roll dough but pinch the perforations together so that it’s one big sheet of dough. Use a pizza cutter to cut out squares. I got 16 squares from one can.

2. Put each square of dough into a muffin tin. Put a cube of brie cheese into each cup. Bake until the the dough looks golden and cooked.

3. Let them cool for a minute and pop them out of the pan. Then put a blob of jelly on top.

Tips: I initially put the jelly on before baking, and the sugar just melted and burned everywhere. So don’t do that. I used a port wine jelly and it was perfect because wine and cheese, duh.

 

New gear: Eddie Bauer Incendiary Shirt

For this week’s Sunday Runday I went to a new-to-me running location – Colt State Park in Rhode Island. I don’t like driving too far to run, and it was a little “far” (20 mins?) but a pretty place to run. The temps were cool so I took my new Eddie Bauer Incendiary shirt for a spin. I was gifted this shirt from the Eddie Bauer booth at Fit Blog NYC.

Eddie Bauer Incendiary shirt

Not only is the shirt really soft and really lightweight, but it has technology that keeps you warm by generating more heat out of your natural body heat. Between the warm fabric, thumb holes, and zip-up, this will be a good base layer for deep freeze temps.

After my 3 mile run along the bay, Brian led me through a legs workout. Actually it was more butt & hips, aimed at strengthening your running muscles. That was certainly a change, letting him tell me what to do for 20 minutes, haha. I got so warm during the “cool down” that I had to take off the Incendiary shirt and finish the workout in a tank top, so that thermal technology was working it.

Eddie Bauer Incendiary Shirt
As you can see, it’s a little long on me but I’m 5’0″ so everything is long on me. It comes in petite sizes which very rare for fitness clothes. I wasn’t able to choose the petite size at the event though. The sizing runs small compared to normal clothes, but true-to-size when it comes to high end athletic clothes. Expensive fitness brands usually run small, know what I mean? I’m wearing a medium, and you can see it’s snug across my middle and hips. It’s not uncomfortably tight, because the fabric is loose and stretchy, it just has that puckered look. Also, the offset side seams are flattering on most women, and it is on my waist but I don’t know how I feel about the way it makes me chest look. At least it’s balanced out by the v-neck effect.

The shirt is available as the zip-up that I’m wearing, or a crew neck. I like that the pretty jewel tones are a change of pace from screaming neons of running gear. I don’t own anything else in this blue color. Oh, and it’s on sale right now. You know I love a sale. Seeing the new First Ascent collection at FitBlogNYC definitely made me rethink my notions of the old Eddie Bauer. That’s some good looking gear! And now that I know they make petite sizes, I’ll have to check them out more.