Post-Thanksgiving Review

Thanksgiving Table
Thanksgiving Table

So, Thanksgiving has come and gone. I hope yours was wonderful. We had a fabulous day. My daughter told me she was staying at school, but she and her brother schemed to get her here as a surprise to me, so the four of us were together. Talk about thankful! The only way it could have been better would have been if we could have been in Pennsylvania with the rest of our family, but we talked to everyone on the phone, which was the next best thing. It was a happy, blessed holiday.

Last week, I mentioned that my husband didn’t want to go off his diet for the meal, so our menu changed a bit. Here’s the verdict, as promised.

Turkey, Right Before Carving
  • Turkey—nothing really changed there, other than I made a smaller bird than I usually do. (The stupid store only had 9-pound and 13-pound birds. I bought the only 16-pound turkey they had, which was smaller than my usual selection, but still more than enough for the four of us plus the necessary leftovers.)
  • Stuffing—my son hates stuffing (he won’t eat anything with veggies in it), so I didn’t have to take him into consideration. I made almond flour bread instead of using the usual carb-y bread version. I also added a little more of the onion/celery mix than usual. The result? Hubby and daughter ate a little but missed the real version. I thought it was a decent alternative (better low carb stuffing than none at all, as stuffing is my favorite part of that meal). It was almost indistinguishable from the original when it was broiled and got that nice crusty crunch on top. Almost. Regular bread is still better, though. And given I was the only one determined to have stuffing, I would probably just forego it if I were to do another low carb Thanksgiving meal.
Thanksgiving Carbs
Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, and Bread—The Carbohydrate Portion of Dinner
  • Mashed Potatoes—my son had to have regular, of course, so I had a small batch for him. The rest of us had mashed cauliflower. I’ve been making that for regular meals for years, so that was no surprise to us. My daughter and I like mashed cauliflower, but we missed the potatoes (she missed them more than I did). My husband always tolerates the cauliflower when I make it, but it’s never been a favorite of his, so he only had a little. It’s a decent substitute, though, if you have to have a mashed side with your turkey.
  • Gravy—we weren’t eating flour, so I used a low carb thickener. Son and hubby weren’t thrilled, but they also drown their food in gravy. My daughter and I only drizzle the gravy, and it was acceptable to us.
  • Cranberry Sauce—sweetened with honey rather than sugar (and a lot less sweetener than usual). Hubby has sworn off any sweeteners right now, so he didn’t have any. Daughter and I liked it, but it was a little more tart than my usual recipe. Son won’t try them; he had the weird gelatinous canned version, which he loves.
  • Sweet Potatoes—instead of my usual with fruit and marshmallows, I used a mandolin to slice them very thin and made a gratin. I might actually like them better that way. Son wouldn’t try them. Hubby hates cinnamon (which I used because I didn’t think he was eating any), so he gave it a shoulder shrug. Daughter didn’t try them; she’s not a huge fan of sweet potatoes in any form.
Healthy Thanksgiving Plate
The Healthy Thanksgiving Plate
  • Veggies—usually make three: broccoli, fennel salad, and mushrooms. Still had the mushrooms, same recipe as usual. (Hubby and I are the only ones who eat mushrooms in any form, and we enjoyed them.) The store stopped selling fennel (I was NOT happy) so I made a kale and cabbage salad with a Dijon dressing (which I hoped would have the same crunch if not the same refreshing pop). It was good, but the three of us who eat veggies missed the fennel. Hubby also thought the Dijon was strong and would have preferred my regular Italian dressing. We just had broccoli for dinner, so we went with a cucumber/tomato salad as our third. That’s always a favorite and was, as always, well-received.
  • Bread—those of us dieting didn’t need or want any. My son did, so I made him cloverleaf rolls. My recipe made two dozen plus eight small loaves, and he’s been eating bread for every meal and snack since they came out of the oven, so I’m going to say they were a success. I had hoped to freeze some, but there’s very little left.
  • Dessert is usually pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake and sometimes peanut butter pie or pecan pie. This year, I skipped the nut dessert entirely and switched the pumpkin dessert to a mousse sweetened with stevia. Hubby wouldn’t even eat that (he’s very disciplined). The rest of us really enjoyed it. (I keep thinking it would be great with caramel sauce or maple syrup on it, but that would defeat the purpose of a diet dessert, so I’ve refrained. So far.)
Post Thanksgiving

So, all told, the low carb meal was fairly well received, and I now know what changes to make in the future, should we choose to do a non-traditional, healthy holiday again. Clean-up was faster than usual, too, as I went the paper plate and disposable pan route (where I could). We actually had the energy to go outside after dinner and play football and then basketball! Usually I’m ready for a nap, not a game or two, so that was a pleasant surprise.

The best part of the meal, though, wasn’t the food (carbs or not). It was the family. And because the four of us were together, I have to say it was a roaring success.

And now, in addition to getting back to work, there’s prep for Christmas (sigh)…

What about you? Anyone ever try to take a favorite family recipe and lighten it? How did it go?

16 thoughts on “Post-Thanksgiving Review

Add yours

  1. What a wonderful surprise for you when your daughter came home! You really cooked a lot. We always rent a house in the mountains of NC, so the cooking is shared (thank goodness). I have the opposite turkey problem – hubby deep fries them and we need 2 around 12 pounds each, but hard to find anything below 16 pounds. I ate more dessert this year than usual, and when I got on the scale this morning, it showed. Hitting the gym for longer this week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Renting a house sounds wonderful! A couple of years ago, my husband’s parents rented three houses for the whole family to go to the beach at Christmas. It was their 50th anniversary, and that was the gift they asked for… all of us together at the beach for the holidays. I missed my family, but that was really fun.

      I have an indoor fryer that holds up to a 20-pound turkey, so I never experienced the problems you faced. (Fried turkey is SO good!) Sounds like you had a great time, even though you had to buy two birds. At least there were many hands to make light work of it all!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I always go overboard on holidays. I can’t help myself. I want everyone to have exactly what they want. It’s a little crazy, but to me, it’s worth it. I don’t know how long I’ll have the four of us together. I know my daughter won’t make it home for Easter (they don’t get time off around that holiday), so any occasion I have with all of us under one roof, I’m inclined to go all out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how your daughter and son conspired for her to come home. That’s awesome. Also great that you had the whole family together for the holidays.

    We had the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings (still eating leftovers). My brother did most of the cooking this year and everything was great. Also, fantastic to have the family together as you said. Holidays wing by too fast. Maybe that’s what makes them so special.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are a far stronger person than I, Staci! I make all my favorites when I’m cooking at home, regardless of whether I’m eating healthier the rest of the year. My feeling is that one weekend isn’t going to hurt anything overall, and I would be sad not to have those things we love so much. But I fully respect your determination to eat a healthier version. And it sounds like it turned out pretty well. Congratulations!

    The last couple of years, we’ve been going to my friend, Nicki’s house, to have a traditional dinner with her family, and we did so again. She makes the best sweet potato & pecan casserole I’ve ever had, even without marshmallows on top. 😀 Also, a killer pumpkin mousse pie with cinnamon cream cheese icing. Everyone brings something to contribute, and it’s all really good. But today, life goes back to normal. Sugar is out, and very little sweeteners. Mostly fresh fruits for my treats. Reduced fat cheese. Things like that. I have gained 6 pounds since Irma, all from STRESS related eating, so I have to get that gone, fast! And then continue on my slower-paced weight loss plan. (I’ve lost 32 pounds in a year and a half or so, and I’d like to continue that).

    Again, I admire your determination, but if I don’t reward myself now and then for being good, I get depressed about the whole thing, and a holiday reward is what keeps me going all year. But you guys get full props! 😀 (And I’m SO glad your family came home to be with you. Yay!! They sound like good kids, to me.) ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to admit, for my hubby, the motivation wasn’t “one day of cheating will buoy my resolve” so much as it was “I want to win the $500 bet” (he’s in a weight loss challenge at work), so it wasn’t too hard for him to skip the treats. My son still got them, and my daughter and I eat pretty healthy all the time, anyway, so one non-traditional holiday meal, while a little sad, really wasn’t too disappointing.

      Congrats on the slow-and-steady weight loss. Wishing you continued success!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe it. We’re Italian… scaling back for us still means more food than is humanly possible to eat.

      Sorry we didn’t make it home, but it was nice being together through the phone. 🙂


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