Happy Thanksgiving Eve! I am in serious pre-game mode over here; I've got the turkey thawing, pumpkin pies ready for the oven, and cranberries ready to be doused with orange juice, maple syrup, and wine; tonight, I'll simmer them down into a scrumptious cranberry sauce while prepping my sage stuffing. It's going to be a fantastic day!
What We're Eating
I finally managed to reduce my sugar intake this month. I haven't quite gone cold turkey, but, that's definitely on the agenda for 2021. Because I am trying to eat healthier, I have returned to making a protein smoothie for breakfast each day, followed by a portion-controlled frozen meal for lunch. I have several favorites from back in the day, and have discovered a few new flavors that are enjoyable and don't taste like diet food. This riced cauliflower, kale, and chicken dish isn't too bad at all...
I've also been making this butternut squash and vegetable lasagna that is to die for. The sauce that it calls for is hella pricey, but, at some point I fully intend to duplicate the recipe for it on my own so that I can make it on the cheap.
The other night, I made French onion soup. The aroma of caramelized onion, butter, thyme, garlic, wine, and beef stock that filled the house while it was simmering was enough to make Hugh's mouth water the minute he got home from work; he could barely wait for me to ladle out a bowl, top it with a thick slice of baguette, slather it in Gruyere, and pop it under the broiler until the cheese was melted and the baguette was toasty. But he made it.
What I'm Reminiscing About
When I was a kid, we rotated between my maternal grandparents house, and our house in Mayberry, and my paternal grandparents' house in Texas for the Thanksgiving holiday. I vividly recall the years that we were in Mayberry, whether at our house or with my Grandma Molly and Grandpa Nick, because those were the years that we celebrated with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Coming from a large Catholic family meant that holidays were crowded, loud, chaotic, and predictable; you knew what to expect.
I don't remember the years that we spent in Texas, with my Dad's parents, quite as well; it seems like they were quiet and a lot less crowded. One year does stand out, however. My grandmother made the traditional Thanksgiving meal, and, being a lover of stuffing, I over-filled my plate. My grandpa bet me a Coke that I wouldn't be able to finish it all, and, I took the bet, confident in my abilities. I failed to realize two very important details, however; one, my grandmother was a terrible cook, and, two, Texans make their stuffing out of cornbread. You know what happens when a bad cook makes cornbread? It turns out dry and tough, and, sadly, there is no amount of gravy in the world that can salvage dry cornbread stuffing. I choked on the first bite, but, I was determined, and, while I can proudly say that I finished that nasty stuffing and won that coke, I also have to admit that I wanted to cry with every bite.
Also, many, many years later, I tried another version of cornbread stuffing and it was amazing. So. There's that.
What I'm Loving
I returned to the gym this month. My gym has never been overly crowded, but, with the Covid restrictions, it is a virtual graveyard; this provides my choice of treadmills as well as a completely empty aerobics studio in which to stretch following my run (yes, I am actually running again; it isn't pretty, so it's a damn good thing I don't have an audience).
What We've Been Up To
We got our Christmas tree decorated, with the help of Queen B and the Rodeo Princess. They came over one Sunday evening and spent several hours with us, sipping spiked hot cocoa, eating lasagna, and going through the many boxes of ornaments that we have collected over the years. Queen B explained the meanings behind the special ornaments, including the glass pickle, which the Rodeo Princess got to hide.
I also got the porch decorated, and, when I asked him to help with the yard decorations; Hugh went all out on the construction of a stable for my blow mold nativity set. He could have half-assed it, but that would not be Hugh. So, we now have a structure that requires wheels in order to be moved, and, that we will need to find a place to store for ten and a half months out of the year, but, I'm not complaining; I mean, how cool is this?!
What I'm Working On
I am currently tearing my hair out over the 2021 budget for New Job (is it still a new job, almost a year in? Discuss among yourselves) as well as priming myself to jump into the year-end bookwork at the hardware store. I hate numbers. That is all.
What I'm Dreading
I can't really think of anything at the moment; it seems like Dread has become my 2020 default setting, which, has almost made me numb to the feeling. Perhaps you can relate.
What I'm Excited About
I truly am getting excited about the Christmas holidays. I'm crossing my fingers for good health, safe travels for the Cub, and for a magical and restorative celebration.
What We're Watching
Hugh and I recently started watching VanHelsing on Netflix. I'm also watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel, so; we are either sleighing or slaying over here, not much in between.
What I'm Reading
I took my Kindle to my appointment at the hair salon this month because that is the only uninterrupted chunk of time that I could find for pleasure reading.
While I was there, I made it through several chapters of The Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner. I'm liking it so far, and I hope I can remember it well enough to pick up where I left off when I go back to the salon in December. Or, I could try to find some other time for reading...hahahaha! I wish!
What I'm Listening To
I'm not going to lie; I already have the Hallmark channel playing on Sirius XM in my car. I also started playing holiday albums on my record player over a week ago. I have no shame.
What I'm Wearing
Workout clothes. Have they always been this tight? Asking for a friend.
What We're Doing This Weekend
I had originally planned to have my sister and nephew with us for the Thanksgiving weekend, but, my nephew's football team is in the semi-finals for the state title, so, they aren't able to make the trip from the Front Range. We will miss them, but, we are really excited for my nephew. So, rather than hosting more family members, I am going to chill, relax, maybe do some online Black Friday shopping, and enjoy the fruits of my Christmas decorating labors. I can live with that. Oh, and it's my birthday on Saturday, so I suppose we'll be low-key celebrating that as well.
What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month
The Man-Cub is scheduled to fly home on the 14th! I have missed him and am really looking forward to having him back home. Now, fingers crossed that nothing changes in his flight schedule and he makes it back to Colorado without a hitch.
What Else is New
This year, I ordered fresh evergreen garlands for the front porch. I haven't ever used fresh greens before, so, the process of securing them to the porch railing was a new experience for me. They look amazing, and, since I ordered them from a pre-school fundraiser; I feel pretty good about my decision to break out of my comfort zone. That being said, when my hands started to burn and itch five minutes into the project, my Mom casually informed me that I had an allergy to evergreen as a child. This came as a surprise to me, since I always blamed my younger sister for her evergreen allergy, which, prevented us from having a live tree. I guess I owe her an apology. Sorry, sis!