I apologize for the delay in publishing this post! Lots going on behind the scenes these days. ❤
Our families are gone, the leftovers are almost gone, and our doggie guests have found their way back to their respective owners.
Thanksgiving 2016 is officially a wrap!
In my last post, I shared the strategies I was using to minimize stress during Thanksgiving week. I’m happy to report that my excessive planning was worth it — the week went by smoothly, we ate like kings (and queens), and we had a good combination of chill time and activities. (And the doggos were angels.)
Here are some decisions I’ll definitely repeat next time I host Thanksgiving (or another large holiday dinner):
- Taking a personal day before everyone arrives. I got my Releve One class in and was able to kick off the festivities calmly and feeling prepared.
- Make a menu, then cut it in half. You’re better off making a few things well, than a lot of things poorly. We didn’t have stuffing or mac and cheese or green beans at our table, and we all survived.
- Use two shopping lists: One for advance shopping, the other for last minute items. So many people were scrambling at Trader Joe’s on Tuesday, and I was so happy to not be one of them.
- Make my own broth in advance — I used it to baste the turkey and make the gravy and both turned out nice and flavorful!
- Buy a pre-cooked turkey. As long as I live in a one-oven home, I think I’ll go this route. The turkey prep was simple (I just added a rub and then basted it every now and then) and took half the oven time of cooking a raw turkey.
- Cook as much as possible before guests arrive. Thank God I wasn’t peeling potatoes day-of.
- Serve breakfast to keep guests’ hunger at bay.
- Have an activity for guests while the cooking is taking place. Alex took our families and the dogs to Radnor Lake while my mom and I set the table and prepped the food. Everyone got to see a beautiful spot in Nashville, and I was able to focus on getting the meal done quickly.
- Outsource bread! Our baguettes from Dozen were delish.
- Don’t say no to furry friends! Our four-legged guests were wonderful companions, and provided lots of entertainment. I’m glad we decided to help our friends out and host their dogs while they were out of town (even though it seemed slightly crazy at the time).
room for improvement
Here are some lessons I learned:
- Don’t freeze pumpkin pie. The flavor was still there but the crust turned to mush!
- Cooking will inevitably take longer than expected. Learn more ways to keep some dishes warm while finishing up last minute dishes in the oven. Leave more time for wiggle room. Don’t try to make crispy Brussels sprouts (or anything else that needs to be broiled last minute). 😦
- Although it seemed like everyone enjoyed the butternut squash soup, it was probably unnecessary. It threw off the timing of the main course, and in my opinion also took away from the main event.
- Chill out — although it’s natural to want to entertain the entire time we’re hosting guests, people also appreciate down time.
resetting (not detoxing)
Now that Thanksgiving is over, I’m looking forward to a few weeks of clean eating, exercising, and sleeping (before, you know, our big fat Polish Christmas). I’m not seeing this as a “detox” so much as a “reset”. I know I’ve used the word detox on this blog before, but I’d like to remove it from my vocabulary, because I don’t like the connotation that celebrating a holiday with my family and good food is somehow “toxic” and that I need to cleanse myself of it.
Also, I’m beginning to feel that there’s something unhealthy about the idea that we must always remain “clean”, and if we are not, we must “detox”. If I want a cookie, because it’s December, I want to feel free to have that cookie without guilt. I want to enjoy my workouts because they are energizing, not because I need to punish myself for my December cookie. Detox, to me, insinuates aggressive cleansing and restriction.
In the same way that our instructors at Releve tell us to reset when we feel out of balance and need to take a second to regain lightness, I’m going to switch to the term “reset” to describe a newfound focus on healthy habits after a few days of indulgent celebration. My reset involves:
- Signing up for Releve classes in advance (so I make sure to go), and focusing on getting what I want out of each class (mental or physical).
- Prioritizing sleep. I’ve been getting tired earlier lately, and I’ve decided not to fight it, but rather embrace the fact that I might (for once) be able to get more than 6 hours of sleep.
- Following my intuition. I’ve felt a little more introverted than usual lately, and I’m not fighting that, either.
- Letting things go. Alex has been incredible lately about encouraging me to drop things off of my plate — for example, if we’re sitting on the floor folding laundry late at night, and we both are over it, saying, “Wanna finish this tomorrow?” and then getting in our jammies and watching some basketball. Gotta follow that intuition.
- Focusing my energy on giving and living during this holiday season. ❤