recipes and tips for better living

Monday, November 19, 2012

Give Thanks & Eat Chocolate.


It's Thanksgiving week and the holiday crazies are starting to come out.  I too hit my panic button on  Sunday wondering where i'm going to seat 8 people for dinner this Thursday and comfortably sleep 6 in my modest little apartment.  I frantically searched craigslist and hit TJ Maxx for the essentials: air mattress, roasting pans and pots, and a new dining table that can hold a real dinner party.  It wasn't long before i realized i was looking at a $500plus investment, not to mention all the stress i was suddenly dumping on myself.  I stopped.  I breathed.  I ate chocolate.

I remembered.

Real life isn't always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgment of what is working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties.  Focus on the abundance in your life rather than the lack.  When you focus on the goodness in your life, it expands.

Perhaps i've spent a little too much time on Pinterest, visualizing what Thanksgiving might look like.  In my fantasy world you feel welcomed into my chic designer home, a big table, little flowers, love notes for all my guests, a special glass for everyone, the most beautiful foods and plates, and lots of smiles.  In the real world, you walk into my humbly-sized, perhaps cluttered but filled with love, beach-side apartment, where the kitchen runs the size of most family's smallest bathroom.


But you know what?....i love this place.  It has tons of windows, great light, lots of good energy, a comfy enough couch, a record player and good records, and there is always a smile and warm hug waiting for you from behind the front door.

Thanksgiving doesn't have to be picturesque.  It needs to be about gratitude for all of our many blessings.  It's an opportunity to share your gratitude with those you love most, through food,  conversation, a couple glasses of vino, a rich dessert, or whatever vehicle may help you relax and simply enjoy the goodness and abundance of which you already have.

I stopped stressing.  I sent a note out to all my guests to let them know we'd provide the basics: some turkey, mashed pots, sweet pots, stuffing, salad, veggies, greens, pumpkin pie, and chocolate.  No recipe will be hard, some will be store bought, and nothing too fancy.  Just the traditional fare. Guests are encouraged to bring a small dish to share or favorite wine or spirit, their favorite board games, a good pair of walking shoes, and their open hearts.

I can breathe again.

Sometimes we get caught up in the whirlwind of the holidays and forget what they are really about.  Choose to let go of what you feel you lack and focus on all the abundance in your life.  Have gratitude for all you have, all you've created, and each experience that has brought you to now.

And share it.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.  Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.

In case you are still wondering what you might make for Thanksgiving here are a few pinterest finds that inspired me and look easy as can be.  

http://ohmyveggies.com/recipe-rosemary-roasted-carrots/

http://kneadtocook.com/?p=2151

http://www.wholeliving.com/131910/hearty-garlic-greens?center=0&gallery=135859&slide=132960
http://www.ziplist.com/recipes/561951-Cranberry_Pecan_Salad_With_Feta_Cheese

If you're still not sure, bring chocolate.  Everyone will love you.  Or make a big pot of soup.  Soups are great for thanksgiving day or late in the eve, when we truly don't need anymore food, but your belly won't stop telling you it's still hungry.  Here's an easy veggie soup.

 Always keep some canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and veggie broth in the pantry.  They never go bad and will help you when in a pinch.


Easy Veggie Soup:

1 15 oz stewed tomatoes
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 box (4 cups) low sodium veggie broth
1 large zuchini, halved and sliced
1/2 a head of broccoli, chopped small
4 large kale leaves, chopped small
1 tsp ghee
1-2 tsps crushed garlic
black pepper
sea salt
dash cayenne pepper
italian seasonings (i use tuscan spice by Penzey's)

Put it all in a soup pot and take it near a boil.  Turn down the heat, cover and simmer until all the veggies are cooked through.



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