Give Thanks.

As I write this, I am curled up in bed, sighing like a horse (is that even a thing?) because I’m stuffed to the brim, and reflecting on a crazy couple of days. Yesterday was truly the beginning of the craziness – I covered the early morning kitchen shift at the coffee shop I work at for a coworker, then went home to a house full of family and the lovely scents of pies in the oven. Later in the evening, I headed back down to work to decorate the coffee shop for Christmas with my manager and her family. We worked well into the night, as well as into the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning, and it was all so much fun – from listening to Christmas music as we worked, to watching the shop come to life with the shimmer of twinkling lights, and the festive flair, perfectly fitting the season! This morning, I woke up early to participate in the Run to Feed the Hungry for the first time, and I can’t wait to make this an annual tradition!

So now, for the food portion of this Thanksgiving. Today was definitely a cheat day! I have not had one cheat day since the beginning of April, and the decision to cheat was a conscious one which I’ve thought about long and hard for the past (not gonna lie) month or so. Part of me was terrified that I would fall off the bandwagon, and the competitive part of me wanted to prove to myself that I could resist food temptations even on Thanksgiving. So here are my reasons for deciding to let go a little today:

  1. It’s Thanksgiving…..duh…..
  2. The past month has felt a bit like a tunnel with no light at the end. Despite my best efforts, I’ve been facing a bit of a plateau again, which has made me feel a bit hopeless, and desperate to tackle these last 10 lbs and be well on my way towards maintaining the loss. I guess part of me was afraid that, if I did make the sacrifice, and didn’t see a loss on Monday morning, I would regret missing out on enjoying some of my most favorite foods (some of which only come around once a year!).
  3. Food brings people together, and today was a time of fellowshipping together as a family.

And now for what was on my plate:

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I prepared my stomach for the feast with 1/2 of a small sourdough roll, and 1/2 of a small brioche roll. I also enjoyed a little raw goats milk with espresso. For the feast, I ate one plate of food comprised of smallish (some very small, but all smaller than my fist) portions of caesar salad, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, candied sweet potatoes (my absolute favorite), brussels sprouts, one of my grandma’s Hungarian cabbage rolls made with home-soured cabbage, and a homemade brioche roll with grass-fed Irish butter. I ate slowly, savored my food and the many conversations, and enjoyed every last bite. After dinner we danced to some Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, cleaned up, and moved on to dessert where I enjoyed a small sampler plate of homemade apple, pumpkin, and triple berry pie, with a very small serving of my aunt’s fluffy jello pudding. The pie was eaten slowly, and I certainly appreciated it more than I have in the past. And then………it hit me. I felt SO full. I’m just glad I wore stretchy pants to accomodate my budding food baby. So there’s that. I loved letting loose a little, but I can honestly say that I am looking forward to being back on track tomorrow.

I am thankful for too much to write. This year has been an incredible journey full of new experiences and opportunities, but everything points back to the people in my life, and I am so thankful for my family and friends. As my grandma said tonight, “this is a weird family”. It really is, but it’s delightful.

Happy Thanksgiving, and goodnight!

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To Love. To Be. To Celebrate.

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What fun it’s been to watch the demographics of my viewers! It looks like most of you are from the U.S. and Canada, with some in the UK, and some in Ireland. What fun it is that we can connect with others from all over the world!

I have had a difficult time deciding what to post lately. There has been so much angst and anger in our country….sometimes I don’t know what to say, but I can’t exactly ignore it. It saddens me to see people turning against each other instead of uniting to make the best of the situation our country is in. But that’s how it is. I myself am hopeful for a successful outcome, although I will always remain skeptical. I will keep my eyes wide open, and I will do my  best to make my little world and my little community a better place. I will always be authentically me, even if it’s not popular, and I will strive to do and be my best, even though I know I will fail.

Yesterday we celebrated my mother’s birthday (which is today). My mother is one of the most remarkable women on the planet. She is strong and courageous. She is loving and supportive. She does everything to the best of her ability (and her best is pretty dang incredible). She encourages me to be my best, but loves me unconditionally at my worst. She never asks for anything, but she gives with her whole heart. She runs herself in the ground with hard work, but always makes taking care of her family a priority, putting herself last. She is deserving of all good things. For her birthday, I threw her a cocktail party. I hired a bartender and a barista who made incredible drinks all throughout the evening. Guests brought delicious hors d’oeuvres. It was a grand old time full of music and fun and fellowship with old friends and new. And I was so blessed to see how many people love and adore my mother.

Pictured above are the cakes I made for my mother’s birthday. Lemon cake with homemade lemon curd swiss meringue buttercream, London Fog cake (fudge cake with a mild Earl Grey swiss meringue buttercream and a homemade salted caramel), and a Sticky Date Pudding with Toffee Sauce. Although many guests encouraged me to reward myself with some cake, fitting into a size 4 dress was reward enough!

All that being said, I didn’t lose much (weight, that is) this week. Most nights I didn’t get to bed before 1 AM due to being swamped with preparations, and I also know I didn’t drink enough water. On top of that, I definitely enjoyed an incredible cocktail last evening which wasn’t on plan, but that’s ok. I still resisted cake and high-carb foods.

Despite all of the anger in the world, I am incredibly grateful. Life is not easy, but life is good. Don’t forget to celebrate being alive, your loved ones, and always hold on to hope for the future!

Have a happy Monday, and a lovely week! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMMA!

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Mystery and…..Mushrooms?

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New favorite veggie: Mushrooms. I’ve gone through phases of favoring different vegetables over these past seven months. First it was cauliflower, then broccoli, then peppers and zucchini were a big deal for a long time. Now it’s mushrooms. Maybe because mushrooms naturally have the “ultimate umami experience”? Anyway, they’re pretty awesome. Especially sautéed in a little butter and garlic. Yum.

I haven’t posted in awhile  because I’ve been lacking inspiration. I also feel like I’m really sucking at this whole losing weight thing. Not because I’ve been binge watching Netflix and pigging out on all my favorite foods, but because the scale hasn’t wanted to budge these past couple weeks. Today I was given the advice to drink more water and get more sleep. These should be simple tasks to accomplish, but not so much for me (as I write to you instead of going to bed so I can wake up refreshed for my 5:30 am shift). However, I’ll do my best, and I’ll push on, because I am incredibly encouraged after comparing my starting waist measurement to my current. (P.S. Snapchat friends, sorry you have to see this plastered all over your social media feeds!).

This past April was such a monumental month for me, and tonight I am so thankful for the opportunities I was given in April – the opportunity to get healthy, and the opportunity to jump at my dream of running my own music studio. It hasn’t been a smooth road. It’s definitely been a wild ride, but oh so worth it! Life is a mystery. Nobody knows what lies around the corner. Let’s not waste it.

Anyway, I enjoyed spending the weekend prepping meals for the week while soaking up some Ella Fitzgerald. Today I got to play lots of fun music with my students (we even pulled out some Christmas carols!), and I’m looking forward to a ridiculously packed Holiday season!

I hope you were somehow able to follow or enjoy my scattered thoughts. And with that, I’d like to hear from you! What are some of your favorite vegetables?  How do you like to prepare them? Also, how do you avoid temptation during the Holidays?

Goodnight, my friends. Sweet dreams.