Saturday, May 19, 2012
So, I'm a self described cheapskate. I like to think of it as frugal living-- but call a spade a spade.
After Thanksgiving last year, all the turkeys went on sale for some ridiculously cheap amount like 39c a pound or something like that. So, naturally I had to buy one and shove it in the back of the freezer.
I have been cooking the majority of my meals for a long time, but since I started Spark People, I am freezing a lot more since I now eat ONE serving at each meal instead of THREE servings at each meal. I would say this alone has saved me $50 to $60 per month on groceries. I'm not kidding.
Anyway, I've been trying to fit all sorts of nonsense into the freezer and have been having the hardest time... so I finally went in there and did a clean up. Oh, no wonder I can't fit anything in there. There's a 18 pound turkey in it! So, I decided it was time to cook the thing. I told my good friend, Rob, and we decided to have Thanksgiving in May (he says it's a spin-off of Christmas in July).
Since it's not REALLY a holiday, I knew I didn't have any excuse to overindulge. So, I set out to challenge myself to have "Thanksgiving Dinner" and still stay within my calorie range for the day. Rob is not a big fan of green veggies, or healthy food in general, so I also set out to show him that veggies and good for you foods could be tasty and delicious.
I scoured Spark Recipes and found recipes for Italian Green Beans and Roasted Green Beans, and combined the two recipes for Italian Roasted Green Beans. I also cut some of the lettuce from my garden and made a salad with garden lettuce, sliced pears, almonds, manchego cheese and dressed it with a homemade vinaigrette.
A big challenge was the dessert. What Thanksgiving is complete without dessert? But this might prove to be a foil to my good intentions. I discussed it with Rob and we came to a compromise. I could make a lower calorie, sweet potato casserole and that would be a stand in for dessert, as many times, that dish is as sweet as any dessert. So, back to Spark Recipes where I (by some miracle) found the perfect Sweet Potato Casserole recipe. As the recipe suggested, I made the casserole in little ramekins and they were just the right amount of sweet treat at the end.
Though it was a pretty big meal compared to what I've been eating the last 3 weeks, I still managed to stay within my caloric range for the day. Dinner was just over 500 calories, but I had planned for it by eating light earlier in the day and (this is key) not sampling during dinner. The only thing I sampled was a bite of the turkey to make sure of the seasonings.
I'm glad I did this. First, I learned a lot about cooking a turkey (save for another post), and I also found Spark Recipes as a big resource. I think when actual Thanksgiving rolls around, my biggest challenge will be to convince my family members to make healthful side dishes. If they opt not to, I will simply make enough for myself!