This morning I ran my first ever Turkey Trot! It was an informal race (no fees, no registration, no cops to block off the street). It was great. I ran with two friends, one of whom is an avid cyclist. The other is a former runner, and is getting back into the groove. They chose to run slow with me, which was both fun and sort of intimidating. I know they run at least a minute faster than I do (I’ve been averaging about an 11:30 mile) and would be going very slow for me. But, hey, it was their choice, so I let go of any reservations and had fun—and really pushed myself!
We started out fast—too fast for me. And, I quickly slowed (them and me!) down. I only walked once (about a half block), at the 1.5 mile turnaround. My time was 35:16 according to NikePlus. Average pace was 11:10. Can’t complain at all! I’m thankful that my running pals pushed me to run faster.
In addition to this being my first Turkey Trot, it is also the first day of my Runner’s World Run Streak. I am going to run at least one mile every day between now and Christmas. I’m tagging all my runs with #RWRunStreak on Twitter (follow me! @pinkmonsterkate). Tomorrow I’m going to aim for just a mile, with a five-miler this weekend. I haven’t run more than 4 miles since the end of July. My goal is to build up to 7 miles by the end of the year in preparation for half-marathon training. Adding a mile to each weekend’s long run will get me there, no problem. Can’t wait!
The other part of the Thanksgiving adventures was cooking. I’m no chef, but I do enjoy cooking, and today was a marathon day. Since my dear husband has been slowly getting on the running (!!!), exercise, and weight-loss bandwagon, we chose to do some lighter side dishes and dessert. In a word, it was: amazing! The turkey was divine! It was the juiciest and tastiest I’ve ever made (last year’s was a bit on the dry side). Here’s the run down on our menu.
We brined the turkey again this year using this amazing recipe from Pioneer Woman. Then, I cooked the turkey according to Alton Brown’s directions, after stuffing the cavity with about 1 onion (wedges), 1 apple (quartered), about 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, and 1 cinnamon stick. We switched it up a bit with the cooking since we only had a 12 pound bird. It went in the oven at about 470ish degrees (kept the heat down because the oil was smoking us out of the house!) for 30 minutes, then turned it down to 330 for 60 minutes and covered the whole bird with two layers of tin foil (it was already browned enough!). Checked the temp, then did another ~30 minutes. The turkey was at about 160 degrees, so I pulled it out and it rested (covered) on the counter for about an hour while I cooked the rest of the dinner. It was SRSLY the best turkey ever. Moist. Flavorful. WOWZA!
My husband and son sitting down for our Thanksgiving feast.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
I used the famous family recipe (it’s just the recipe from the back of the OceanSpray bag, with the sugar cut in half). 12 oz fresh cranberries, ~1/3 cup sugar, 1 cup water. Dissolve sugar in water, add cranberries, bring to a boil and reduce. I threw in about ~1/2 cup OJ because we had it around. Great as always. This year I got smart and decided to control the cranberry splatter by using our grease splatter guard. Brilliant! Gotta remember this one for next year!
I think that stuffing the bird is gross. I make our stuffing on the stove top, and once again this year we used Weight Watcher’s Sausage, Apple, and Cornbread Stuffing. Like last year, I doubled the recipe. This stuff is amazing and doesn’t disappoint. My favorite stuffing.
We tried a new recipe for the potatoes. This year’s (Potatoes Au Gratin from Weight Watchers) were good, but not as great as last year’s (from Our Best Bites). I might have to go back to the Our Best Bites scalloped potatoes recipe because it is my favorite thus far. And can I just tell you, every year I make these potato dishes I am thankful for my Cuisinart!
In the spirit of making a healthier meal, I tried a new green bean recipe rather than the usual can-of-cream-of-mushroom-soup recipe. Don’t get me wrong, I LURVE the stuff, but it’s not that healthy, and my husband dislikes it. So, time for something new! I sauteed about 1 cup of onions (thin sliced), then added 8 oz. sliced baby bella mushrooms and 12 oz fresh green beans once the onions were partly caramelized. I cooked them al dente, then topped with toasted panko crumbs. They were, eh, sort of meh. Okay. Not fantastic. I’ll definitely try something different next time. Oh well. They were healthy and still good, just not special.
Mini Pumpkin Pies
For dessert this year I made mini pumpkin pies. I used this recipe from Weight Watchers, and rather than use one crust, I used 9 mini Keebler graham cracker crusts. This is a GREAT recipe, but I think I cooked the pies at too high a temp, as the bottoms of the crusts were slightly burned. Might eat a second tonight! Topped them off with Cool Whip Free. Awesomesauce!
So, on top of cooking for about 5 hours and running 3 miles, I had a fun day with the family, wrangling a pre-schooler, and enjoying being at home. These are the true blessings in life! I hope your day was special, too!