Thanksgiving Preparations!

That whole being sick thing really threw me off. I'm so mixed up on days and dates and obligations. That's why Thanksgiving kind of snuck up on me. This year is the first year I will be making the entire meal myself. I always attended other people's celebrations up until two years ago. That year, I did a beyond Vegan Thanksgiving dinner (basically just vegetables, salt, pepper, and oil). I did cook a semi-Thanksgiving meal that week for hubsface, but not full on. Last year I combined efforts with my mom. But, this year, it's all me. We all know I'm a planner, so realizing Thanksgiving was a week away yesterday was....interesting. I've been (over) planning ever since. Here's what I'm hoping happens...

Friday: Costco shopping. Half of grocery shopping.
Saturday: Last of shopping (ha...we'll see about that...I'm predicting a few last minute runs)
Tuesday: Bake a bunch of pumpkins. Make some pumpkin puree. Toast the bread for the stuffing. Prep ingredients (chop vegetables, bundle seasoning for turkey cavity, thaw all frozen ingredients, chop more vegetables, cinnamon roll dough?)
Wednesday: Prep any vegetables I forgot (inevitable), cinnamon roll prep, mashed potatoes, decide if we're doing yams (yup.), make herb butter for turkey, drink wine...or whiskey, dress the cat up for stress relief, maybe look at stuffing recipes? (I like the thrill), crash.
Thursday: Wake up and question why I thought this was a good idea, set rolls to rise, bake cinnamon rolls and quiche so that I eat and don't get extremely irritable, rub the bird down, stuff the bird, throw the bird in the oven, heat potatoes? (still not even sure what method I'm employing, decide on a stuffing method, decide on a potato method, forget about the turkey, drink coffee, cook some rolls and green beans, pour champagne, sit down for dinner and forget that we're missing a crucial element, eat, decide we're not doing thanksgiving traditionally next year, play games, put up christmas tree, kiss the cat.
One year later: Forget about last year's resolution, begin again.
It's the cranberry sauce. I forgot about it in the planning, I'll totally forget about it on the day. Oh and the pie. And the whipped cream. It's all good....

Clearly having three different lists (two on paper, one on computer) is not helping.


Perfect Protein Salad

I've been sick all week. I haven't been this bed ridden from sickness for a long, long time. Many, many years. Anyway, in the course of 3 days I got super sick with a high fever, got a cold sore, and had a panic attack. I'm guessing there are some stressors in my life? I was lying here for like the third day this week, thinking what would be really perfect for me, and this salad came to mind.
I love this salad. The inspiration came from that salad from (insert your grocery store's name here). All delis make a version of this. But, my version was far superior:) It's fresh, crunchy, tasty, and makes me feel wonderful. My body loves protein. My body loves LOTS and LOTS of protein. In fact, I really don't function without LOTS and LOTS of protein. And we all know I love vegetables... so this salad is perfect for me.
It's very versatile. It's awesome because you can really use any vegetables you have on hand. I could really go for some broccoli up in here. I wouldn't leave out peppers or celery for their crunch, or onion for it's flavor (obviously). You can mix up the amounts to suit your tastes, but this suits mine. Also awesome is the fact that it makes a huge batch, and it lasts forever, so you can eat it alllll week, and possibly a few days into the next. You can eat it as a side dish with a lovely turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with whole grain mustard, for lunch tucked into a piece of pita bread, over some fresh lettuce or cabbage, or just in spoonfuls straight from the fridge for a protein boost mid-afternoon.

Perfect Protein Salad
So many servings.

2-3 cups cooked wheat berries
2 cups drained garbanzo beans
1-2 cups cottage cheese 
(1 cup cottage cheese, 1 cup feta cheese is great, too)
1 red onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2-3 medium carrots, shredded
1 cucumber, diced
1 pepper, diced
 3-6 green onions, sliced
3 or so cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the mother
3-5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
fresh parsley, chopped, to taste
1-2 teaspoons dried dill, to taste
1-2 teaspoons of your favorite mixed herb seasoning
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2-1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Ok, I could add "to taste" after all of the ingredients. You get the picture.

While you cooked those wheat berries was a great time to prep all those vegetables ;) When you've magically done all of that, throw it all in a bowl.


Errr... I can't leave it like that. I like to add the wheat berries to the vegetables, 'banzos, and cheese, then mix. Then I grate the garlic over the bowl with my microplane (this is really important). Then I add the vinegar, lemon juice, herbs, and seasonings. I taste it, and then I re-season accordingly. Don't OVER-season; keep in mind more flavor will develop after it has had time to hang out a bit. You can always re-season after the resting period.

It's best if you let all those lovely flavors meld together in the fridge for a few hours before consuming, or overnight if you can. Just put it in a huge tupperware, or several smaller ones, or better yet use your awesome pyrex mixing bowls to make it in, then pop the lid on.

Enjoy all week:)