Posted by: innerpilgrimage | November 25, 2009

Turkeygiving: My Thanksgiving Is on Thanksgiving Eve This Year

Days until my 40th Birthday: 20
Abstinence from Compulsive Eating: 1 Month, 10 days (41 days)

Holiday Eating Season Countdown: 38 days

      This year, my husband is working on Thanksgiving and can’t have a full Thanksgiving experience. So, tonight, after my OA home meeting, we’re having Thanksgiving dinner. Then we’re having leftovers over the rest of the week. The menu reaches back through the holidays over the last 10 years, including something I made up myself which became a family favorite.

                                                                  Today’s menu is:
      Homemade rolls. These rolls are very basic rolls. I can make Parker House and cloverleaf rolls, but I want to keep the caloric value down. Parker House and cloverleaf rolls have butter and milk in them. The rolls I am currently making are a basic French bread roll.

      Barbecue sauce basted Tofurky and oven-roasted turkey breast. My son isn’t a vegetarian, and my husband has craved turkey for years. (He has a mild allergy to certain meats–a lot like people who have dairy allergies.) I am making both turkey breast and Tofurky so that everyone can have a little of everything. We’ve been phasing meat into my husband’s life again. He can eat certain meats, and I’m beginning to think it’s the processing, as well. As a child, he ate venison his family hunted and geese his family raised. He did not have problems with those. He gets violently ill when he eats Lucky Charms cereal, so it’s very possible there’s something more than just meat. Happily, he can eat most seafood. So, I’m going to take it upon myself to try to add the meats he was once able to eat . . . and organic versions of the meat that he desperately wants to eat.
      To me, it’s worth a little more so that he can enjoy food again. We had an ugly fight last night about soggy Tofurky. I used broth and stew vegetables to keep it moist last year, and it was “too moist” (soggy). So, I’m preparing the Tofurky with Bush’s vegetarian baked beans to keep it moist, and perhaps to impart some flavor in it.
      The turkey breast is getting a spice-and-butter treatment to make it flavorful and different than the Tofurky.

      Carrot, Onion, and Chile Medley and Green Beans. I plan on microwaving the green beans with salt and pepper and steaming the carrots, onions, and chiles in a pot using my French steamer. My brain is temporarily frozen as to the name of the chile (it’s not the ancho and it’s not the green, it’s the other one), but they’re one type of chile used to make rellenos. This has been a request made of me (to make rellenos), and I am resistant to it because (1) it takes a lot of work to make them, (2) they are fat bombs, consisting of batter-fried peppers stuffed with cheese, and (3) they are a trigger food for me. I can’t eat them. Of course, I am thinking about it, and I bet I could make them and not eat them. One of the women in group talked about the joy of making something for a friend, despite not being able to sample what she made. I think I can do it. At worst, my HP and I will be communing like mad the day I do.
      And I can always make two instead of six. While it is time-economical to make six, it really is calorically economical to leave no leftovers for me to lose abstinence on.

      Sweet Potato Casserole. It’s really only a casserole in that I put it in my heart-shaped le Creuset casserole dish. I cook garnet sweet potatoes (they are the best of the lot, both color and taste-wise) just until they’re tender. Not squishy because I like a firmer sweet potato. I slice the sweet potatoes about 1 inch thick and layer them in the casserole. This is where it gets calorically naughty.
      On each layer, I dot salted butter, add fresh shredded ginger, drizzle real maple syrup, and salt then pepper to round out the flavors. For people who love non-mashed sweet potatoes, this is heavenly. The art is to make sure the sweet potatoes are cooked just enough to be firm but not too little to be raw.

      Mashed potatoes using floury potatoes. Floury potatoes are the ones with the dirt-covered rough skins–they’re what you get when you get a baked potato at a steakhouse. When cooked, they get light and fluffy once mashed (before butter and extras are added). Waxy potatoes–Yukon Gold, white, blue, and red–have the clean and smooth skins. They are the ones best suited for scalloped potatoes, french fries, and chips. They have a natural buttery texture once cooked and stay firmer through cooking and serving. Waxy potatoes are better for stews because they don’t melt. I prefer floury potatoes for stews in which I want a thicker soup base.
      So anyway, it’s going to be real butter and nonfat plain yogurt (instead of sour cream) mixed into my mashed potatoes. Plain yogurt has been a great sour cream substitute forever–my mother used it in the eighties to cut the calories.

      Store-bought pumpkin pie. I can make pie. I make good crust (it took years to get my crusts flaky, not tough), and I like to add extra spices to the Libby Canned Pumpkin. I prefer using the canned pumpkin and not the pre-made pumpkin pie filling because they use corn syrup, not sugar. I try to avoid corn syrup where I can. The only problem is that either makes two pies. I don’t need two pies–I am feeding three people for a weekend.

      Well, that’s about it food-wise. This is going to last a long time, and I am trying to keep my caloric intake low during the day so I can have a little of everything tonight. If I can’t have some of everything tonight, there is always tomorrow. Also, I get to figure out how to build the caloric count and serving information for the sweet potatoes and the mashed potatoes. Since the vegetables are going to be simple, it should not be an issue.
      I am delighted tonight is my home group meeting. Yesterday, when I was having a really hard time of it, I had an epiphany: I’m getting my 60-day coin the day after I turn 40 (if I keep working the steps daily). I look forward to it, yet I understand I cannot count those abstinence chickens before they’re hatched. This takes chaining a series of todays, starting with, well, today.
      The goal to work the program to get there is a good one. And the coincidence of reaching the 60-day abstinence mark 2 days before I turn 40 is compelling enough to keep myself connected to my Higher Power and to open myself up to the messages my Higher Power is sending me about the tools, about finding a sponsor, about everything.
      I think I have someone I want to ask. She’s a really sweet lady, she’s about 2 months ahead of me. Unfortunately, she is also in the same place I am step-wise. Then again, there’s another woman who leads the Friday night group who has a really great and mellow yet determined attitude. Unfortunately, she’s not agnostic. In a position of sponsorship, I would worry that she would take that place of authority to try to convert me. This isn’t a problem if I were seeking God and wanted to return to Christianity. And I admire her faith so very much. Unfortunately, I don’t share her faith.
      The 34-year abstinent who is no-nonsense and an agnostic already has about five sponsees. I couldn’t ask her because it’s not fair to her to have so many people. I am going to open myself to my Higher Power to guide me to my best OA sponsor–someone who won’t be overburdened by having me as a sponsee, someone whose inner moral compass would not demand they convert me (even if their religion does), and someone who is at least one full step ahead of me. I don’t need a completely recovered person–I just need someone who can help me get through Step Four with patience and empathy. I’d like to be someone’s first sponsee, or at least one of two. I’ve got a lot I want to accomplish over the next year of todays, and I want to have a sponsor who can be committed enough to deal with me daily for the first few weeks.
      I look forward to having my time to become a sponsor. I don’t think I will until I at least get through Step Nine. I mean, it’s hard enough getting through Step Four, and I think that my reluctance is really reflective of the need I have for someone independent to feed my information to.
      Well, at worst I add another meeting until my sponsor shows up in a hail of golden light. Or at least the click happens. And I know my challenge: Let my Higher Power do it. Release this to my Higher Power and trust that my Higher Power will connect me to the best sponsor for me. Until then, I have to work on Step Three, obviously.
      Release, release, release.

      I am Jess, and I am a compulsive overeater (and a honeymooning love addict–hooray for my HP helping me with this one while I struggle with the other part). Back to Rozanne S.’s wonderful promise, since it’s precisely what I give thanks for on this particular week:

I put my hand in yours
and together we can do
what we could never do alone.

No longer is there a sense of hopelessness.
No longer must we each depend upon
our own unsteady willpower.

We are all together now,
reaching out our hands for power and strength
greater than ours.

And as we join hands,
We find love and understanding
Beyond our wildest dreams.



  1. you are doing so well with your steps. your honesty is SO important, as hard as it may be sometimes. it’s great too that you are already thinking of becoming a sponsor. that helps with your own program as well as for your sponsee. kudos to you!
    it is hard not to count your abstinent chickens before they are hatched, but at the same time it is a very positive goal to work towards. we all needs goals to strive for. i’m excited for you to earn your 60-day coin two days after your 40th! what a wonderful gift that you will have earned.

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