T-Day this year was at our house and it was just the second time in nearly 20 years we hosted. For many years we traveled to Texas and one year we ended up in Owasso OK. But this year The Texans came north. We had a small gathering of five humans and one Aussie. Shopping for a small dinner crowd like this should have been simple. But as the Great Pandemic continues to affect aspects of our lives we all have not experienced I had to go to multiple stores to find what I needed. The sandwich meat and cheese purchase was left for the last day of shopping the day before T-Day. And as I circled the store searching for bargains I stumbled upon a refrigerated display of fresh turkeys.
Yup. Dried pasta is 50% more expensive per pound. A tub of strawberries was over $6.00 at the same store. Ground beef was seven times the price per pound. So I could not resist. I bought the little fellow.
nOn Sunday I roasted Turkey Two. I decided to cook the bird and freeze portions for future meals. My mind has been wandering to the many ways of making leftover turkey palatable. But it’s not been easy since we are tired of turkey right now. So in no particular order here’s what I learned this year shopping for the feast.
Take Home Lessons
During The Great Pandemic in the midst of shortages you will find items overbought and undersold in the stores. Take advantage of these situations if and when you find them. I’ve come across similar price reductions in different stores usually in the refrigerated departments. As an example, BOGO imported Danish Havarti with the sell by date out in March 2022. I guess none of my neighbors like Harvarti.
Be flexible. If you have to have strawberries you’ll pay up for them. But it might be time to eat other fruits that are more reasonably priced. Like bananas, apples, or those tiny oranges. Dried fruits work well too.
Eat lower on the food chain. I picked up a pound of dried black eyed peas for $1.50 because you have to have black eyed peas for New Years in my part of the world. Eat more beans because they are good for you and good for your checking account balance. Learn to like beans.
Add more meat-free meals to your diet. Yesterday for lunch I had Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew. Dinner tonight will be a massive mutant baked sweet potato and a side salad. You don’t need meat at every meal. Over the holiday weekend I happened to mention making Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole. The reaction from our guest was priceless. I guess some people don’t like squash.
A six pound turkey doesn’t have a lot of turkey in it. This little fellow was kind of like a huge chicken only bonier. Still, I think I have enough cooked bird in the freezer for three more entrees.
Never get too high, never get too low. Trust the Process which has been developed and refined for nearly 45 years of weight loss followed by weight gain followed again with weight loss… The Truth Machine today displayed 177 and I am both pleased and relieved. I survived another Thanksgiving feast! Reading this you might think I’m compulsive about my weight. Guilty as charged. You get kind of obsessed with your weight when you never want to be 370 pounds again, ever. I am 70 inches tall. In high school I was the shortest (and heaviest) power forward on the hardwood. I had a decent shot but was better at rebounding because I took up so much space. I was also Captain of the tennis team but that’s a whole other story.
The roller coaster of shifting weights has been the story of my life. A constant struggle. A battle between the food within reach and my brain, one saying yes, the other saying well, here we go again. Part of the problem of losing a lot of weight is complacency. Knowing what works and what to do is not the same thing as doing that thing. I got lazy and allowed myself to balloon back up to 200-205. The Truth Machine had lost its policing effect. My brain started rationalizing, hey it’s a hell of a lot better than 370! Besides most people gain weight as they age…
I’m old enough now to remember what life was like before unsocial media. One (of the many) things I dislike about unsocial media are those dumb ass reminders in your online photo collections: One Year Ago Today…Two Years Ago This Week, etc. Well, at Thanksgiving this year for me, this unsocial media feature got a bit less unsavory.
“I saw a Memory on my photo timeline the other day. We were on the beach in Rhode Island and you looked heavier than you do now.”
“You mean fatter.”
“Not fatter, just heavier. You look really good now.”
And this ends the story of the best Thanksgiving ever observing Covid-19 pandemic guidelines while preparing turkey in a way you’ve never done before. Random Thoughts the Day After Thanksgiving 2020. The turkey turned out great and I got validation my weight loss efforts were working (again). The Mojo is back. I’ll be working on my book for a few hours today.
Remember the Mantra: never get too high, never get too low. The Truth Machine this morning stared back at me with the number 179. Yes, we had a very good Thanksgiving how did you know? Too much sugar, too many calories, too much of a good time. But remember the mantra. I’m convinced my number will come down again. Maybe not today or tomorrow but the number will come back down.
A random encounter at the grocery store may have changed my Thanksgiving turkey buying habits forever. As I was mindlessly staring at the frozen birds another shopper came over, excused himself and reached for what appeared to be a very small turkey breast. He already had one in his other hand so I just had to ask,
“What is that?”
“Boneless breast. My wife doesn’t want any other type of turkey for Thanksgiving and told me to get two.”
I picked up one of these from the freezer section and examined it. I’d never seen a boneless turkey breast roast before. Bone in yes, boneless no. What the hell why not? I bought one only to be told by MY wife when I got home to go get another one so we can have leftovers. Which I did. The only picture I snapped was the pre-roasting picture. I didn’t take a picture when the turkey came out of the oven because the turkey skin didn’t brown but the veggies in the pan did.
Defrost for two days in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Remove the outer wrapping, pat dry with paper towels and do not remove the string webbing holding the breast meat together in a roast shape.
In a roasting pan scatter chunks of onion, celery and carrots (peeled or unpeeled, up to you).
Season the veggies well. I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and parsley ( I couldn’t find any rosemary or that would have gone into the mix). Sprinkle the veggies with some olive oil.
Place the roasting rack in the pan, spreading the veggies enough so that the rack sits firmly in the pan. Position your breasts so that they don’t fall through the rack.
Rub olive oil (or melted butter, your choice) on the breasts. Season well. I used the same seasonings as in Step #5 with the addition of onion powder. No rosemary unfortunately.
Tent the pan with aluminum foil and roast for 1.5 hours. Remove the foil at this point and continue roasting for another 30 minutes. (broil for five minutes if you want to try and get the skin brown for pictures).
Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes, foil tent back on to keep the meat warm. Using a pair of kitchen scissors carefully cut and remove the string webbing.
Slice and serve.
Each boneless breast is approximately 3 pounds and will provide 4-6 servings. Since our Pandemic Inspired gathering was 4 adults and 2 Tiny Humans we had plenty of turkey for leftovers. Two of the four adults are dark meat aficionados and we sacrificed our personal preferences for ease of preparation. Everyone was quite pleased with how the boneless roasts delivered very moist and flavorful turkey.