Monday, December 1, 2008

The 10-dollar bill diet

I'm pleased to report that last week I hosted my first Thanksgiving Day dinner, and boy, did I hit it out of the park. And by that, I mean I didn't screw up ANYTHING. Here was our menu:

Salt-roasted turkey
From L.A. Times (so, so, so much easier than brine; tasty and moist, too)

Thanksgiving potatoes
From Skillet Chronicles (I'll never peel and chop potatoes again)

Foolproof gravy
From the Mercury News (contains white wine, mmm)

Cornbread sausage stuffing
From I don't know where, since this was made by Sal (who tossed in a handful of diced apple)

Baby salad greens with sweet-potato croutons
From N.Y. Times (easy and completely gorgeous)

Herbed dinner rolls
From Sunset Magazine (involved kneading and rising and everything!)

Cranberry sauce
From a can (since I do not care for cranberries, I didn't try too hard on this one, though next year I'm making a recipe my aunt swears by: mix a bag of fresh cranberries with one cup each of sugar and orange juice; bake for an hour at 350; stir in a few spoonfuls of Grand Mariner or other brandy before serving)

Green bean casserole
From my head, and some cans (made this with fresh beans a few years ago - it did not go well)

Apple pie
Another Sal dish (we also had pumpkin pie, brought by my mother-in-law)

I was most impressed by the salad, the apple pie and the rolls. And by the fact that everything finished cooking at the same time. And by the fact that I finally made a gravy that didn't suck. (Last Christmas I sprinkled a bunch of salt into the drippings before tasting, forgetting how I brined the bird for three days. Oopsie. Oh, and two Thanksgivings ago, I made golden-brown dinner rolls that were magazine-cover beautiful, so it was a real surprise how they'd break your teeth off.)

Also, Sal and I ran the Turkey Trot in downtown San Jose on Thanksgiving morning, and he beat me. Did you hear that? HE BEAT ME. For the first time ever. He also won his age category in the CEO/Celebrity Challenge. Even though I have run like a billion races (and never won anything) and he has done four. No, I'm proud of him, though. Especially since one year ago last week, we walked into our first Weight Watchers meeting together, determined to stop getting fatter all the time. And now he's 35 pounds lighter, so I'm guessing that helped him out. That, and maybe one of us stopped to help an old man who fell down on the race course. I demand my medal for winning the category of WHO IS A BETTER PERSON.

But it's ironic that we hit a weight-loss milestone this weekend, seeing as how I pretty much hogged out for four straight days. It was one of those stretches where you look up from your third slice of pie (in one morning) and try to remember the last time you felt actual hunger. The day before yesterday? Tuesday? You should have seen this leftovers sandwich I made, cracking open one of those herbed rolls and layering on turkey, potatoes and gravy, adding a sprinkle of cheddar before chowing down. I DARE you to ask if I was hungry when I built that bad boy.

Here's the scary part: In three weeks, we are heading to New Mexico, which is pretty much going to be a total eat-a-thon. For 1,266 miles and 10 days, we'll be living on fast food and New Mexican food, and diet sabotage is pretty unavoidable. So, to carve out a little bit of room to play, for the next three weeks I am putting myself on super-severe restrictions. I will only eat when I'm hungry, I will mostly eat decent things, and I will work out regularly. NO. BULLSHIT.

To get off to the right start, today I awoke at the terrifying hour of 5 a.m. and went to spin class. Then I vowed to my girlfriend that this month I will eat NOTHING from the table in the faculty break room. Not one cupcake, not one cookie, not a single crumb. I begged her to think of an unbearable consequence if I break my vow, and we cooked up a plan: If either of us sneaks any bites out of our break rooms, we have to mail the other person $10. Like, that very same day. This is the greatest idea ever. Wait, maybe you should get in on this, too. Like, if I know it's going to cost me $50, maybe I will not mindlessly stuff a piece of crappy old holiday fudge into my mouth. Who's in?

P.S. You can totally mail me $10 if you have a weak moment. I will use it to buy carrot sticks!


missfelice said...

Where ya gonna be in NM? maybe we can meet up? even for just a few carrot sticks?

Robyn said...

You have break rooms with free food?

Amy said...

Do we. DO WE. Yes, Robyn, we do have break rooms that contain a ridiculous amount of free food. Since I declared the $10 rule a mere three days ago, I have walked past no fewer than five giant trays of store-bought cookies, two plates of homemade cookies, several cheese platters with sourdough bread and crackers, some shrimp, and a dish of pumpkin-flavored Hershey's Kisses. IN THREE DAYS.