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Posted Nov 01 2009 12:00am

Happy Sunday!

Or rather… Happy Dawsonsgiving!!!!! ;)

We had an early morning here at our home– we had LOTS of cooking to do! I brewed up a big pot of coffee, and we got right to work.

Somehow I managed to slice my finger within two seconds of peeling my first potato…

Meanwhile, our friend, Brad, bravely got his hands dirty prepping the turkey:

Thank goodness for Brad– we would have been turkey-less for sure if I was in charge of that! We used a really cool Hefty oven bag to roast our turkey, and it worked out perfectly! A mere two hours in the oven, sealed in that bag, and our turkey was thoroughly cooked and moist! I didn’t taste it, but it smelled good!

Brad was also kind enough to make us some of his famous cookies: Bacon Chocolate Chip. Yep, you heard me. BACON-chocolate-chip cookies!!

See those big chunks of bacon?

The verdict? They were surprisingly tasty!! I think I still prefer regular chocolate chip cookies…. but there was something uniquely gourmet about these suckers. Maybe it was the brown sugar and sea salt that Brad used to roast the bacon? Our house smelled sweet and salty the rest of the day! :)  

Here’s what our final dinner spread looked like:

It was a total feast!!

Here’s my over-ambitiously filled plate:

In lieu of the traditional green bean casserole (which I have never cared for!) I made sauteed green beans with caramelized onions, garlic and salt. So simple, but WAY tasty! And the homemade mac n’ cheese and garlic mashed potatoes were SO worth it. :D

And here’s what my plate looked like after I was totally stuffed:

Yeah, my eyes were definitely bigger than my appetite…

But somehow I managed to make room for pumpkin pie about an hour later:

That gingersnap crust I made was a total success! Holy yum. :)

While none of our food was modified to be “healthier,” I don’t feel too guilty about today’s feast. Personally, I like to eat the real versions of my favorite food during special occasions, such as this one. I figure, it only happens a few times a year, and I’d rather be satisfied eating the real thing, rather than trying to come up with a slightly healthier, but less satisfying alternative. I’ve found this is what works best for me. Obviously, we each need to come to our own conclusions on how to handle holiday gatherings

After a dinner party like this, my strategy is to send home as many leftovers as I can with our guests, to prevent any possible temptations for me later. Whatever I don’t send home, I save for my husband. I plan on going right back to my regular routine tomorrow, so I don’t get sucked into a 6-week holiday HOG-fest!!! With all the temptations we are faced with from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, sticking to a routine is my best defense against holiday weight gain. Research says we gain one permanent pound each year after the holidays– let’s NOT fall into that statistic this year!!

Honestly, I think as long as we keep ourselves accountable for our choices, the holidays can be enjoyable AND not affect our waistlines.  After all, the most important part is that we enjoy our friends and family, right?

And maybe some Dawson’s Creek… ;)

How do you handle the holidays? What’s your favorite dish to bring to holiday parties?

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