Put the thanks in Thanksgiving.
Whether you’re headed to your in-laws’, your sister’s, or a friend’s house this Thanksgiving, it’s always nice to show up with something in hand.
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Next week is Thanksgiving in the US and this year, health experts and government officials are recommending that everyone forego the large family gatherings with out-of-town guests and instead have a small private meal at home with just the immediate family.
Those of us planning on adhering to this suggestion will spare ourselves the hassle of getting dressed up to join others or invite others into our home. While going total casual and having Thanksgiving dinner in our PJs would be fun, there is a less lazy route: dress in a shirt dress in flannel material!
It’s soft, and the Buffalo check is homey. Slip on a pair of cozy ballet slippers and you’re good to go and don’t have to worry about what to wear for Thanksgiving this year.
The shirt dress with a collar universally flatters all shapes, body types and silhouettes, even expecting mamas-to-be. In fact, the easy-to-wear versatile silhouette is appealing in case you plan to take photos for the gram.
You can actually put some effort into the endeavor by wearing a tee shirt or turtleneck or camis underneath it.
If I were splurging, I’d invest in Salvator Ferragamo Joy Ballet Flats, to wear to Thanksgiving dinner this year, but sensibly, Vera Wang‘s affordable Simply Vera‘s Berner Women’s Flex Round-Toe Ballet which is a modest $17.99 is a better fiscally more responsible route.
To upgrade this super casual look a bit, tie your hair in a bun, drape a scarf around your neck and swap out the ballet flats for pumps or booties.
I like the H&M woven scarf which runs just $12.97 and I think is on sale this fall for like $10!
I like to mix up original items. I’d swap out the original belt with belt more edge like the handmade leather wrap belt by Ada.
Wearing pumps is cool if you’re a heel type of woman. They are conservative yet still always on trend and you can get them in a low heel too. I prefer booties. My fave booties are peep toe ones though they require you to have your tails polished and well pedicured.
I like Michael Kors Blaze Peep-Toe Leather Booties!
If you’re from one of those families that do not “do casual” for major holidays and you treat Thanksgiving meal like a formal occassion, you can still be comfortable and shi shi at the same time by opting for an elegant wrap dress instead of a t-shirt dresss.
A knee length of longer version of the dress would also make it more dressy. Wear your nice pearls and switch out the pumps for elegant heels or a nice pair of calf or knee-height boots. .
I like Dress Barn‘s striped cotton faux wrap dress which is currently on sale for $44, down from $75.
I am obsessed with the Wolfe Back Pearl by jeweler Serefina is exquisite way to show off a toned back. Dotted with baroque pearls, this necklace is perfect to drape for a showstopping back detail. It’s only $69 which is a steal in my book.
A pristine pair of heels complete the look.
The candle in this collage is Jo Malone LondonEnglish Pear & Freesia Candle.
Finally, the next day, my plan is to throw on an oversized comfy sweater over a pair of jeggings and head Black Friday shopping.
The first Thanksgiving as we know it was celebrated in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was a celebration that was born from the pilgrims desire to give prayers of thanksgiving to God for giving them a good harvest. Thanksgiving was tied to religious celebrations for hundreds of years, but today there are many secular celebrations as well. Many times, Thanksgiving is over shadowed by Halloween and Christmas because it’s not as flashy or filled with gifts and treats. Here are some ways to teach your kids to be thankful and to enjoy Thanksgiving.
Spend some time with the kids talking about Thanksgiving and why it’s important to you and your family. Many people find that adopting an attitude of thankfulness all year long helps them enjoy life more. Give it a try and see what you think.
If you are like me and are preparing the Thanksgiving bird this year, you may be on the hunt for Thanksgiving Turkey cooking tips! I found some and curated the best from around the web including from Food Network, IB Business, Martha Stewart and Fine Cooking and I’m sharing them here with you! Good luck!
When calculating your roasting time, plan on about 15 minutes per pound.
1. By now you should have completely thawed your bird, but if you were last minute and didn’t you can cook a frozen turkey by following the tips at Epicurious here.
2. A turkey will cook more evenly if it is not densely stuffed. Consider adding flavor by loosely filling the cavity with aromatic vegetables — carrots, celery, onion or garlic work nicely — or by carefully tucking fresh herbs underneath the breast skin. For the stuffing lovers, cook the dressing in a casserole dish on the side.
3. Before roasting, coat the outside of the turkey with vegetable or olive oil, season with salt and pepper and tightly cover the breast with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning (it will be removed in step 7).
4. If stuffing the turkey, do so just before roasting to prevent unwanted bacterial growth. Because the stuffing will expand as it bakes, fill the turkey’s cavity loosely; this also allows the stuffing to cook more evenly and keeps it from becoming too dense. A 12- to 15-pound turkey needs about 10 cups of stuffing; a 15- to 20-pound bird can hold up to 12 cups.
5. To keep it moist, pour about a half cup of water into the bottom of the roasting pan and place the turkey breast side up into the pan.
6. Once your oven pre-heats to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (the minimum temperature is 325 degrees Fahrenheit), you can put it into the oven. Halfway through cooking, take your turkey out of the oven and cover the most exposed areas, such as the legs, in tin foil to keep them from drying out.
7. Once you get the turkey in the oven, resist the temptation to open the oven door and admire your handiwork. When the oven temperature fluctuates, you’re only increasing the likelihood of a dry bird.
8. If the bird is browning quickly but not near its target doneness temperature of 170°F, tent it loosely with foil and continue roasting. If the drippings seem to be getting too dark, add a couple tablespoons of water to keep them from burning.
9. About 45 minutes before you think the turkey is done, remove the foil from the breast to allow it to brown.
10. Remove the turkey from the oven and use an instant-read thermometer to determine temperature; it should read 165 degrees F at the thigh when it’s done. If you stuff your turkey, check the internal temperature of the stuffing as well; it should be at least 165 degrees.
11. Tent the bird with foil and let rest for about 25 minutes before carving. If you need more time to make gravy, heat up side dishes, etc., you can let the turkey set for up to an hour without losing too much heat.
12. The intense heat of the oven forces the juices into the center of the bird, so after roasting, let the turkey rest for roughly 20 minutes. The juices will redistribute, and you’ll get moister slices.
Remember to carve your turkey with a very sharp or electric knife and ENJOY!
Thanksgiving is all about family and spending time together.
Generations often share the kitchen while creating some of the best tasting dishes. Bring the kids into the kitchen this year and help them learn about some of your family’s traditional Thanksgiving recipes. From toddlers to teens, there’s something everyone can do to help out.
Consider what meal preparation tasks are age-appropriate for each child in your family. Assign each child at least one responsibility. The more involved kids feel, the more excited they’ll be about sharing Thanksgiving dinner together.
As Cyber Monday sunsets and people are wrapping up or enjoying their Black Friday deals or the great things they got from local merchants on Small Business Saturday, non profits nationwide now prepare for Giving Tuesday.
The global event is in its fifth year and is celebrated each year the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It is the brainchild of 92nd Street Y, a cultural center in New York City and the United Nations Foundation.
Giving Tuesday is intended to be the launch pad for the charitable giving season. While the time period around the holidays is often about celebrating Christmas, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other holidays that involve gettting gifts, it is also a season for sharing and giving.
Thus the name #GivingTuesday is appropriate and is observed each year by giving to nonprofits, charities and other organizations that are raising funds, including schools, churches and other charitable groups.
Beyond just collecting monetary donations, a lot of local orgs organize food and coat drives and many individuals celebrate it by committing random acts of kindness such as paying for the drink of the person behind them in the coffee line at work.
In 2015, 700,000 people from 71 countries came together to donate $116.7 USD million in cash. An additional $1.08 million USD was spent on gifts.
Children can give by volunteering at their local shelter or food bank or doing something nice for elderly neighbors like mowing their lawn, shoveling snow from their driveway or helping them with groceries.
At home, younger kids can acknowledge the day by helping out with a chore like folding laundry, helping to cook dinner, or even reading to a younger sibling.
To help spread the message, snap a photo of your kids doing something good and use the hashtag #GivingTuesday to spread awareness and encourage others to get into the spirit as well!
Parents can use the day to donate to their area school, youth camp or other organization that works with families.
photo: Screengrab YouTube
As with our usual tradition of stalking our fave celebs and past blog features, we took a look around the gram and chronicled what we saw our Bellyitch Bumpwatch alums and family doing….’cause we’re just nosy like that.
Come on, admit it! You like seeing what the stars do on their spare and down time too, right!?! So…here is a tiny round up. We may update it a bit later.
Gisele had a great spread so good the kids couldn’t resist!
Ciara was expressing her gratitude for her son Future Zahir and new husband Russell Wilson
Hillary Scott was wishing us all a Happy Turkey Day!
Tamera Mowry-Housley bragged on her husband Adam Housley’s greens cooking skills
Ashlee Simpson Ross’ husband Evan Ross does too!
Christina Milian was serving up food to the homeless and less fortunate!
Reese Witherspoon looked like the perfect Homemaker!
Tia Mowry had an awesome table setting!
Ali Landry’s daughter was cooking up a storm too!
Roselyn Sanchez and her beautiful family enjoyed time together
A friend of mine just posted a photo of a perfectly can-shaped portion of cranberry sauce and reminded me of my immigrant Thanksgiving experience growing up in America as an expat.
Because I was born in another country and immigrated to the United States with my family at the tender age of 4, the concept of an annual feast with family one time of year to give thanks for blessings and all we have was completely foreign.
Fortunately, we were always invited to the home of one of my parent’s friends or distant fellow immigrant relatives that live in our city and therefore our job was usually to bring a dish or drink and arrive. That was the ritual until our family grew to a hefty size of 6 after my two younger sisters and younger brother were born.
All of a sudden, the invitations trickled down and eventually came to a complete halt. Who wanted to add 6 additional servings and place settings to accommodate such a massive brood? So…the Jallohs we were on their own to figure this American tradition out for ourselves.
Well, they don’t have Turkeys in our native Sierra Leone, West Africa and my mom was not sure how long such a ginormous bird needed to cook. There was no Internet back then to look it up and my mom would just peel off the plastic wrapper that the turkey came packaged in and would ball up the simple instructions with cooking time printed on it too.
Instead, every Thanksgiving on our own, she’d rise around 5 am and stick the Turkey in the oven to cook…for the entire day. slow blink She was not interested in eating uncooked meat so to be safe, we were forced to eat the driest turkey in all of Washington, DC I’m certain. Like, every year.
It’s not until I got older and upon coming back home from college one year, did I find a recipe online to follow. The cooking instructions only required our bird to stay in the oven for a few hours given its weight and not until that year, sometime in the 1990s did anyone in my family feast upon a juicy turkey. Before then, we all assumed that’s just how all turkeys tasted; like a piece of seasoned rubber. ha!
Sides were usually what we saw folks eating on TV shows and when it came to cranberry sauce, it was Ocean Spray’s jellied sauce in a can. It was an obligatory accessory and we honestly thought you had to have it on the table even though a lot of us were suspicious about eating something so sweet with a savory meal.
We don’t mix sugar with dinner at all back home. Heck, there is no such a thing as desserts. When you’re done eating, that’s it. You get up from the table and go about your business. There’s no coffee, after dinner cocktails and apple pie. Aaaah America and it’s excess. Supersize me, for sure.
But each year, somebody would open the can, plop it on a plate and set in on the banquet table to be passed up by dinner guests and eventually placed in a Tupperwear bowl where it would live for a bout a week or two before finding its final resting place in the sink garbage disposal.
Over time, some of us began to appreciate the tartness and would add a forkful or two to the second or third plate– never the first. But for the most part, it usually met an untimely demise. Such a waste of good processed jelly.
As I got older, I would eventually learn about how real, non canned and jellied, cranberry sauce was supposed to look and taste. I even saw a recipe once!
But… upon peeping all the steps to make it and the idea of soaking the berries overnight, I realized that was just too many steps for this woman. They don’t call me “Queen of Fast Cook” for nothing. And by “they”, I mean my mother-in-law and husband.
I’m still not sure I like the moniker cause its a bit of a shady diss but I’m growing to accept the title.
Anyooo…so over time, exchanging Thanksgiving family meal stories casually with friends who also grew up in immigrant families, I began to appreciate the fact that eating a traditional all-American Thanksgiving meal was a common thing. We immigrants just fell in line. Call it, assimilation lite maybe. Ha!
This truth manifested itself this week even! A friend and mom at my daughter’s school said her husband’s foreign mom also made “traditional” American items for Thanksgiving. She said her mom-in-law didn’t even bother make their cultural dishes from their native country.
Her attitude was like ours, “this is an American thing and this is what they eat, so this is what we’ll eat.” How funny is that?
And coming back full circle, seeing a friend’s plate of cranberry sauce as her Facebook profile triggered all sorts of memories. Another friend replied back to my declaration that the canned cranberry sauce is an immigrant favorite by sharing it’s an American favorite too!
Who knew!?! Hilarious! It’s never too late to learn something new about Thanksgiving.
This year, I’m thankful for having a very wide, varied and diverse group of circles of friends from different stages and experiences of my life who can constantly enrich my life with new perspectives on life, cultural traditions, points of views on all different things in our big wide world.
I’m wishing everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
Granted Thanksgiving is a time to really tear down on some really good food, but the Holiday is the start of a series of Holidays (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter) of non-stop eating that have the average person packing on pounds that they don’t shed later.
A typical Thanksgiving dinner plate can be 2,900 or more. People think it’s the turkey that makes them so sleepy and tired after Thanksgiving meal, but in reality, it is all the carbohydrates that are part of the average Thanksgiving meal: cornbread, stuffing, rice, macaroni pie, rolls, casseroles, pasta, etc.
There are simple ways to save some of those calories. Here are five tips:
Say no to the gravy.
Put only two portions of carbs on your plate instead of three.
Fill up with veggies, salads, cabbage, green beans. Have those items take up most of your plate.
Drink a full glass of water before you eat to trick your body into getting fuller faster.
If there is a salad served, eat that first before eating the hot foods. This move will also help trick your body into getting fuller faster on less high calorie, high carbs foods.
The most important of which is portion control. If you must sample all the goodies, opt for one tablespoon of each verses a full portion size.
Good luck and Bon Appetite!
Sometimes, you can tell by tasting and sometimes just by looking.
Take this test. Which one is homemade and which is store bought or processed?