Note from Carolyn: The herbal detox tea we share will continue it’s Pre-Thanksgiving sale this week. It’s the perfect way to feel your best and return to normal after holiday indulgences. It’s great for avoiding winter colds and flu, too. CLICK HERE
Happy Thanksgiving! Though most of us are facing hard times in one way or another this year (it wasn’t hard to notice how many General Authorities and even President Monson addressed this in General Conference), the divine principle of gratitude is the most abiding antidote for dealing with fear, worry and discouragement.
Yes, Yes, I know. We all know that an attitude of gratitude is the better way, but It’s much easier to turn to overeating, sugar, and neglecting exercise to just cope with every day life when life becomes so heavy. Add the Thanksgiving feast and it’s no wonder we say, “Who cares!? I’ll start healthy living in January!”
The only problem is that living with too much food (starting with Thanksgiving) and no exercise until January lives us physically and emotionally in a dark place for lifting ourselves and others. We need our wits and health about us for the loveliest (as well as the most stressful) part of the year.
With that in mind, here are five zero or low-cal, good for you, free or nearly free gifts that will truly lift, comfort and lighten and brighten your Thanksgiving week and launch a healthy (emotionally, spiritually and physically) holiday season!
1) A quick trip to the library for holiday children’s books – even if you don’t have kids at home!
Though our five children are grown and gone, and our eight grandchildren live far from us, as empty-nesters we still indulge in the glory of children’s holiday books. Bob will slip over and just check out a big old stack from the children’s section. Each night we’ll read one or two in bed before we go to sleep. The great skill of the writers, gifted artists and beautiful publishing have provided more laughs and holiday closeness than you can imagine. If you’ve still got young ones at home, lucky you, but don’t miss out on the fun if you don’t!
A Plump and Perky Turkey (the story of a little mouse family who went in search of a turkey to not EAT but to INVITE for Thanksgiving dinner) has given us inside jokes to laugh about all week. And last night’s, An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott with gorgeous illustrations by James Bernardin provides her “Apple Slump” recipe, a low-sugar healthy dessert that we can’t wait to try! I’ve included it below.
We do the same all through December with the great abundance of children’s Christmas books that are simply there at the library for the taking, there for the treasuring, there for the fun and peace they bring in just a few minutes each evening. They’re way more fun and healthier than late night snacks and second helpings in the kitchen!
2) A picture says a thousand words.
You can right click on the poster below, save it on your computer, then print it out and place it on the kitchen refrigerator or bathroom mirror. The thoughts and feelings it will evoke will provide far more comfort than reaching for food that your body does not need.
3) Our Favorite Light Thanksgiving Recipes and Tricks
As always, I am a big fan of www.Sparkpeople.com for healthy recipes. They’ll have a fabulous feast of choices that will make planning a lighter, healthier dinner that will still be absolutely delicious. In addition to that, I confess: I’m a crock-pot junkie. I have no fewer than 4 of them that I use all the time.
Crockpot Turkey: People laugh then they stop when they taste my fabulous turkey. I buy a breast, always available at the store next to the full turkeys. I defrost it. Leaving a generous 6 hours for it to cook, I place it in the crock pot. Usually the lid doesn’t fit, so I make a tent out of aluminum foil, piecing two pieces together if necessary with a tightly folded seam, then place it over the turkey nd tightly seal around the crock pot. Make sure you cook it long enough so that it’s almost falling apart.
I do NOT add one thing. No Water,seasoning, anything. The house will smell fabulous. You will have delicious turkey that will fall apart. It’s not pretty like the pictures, but oh, it is DELICOUS, most, tender, juicy. You name it! One year my kids convinced me to roast a turkey so that it would “look like the pictures.” We still laugh at how disappointed they were when it didn’t taste the way they were used to it being. As young adults and young-marrieds, they all cook turkey in the crock pot and wow their friends and new families.
Crockpot Mashed Potatoes: I use another crockpot, and put these on about the same time as the turkey. I simply peel, and cover with water. They cook. When we’re ready, I drain, leaving a little water (about and inch or so in the bottom) for the 2-3 chicken bouillon cubes that I add for flavor, along with skim milk, and a little bit of butter/margarine. I take the electric mixer RIGHT TO THE crockpot and mix. Then cover and they’re all ready!
The great thing is that they can be done a bit ahead of time, and don’t get cold before serving time.
Thanksgiving Dessert recipe from Louisa May Alcott, no less! Thanks to our herbal detox product, and the “Beat Sugar Cravings” month we did with many of Meridian readers in October, Bob and I are kicking sugar out the window, and feeling SO MUCH BETTER on every level. Eliminating even just the obvious sugars (i.e., candy, cakes cookies, etc.) has done wonders for clearing our heads and emotions for a better way of coping with almost everything. (This recipe comes from the inside back cover of the book mentioned above and is considerably lighter than most Thanksgiving desserts.)
LOUISA MAY ALCOTTS’S APPLE SLUMP
4-6 tart apples (3 cups sliced)
cup firmly packed brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350. Spray the inside of a 1 quart baking dish with Pam, and place apples in the dish. Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Sprinkle on top of the apples
Bake apples uncovered, until they are soft, about 20 minutes.
While the apples are baking, mix in a bowl:
1 cups flour (I usually use whole wheat and white – tastes better and is more filling!)
2 tsp. baking powder
Then gently stir in
1 egg (well beaten)
cut skim milk
Spread this mixture over the baked apples (that have been baking for the 20 minutes) and continue baking for another 20-25 minutes, until it gets nice and crusty!
Serve with LITE cool whip, or a dusting of cinnamon.
Makes 6 servings,
4) The Thanksgiving Roses; A priceless story to read aloud
Several years ago, I was feeling very low and discouraged about a number of things when this story was shared just before Thanksgiving in Sacrament meeting. I’ll never forget how beautifully it was read and the comfort it brought. I hope that the strength I continue to find in it will be a blessing for you, and that you will consider reading it with your dear ones this Thanksgiving.
The Thanksgiving Roses (Author Unknown)
Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease. During this Thanksgiving week she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren’t enough, her husband’s company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she so needed, called saying she could not come. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer. “Had she lost a child? No – she has no idea what I’m feeling,” Sandra shuddered. Thanksgiving? “Thankful for what?” she wondered. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?
“Good afternoon, can I help you?” The flower shop clerk’s approach startled her. “Sorry,” said Jenny, “I just didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you.” “I . . . . I need an arrangement.” “For Thanksgiving?” Sandra nodded. “Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the ‘Thanksgiving Special’?” Jenny saw Sandra’s curiosity and continued. “I’m convinced that flowers tell stories, that each arrangement insinuates a particular feeling. Are you looking for something that conveys gratitude this Thanksgiving?” “Not exactly!” Sandra blurted. “Sorry, but in the last five months, everything that could go wrong has.”
Sandra regretted her outburst but was surprised when Jenny said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you.” The door’s small bell suddenly rang. “Barbara, hi!” Jenny said. She politely excused herself from Sandra and walked toward a small workroom. She quickly reappeared carrying a massive arrangement of green bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Only, the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped, no flowers. “Want this in a box?” Jenny asked.
Sandra watched for Barbara’s response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems and no flowers! She waited for laughter, for someone to notice the absence of flowers atop the thorny stems, but neither woman did. “Yes, please. It’s exquisite.” said Barbara. “You’d think after three years of getting the special, I’d not be so moved by its significance, but it’s happening again. My family will love this one. Thanks.”
Sandra stared. “Why so normal a conversation about so strange an arrangement?” she wondered. “Ah,” said Sandra, pointing. “That lady just left with, ah . . . ” “Yes?” “Well, she had no flowers!” “Yep. That’s the Special. I call it the “Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet.” “But, why do people pay for that?” In spite of herself she chuckled. “Do you really want to know?” “I couldn’t leave this shop without knowing. I’d think about nothing else!” “That might be good,” said Jenny.
“Well,” she continued, “Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling very much like you feel today. She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she faced major surgery.” “Ouch!” said Sandra. “That same year, I lost my husband. I assumed complete responsibility for the shop and for the first time, spent the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel.” “What did you do?” “I learned to be thankful for thorns.” Sandra’s eyebrows lifted. “Thorns?”
“I believe in God, Sandra. I’ve always thanked God for good things in life and I never thought to ask Him why good things happened to me. But, when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time to learn that dark times are important. I always enjoyed the flowers of life but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God’s comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we’re afflicted and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.” Sandra gasped. “A friend read that passage to me and I was furious! I guess the truth is, I don’t want comfort. I’ve lost a baby and I’m angry with God.” She started to ask Jenny to “go on” when the door’s bell diverted their attention.
“Hey, Phil!” shouted Jenny as a balding, rotund man entered the shop. She softly touched Sandra’s arm and moved to welcome him. He tucked her under his side for a warm hug. “I’m here for twelve thorny long-stemmed stems!” Phil laughed, heartily. “I’ve got them ready!,” said Jenny. “I’ve got them ready.” She lifted a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerated cabinet. “Beautiful,” said Phil. “My wife will love them.” Sandra could not resist asking, “These are for your wife?”
Phil saw that Sandra’s curiosity matched his when he first heard of a Thorn Bouquet. “Do you mind me asking, Why thorns?” “In fact, I’m glad you asked,” He said. “Four years ago my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but we slogged through, problem by rotten problem. We rescued our marriage – our love, really. Last year, at Thanksgiving, I stopped in here for flowers. I must have mentioned surviving a tough process because Jenny told me that for a long time she kept a vase of rose stems — stems! — As a reminder of what she learned from ‘thorny’ times. That was good enough for me. I took home stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific thorny situation and give thanks for what the problem taught us. I’m pretty sure this stem review is becoming a tradition.” Phil paid Jenny, thanked her again and as he left, said to Sandra, “I highly recommend the Special!”
“I don’t know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life, ” Sandra said to Jenny. “Well, my experience says that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure Heavenly Father’s providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, Sandra, Jesus wore a crown of thorns so that we might know His love.
Do not resent thorns.”
Tears rolled down Sandra’s cheeks. For the first time since the accident she loosened her grip on resentment. “I’ll take twelve long-stemmed thorns, please.” “I hoped you would, ” Jenny said. “I’ll have them ready in a minute. Then, every time you see them, remember to appreciate both good and hard times. We grow through both.” “Thank you. What do I owe you?” “Nothing. Nothing but a pledge to work toward healing your heart.The first year’s arrangement is always on me.”
Jenny handed a card to Sandra. “I’ll attach a card like this to your arrangement but maybe you’d like to read it first. Go ahead, read it.”
“Dearest Father, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn! I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn. Teach me the glory and the purpose of the cross I bear, teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.
5) A great website for Gifts! (www.fiverr.com)
Last but not least, and Speaking of FIVE, have you visited www.fiverr.com? This awesome website is an unsung hero for all kinds of things that make life just plain FUN, make business spin, and provide some great ideas for unforgettable holiday gifts. Do NOT miss out on the hours that you can save, the stress that will vanish, and the fun of something looking like a million bucks … for just Five Dollars at www.fiverr.com
How it works: The website presents a vast multitude of services and goods (called “gigs”) offered by skilled pros for just Five Dollars! For example, we sent a priceless personalized birthday gift with a videos of a Scottish performer in a kilt playing Happy Birthday on his bagpipes, followed by our personal message with a great Scotch brogue. He posts the video on Youtube, and then you e-mail the link. We found a graphics artist who designed our business cards (YES! $5!!!) then became our fabulous affordable printer for our business. There are artists who will turn your child’s school picture into a poster of the child as a super-hero. We found a caricature artist that created a fabulous drawing of my son and his fiance in bridal attire that we used in many ways for their wedding, etc.
Well, Thanksgiving is a blessing! I am thankful for the fun ways to celebrate it that do not involve over-eating and too much food, but do provide joy, peace and FUN and memories worth remembering! May yours be blessed.
Don’t forget our Thanksgiving special on our herbal detox!
THANKSGIVING SPECIAL FOR MY MIRACLE TEA: Get 1 Week Free +Save $2 OFF!
Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success – One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life, available at her website.
She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups.
She and her husband Bob are the parents of five children and grandparents of eight. They live in the Washington D.C. area where they are delighted to serve each week as the nursery leaders, and also teach Missionary Preparation for the Annandale Stake Institute program. Learn more about them and the herbal detox product they share at Meridian HERE