giving thanks

thanksgiving turkey dinner

At family gatherings where you suddenly feel homicidal or suicidal, remember that in half of all cases, it’s a miracle that this annoying person even lived. Earth is Forgiveness School. You might as well start at the dinner table. That way, you can do this work in comfortable pants.
Anne Lamott

roasted brussel sprouts

With Thanksgiving (eh) last weekend and this week’s lifestyle component of the Whole Life Challenge being gratitude (where we have to list three things we’re thankful for each day – I’m maybe a little grateful that we’re past the halfway mark of this baguette-deprived wasteland), I’ve spent a lot of time taking stock of the good things in my life.

homemade apple pie

There have been a lot of changes in my life over the past year. A lot of them cause me no small amounts of anxiety. (Such as the current lack of cinnamon buns. Are you sure they’re not on the “allowed” list?) But I’m doing things with my life that I love, with people that I love. Yesterday, my mom and I cooked a belated Thanksgiving dinner. She put up with (dare I say enjoyed?) my WLC-compliant side dishes, and made Chris feel useful (she told him to go mow the lawn). I’m taking courses that I find interesting and challenging in a discipline that feels like home. I’m holding my own (most days) in my new circus training program, and waking up every morning next to my best friend.

egg yolks

My life would be even better if I could eat all the pizza I wanted, but, you know. Only four more weeks.

mashed yams, parsnips, and cauliflower

Mashed Veggies (paleo, gluten-free, WLC-compliant)


  • 1 large yam
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 egg yolks
  • salt and pepper


  1. Bring a large (huge!) saucepan full of water to a boil. Peel yam and parsnips, and chop into small-ish bits. Cut up the cauliflower too.
  2. Boil all the veggies until they’re soft. Drain.
  3. Melt the butter in the now-empty saucepan. Add the veggies and the garlic, and mash them all up.
  4. Whisk the olive oil and yolks, then pour into the mash. Stir well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

roasted brussel sprouts

Roasted Brussel Sprouts (paleo, gluten-free, WLC-compliant)


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb brussel sprouts
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 1/4 cup pecan bits


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the olive oil in a 9×13 baking pan and set aside.
  2. Cut the stems off the brussel sprouts and remove the outer leaves. Slice them in half and dump into the baking pan with the cranberries, and bake for 20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, chop the bacon slices into smaller bits and pan-fry them.
  4. Pull the brussel sprouts out of the oven, stir them all up, and add the pecans. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  5. Add the bacon bits to the sprouts before serving.


Cranberry Sauce (gluten-free but not WLC-compliant)


  • 1 navel orange
  • water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 12-oz bag of fresh or frozen cranberries


  1. Zest and juice the orange into a liquid measuring cup. Add water until you reach 1 cup of liquid.
  2. Pour the orange juice / water into a medium saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Keep boiling and stirring until the cranberries have mostly burst and the sauce has thickened. This took me about 15 minutes using fresh cranberries (frozen will take longer). Serve cool.

roasted brussel sprouts

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