One thing that contributed to the night's success was a ramped up version of good old Rotel Velveeta dip. "How can you improve on perfection?" you might be thinking. Just trust me on this one! I modified a recipe I found online, and it got rave reviews from all.
Better than Just O-Queso (read it aloud!)
one very small onion, finely chopped
1 lb. spicy bulk breakfast sausage (we used Jimmy Dean's Hot version
1 large box Velveeta, cut into chunks
1 can hot Rotel tomatoes
1 can regular Rotel tomatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
Brown the onion and sausage. Drain. Mix all ingredients together in a slow cooker, bowl for microwave, pan for stove...however you typically cook your Velveeta dip. Heat until melted, stirring often.
The soup keeps a film from forming on top of the dip as it cools and also gives a nice, creamy consistency.
Behind these cute, floor-to-ceiling closet doors is a broad assortment of stuff that has piled up since we have no other place for it: laundry supplies, Oliver's food and toys, bug spray, flashlights, extra rolls of paper towels and canned goods from our last trip to Costco. I decided what type of items I wanted to devote each shelf to, removed everything from the shelves and got to organizing. It only took about twenty minutes and left me feeling a big sense of accomplishment!
The before picture is labeled to show the vast array of junk):
I ended up throwing away a bit of stuff, but not too much. I also found two bags of dog treats and a bottle of puppy shampoo. Also a pair of dog nail clippers and a dog toothbrush that have never been used (Oliver is almost two years old). It's amazing how things can get "lost" in such a small space! I was also able to move three Costco boxes of food (tomato sauce, black beans, Fuze drink) inside from the garage, which means I created quite a bit of space. The end result, although my awesome photo cropping skills managed to cut off the top shelf:
Rather than spending all day roasting a large turkey, we decided to have a turkey breast. That choice turned out to be a really good one, since we did not have to carve a turkey, pick meat off bones, or feel bad for throwing away what we did not eat. The turkey breast was super; it roasted nicely, had a good caramel color and was very moist. We also had mushroom dressing, gravy, Gruyere gratin potatoes, green beans almondine, corn, orange-cranberry sauce, and rolls. We had pumpkin and pecan pies for dessert. A ton of food, but it included most of our family favorite holiday dishes.
We both ended up eating way too much, but what the heck, it is Thanksgiving, right? And I didn't feel too guilty at all, since I got all of my exercise for the day in before 9 a.m.! David and I had previously signed up to run a 10-K...that's a little over six miles. As luck would have it, David has been sick all week and was not able to run the race. He was, however, a fantastic cheerleader. He got up early with me and loaded up Oliver and drove to Uptown to watch the race. I was hoping to finish the race in about 1 hour, 15 minutes in a best case scenario. I started out running a pretty good pace and by the time I looked at my watch, I was halfway through the race course. The weather was great. It was about 70 degrees, and not too humid by Houston standards.
I didn't worry about finishing fast, I just wanted to finish feeling good. I kept my pace consistent and was actually surprised that I did not get super winded and sweaty. Until today, the longest distance I had under my belt was five miles, which I have done once, and it was not really a pretty five miles! I knew I could make it five miles, but was unsure as to how I would be feeling at the end of the race. David and Oliver were cheering for me about a half mile before the finish line. After I passed them, I sped up a bit and ended up skipping over the finish in an hour and a few seconds!