Five Thanksgiving Essentials

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Thanksgiving is the best day to share a homemade meal and spend quality time with your family and friends. Photo by my brother, Edgar Morales

Thanksgiving is approaching, which for some is filled with excitement because it is his or her cheat day, but for others is excitement mixed with stress. Why do I say stress? Well, some of you  experience stress because you have to cook a three-course meal. I understand your stress completely since I am in charge to cook thee Thanksgiving dinner, which is a lot of pressure.

To help you de-stress a bit this Thanksgiving, I am going to tell you the five essentials everyone needs for any holiday dinner. These essentials are budget friendly, make the cleaning process quicker and versatile.

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These silicone baking mats can be used to bake desserts, roast vegetables, make stuffing, pan-sized cakes and roasting meats. Photo by me.

This first item is my holy grail because anyone who knows me knows I hate the cleanup afterward. It takes too long and I am really tired, so baking mats are my best friend. I buy mine at Costco because they sell three for 10 dollars, which isn’t too expensive. However, if you do not have a membership with Costco you can also find these mats here.

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The thermometer is also great for other meats like thick cut of steak, lamb, chicken, pork and any other thick cut meats. Photo by me.

This next item is crucial to making the turkey. The thermometer. Yes, a thermometer is crucial to making the turkey, trust me because I had to learn this the hard way by serving raw turkey to my guests a couple of years ago. The thermometer will help you avoid that mistake because you insert the thermometer into the turkey, once the turkey reaches the required temperature, your turkey is done. This also prevents serving dry turkey to your guests. I bought this new set at Costco for $20. It may sound like a lot for a thermometer, but this set comes with three different thermometers with a different purpose, which makes the purchase worth the money. Again, here is an alternative.

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Baking sheets are essential because it prevents the turkey from slipping out of your hands and prevents your oven from getting dirty by the turkey drippings. Photo by me.

A baking sheet with a cooling rack is another essential because these two are used for practically everything. You can bake desserts, cook your turkey, bake macaroni and cheese, roast vegetables and cool your desserts on the cooling rack. The list is endless. The cooling rack is so important because it prevents the bottom of your desserts from getting soggy, which is something no one wants. I bought mine at Costco, what can I say, I am obsessed with Costco.

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A hand mixer is great for making cookies. Photo by me.

The fourth Thanksgiving essential is a hand mixer. A hand mixer will help you make corn bread, turkey marinade, cookie batter, banana bread, pie filling and mashed potatoes. The hand mixer is also a cheaper alternative to a stand mixer, and it does the job well. This is the priciest item on the list, but I think it is worth the splurge.

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Cheaper baking pans can be found at Costco, Marshalls, Target, TJ Maxx and Ross. Photo by me.

The final essential is baking pans whether you buy loaf pan or the circular cake pan, these are essentials because you can use these for everything. You can bake cakes, loafs of bread, casseroles, baked pastas, pies, ice cream cakes and lasagnas. These are very versatile that you can make anything you want.

Do not be stressed Thanksgiving day, instead enjoy the day because nothing is better than cooking a homemade meal for your family and friends.

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Thanksgiving Don’ts

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Thanksgiving table filled with high-carb and cheesy goodness, but you should avoid to not ruin all your hard work. Photo by me.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means possible weight gain is right around the corner. The most testing times when you are on a diet is the holiday season, but there are tips to consider to avoid ruining your progress.

Even though portion control may help you stay on track, it is difficult when you are sitting at the table and see the warm buttermilk biscuits, baked macaroni and cheese and delicious homemade apple pie. Here are the top three things you should not eat to avoid gaining a pound.  

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Fresh biscuits right out of the oven can be hard to resist, but fill up your plate with vegetables to beat your temptation. Photo by me.

The fresh buttermilk biscuits are 212 calories per biscuit. If you eat one biscuit fresh out of the oven and another at the dinner table, you have eaten 424 calories.

The homemade macaroni and cheese is 461 calories per cup. This is one dish I highly recommend you to avoid because it is high in fats and carbs. A second serving is half of your required calories.

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One thing many cannot decline is dessert. One 1/8 slice of apple pie is approximately 296 calories, which in most cases we get double the serving size, so this high-carb dessert should also be avoided.

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One way to ensure you eat healthy Thanksgiving day is to make healthy side dishes like I did above. Photo by me.

This Thanksgiving ignore the high-carb food, make healthy choices and most important enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner because this day is all about family and friends.   

 

Grocery Essentials

 

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Strawberries offers many benefits such as weight loss.

Hello everyone, it is Monday, which means it is time to go grocery shopping for the week.

Grocery shopping may be difficult, especially when the entire store is filled with fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and extra essentials overwhelming your entire trip  because there are so many options. To avoid being overwhelmed with the thought of grocery shopping,  I am going to recommend my go-to produce items I buy at the grocery store.

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Tofu, fruits and vegetables provide health benefits.

I always have berries, apples, grapes and pears in my fridge because the daily consumption of berries, apples and grapes actually reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Also, eating berries, apples and pears as a part of your everyday helps with weight loss.

Vegetables are a bit trickier because vegetables are not everyone’s favorite. However, vegetables have many benefits if incorporated into every meal. I recommend buying broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, eggplant and leeks. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale can protect against various cancers such as breast cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer. Eggplants are a good source of vitamins and help reduce high blood cholesterol. Also, incorporating leeks into your diet may reduce chronic diseases.

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Incorporating Vegetables into your daily meals will reduce many risks.

The meat section will depend on your diet, whether it is a vegan diet, vegetarian diet or not, the choices will vary. I like to have at least one meatless day in the week, so I will let you in on what I buy to stock up my fridge. If you are not vegan or vegetarian, I recommend chicken breast, salmon and lean turkey. If you are vegan, I recommend tofu and variety of beans such as garbanzo beans and lentils because tofu offers health benefits and beans provide a variety of micronutrients.

The same goes for dairy the products purchased will depend on the diet. If you are vegan or vegetarian, I recommend buying plant-based milk such as unsweetened almond milk or split pea milk because these types of milk also provide a source of protein and are great for those who are lactose intolerant. If you are not following a plant-based diet, I suggest buying lactose-free milk for those who are lactose intolerant and the lowest fat milk you can find to avoid extra fat in your diet.

The extras I believe are needed to make the food taste delicious are coriander, garlic and honey.

 

 

Photos by me