We had our third annual Canadian Thanksgiving celebration this weekend (although Canadian Thanksgiving was actually last week) and, aside from a slight hangover this morning due to a few too many vodka gummy bears at the after-party, everything was great!
My S.O., Mike, is Canadian and I really love that our friends come out year after year to spend the day with us and enjoy some Great North favorites. (Even after an almost-house fire the first year….) We have a pretty nice BBQ pit area in our apartment complex, where we held Thanksgiving last year and again this year.
In September we met Mike’s mom and dad in Tahoe and they brought candies, chips, and decorations for the party. (Thanks, Barb and Dan!) Canada has flavored chips that aren’t sold in the states like dill pickle and ketchup. (I’m personally not a fan of the ketchup because I think they’re sweet, which, in my opinion, is weird for a potato chip but other people love them so, to each his own!) We had a wide variety of chips this year including – of course – dill and ketchup, as well as poutine, PEI roasted scalloped potatoes and Montreal smoked meat. We also had Smarties (my favorite!), CoffeeCrips, Wonder Bar, Aero, Mr. Big and Karamilk candies. (By the way, I never said this was the healthiest of celebrations but what’s life without a little indulgence
every single weekend of your life now and again?)
For the main meal, we served burgers with maple bacon (SOOO good, and I’m not typically one of those people who believes bacon rules the world), poutine (if you don’t know what this is – like I didn’t before I met Mike – it consists of French fries with cheese curds and gravy on top), KRAFT Dinner (mac n’ cheese) and nanaimo bars for dessert.
In the hours leading up to Canadian Thanksgiving the plan was to sous vide the burgers but we realized there was just too much water to heat up in time for this to be a success.So, last minute, we decided to grill the burgers instead. This was mine (and all of the ladies at the party!) cue to head back to our apartment and start cooking everything else. Making bacon, mac n’ cheese, gravy and 3 bags of fries in one tiny kitchen (in one 20 minute window) can be pretty stressful but I had a drink in my hand and my girls there ready to help out, so, in short, we handled it (#OliviaPope).
(Side note: I did forget to add milk to the mac n cheese in the midst of the cooking frenzy sooooo, sorry everyone!)
As I’ve mentioned before, the weekends are typically more indulgent for me but, even so, I try not to swim in the deep end for too long. Every meal is an opportunity to make another (better!) decision and while I’m all for living in the moment and eating what is being served to fully be a part of the experience (what fun would it be to only eat salad at a pizza and cupcake party?!), I still try to make mostly sensible decisions. A trick I use practically every time bread is a mealtime contender is to simply ditch the top bun (or slice) and add some extra lettuce instead! This slashes your carb intake in half and, honestly, I enjoy my burgers more this way. You can actually taste everything with equal portions in each bite instead of a double does of bun. ((It’s also helpful to use a plate when appetizers are being served (in this case, the chips and candy!) instead of grazing. This way you know how much you’re eating and don’t accidentally consume a whole bag of chips from fifty small handfuls.)) Another tip I love is nixing the ketchup (which usually has added sugar!) for a real live slice of tomato.
(Disclaimer: These picture were taken after a few drinks. My advance apologies for their sloppy vibe… We also tried to “hide” our wine in a box because I don’t know the rules for open bottles of alcohol at the BBQ pits.)
After everyone ate, we all hung out, kept the beer, whiskey and wine flowing and listened to a mix of Bare Naked Ladies and Avril Lavigne (Canadian artists, if you didn’t know!). Mostly everyone left around 5:30pm and, since the party was outside with paper plates, cups and plastic silverware, we just threw everything in garage bags and headed home.
(Vodka gummy bears not photographed.)