Practicing Gratitude During a Season of Thanksgiving

pumpkin and candles

This year has been trying for all of us. Change has been the predominant word on my heart and mind for the year. Changes in the way we do everyday things like shopping, working, school, communicating with loved ones and even gathering with people has definitely changed this year. We will be adjusting to more changes with Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. However, as challenging these changes have been, some positive things can come out of that change.

When we take some time and reflect on those changes and really stop to take inventory on some of the special things that have come about this year, we just may be even more thankful for the extra time we’ve been given in 2020.

For instance, although our lives have been disrupted this year, many of us have wondered what it would be like to work from home, or even wished we could do that. Most of us have been given the gift of working from home for the better part of the year. This has enabled us to spend more time with our family and also allowed us to take a more relaxed approach to our work environment.

For better or for worse, our families have been spending much needed time together, forcing us to get creative on how to spend that time together. This is a beautiful thing. I’ve heard many stories of how families are spending less time on electronics, having more meals at the dinner table, and more family game nights together.

With gatherings limited and quarantines in place for most of this year, we have had to get creative with the way we communicate with each other. How incredible is it that we’ve had the ability to reach out to family and friends through technology? There have been so many instances where I’ve been able to connect with loved ones I have not had the opportunity to for quite some time but have done so through these hard times because through hard times, it enables people to reach out when they otherwise wouldn’t.

I’m incredibly grateful for the time needed to get introspective. I have valued the quiet. I am thankful for the downtime that I have needed to be able to read, think, and work on the changes I’ve needed to be a better human. To reach out to others and help in areas I wouldn’t be able to if I didn’t take the time to work on me first. This time has been an invaluable gift and I’ve treasured it.

2020 has been hard, yes. But trials bring change, and change brings growth. That growth is beautiful. Let’s reflect on that change. That growth. That beauty. I’m not discounting how hard the year has been. Some individuals have gone through much more darker seasons this year than most and have experienced loss much more significant and that pain is not something to minimize. Even still, we can turn our tragedy and pain into something beautiful.

This month, I’d love for you to join me in practicing gratitude. It’s timely as Thanksgiving is around the corner. It may look different this year, but change can bring new traditions.


Here are some ways you can practice gratitude:

Step 1: Put your gratitude on paper

Write down the names of three people or things in your life you are grateful for, and why.

Step 2: Have a gratitude conversation

Have a conversation with a friend, family member or coworker to share what you’re most grateful for.

Step 3: Tell someone you appreciate them

Identify a specific person in your life and tell them why you are grateful for them over phone or video chat.

Step 4: Pay it forward

Find a way to show your gratitude to someone in your life by helping them in some small way.

Step 5: Reflect and repeat

Take a few moments to reflect on how your gratitude exercises went and commit to at least one act of gratitude every week.

I’d love to share with you my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Share them with your family and friends. I’d love to know if you tried them!

Pumpkin Vanilla Pancakes with Ginger Butter

Think these look good? Wait until you taste them. This is one of the most luscious, mouth-watering breakfasts you’ll ever make for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The real surprise is that they are good for you. As seen on my appearance on The 700 Club.


  • 1 Small 0% Voskos Greek Yogurt, Honey Vanilla Bean Flavor
  • 2 tablespoons Canned pumpkin
  • 1 Ginger Snap, crumbled
  • 1 Individual Weight Watchers carrot cake
  • Dairy-free whipped topping


  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt and set aside.
  2. Pour the soymilk and protein powder into a blender and mix for 30 seconds then pour into a medium bowl. Add the yogurt, pumpkin, melted butter and egg whites and mix well.
  3. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients in the large bowl and stir just until moistened; Don’t over mix the batter (it’s okay if there are some lumps – this helps the pancakes become lighter).
  4. Stir the minced ginger into the softened butter, mix well and set aside.
  5. Spray a heated griddle or large skillet with cooking spray. Pour the batter onto the heated griddle, using ¼ cup of batter for each pancake, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  6. Spread lightly with ginger butter and drizzle each pancake with ½ tablespoon of syrup.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 280 cals., 15 gm protein, 48 gm carbohydrates, 3.5 gm fat.

Skinny Pumpkin Pie Cottage Cheese

Have you ever been to a holiday party or a Thanksgiving gathering where everyone brings pumpkin pie for dessert? If you are wanting a different take on pumpkin pie, or wanting a faster alternative, you could also bring this instead. And, depending on the ingredients you use (read your labels), this is a great gluten free alternative!


  • 3/4 cups nonfat cottage cheese
  • 3/4 cups organic packed pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon organic raisins
  • 1 tablespoon crushed walnuts
  • Cinnamon


  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy.

These recipes are my favorite go-tos for left-over turkey (or vegan turkey) leftovers!

Day-After Detox (Chipotle-Mushroom) Turkey Soup with Rice

After the holidays, you want to eat something pure, healthy and fresh so you can sort of recover as you venture out into the cold and shop your heart out. And there’s still no better feel-good meal than a homemade soup to warm you up.


  • 32oz chicken stock or broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 10oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons chipotles in adobo
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1lb roasted turkey, or rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • lemon wedges for garnish


  1. *If you are using raw meat, cube the meat and marinate for at least one hour with minced garlic, sea salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, extra virgin olive oil and dry thyme.
  2. Sauté in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and set aside until the last five minutes of cooking the soup.
  3. Combine first 13 ingredients in large pot. Bring to boil.
  4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Add turkey and rice and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  6. Stir in fresh parsley. Season soup with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  7. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and serve.

Serving size: 1 medium bowl Nutrition facts: 150 calories, 17g protein, 15 grams carbs, 2 grams fat

Turkey Chimichangas

Getting tired of turkey yet? Why not put a little south-of-the-border spin on your leftovers! I promise you’ll be saying mucho mas to this spicy treat.


  • 1 cup leftover turkey (finely chopped)
  • 1 packet low sodium Taco seasoning mix (any brand)
  • 2/3 cups water
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup prepared fresh salsa
  • 2/3 cups fat-free refried black beans with jalapenos
  • 2 tablespoons diced green chilies (canned)
  • 2 Large whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/4 cup non-fat sour cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°
  2. Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-low. Spray the pan with olive oil spray or nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Add the leftover turkey, the taco seasoning mix and the 2/3 cup water. Stir and simmer for 2 minutes.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed.
  5. Add the salsa, beans, and chilies and cook for 2 minutes or until the liquid from the salsa has cooked off.
  6. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and arrange the tortillas on the sheet.
  7. Spoon half of the mixture onto each tortilla, and roll up like a burrito. Fasten the burrito with a toothpick if necessary.
  8. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until slightly crispy.
  9. Serve with non-fat sour cream and garnish with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 392 cals., 27 gm protein, 50 gm carbohydrates, 9 gm fat. Serves 2


“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.”Henri Frederic Amiel

Happy Thanksgiving!



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