The month is halfway over and I'm hoping you are feeling a little bit better this year than you have in the past. We are now close to Thanksgiving so it's time for:
I like to make a comprehensive shopping list with everything you'll need for the big day. You can go ahead and begin purchasing non-perishable items this week. You'll want to save produce and other perishables for next week, but do everything you can to make your grocery store run as quick and seamless as possible for next week.
Have you ever been to the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving only to find there are no carts left? I have. It's no fun. Try to knock out as much shopping this week as you can, you'll be happy you did. Nothing adds stress like fighting over the last turkey in the meat section. Right?
There are several recipes you can make ahead at this point. I like to make my pie crusts about 2 weeks before. I find pie crusts to be a messy task, so I take care of it this week. I roll out the dough, place them in the pie plates. Then I wrap in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer bag. You can also pre make the dough for rolls, any cookies or anything on your list that can be frozen. This week has a lot less going on than next week will, so try to get any prep you can done this week.
I know this seems like a crazy title, doesn't it? The oven is a big player, though, in all dinner parties, and especially in Thanksgiving. There's nothing worse than setting hot mashed potatoes on the table with cold gravy, right? Figuring out how to get everything on the table piping hot can take a little bit of brain power and planning. Take a few minutes to look over your recipes and write down the oven times/temperatures. If you are having others bring food, you may need to ask them if their dish needs heating. Then create your plan so everything comes out piping hot at the right time.
Here's a snapshot of mine from last year… you can see it's nothing fancy. It's actually written on the back of a card, but it did the job and helped me to finalize the schedule of when to pop things in the oven:
Just FYI...I cooked my bird in a turkey roaster purchased off Amazon, freeing up some serious oven space - you can find the one I have here.
The room where your guest will be eating may need a little modification to make sure everyone can sit comfortably. Do you need to move that extra sideboard to the side a bit so there's room for an extra chair? Or maybe you need to clear the clutter if it's a room you don't use often.
This is one of those tasks that you do not need to do alone. Everyone can pitch in and help rearrange the furniture or help straighten up. I've always tried to have my kids help with clean up - especially for the holidays. They will maybe even find it fun if you make it into a game or include them in the set up. If you can, this is a great time to go ahead and set up the table with the place settings because you can take your time. If you have small kids that may not work for you, so you could gather together all your placesetting supplies and tuck them into a cabinet together so they are ready to pull out at the right time for your lifestyle.
Alright, next week is the big week… I think we're on track for a stress free day. I hope you do too!