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Tips for Thanksgiving Success

Gathering together to give thanks is a great event to experience – you don’t want to be distracted with last minute forgotten details.  If you are the host, be realistic with planning your time and considering your skills. Keep the menu familiar, traditional, and delegate. Decide what you want to do, and then recruit others to do their favorites. Remember to factor in the time it will take to clean, shop, cook, decorate and set the table, and do as much as you can ahead of time. If you have guests with special diets, keep their needs in mind and ask them to bring what they want to eat and share. For a great Thanksgiving checklist click here.

Stick to tried and true recipes. Map a plan of what you will do each day leading up to the event to spread out the tasks. The earlier you select your recipes, make a shopping list, and have all the ingredients and cooking tools on hand, the easier it will be.  Remember, a turkey may need 4-5 days to thaw in the refrigerator, so give yourself an extra day to be sure it is ready to be cooked.  Here are a few food prep tips:

  • If you will have children attending, set up a craft table for them to do something fun before the meal is served. Coloring turkeys, making a turkey out of pine cones, drawing what they are thankful for, doing leaf rubs, making cards are some ideas. You may even get a jump start on Christmas cookies by providing icing and asking them to decorate. Or maybe stringing popcorn for a garland.
  • Use a thermometer to determine whether a turkey is done, rather than relying on a pop-up thermometer. Those tend to pop up when the turkey is overcooked. Let the turkey rest 20 minutes before carving. –It is possible to make the turkey ahead of time and reheat it, if you prefer!
  • If you don’t have a roasting rack, elevate the turkey on a layer of quartered onions, carrots and celery.
  • Are you making the mashed potatoes? Save time washing them by putting them in the dishwasher on rinse. They will come out clean! Here is a potato peeling hack that also saves time!  You can make the mashed potatoes early in the day and keep them in a crock pot or instant pot on warm. Butter the pot and add some liquid (broth, cream) on the bottom and stir them every hour.
  • Use a cooler as a temporary refrigerator. Clear out what will not be needed to make room with plenty of ice and set it out of the way. You may even want to brine your turkey in a cooler! You can also use a cooler as a temporary warming drawer too, line with  towels and foil to protect the plastic from heat, and the insulation will help keep food warm.
  • Put hot water in the gravy boat to heat the dish and drain well before adding the gravy!

Enjoy the feast with family and friends, take turns sharing what you are thankful for, and plan to take a walk afterwards to enjoy the outdoors!

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If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, water to drink.  Proverbs 25:21

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