Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? If so, you might want to give a little thought to this special meal now. Once November 1st hits it seems that Thanksgiving comes so quickly. It just sneaks up on you! Here's a few things to think about as the prep begins.
Guest List: It's hard to plan anything until you know who's gonna be there. I know that in our family everyone likes a few really special things. Although you can't make everything...you can make a valiant effort to have a little bit of what everyone loves. Basically this means blueberry smash or strawberry pretzel salad. HAHAH! Cathy Jo...I know that made you laugh.
Menu: Plan it. Stick to it. Once you've got the killer menu you can find recipes and begin to build the playbook for an epic thanksgiving dinner. I love to build a binder and put the recipes in sleeves so they don't get messy. Yes...I've been known to try a recipe ahead of time, just to make sure it is as good as it looks on paper. After a while, you find your go to's and you tend to make them each year. It can get a little boring though, so leave room for one or two new things. (On a trial basis of course) I think my best trial recipe was a sweet potato casserole. It has become a regular part of the thanksgiving playbook now. Also...don't forget that special beverage. It's fun to experiment with different punch recipes.
Tablescape: There's a few pieces to the puzzle here. Can you fit everyone at one table? The answer is usually a big NO. So, figure out how many tables and chairs you're going to need. In our family, we usually have an adult table and a kid table. Are you having guests that aren't a part of your immediate family? I'd suggest using place cards. It really does take the stress off guests. There's nothing like wondering where you should sit. Wouldn't want to sit in someone's time honored seat. :-) . My only other tip about the tablescpape is to make it simple enough that that the condiments, rolls, salt and pepper, carafe for beverages can fit on the table as well. Large dishes will probably be passed around but there are some things that just need to be on the table for the entire meal. You also need to figure out what you need two sets of. The Bernard's need a butter dish and sugar dish for each table. For the lefse, of course!
Shopping List: Once you have a good idea of the first three items - you can begin to make a legit shopping list. Go browse through the pantry, check the holiday decos, rummage through the craft drawer and decide what still needs to be purchased. This is my LEAST favorite part of the process. There are times that I have chosen to shop online and have it delivered. If you take that route, give yourself a couple days to head back to the store (in the chaos) to purchase any items that you might have missed or just ordered incorrectly. That's the downside of online shopping...especially when you are doing it after the kids go to bed and you're sleepy!
Prep and Cooking Schedule: The last tip I'll give is to actually sit down and chart out a prep and cooking schedule. I find that if I write it down I can stick to it much better. It also helps you delegate to another family member who wants to help. I'm terrible at this. I need to learn how to let people help!! Is anyone else like this too? The prep and cooking schedule will also insure that things are going into the oven at the right time. If you CAN make it ahead you SHOULD. Let's all thank the Lord for the invention of the roaster!! I'd never get everything ready in the oven if I actually had to have the Turkey in there. Ha! Speaking of Turkey...you can check out the turkey recipe blog here.
I hope this gives you a few time saving tips to make this one of the most exciting and fun Thanksgiving holidays ever. I'm all the more aware that we have a limited number of holidays with our loved ones. The memories that we make are SO important. This year, put that extra effort into making your meal unforgettable.
Let's talk about brussels sprouts. YES....it is actually spelled brussels sprouts. HAHAH! I'm dying. Never in my life did I think that was how it was pronounced.
I feel like you either love em' or you hate em'. This holiday, I think you should give them another try. You tried them when you were a kid, you say? Give them one more chance. You just might be a little more mature now than you were back then. :-)
It was about a year ago that I was on one of my "alone time" shopping trips. My go to places are...of course, Target...but let's not forget good ole' Trader Joe's. I don't shop there for my normal every day groceries. When the holidays come, I love to head over to Trader Joe's and see what fun and unique things I can add into our holiday celebration. Anyway...on this particular trip I saw the fresh brussels sprouts still on the stem. I LOVED the way they looked and wondered if they could make a fun side dish. So I bought them to go along with our prime rib Christmas Eve dinner. Not only was I trying Prime Rib for the very first time. I had never made brussels sprouts before. Why not just try everything brand new on what is probably the most important dinner of the year?!? (I was nervous.) I brought them home and our boys were super impressed. They had no idea what they were, but they thought they were pretty special.
To make a long story short, the prime rib and the brussels spouts turned out amazing.
Here's how I made them.
P.S - It's not rocket science.
Start by setting your oven to 400 degrees.
Step 1: Trim off each sprout off the stem. (Is that what you call them?? a sprout? a brussel?)
Step 2: Wash em off and then dry them really well.
Step 3: Cut off the end just like you are cutting of the end of a teeny tiny head of lettuce. They will separate if you cut too much off, so try to get just the hard end.
Step 4: Spread the sprouts out on a large baking sheet.
Step 5: Grab a head of garlic and get a least 5 cloves peeled. I crush them with the back of knife. Then mix them in on the pan.
Step 6: Drizzle a heavy amount of olive oil over it all.
Step 6: Sprinkle Grillin Magic! Start with just a bit. As you taste throughout the cooking process, you can decide if you need to add more. But, you can't add less. :-)
Step 7: Throw them in the oven for about 30-40 minutes. You'll want to mix the pan around for even browning during the process. The browning is what makes them taste so great!
Step 8: Taste em...add more GM if necessary.
Step 9: Add some fresh parmesean cheese over the top and mix.
Step 10: Put them under the broiler for just a couple minutes if they need to be crisped up a bit. (I always like them to have the extra crunch).
Serve your brussels sprouts in a great big bowl. Some like a little squeeze of lemon over the top to brighten them up. I'll leave that up to you! Bacon can fit in here well too. yum!
Give it a try. If they turn out great post a pic on our facebook page so we can see!
I've got a confession to make. I'm what you all an "early Christmas decorator." I feel like it's something I was born with. When I got married and started my own family the symptoms became to strong to deny. November 4th became the day that we put up the Christmas decorations. Election Night? Yeah...we decorate on Election Night. You should try it! It sort of softens the blow if your favorite candidate doesn't get voted into office. At least you have the beautiful glow of Christmas lights to cheer up your soul.
For those of you who don't fall in the "early Christmas decorator" category, I'd suggest trying out out the "early Christmas shopper" category. This is one area where I am not proficient in. I seem to be scrounging for the perfect gift up until the last minute. But this year, it doesn't have to be that way!
Pastor Bob's Grillin' Magic is the perfect, homemade, unique gift that you can't get in stores. Are you a small business owner that loves to get your staff a gift? Grillin' Magic is an option that everyone will love. You could even pair it with a gift card to your favorite butcher shop in town. We love "Ye Old Butcher Shoppe" in Rochester. Do you have a man in your life that is super tricky to shop for? Grillin' Magic fits the bill. A single friend that lives by themselves? Grillin' Magic is the only seasoning they'll need.
I am aware that it is only October and some of you can't even get your minds to think towards the holiday season. But, any early Christmas orders are super appreciated because they allow us to keep up with demand and get orders out quickly.
Pastor Bob (my father in law) absolutely loved Christmas. He was a great big kid. He couldn't shop early for the simple reason that he couldn't stop himself from giving the gift before Christmas. I hope that the anticipation of the holidays starts to make you feel like a kid again too.
p.s - Don't you LOVE this rustic wrapping? All I can hear in my head is "brown paper packages tied up with string". I'm going to attempt a little rustic wrapping for underneath our tree this year. I'll let you know how it goes. Here's a pinterest board with some fun ideas.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Can you smell the goodness??
The holidays are my favorite. Christmas wins for me, but Thanksgiving is a very close second. We all know that the turkey is the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal. I hesitate to share my secrets...but the KEY to an amazingly moist (sorry to those who hate that word, haha) and delicious turkey is Pastor Bob's Grillin Magic. If you have experienced what GM does to a plain chicken breast or pork chop then you can be confident that it will do the same for that great big turkey in your roaster this Thanksgiving.
There's no great recipe for the turkey magic, but for those of you who need step (rule followers)- here you go.
Step 1 - Unthaw that bad boy. Take it out of the fridge and put it in a sink of cold water a couple of days before you need to cook it. I've seen some put it in the bath tub, but for some reason that kinda grosses me out. Ish. Kitchen sink it is.
Step 2 - (The morning of the big day!) . Wash off the turkey and pat dry. Make sure to take that package of giblets and the heart out of the rear end. Am I the only one who forgets to take that out?? Rookie status I guess.
Step 3 - Stuff away. I don't claim to be a master of the stuffing recipe. Whatever Pinterest recipe you're trying this year...make it and stuff it. If you have a great family recipe...I'd LOVE to hear about it. Email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe you'll make it in the Bernard Family Turkey this year. Wouldn't that be special?? Extra points for incorporating some GM in your recipe!
Step 4 - I like to cook our turkey in a roaster. This is simply because I don't have the oven space that I need to cook everything. Can anyone empathize? If you have a metal grate with handles, you'll want to put this in first so that you can "easily" lift the turkey out of the roaster when it's time. Now comes the fun part...
Lather BUTTER all over the entire Turkey. I try to keep it to one stick, but you can go Paula Dean on it if you want to. Now open up the Pastor Bob's Grillin Magic and give it a good covering. You do not need any other salt, pepper, garlic salt, poultry seasoning. The skin of the turkey will be amazing. The meat will be dripping with flavor.
Step 5 - Get out that food thermometer. Sometimes I think that we tend to cook our food too long. A food thermometer will tell you when the turkey is cooked. You'll want it to be at about 165 degrees at the deepest parts. You might have one of those high tech turkeys with the pin that pops when it's done. I have trust issues...so I usually check it with my thermometer anyway. If it's done, let it rest for 20 minutes or so. Then it's time to call in the official turkey carver of your family to get to work.
I'll send some more recipes your way in the November newsletter. For now...ORDER YOUR GM so you have plenty to make your Thanksgiving Turkey one for the books.
P.S - The Bernard family is thankful for all of you! Thanks for loving GM as much as we do. Use the Coupon Code GMTURKEY for 10% of your next GM order.
You'll see articles from all of the Bernard family here. Maybe even a grandson will post now and then!