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.
You'll see articles from all of the Bernard family here. Maybe even a grandson will post now and then!