Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away. But before you start to panic, there are 6 easy things you can do TODAY to get ready for Thanksgiving and make it a whole lot less stressful.
If you caught my Instagram lives last week, you got a little preview of this latest blog post. And if you missed them, then you get to catch up right now.
I've hosted Thanksgiving, big holiday parties, small holiday get togethers and pretty much everything in between. Today the way I plan, prep and cook is a well oiled machine.....with only a few little hiccups here and there.
But, when I first started hosting parties, to be totally honest, the stress was real and overwhelming.
I would scramble frantically, last minute, trying to decide what to cook. I'd be dashing around my kitchen trying to finish cooking, hoping I'd have time to brush my hair and change out of my t-shirt before guests arrived. And then I'd spend most of the night in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on each dish, wishing I was out chatting with my friends.
And don't get me started on the total disaster that waited in my kitchen when all the guests had left.
It looked like a bomb exploded.
One night I stood over my sink, and somewhere between washing my cutting board and my pot, I totally broke down in tears. I was so darn tired of missing out on conversation, and funny jokes and feeling like I wasn't even part of the party.
So I started planning.
I sat down and wrote out a plan to put in place BEFORE the party.
And the next time my husband and I had friends over, I actually spent time WITH them. And laughed WITH them. And shared a bottle of wine and good food WITH them. Fully present because I followed a plan.
The holidays are ALL about parties and the kickoff party is Thanksgiving. Whether you're a seasoned cook or just learning, it can still be incredibly stressful to host and cook Thanksgiving dinner.
But if you follow a plan, I promise you will be ROCKIN' it in your kitchen like a BOSS. You'll not only cook a fabulous dinner that everyone will rave about, but you'll be stress free and actually able to enjoy not just Thanksgiving, but the weeks leading up to it.
Here's what you should be doing this week, so go grab your calendar (or click the link here for my free menu planning calendar), keep on reading the blog and then mark down in your calendar the dates you'll complete each step below.
And then drop a comment below and let me know how it's going and which of these you've already done!
ORDER YOUR TURKEY
This is THE most important thing that needs to get done NOW! Call up your local co-op, butcher or grocery store and get your order in today.
If you don't have access to any of the above, no worries. Grocery stores are getting in their turkeys now, so head to one close by. It will most likely be frozen, so store it in your freezer. Just be sure to move it to your fridge the weekend before Thanksgiving, so it will have plenty of time to defrost.
PLAN YOUR MENU
Go grab and pen and paper (I'm old school when it comes to planning out menus!), or sit down at your laptop and start a spreadsheet.
Write down what you plan on cooking -- everything from turkey to side dishes to dessert. If you're stuck, start with what you cook every year. What are the traditional dishes and recipes you look forward to making and eating? Those are a great place to start!
Don't forget to write down what dishes your guests are bringing. Is Aunt Martha bringing her famous pumpkin mousse pie? Did your sister promise to make her stuffing?
Thanksgiving is NOT the time to just "wing it" the week of.
There are A LOT of dishes for Thanksgiving. And that can be overwhelming.
When you write down a plan for who's cooking/bringing which dish, you're already on the path to a less stressful Thanksgiving.
TRY NEW RECIPES
If you're tempted to try a new recipe, or two, now is the time. Want to try apple pie with a pecan crust? Or change up your stuffing recipe? Maybe you want to try a new way to cook a green bean casserole?
Do. not. try. new. recipes. the. week. of. Thanksgiving. Now repeat that 3 times.
Give yourself the time to try something new and see if you (and your family) even like it. There's nothing more stressful than trying a new recipe on Thanksgiving day and wondering if it will turn out.
Well, ok, I may be exaggerating just a smidge.....but you get my point.
And if you have absolutely NO desire to try new recipes, that's great, too. You don't have to. Thanksgiving is about tradition which means most everyone coming to celebrate is excited to eat what you cook every year. It's that food and those recipes, along with spending time together, that will create long lasting memories.
But also true.
LAY OUT ALL YOUR PLACE SETTINGS
Take out all of your china, linens, crystal, place mats, napkins, platters, serving dishes, silver.......you get the picture.
This is the perfect time to make sure you have enough of everything. It's also the perfect time if you want to change things up and buy different colored napkins.
And don't forget about seating. Do you need to rent tables and chairs? Or do you need to dust off the card table in the garage?
MAKE YOUR PIE CRUSTS
Nope, it's not too early to start baking. Pie crusts store beautifully in the freezer. Be sure to store them in plastic wrap and then put them in a ziplock or reusable container with the name marked on the outside. If you bake a ton of pies, you'll want to be sure you're using the right crust.
Before baking, allow the crust to sit out on the counter for about 15 minutes to defrost a bit. You'll still want it to be cold, but you don't want it to be frozen solid.
MAKE ROLLS AND BREAD
These are also perfect to make ahead. They freeze really well and, before serving, put them in an oven safe dish and reheat them in a 250 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
When I'm not in the kitchen I'm over Instagram cooking, chatting about recipes, flavors, my latest favorite find and more! Come on over and be sure to say hi when you stop by!