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Friday, November 15, 2013

Simplifying Thanksgiving

There are many ways to simplify Thanksgiving but I must give a warning first.  Changing a familiar holiday routine can upset some members of the family...those for whom tradition is very important.  So, tread carefully and make sure you aren't eliminating someone's ONE MOST IMPORTANT part of the holiday  :)

Having said that, here are some ideas to play around with.

1. The week before Thanksgiving, clean out your refrigerator, getting rid of all the mystery tupperware containers, rotting fruit and stale leftovers.  Give yourself as much room as possible to hold the holiday food you'll be buying and refrigerating.
2. Prepare as much as you can before Thanksgiving day.  Most dishes can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen.  Then it's only a matter of reheating.
3. If you're expecting many people, ask everyone (or every family) to bring their favorite holiday food. (see first paragraph above)
4. Use paper plates and other disposable goods like cups, tablecloths and silverware.  I know, I know, it's the only day Great Grandma's china is brought out and if that's the case, change your attitude about washing dishes afterward.  Maybe you can think good thoughts about Great Grandma instead of the mounds of dirty dishes.
5. Speaking of washing dishes, while you're preparing food, keep a sink full of hot, soapy water to wash dishes as you work. 
6. Buy pre-prepared food.  Perhaps not everything but canned cranberry sauce, bakery rolls and pies and a vegetable platter will save you time to concentrate on the things you LIKE to make.
7. If no one likes a particular dish but it's served every year because it's TRADITION, consider eliminating it.  Let's face it, how many people actually eat the mincemeat pie?
8. Use a crockpot to cook some of the side dishes, like stuffing.
9. I use an oven baking bag (from Reynolds) to cook my turkey.  It cooks the bird faster and cuts way down on mess.  Highly recommended.
10. Stay calm.  There are always restaurants open on Thanksgiving.  :)


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