Thursday Thanks: The Final Countdown | #NaBloPoMo

Well, here we are:  final Thursday before Thanksgiving, and that means that if you haven’t gotten things staged and planned and plotted already, the time is now. The prevailing wisdom, in trying to make things as easy on yourself as possible, is to shop early, and it may seem like – one week out – maybe you’ve waited too long. But you haven’t! There’s still time to level up in your Thanksgiving prep. So let’s talk about that.

The Menu

The natural beginning to the final Thanksgiving prep is menu decisions. You may have people asking what they can bring, you certainly will need to make the final grocery lists, and if you’re like me and Amanda, you have to do the backwards math of turkey thawing and brining time. Here’s our menu this year – I’m so excited that I have to share it:

Brined Turkey
Sausage Stuffing
Green Bean Salad
Sweet Potato Casserole (I think this one – or some version of it)
Deviled Eggs
Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Pie

The Shopping

Now, I started shopping a couple weeks ago. I went ahead and bought the things I could – can of sweetened condensed milk, stuffing cubes, canned pumpkin, flour for scones. You may feel like there’s not enough time for pre-shopping, but you can still get started. Shopping for the weekend ahead? Save yourself some headache and buy the non-perishables now, and then follow-up with the fresh stuff next week. Gus and I already have a date to go shopping next week, pick up our turkey, and I’m going to introduce him to the Whole Foods produce section. He will likely sleep through it, but I’ll enjoy it.

The Staging

Remember when I mentioned my next-level planning from a few years ago? This is the time for that. Pre-measure your dry ingredients for baked goods and store in plastic containers (because when Snoopy starts rolling down 34th Street, who wants to be fiddling with measuring our flour?). Pre-make (or at least boil) your eggs. Pre-chop your onions and celery and parsley for stuffing. Need to bake potatoes for your sweet potato casserole? That can be done in advance. This all makes it much easier to do your cooking on Thanksgiving Day, AND you get the added benefit of being able to enjoy yourself a bit more. Bonus points for arranging things in the order you’ll use them, with recipes printed/bookmarked and ready to go.

The Table

There’s something really special about setting the table. Whether it’s your grandmother’s china or some paper plates and napkins, this is making a place for yourself, your family, your guests to break bread with you. Have fun with it. If you don’t have flowers, throw the rest of your parsley (or other herbs) in a vase. A little color and a little flourish are ways to show love.

The Non-Food Traditions

Have y’all set out your copies of Best in Show? You don’t want to forget that.

The Holiday Spirit

Thank you for chatting with me about Thanksgiving. It’s got an extra level of special to me now – I found out I was pregnant the day before Thanksgiving last year – and so I feel extra festive and joyful and thankful as I launder napkins and print out recipes and make my shopping list. I hope your holiday is completely wonderful.

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