Friday, November 20, 2015

Prepping for Thanksgiving

Tis the time of year when we eat way too much food and then go shopping or hunting. At least that is what we do in my neck of the woods. Wisconsin is full of delicious food options for the holidays. I actually spend a ton of time researching what to serve and I have learned rather quickly that depending on where you live you will have different things served on Thanksgiving. The traditions are amazing and I hope to be able to host my first Thanksgiving at my house and stay somewhat true to my family traditions. 

This is my ever growing grocery list for next Thursday. It is really important to be super prepared when you are feeding 11 plus people. Tonight and Sunday I will be purchasing all of these tasty things. I plan on making some things from scratch and others will be semi-home made.

Anyway here are my top ten tips to prep for Thanksgiving. This maybe my first time hosting at my home but trust me I have thrown a ton of parties and I think I got it down at this point.

#1. Turkey it needs time to chill. I feel like we need to start here. Turkey should not scare you. 
Turkey's take a long time to thaw. I plan on getting mine tonight and on Monday setting it out in the fridge to thaw by Thursday. In general, a frozen turkey will require approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds at or below 40° F to to fully thaw. There are a ton of ways to cook your bird I plan on roasting mine in a roasting pan. I am trying something new this year and I am doing a cheesecloth method. More on that on a later post. I really feel like focusing on the meat is the most important part of my Thanksgiving. I am making a turkey and a ham as they are on super sale right now and most of the people I invited actually prefer ham.

#2. Make a list and check it twice. Actually check it 12 times. I am a list maker and if you plan on hosting an organized and successful Thanksgiving you should be one too. The reason it is important is you do not want to be that person on Wednesday night in your sweats trying to buy last minute stuffing with the other 500 people that forgot to get something. Make your list and make sure you get everything as early as you can. 

#3.  Do not forget the little things. Serving utensils, plates, stiring sticks for drinks and platters. I know this seems like a no brainer but I can count numerous times where I am at a party and they do not have proper serving spoons or platters to put food items on. 

#4. Make a good first impression. We tend to forget some things when we live in our space all the time. Make it smell good before guests arrive by lighting a candle or cooking bacon. I am only slightly joking about the bacon. You do not have to have a spotless home but put away clutter if you can. Specifically make sure your entry to your home is clean and people know where to put their shoes and coats. 

#5. Do not let people starve. Wait... What? This is Thanksgiving how could this happen you ask? We tend to focus on the meal and not that when people arrive they will be hungry when they arrive. How many of us have not eaten all day to prepare for the giant feast? Put out some snacks and they do not have to be fancy. Some meats, cheeses and crackers will do or even a veggie platter. 

#6. Tupperware. If you plan on eating all the leftovers yourself all the power to you. I do not plan on doing this I plan on sending a lot of the food home with my family. I do not keep a huge stack of Tupperware so I reminded my guests to bring their own to pack up leftovers. 

#7. Drinks. Ryan and I do not drink soda and do not keep any in the house. I will still have it in the  house for everyone else though. It is important to try to cater to others when throwing a party. I do not mean go buy specific drinks for each person but having a nice bar full of options is nice. See HERE on how to set up the perfect bar cart. 

#8. Do not try to do it all. I mean sure you can go ahead and make a turkey, ham, homemade mashed potatoes etc etc... It is possible but I do not recommend doing that. You will work yourself to death.   Everything I have read states that you should not try to do it all. Thanks to some of my guests they are bring dishes to pass. I totally recommend asking people to do this if you can. It takes some of the pressure off of you from cooking all day. The other thing you can do is buy some things pre-made. GASP. I know it sounds crazy but if you do not home make the cranberry sauce no one is going to care or die. One year I actually took the time to make home made cranberry sauce and my husband told me that it was a waste of time everyone likes the can stuff anyway. I was out to dinner with some of my Zumba friends last night and we talked about how crazy it is to make your own bread. I will also be buying rolls because I am  not spending hours making and baking rolls.

#9. Ask for help.  I am blessed that I have a spouse that is down for anything. If I ask him to do dishes while I cook he will do it or clean the whole house. Shout out to Ryan for being a boss. He is not the only person I have help from though. My mom I know will show up early and do whatever I ask her to do. This is fantastic and it is good to be able to have help when you need it. It does not take away from the meal if people help you along the way. Make sure you ask for help if you need it. 

#10. Be thankful and soak up the family time.  Sometimes we only get to see family on holidays. It is sad and we do not know how much longer people will be with us. Make sure you take time to speak to each family member or friend one on one during your Thanksgiving. I am really excited to spend time with my family that is the whole reason I planned to host this year. 

I guess in the end Thanksgiving is what you make it. I plan on making it the best experience I can for my family and I this year. I am so blessed and happy to be able to feed them some yummy food and laugh around the table together. 

What do you plan to do this year? Leave a message in the comments! 

Until next time~
XoXo Emily  

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