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Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving tips’

Just imagine: your picture-perfect Thanksgiving is coming together… well, perfectly! Everything is going along just like you planned than Bam! You realize you forgot to turn on the oven and there is no way the bird will be ready by the time your guests arrive. Your cranberries are curdling and your pie crust is soggy.

You need some help, right now!

Here are some important hot-line numbers that may be of use to you this week. The following list also has some great info on their websites. Check them out:

 

BUTTERBALL

Online Help

1-800-BUTTERBALL (800-288-8372)

REYNOLDS

Online Help

1-800-433-2244

FLEISCHMANN’S YEAST

Online Help

1-800-777-4959

LIBBY’S CANNED PUMPKIN

Online Help

1-800-854-0374

OCEAN SPRAY

Online Help

1-800-662-3263

PILLSBURY

Online Help

1-800-775-4777

BETTY CROCKER

Online Help

1-800-446-1898

 

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One of my favorite things about entertaining at home is presentation– making things look pretty. There is something so fun about deciding what serving pieces to use, what looks good where and then having the whole thing come together just before the doorbell rings.
When you are planning to entertain, think about serving the food buffet style. This method of serving does two wonderful things:
• It keeps the host from being so tied to the food and the kitchen.
•It creates a casual atmosphere where guests feel more at ease and are much more likely to mingle.
Isn’t it awesome to watch your guests connect and have fun? Kind of the whole point of enteraining (well, that an excuse to eat too much good food!)
Another thing I love about buffet entertaining is that it allows the host to get the buffet set up in advance.
Whether you are doing a single or double-sided buffet, make sure all food is within easy reaching distance. You don’t want someone dragging their sleeve or shirt-tail through a bowl of cranberry sauce.
Most importantly, have fun with it! You are the artist and the buffet is your canvas. Get creative and let your personal style shine through.
Start by placing a cloth on your table, counter or whatever surface you are using for your buffet. It can be a neutral shade like white or cream, although my go-to standard is black (hides the spills and stains!). Use sheets for inexpensive and easy care table coverings.

Next, add height to your table. Strategically place boxes, books, whatever you have on hand that is sturdy to give you some height elements.

Now, add another cloth drape over your height elements. I like to use a cloth in the same color as the base cloth. The purpose of this covering is to hide the height elements. On top of this, I add a table covering in a contrasting color or pattern. For Thanksgiving, choose something in an earthy color. Or go wild and crazy and use burlap fabric or something rustic  (rustic… but clean!  You can purchase burlap by the yard at most craft or fabric stores.)

Add a centerpiece. You’ll want it to be off to one side and to the back, if it is a one-sided buffet or in the center for a double-sided buffet. It should be the highest point on your table.

Start layering in your serving pieces. You can get the table all set up today, put sticky notes on each piece labeling it so it will be easy to remember the mashed potatoes go in the big square bowl and green beans go in the medium round bowl, etc.

Finish off the look of the table with a few candles, pine cones or nuts. If you use candles, you might want to opt for the battery-operated variety. No open flame worries there.

Some other quick tips:

• If you want a cake stand and don’t have one, flip a sturdy bowl upside down and place a platter on top. To make sure the platter doesn’t slip, you could dab on a few drops of rubber cement, which is pretty easy to remove.

• To keep your hot foods hot, warm bricks in the oven then slip them under your table coverings (place them on thick pot holders so the heat doesn’t damage your table surface). Place casseroles or plates on top and the bricks will hold the heat.

• To keep cold foods cold, you can fill bowls with ice and nestle beneath your table coverings. Set your serving bowls in the bigger bowls or pans and food will stay chilled.

• Make sure you have plenty of plates, forks and napkins as well as glassware. When we entertain, it seems like it doesn’t take long until all the forks in the house are dirty!

However or wherever you spend Thanksgiving, I hope it is with people who make your heart smile and bring you joy.

Wishing you all a Blessed and very Happy Thanksgiving!

She Who is Grateful for So, So Much

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Now is a fantastic time to take stock of what table linens you have and what you might need for holiday entertaining.

Does your tablecloth need pressed? Are there stains that need removed? Do you need to replace it with a new cloth?

If you fall into that last category, there are a lot of great choices for affordable prices. This one is from Bed, Bath  & Beyond.

Another fun idea would be to purchase a plain white or cream flat sheet and have markers scattered across the table. Ask your guests to write a message, sign their name or draw a picture.  That would most definitely be a keepsake for years to come.

Think about what table or tables you will be using. Do you need tablecloths for side tables or card tables? Do you have plenty of napkins, dish towels and pot holders. Take stock of what you’ve got, replenish as needed now and be prepared for your upcoming company.

She Who Needs to Follow Her Own Advice

 

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Here is a wild and crazy party idea…. have a Turkey Day Test Run Party!

You know there are several dishes you’d like to try before Thanksgiving. Like that new stuffing recipe or the new pie your friend has been raving about.

Plan a casual buffet party, making all the dishes you want to try out, invite over a few friends and have a taste test to see which ones get a thumbs up and which ones get a thumbs down.

By serving the food buffet style, you can keep things simple with an overlying theme of just getting together and having fun.

You can have ballot slips for each guest to fill out, rating each dish. You could even give a few prizes for “most creative descriptions” or “most valuable tester.” Keep the prizes simple like a fall-scented votive candle or a boxed single truffle.

The main idea is to get together with friends while trying out some new recipes. I think you’ll have a good time if you give it a try!

She Who Needs to Plan a Test Run Party

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Countdown To Thanksgiving Tips

Before we know it, Turkey Day will be here. Get ahead of the game by getting organized now. Below you’ll find tips for the following weeks, leading right up to Thanksgiving Day! Hope they give you some good ideas!


First Week of November

• Plan your menu in detail.

• Finalize your guest list and issue invitations.

• Prepare and bake freezable cakes, pies, cookies, and/or rolls. Tightly wrap all unfrosted baked goods in plastic wrap and freezer bags, then store in the freezer. Think about what a great idea this is. You will have your desserts prepared well in advance and, should you have guests drop by unexpectedly, you’ll have something you can thaw out on a moment’s notice.

Two Weeks Out
• Get an accurate head count from those planning to attend. This helps you know how many seats you need, if you need to set up an extra table (or borrow an extra table).

• Finalize menu details including everything from beverages and appetizers, right on through salads, entrées and side dishes, as well as  desserts, and any after-dinner drinks. Choose a good mix of dishes and make sure some of them may be made somewhere besides in the oven (stovetop, microwave, slow-cooker). If you are buying large pieces of frozen meat (like your turkey) purchase now and store in the freezer.

• If any of your guests offer to bring a dish, let them. Find out exactly what they are bringing and adjust your menu accordingly.

• Make your first run to the grocery store for items that are non-perishable (stock up on paper towels, tissues, toilet paper, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, resealable bags, chicken stock, canned goods, flour, sugar, etc.)
One Week  To Go
• Anything that can be prepared a week in advance, take care of it now.

• Make a second trip to the store to get items that you’ll be using in the next week (think eggs, cranberries, etc.)

• Decide if you will b e serving the meal buffet or family style, where everyone will sit, what table linens you will use, what decorations and centerpieces you need, what serving pieces you need, if you have enough plates, glasses, eating utensils. If not, figure out what you are going to do to make things work (borrow, rent, purchase pieces).
Three Days Ahead of Time
• Remove meat (such as turkey) from the freezer and begin thawing  in the refrigerator (follow package directions).

• Clean all your serving pieces and place them on the table with sticky notes marking what will be served in each dish.

• Clean out the refrigerator so there is plenty of room for all the groceries and all dishes you will need to store on the big day.

• Start cleaning outside the house near the front door area. Make sure your welcome starts there with a clean and inviting entry.
Two Days Ahead of Time
• Prepare any dishes that can be made a few days ahead of time.

• Gather all plates, silverware, glasses, pitchers, that you will need and make sure it is all washed, polished and ready to go.

• Make a final run to the grocery store. Get your fresh produce, dairy products, extra eggs and bread and anything else you are going to need.

 

The Day Before
• Remove all baked goods from the freezer. If they need garnished or frosted, do that now..
• Prepare any baked goods you couldn’t make ahead. Any dishes that can be assembled and left overnight in the fridge (like casseroles) can be taken care of now.
• Do whatever prep work you can now like washing and peeling carrots, prepping celery, etc.

• Make your game plan for the following day. Decide what needs done first in the morning, what tasks family members can assist with,what time you want the food on the table, etc.

• Finish cleaning the house. Make sure the entry, the guest bath, kitchen and the area where you will be eating are extra clean. Empty all the garbage cans. Place candles in strategic areas (use all the same scent family) and ready to be lit. Set the table, place the centerpieces and go soak your feet!

Turkey Day
• Make sure the meat is in the oven with time to spare. You want to factor in time for the meat to “rest” before it is carved.

• Do as much prep work as possible on side dishes, such as assembling salads and relish trays, before guests begin arriving. Many dishes, such as mashed potatoes, can be completed a little early and kept warm until you’re ready to serve dinner.

• Assign family members duties for the day. Younger children can be door greeters and coat takers. Make sure you have a dedicated area for coats and handbags. Older children can pass appetizers and beverages to guests as they arrive. Give someone the duty of quickly running the broom down the front walk, lighting candles and making sure the guest bathroom is spotless.

• Take a deep breath, smile, relax and enjoy this day of giving thanks and blessings!

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