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Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Large male turkey in nature

Going with the theory of “better safe than sorry,” here is a list of hotlines and websites for any disasters that may strike Thanksgiving Day!

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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There is officially one week until Thanksgiving. How did it fly up on us so quickly?

Wasn’t it just a day or two ago that we were saying goodbye to summer. Oh, wait. It was  day or two ago when the ground was frosted and I was freezing and finally accepted the fact that summer had left me behind yet again.

Sigh…

Thanksgiving (and most major holidays) stirs up feelings of nostalgia in me that I can pretty much keep locked down the rest of the year.  Growing up, all holidays seemed so magical and wonderful. I mean how could a day be bad when you

1. Didn’t have to go to school

2. Got to eat all you wanted of lots of yummy things

3. Had cousins to play with

4. Got to watch parades on TV

5. Got to stay up late because you had a stomach ache from all those yummy things to eat

Thanksgiving at the farm was always a busy day. Mom would be up super early cooking. Dad would build a big fire and he and I would sit and watch the Macy’s parade on TV until Mom discovered other bodies were up and could be put to work. We would do a few chores, eat breakfast and then sneak back to watch the end of the parade.  If we were hosting the gathering, we’d all be pressed into helping out. There were tables to be set up, much food to be made, last minute cleaning to be done.  If one of my aunt’s was hosting, Mom would be in a flurry to get food ready, get us dressed and out the door.

I remember one Thanksgiving in particular was at my Aunt Louise and Uncle Bob’s house. This would be my aunt who made the most amazing Pumpkin Roll. She was one of the most gracious, sweet-spirited ladies I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

Anyway, I remember that turkey day just being fun and warm and happy as all the family gathered. My cousins on that side of the family are all older than me, so it was always great fun to be the youngest  – people tend to think you are much cuter than you are when you are the only little girl in sight.  As we packed up and walked out to the car, the softest snowflakes began to fall and I decided right then that there was something magical about Aunt Louise that made such a pretty snow fall.

Dad wasn’t nearly as excited about the snow since we had more than an hour’s drive ahead of us, but it was just one of those special days that sticks in your memory and in your heart. One you wish you could have again and again.

As you gather with family and friends Thanksgiving Day, I hope it brings you a sense of nostalgia, that you create new memories, and you’ll feel that magical sense of kinship that warms your heart.

She Who Is Wandering Down Memory Lane

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If you are the lucky one hosting Thanksgiving Dinner this year, there are some simple things you can do to make your guests feel even more welcome in your home.

Start the welcome at your front door. Hang a seasonal wreath or swag. If you don’t have one, have your youngsters gather big leaves, tie the stems with a ribbon and hang on the door. You can also have your budding artists draw or paint a welcome sign that can be hung outside.

Let a welcoming scent greet your guests as they step inside. Have a candle burning in the entry, or at the least, have a scented wall plug-in. Think about scents that go with the season such as pumpkin, cinnamon or apple.

Clean out your coat closet or, if you don’t have one, make sure there is a designated area for coats. Enlist some youngsters to be the official door greeters and coat takers. It makes them feel important, keeps them occupied and frees up your time for more important tasks.

If you are serving food buffet style, make sure you add in plenty of height, color and texture to your table. Put down a base cloth, strategically place boxes, books or other sturdy items to provide height, then artistically drape another cloth on top. Make sure your centerpiece is the highest point on the table and place it off center. Your centerpiece can be something as simple as a hurricane with a candle and pinecones, a basket of leaves or nuts or a bouquet of seasonal flowers. If you have hot dishes that need to stay warm, heat bricks in the oven. Make sure you put a pot holder under the bricks so you don’t damage your table surface. You can drape a second cloth over the bricks to hide them. Aluminum or plastic pans filled with ice, and draped with a cloth, work well to keep cold foods cold. Use the colors of the season in your serving pieces or mix and match pieces in all one color – such as white or cream.

If you are serving a plated meal or everyone will be seated at the table, have children create fun place cards for each guest. When you are selecting a centerpiece, make sure it is low enough that everyone can see over the top of it. For a casual country look, use a piece of barn wood (that has been cleaned) down the length of the table and put a mixture of candles, nuts and pears or apples on it. For a more formal atmosphere, think about taper candles combined with seasonal flowers or even stalks of wheat tied in bundles with satin ribbon.

Make sure the guest bathroom is shiny-clean. This is one area guests will notice if everything isn’t in top shape. Spend a few minutes the night before scrubbing, polishing and putting out fresh towels. A candle or small floral arrangement is a great finishing touch for the guest bath.

Have plenty of garbage bags on hand as well as plastic wrap and foil. If you are going to be sending home doggie bags, make sure you have resealable bags or even some take out boxes to use.

If you are going to use scented candles, make sure the scents are all of the same family – spicy, floral, or fruity. Don’t mix the scents!

Have an activity for the children. It could be something as simple as Thanksgiving themed pages to color, board games or find the thimble. Put an older child in charge of these activities. I read something the other day about a game that would have been played around the time of the first Thanksgiving celebration called “Kick the Shins” … now there is a game I could have fun with!

Most of all, remember it isn’t about the house, the food or the atmosphere – it is about the people. Be gracious, be welcoming and create some warm memories that will last long after the turkey is finally gone!

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Entertaining!

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fruit-basketIf you are the lucky one who is hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, you’ll find things run much more smoothly with a little pre-planning.

Here is a two-week countdown list of things to do to be prepared for Turkey-Day. By following these steps, hosting Thanksgiving will be easier and hopefully a lot more enjoyable for you. Start your planning 11 days out and by the time Nov. 26 rolls around, things will be a breeze!

Day 1: Make your guest list. Who exactly will be attending? Get confirmations from each guest as soon as possible and find out if any of them are bringing extras. If people can’t commit right away, give them a deadline of one week out. You need an accurate head-count.

Day 2: Determine what is going to be on your menu this year. As you think about recipes, keep in mind how much stove top, oven and microwave space you have available, what can be made ahead, what will be made that day, what will be cooked where. Do not try a recipe for the first time on Thanksgiving Day. If you want to try something new, give it a test run before the big day.  Agree on dishes your guests can bring. Make sure you know if someone has food allergies or dietary restrictions. Plan at least one special dish for them. Gather all your recipes that you’ll be using into one handy place.

Day 3: Talking Turkey! Today decide what type of turkey you will be serving (fresh, frozen, etc.) and how big of a bird you need to purchase. If you are ordering the bird from the butcher, do that today. Also place orders for any pies or deli trays today.

Day 4: Make a checklist. Go through your cupboards and pantry and see what is missing, outdated or in need of replacement. Make a list of things you need from your menu. Also, if you will be hosting overnight guests, check out the guest room and guest bathroom. Do you need extra towels? Are you well stocked on toilet paper, paper towels and soap? Is the guest room clean and comfortable? Take stock of your table linens. Spread out the linens you are planning to use. If they are stained beyond hope, think about purchasing a stain-resistant tablecloth  or turn to my favorite – sheets! Inexpensive and easy care, sheets come in a variety of colors or sizes and are worry-free coverings for your table. Grab a few in fall colors! Make sure you are also well stocked in trash bags, foil, plastic wrap, and zip-top storage bags or plastic containers. What will you use for a centerpiece? Are you making one or ordering one? If you need to order it, do that today.

Day 5: Complete your non-perishable shopping list. Do you need batteries for the camera? Cleaning products? Paper goods? Candies? Take inventory of your cutlery, cookware, and serving pieces. Do the knives need sharpened? Is your turkey platter chipped? Do you need to get a new vegetable peeler? Replace those stained and frayed potholders and dish towels. If you don’t have one, get an apron to wear on Turkey Day. Decide what you and the family  will be wearing. Do clothes need to go to the cleaners? Repaired? Pressed? Take care of that today. If you don’t have a thing to wear, do your shopping today.

Day 6: Something to sip… Today, decide what beverages you will be serving and in what you’ll be serving the beverages. Have a few selections and plan to have a pitcher of ice-water available. Today is the one-week deadline for those who wouldn’t commit to coming earlier. Follow up with them and get a definite head count.

Day 7: Make the do-ahead dishes. Any dishes that you can freeze, go ahead and make them today. Some things that freeze well are cranberry sauce, casseroles, cheese sauces, and piecrusts.  If there is ironing that needs done, take care of it today.

Day 8: Setting the scene. Decide today how to set your table? What will the place settings look like? Figure out what item will go in what dish and mark with a sticky note. Wash all platters and polish the silver. Store silver wrapped in tissue paper in an air-tight bag to keep from tarnishing. Enlist your spouse and kids to make placecards and fold napkins.  Decide what background music to play. Get your emergency clean-up tools ready and in a handy location (stain remover, whisk and dust pan, hand-vac).

Day 9: Move your frozen turkey from the freezer to the fridge as well as the make-ahead dishes. Shop for all perishables and make sure you have extra ice on hand. If beverages need chilled, stick them in the fridge now.

Day 10: Set the table. You already know what goes where, so go ahead and set the table. Label trivets with sticky notes so you know what hot dish will set where.  Roast or steam vegetables and make pies. Make sure your outfit is set out and ready to go. Have a list of the help-lines by the phone, in case of cooking emergencies! Make sure the person in charge of carving the turkey is up to the challenge.

Day 11: Happy Thanksgiving! Today you will make the stuffing, cook the potatoes and any other side dishes that need made.  Whip the whipping cream for dessert and chill. Cook the turkey, bring the cranberry sauce to room temperature before serving, warm the pies before eating and make hot beverages. Enjoy the warmth of the day, a delicious meal and be thankful!

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