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1st Lake Blog

Early-Bird Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

 

Ideally, Thanksgiving is about spending time with loved ones and reflecting on all we’re grateful for. In reality, it’s often a time of major stress: did we bake enough dinner rolls? Does this side dish go well with turkey? Why is the gravy so lumpy?

While there’s not much to do for last-minute disasters besides take a long, deep breath, you can prepare yourself and your space in advance to ensure a successful holiday.

spice-cabinet

Check your spices for expiration dates — fresh flavors make all the difference in holiday cooking! (Photo courtesy Chris Martino on Flickr)

 

Take Stock of Your Kitchen

Simple tasks like checking expiration dates on your spices or counting how many usable plates you have can save you from last-minute mad dashes to the store on the big day. Make an ongoing list that outlines what you need, then plan on a shopping trip where you can purchase everything all at once.

Remember to check in on other dining necessities: ample utensils, wine glasses, dish-washing liquid, and paper towels can all be the difference between a seamless evening and a stressful one.

Consider an Easygoing Menu

Try to plan a menu that doesn’t rely on being served hot or cold. Dishes like wild rice salad, pecan or pumpkin pies, and even the turkey itself can be served at room temperature, hot, or cold, so no matter where you need to store them, you’ll ensure they taste delicious.

But What About the Bird?

A huge turkey is often the star of a Thanksgiving menu — but it doesn’t have to be! You can forego the fowl in its whole form and try dishes like a satisfying turkey pot-pie, roasted turkey breasts, or turkey osso bucco. If you insist on a full turkey, here are a few space-saving tips:

  • Use it as an opportunity to clean the fridge and get rid of any odds and ends you simply won’t use
  • Defrost a frozen turkey in a refrigerator over the course of several days once your fridge is clean
  • Or, defrost and brine your turkey at the same time using a cooler on your balcony or patio

Gear Up for Guests

Even if your out-of-town visitors have plans to stay elsewhere, you may want to consider preparing a guest room – just in case. Purchase a few travel-size toiletries so guests don’t have to use yours. Place items like toothpaste, a razor, a new bar of soap, and shampoo on top of a clean, colorful towel so guests will know it’s theirs to use.

Put fresh sheets on the guest bed, and stack a couple of extra blankets nearby. Stocking up on toilet paper is a necessity; fresh flowers, magazines, and water bottles all placed in the room are bonus points for hosts looking to make a special impression. If you don’t have a guest room, create an alternate space for guests to sleep with an airbed or even a feather mattress topper placed on the floor.

Yesterday’s Halloween is Today’s Thanksgiving

Scope out remaining Halloween sales to find decorative items and candy to have on hand for the Thanksgiving holiday. Often, candies have fall themes that are deeply discounted after Halloween – arrange them in a crystal bowl, and your guests can help themselves to bite-size treats leading up to the meal.

Post-Halloween sales are also a good time to purchase several pumpkins. These hearty gourds should last well through Thanksgiving and are a beautiful addition on the table, mantel, or on the front door.

We hope these tips will help you enjoy a peaceful, fun holiday. Happy Thanksgiving to all of our current and future residents at 1st Lake Properties! We are thankful for you!