Countdown to Turkey Day 2011: Thanksgiving Eve

Heather says:

Tomorrow’s the big day. Are you ready? Did you follow along with this year’s Countdown to Turkey Day Series? If so, let me know what you thought.

I’ll be adding a few more recipes to the site for Christmas and next year.  I also want to thank Butterball for giving me the opportunity to work with them. The people running their Turkey Talkline (1-800-BUTTERBALL) are amazing and I had a wonderful time participating in their turkey training in Naperville, IL last month. Feel free to call them if you have ANY questions. They are happy to help.

For many families today is for baking and food prep.

Here are few last minute tips to help everything go smoothly.

Check the turkey now. Has it completely thawed?
No?
Use the water bath method to finish defrosting the turkey.

Are your knives sharp? No? Read this tutorial How to Sharpen a Knife, it’ll help you get through tomorrow safely. Did you really just ask why? Sharp knives are safer than dull knives.

If you have several recipes calling for diced onions, bell pepper, and/or celery, go ahead and chop it all today. Cover tightly before refrigerating.

Do not pre-cut your potatoes and toss them in the fridge, it’s a bad idea.

If you want a head start on mashed potatoes, you can make them today and then bake in a covered, oven-safe dish to reheat (with lots of butter, please). Alternately, tomorrow morning, peel and dice the potatoes, then hold them in a bowl of cold water. Rinse the potatoes before cooking in salted water. The same goes for sweet potatoes and apples, exposure to air makes them oxidize. Oxidation doesn’t hurt anything, it’s just quite unattractive.

If you are pre-cooking your side dishes, don’t forget to check your Thanksgiving Day Timetable to ensure everything will be hot and ready to serve at the same time.

If you’re using your own bread for dressing, go ahead and tear / cut that up today, too.
Still looking for a traditional sage dressing? Try this apple, cranberry sage dressing. It’s wonderful. If you need a vegetarian dressing recipe, just follow that one and replace the chicken / turkey stock with vegetables stock, easy peasy.

Cornbread for the dressing? Make that today, too. Remember cornbread dressing is gluten free dressing, provided you use plain cornmeal and NOT cornmeal mix for your cornbread. Do you need a sweet cornbread recipe or a plain cornbread recipe for your dressing?

If you don’t have young children or pets and you have a formal dining room vs the every day table, you can even go as far as setting the table. Put the plates and glasses on the table upside down or cover them with a large -clean!- sheet so they don’t catch any dust. Tomorrow, just before the guests arrive, flip or uncover everything. Do not pre-set the table if you have young children or pets. Somehow or another they’ll just make more work for you or create an embarrassing fur / sticky fingerprint situation.

If you’re playing host to friends and family, please check the guest bathroom. Make sure there’s enough TP, soap, and something with which to dry their hands. Please make sure that the guest towel doesn’t look like its only purpose is decorative. I can’t be the only person who worries about messing up someone’s starchy, frilly towel arranged over sea shells. Make sure the towel for hand drying is in an obvious, convenient spot. It’s better than having guests forced to wipe their hands on their pants.

If you have room, go ahead and chill any beverages that will be served.

If you choose to truss your turkey for roasting, it can be trussed today. Need a tutorial? See How to Truss a Turkey. Just don’t forget to take the turkey out of the refrigerator about an hour before cooking.

Do you have any last minute tips?

Please remember even if nothing comes out right, your mom, sister, and drunk uncle Roy are driving you nuts, or if it’s just not turning out as planned,  that Thanksgiving is a celebration in the spirit of gratitude. The fact that we have friends and family willing to even begrudgingly come together is a sign we are truly blessed. If you know someone, perhaps a serviceman or woman far from home, set an extra place and welcome them to your table. It doesn’t matter how simple the meal, the intention is what matters.

We have two families in this life, the one we are given and the one we create; embrace them both this holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from Home-Ec101.com.



3 Comments

  1. deneicer1 on November 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Last minute tip: Don’t worry! Thanksgiving will come and go even if you forget something in the freezer, even if you burn the turkey, even if……fill in the blank. You will find something as an alternative or you won’t even miss it! Attempt to enjoy the day!

    2nd Tip: Have a puzzle started on a mat, blanket, etc. You would be surprised at who will end up sitting around the table (floor, whatever!) working on it together. Its also a good spot for kiddos to stop in on occasion and mosey along once they are bored. You can usually find a couple in a closet, attic or a thrift store!

  2. holleeinbalance on November 23, 2011 at 9:55 am

    @HeatherSolos Turkey is brining. Watched video again. Need to convince @johntemplebooks to assemble!

  3. SandeeHill on November 23, 2011 at 9:50 am

    “I can’t be the only person who worries about messing up someone’s starchy, frilly towel arranged over sea shells.” You’re not, you’re not! That always has me nervous, and I’d rather dry on my pants. lol I always thought I was the only one…..I’m not cooking my big meal till Sunday, but thank you for this series, it’s been amazingly helpful, and this year has been so much easier to plan than past years!!

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