Countdown to Turkey Day 2016: The Day Before Thanksgiving 2016

Heather says:

Thanksgiving is tomorrow.

Are you ready?

The people running Butterball’s Turkey Talkline (1-800-BUTTERBALL) are fantastic; feel free to call them if you have ANY questions on Thanksgiving about your turkey.

They are happy to help.

Seriously, I’d go as far as chipper.

Have you figured out your Turkey Day Timetable?

Countdown to Turkey Day with Home-Ec 101. Schedules, Recipes and plans for hosting your first or your best Thanksgiving ever.

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?
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. If you really want to make sure they don’t change due to exposure to air. Put the cut veggies in a Ziplock style baggie and partially immerse the baggie in a bowl of water. The water forces the air out of the bag. Get as much air out as you can without letting water in and seal. It may not be a vacuum sealer, but it is a handy trick.

Do not pre-cut your potatoes and toss them in the fridge, it’s a bad idea. If you must know they turn a horrid shade of dark grey. Nobody wants oxidized potatoes.

If you want a headstart 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 make sure it includes reheating your side dishes. 

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 vegetable 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 everyday 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 or 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, 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 and invite 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


  1. Christine on November 22, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    I think you were more than thorough enough , so now I am almost ready for Thankgiving
    Thank you for sharing

  2. Deneicer on November 22, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I can make it any day I have the time… plus I only make it every other year …. so that is a lot less work at once!

  3. Deneicer on November 22, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I make my own cranberry sauce and I can it. So, I can do it whenever I want. I make a batch every other year. I then have plenty for Thanksgiving, Christmas, give a jar to someone who loves it from dinner and last-minute (clutter-free;) gifts!

    I use a 2 pound bag of cranberries at our *sam’s club. I can usually only buy fresh cranberries during the fall. The recipe is super easy and it is so good that most people who say they don’t like cranberry sauce… love it! 🙂

  4. Jo-Lynne {Musings of a Housewife} on November 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    This post makes me so glad I’m not hosting Thanksgiving! HA! But I tweeted it out to those who are. 🙂

  5. Michele N. on November 21, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Your tips over the years have made me feel like a Thanksgiving expert. My own mother calls me for advice (most of which I originally got from Home Ec 101)!

    My only addition to your last minute tips is to make your pie crusts today if you’re waiting until tomorrow to do the baking. Flatten the dough into discs, wrap in cling film, and refrigerate until about 30 minutes before you’re ready to roll them out. Saves time on the big day, plus you don’t have to worry about stray flour getting all over your clothes/kitchen/cranberry sauce.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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