The Day Before Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving-Dinner-Prep-List

Heather says:

Thanksgiving is tomorrow.

Are you ready?

Have you been playing along with this year’s Countdown to Turkey Day 2014. What did you think? Was it thorough enough? What needs to be improved?

As per usual, I’ll be adding a few more recipes to the site for Christmas and next year.  This year has been so amazingly different from last. I ran into someone the other day who commented, wow, you look ten years younger. I feel it.

I have so many things to be grateful for and you are one of them. The Home-Ec 101 community has helped me grow a lot over the past 8 years. I’ve built this site, written and published a book, changed my life, gone through hell and come out the other side a happier, stronger more confident person. You guys have been a part of it all, thank you.

On to today’s to-dos

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. Once thawed the turkey can go back into the fridge until tomorrow morning.

Yes? Make sure it’s not sitting in a pool of water. That’s just a cross-contamination scenario waiting to happen. Wipe it up with a dilute bleach solution.

Tomorrow, go ahead and pull your turkey out of the refrigerator a few hours before roasting. Remember when we talked about not skipping temperature stages with meat when cooking?

Please check your pantry and refrigerator one more time.

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 must know they turn a horrid shade of dark grey.

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 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 Home-Ec101.com.



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