Paleoista’s Thanksgiving Count Down: Get Your Shop On!

It’s Tuesday, which means we’re down to T-2 days before the big event; are you ready?

Whether you’re hosting an intimate dinner for immediate family only, or a lavish dinner party for 24 (or more!) having a plan is key in keeping stress free (or at least low stress) during the last couple of days leading up to Thanksgiving.

Hopefully you’ve had a go at trying different proteins as well as prep methods in the event you weren’t thrilled with how it all went down last year, but even if you haven’t, now is the time to make your lists for everything else that needs to be done prior to Aunt Martha’s arrival on Thursday at 2pm.

What’s on deck for today?

  • Finalize your menu and make your grocery list. So long as you’ve ordered your bird and perhaps even already picked it up, you’re set. Every single other side dish, despite tradition, could arguably go missing if worse came to worse and it wouldn’t necessarily be a crisis. Say, for example, that you’re serving salad, roast turkey, mushroom stuffing, roasted sprouts with bacon and shallots and mashed yams… but you somehow forgot to prepare the homemade cranberry sauce. Doubtful that anyone other than you would even notice!   Also, when you’re planning your menu, keep it real.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking that because you’re making a pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin, dates, honey, almond flour and coconut oil that it’s somehow so Paleo that you should eat a lot of it and make many dishes like it. It’s still pie!  So go big on veggies, good fat, proteins and keep the sweets to a minimum.
  • Make a second list for anything you’ll need to create a beautiful presentation. Tea lights, new table linens or napkins, flowers, fresh new towels and a mega Diptyque candle for the bathroom will all make for an even better guest experience with all the extra attention to detail.
  • Get your shop on. After your morning workout and a nice protein, fat and veggie rich breakfast, head to the grocery store, the farmer’s market or wherever it is that you procure most of your food as well as the stop you’ll be making at William-Sonoma!
  • Unpack and organize. No need to waste precious time hunting down that jar of dried sage on Thursday morning if you put it right along with the spices upon arrival home from the shopping. Keeping the kitchen tidy and in order now of all times will prove to be a huge time saver, resulting in a calmer state of mind.
  • Pre-cook or par boil whatever is appropriate.   When I make my yam and apple casserole, I’ll often bake the yams the day before, letting them cool and then leaving them in the fridge overnight to finish up the recipe the next day.   The sautéed mushroom ‘stuffing’ might also be prepped today as well as any sauces you’re making, apart from one made with pan jus. With gravies, sauces, soups and stew, time to allow the flavors to develop is often a good thing!   Hold off on salads, cut veggies for crudité and the like until the day of, however, to prevent browning and wilting due to oxidation.
  • Set up the house as much as you can. Granted, if you’ve got three young kids running all over the place, you won’t exactly be able to set the table today for Thursday the way someone living alone could, but do whatever it is you can do today in terms of getting on top of laundry or whatever other household chores can be ticked off the list that won’t need to be redone again on Thursday. Again- another box off the to-do list also brings peace of mind and helps to further create calm during what otherwise might have been a hectic day.
  • Last, but not least, don’t forget to take care of yourself! Don’t allow your sleep, your exercise or your ‘me-time’ during which you might mediate or simply read a good book to be compromised. While they may seem like opportunities to get more tasks accomplished now more than ever, letting yourself get into sleep deprivation or a grumpy mood aren’t the way to go.   By remembering to make these daily practices a part of your routine all the time, you’re setting yourself up for the best case scenario, allowing yourself to be the best mom, or wife, or husband, or dad or friend or employee…you get the idea… you can be.

Tune in tomorrow for Wednesday’s schedule!