Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving prep

 Suit up. It's time!

Are you ready? 

I am! 

This week I am doing some pretty serious pre-holiday calisthenics so I can enjoy my family and not injure myself on game day. After all, we have two family members celebrating their first Thanksgivings so I want it to be as relaxed and enjoyable as possible. Soooo today and tomorrow I am planning on doing most of the heavy prep so I can just saunter around my kitchen casually stirring things and basting birds while trying to teach my cute-as-a-button daughter to walk.

I love this holiday. I started hosting Thanksgiving the year we bought our first house and with the exception of last year, I've been doing it for 11 years straight. I love that this day is just about making a meal to share with family or friends. No presents or fictional people are involved. There is no stress or major preparation beyond how to perfect your game from last year.

First up was to figure out the menu. Here it is. These will be printed and on the table for our guests. We don't really have guests, I just like saying that. Well no, that's not entirely accurate since my parents come but it is hardly like having guests- you know the kind you get a little nervous about hosting. No, just Nana and Papa will be here to relax and enjoy the day with the kids. No pressure.

Then it is on to the shopping part. I did this yesterday thinking it would be less crowded than it might be today or tomorrow and dang it was wall-to-wall people in there. The state of the parking lot as I pulled in, had me catch my breath a bit. You know that feeling when you think to yourself, under any other circumstances I would turn around and come back later. But no, this was the time I had carved out to do these errands based on available help with the baby and big kids in school. So it was a take a deep breath and grin and bear it sort of situation. Thankfully I survived in large part due to my thorough list separated by store section. phew!

Last up in the pre-game drills is to figure out what can be done in advance. I have spent far too many holidays chained to the stove while my family is having a nice casual day on the couch laughing and enjoying each others company. Not this year. My master plan is to knock out much of what needs to be done today and tomorrow so I can also hang with the fam and watch the parade. I wonder what Cici will think of those giant balloons in the air? Hopefully there will be an Elmo one. She calls him mo mo and thinks he's the cat's meow. So here's my prep list for the next 48 hours.

And lastly, just a few internet odds and ends. Here are some links to resources I have found useful. I will be using the Pioneer Woman's brine recipe this year. If you want some basic dos and don't s, take a peek at Michael Chiarello's video on brining.

You will also notice on my menu that in addition to the Cheesecake which you can find out more about here, there is also Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie and Brown Butter Apple Pie from Pickwick Baking Co. My lovely friend Ali Ryan is currently working her little tail off at culinary school getting a professional degree in pastry. AND on the side she is catering. Um. Yeah. How lucky for me is that? AND I am getting to photograph all her food. (and you should know that while I photograph I nibble on the scraps. It is a great gig.) Ali and Pickwick can be found on Facebook and on the web where she keeps a blog. Take a peek, cuz in addition to making yummy things she is funny as all get out.

Okay peeps. Game on.

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