1. Keep it simple. I love homemade stuffing. However, I am the only one in my family that does. My husband and kids would actually prefer Stovetop Stuffing. So after years of trying to convince them that they would like my homemade version, this year I’m going for the 10 minutes on the stovetop. Why make it more difficult than necessary? I’ll save the elaborate oyster stuffing for a leisurely cooking Sunday afternoon, and eat it all myself.
2. Drink wine (or another favorite beverage) as you cook. Remember this is a day of celebrations! Relax and enjoy as you cook. On holidays the "after 12:00pm" rule doesn't apply. (Just be sure to sip water in between glasses!)
3. Remove expectations for perfection. This is easier said than done. I can tell you all day that it really doesn’t matter, that a perfect meal is not the reason we are gathering. However, I am my own worst critic. I still long for that satisfaction at the end of the day, after slaving all day over the oven, and pulling it all together in the end for a meal so beautiful it sparkles in your mouth. This year, however, I am vowing to “let it go.” The sparkles are not necessary for a good time. Not this time.
4. Enjoy each other. Along with removing ‘perfection’ from the day, you must remember you are making memories. Allow your daughter to help you make the dessert. Even if your pie ends up looking like a dump cake, take a picture and laugh about it in the years to come.
5. If someone offers to help, accept. Let go of the control. Make it a potluck Thanksgiving dinner this year! People want to feel needed and usually love to contribute. Except for clean-up. Then they are just offering to be nice. But it will be too late, and there are no ‘take-backs’ on offering to help with the dishes.
6. Have one simple recipe that is easier than it looks to prepare. Below is a favorite of mine.
This is a recipe I found for homemade cranberries in Redbook Magazine years ago. Gone are the days of canned cranberries. It’s so easy and so delicious. The best part is that you can make Tequila Sunrises with the leftover ingredients! It’s practically two recipes in one!
This sweet dish infused with oranges and cranberries is the perfect complement to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
Total Time: 15 min (Prep 5 min/Cook: 10 min)
- 2 bag cranberries (6 cups)
- 1 tbsp. grated orange zest
- 1 c. fresh orange juice
- 1¼ c. granulated sugar
- ¼ c. grenadine syrup
- 2 tbsp. red-wine vinegar
- In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 6 minutes, until cranberries are soft and liquid has reduced to a thick syrup.
- Pour into a serving bowl. Let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate.
And just in case you are interested…
1 shot glass tequila
2 shot glasses of orange juice
1/2 shot glass of grenadine syrup
1 slice orange, for garnish
1 maraschino cherry for garnish
Stir or shake together tequila and orange juice. Fill a chilled 12 ounce glass with ice cubes; pour in orange juice mixture. Slowly pour in the grenadine, and allow it to settle to the bottom of the glass (be patient). Garnish with a slice of orange, and a maraschino cherry.
In summary, let go of control and perfection. Make memories, and sip wine (or tequila sunrises!). Now go and put your 30 lb turkey in the fridge so it can begin to defrost!