I am always a little tearful when it’s time to pack away the Halloween decorations. Bittersweet is probably the best way to describe how I feel because It’s one of my most favorite holidays ever; yet I know there is more holiday cheer around the corner. Now that Halloween has come and gone like every year, it’s time to put my game face on. There’s no turning back now. Family, feasting & festivities here we come.
Two years ago was my first time solely responsible for out families Thanksgiving Dinner, talk about pressure. I had never gut or stuffed a bird in my life before and lets not forget about the endless side dishes with all kinds of demanding ingredients, tons of prep work and all needing to be baked at different temps and times. My head was completely spinning out of control. What happened if I burned the bird? Or every one thought it didn’t taste good? Seriously overwhelmed, but with plenty of notice (I always make a point of planning ahead) and being the obsessive compulsive organizer / list maker that I am, channeled my inner Stepford Wife and made some plans.
I jumped in full steam ahead. Browsing Martha Stewart, Ina Garten and of course Julia Childs books for recipes on how to make the tastiest bird and have timely and fantastically tasting side dishes. I even came across my Real Simple Magazine and it had an amazing fool proof plan on what to make before the big day and how to manage my timings to cook everything. I even went to the market the Sunday before Thanksgiving and enjoyed a less crowded and stressful shopping experience.
I followed my Real Simple article on “The Full Proof Thanksgiving Day Feast”. Woke up early to put our massive bird in the oven -went back to bed for a few hours- started working on sides that needed to be the day of and prepared and nice green colorful salad, cleaned up and organized the kitchen as I finished each project. My husband set the table (have to make everyone feel included), put the pre made sides that could be easily warmed up in the oven while the bird cooled and we could carve for a beautiful presentation. Only thing left was to serve cocktails and present this fabulous meal. Which by the way even my mother in law praised me for, I won’t know if she actually meant it or she was just so happy not be cooking for once. (Just kidding mom I love ya). This year I am back in the kitchen preparing the feast for the family, except this year I would like to go a little smaller on the meal, less leftovers and be able to pay for the person behind me in line’s groceries. We won’t have as many guests at the dinner table this year and who honestly needs all that extra food anyways? I will be on two photo shoots like 3 days after wards and won’t have time to eat myself into a coma. Plus we are pretty healthy family of eaters and Christmas too is not to far away, so another excuse to eat again!