The Thanksgiving Dinner can be a challenge for even the best of us. Let’s face it, Thanksgiving is a feasting holiday. This is the dinner your guests have been waiting all year to enjoy. And to top that off, it seems that reviews of past years’ prize winning pies or failed attempt at biscuits are remembered… year after year.
I am sharing with you my Thanksgiving Countdown – Vegan. Honestly, not having to deal with baking a turkey, makes this holiday a breeze! And very much appreciated by the turkeys. I enjoy planning and preparing for holiday dinners. Prepping ahead keeps me stress free and on schedule. However, all the planning, list making and scheduling cannot completely control the flow of life. Therefore, I set aside my perfectionism and get out of my own way.
Keep your menu simple and combine your family traditional favorites with new ideas and recipes. I’ll be posting my favorites this month and sharing ideas and tips along the way.
2018 Thanksgiving Countdown
Friday, 11/2: Prepare guest list and confirm your seat count through the weekend.
Saturday, 11/3: Plan your menu taking into account any dishes your guests may bring. Begin clearing up freezer space for make-ahead dishes to freeze.
Check pantry for ingredients on hand. Old spices should be replaced along with baking soda and baking powder. Start the holiday season with fresh baking ingredients and clear out unused products to make room for new. Also check your baking and cooking supplies for roasting pans, serving platters and bowls. Stock up on candles, inventory your bar, check linen napkins and tablecloth and start thinking about your table centerpiece. Natural items are my favorite; mini pumpkins and gourds, herbs and branches. Don’t forget to turn your clocks back one hour before you go to bed!
Monday, 11/5: Create shopping lists. Purchase non-perishable items first and those ingredients to prep dishes ahead to freeze such as vegetable broth, pie dough, desserts and breads. The last list will have fresh items such as your veggies to buy a few days before Thanksgiving.
Thursday, 11/8: Shop for non-perishable items and ingredients for prepping food to freeze this weekend.
Friday, 11/9: Enjoy a wine tasting evening selecting your favorite wine for Thanksgiving dinner. A sparkling Prosecco is nice to offer with appetizers as well as selecting an after dinner liqueur.
Saturday 11/10: Prepare your pie dough. If making a single crust pies, roll out the dough, lay it into the pie plate and freeze. Prepare a rich vegetable broth to later use for sautéing vegetables or flavoring recipes by replacing the use of plain water. Quick breads can be made and frozen. Apple pies are good to make ahead and freeze. (Place the frozen pie on foil lined cookie sheet to catch any run over from juice. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 degrees for approximately 35-45 minutes.)
Tuesday, 11/13: Organize your recipes and prepare your cooking timeline noting when dishes need to begin cooking so that everything will be done on time.
Saturday, 11/17: Clean and prep your home. If having house guests, change sheets and towels. Remember to pick up fresh flowers for their room next week. Pull together a pampering basket for the bath.
Select your baking dishes making sure several can fit in your oven at the same time. Press linens and napkins.
Monday, 11/10: Shop for perishables. Make your cranberry sauce.
Tuesday, 11/20: Defrost vegetable stocks, quick breads, pie dough and any desserts you’ve made ahead. Homemade vegan “stuffing” normally requires stale bread; cut and cube your bread placing them on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Either leave out to dry or place in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes. Bag up to store.
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.