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Thanksgiving top tips

posted Nov 2, 2018, 8:58 AM by Ryan Wheeler
It's officially turkey month! One of our favorites here at Duck's and though we are barely over the sugar rush of Halloween it's time to start prepping for the day of thanks. This year it comes early so there are fewer than 3 weeks to prepare and that's the key word here, prepare! We all know that the holidays can stressful from guests lists and locations to menus and center pieces there's so much to think about so we compiled a list of our top thanksgiving tips to help so you can sit back and enjoy the the big day.

Tip 1 - Prepare. We said it before and we'll say it again. Grab your pen and paper or open up that spreadsheet and get planning. If you have it documented you are more likely to follow it. If you are hosting thanksgiving it important to first decide on a guest list. You cannot begin to plan to feed people if you do not know how many you are feeding and importantly if anybody has dietary restrictions. So prep that guest list early.

Tip 2 - Menu. Thanksgiving relies on a great meal right? So think about a menu in advance. I recommend planning sides and assigning various guests to a particular dish, that way you know you have everything covered and no double ups. Consider your storage and cooking space also, it's easy to plan a great feast and then realize you do not have the space to accommodate. I also like to remember that it's ok to ask guests to store and bring items. Once you have your menu for the main event think about the surrounding days. Personally we like to treat ourselves to a take out the night before, it's keeps your kitchen free and clean ahead of a big cooking day. If you have guests staying with you it's great to have grab and go breakfasts available too. We love Bagels and various spreads for this.

Tip 3 - The Turkey. Buy early. Thaw early. Know your method! More than anything, I recommend keeping those in mind. Believe it not they can sell out. Know what size bird you want and order it ahead or purchase early. If you have a frozen turkey be sure to begin the bog thaw at least 4 days in advance. You should always cook your turkey from thawed. Everybody has their preferred method, oven roasted, smoked, deep fried. Whatever your choice, know your process and timing. Go into the morning knowing exactly when you want to put your turkey in and for how long. You can pre-stuff and season. Brine or not. Do what your taste desires, just know what it is in advance.

Tip 4 - Food Prep Day. Many foods can be prepped and even cooked in advance so start a day or two ahead. Chop some veggies, make pastries and pie fillings, chill the wine and even have a sip or two! Invest in some great tupperware (you will not be sorry) that seals well and stacks neatly in your fridge. Grab sticky labels so you don't have to drag everything out to tell what it is, even stack things in the order you need them in for the big day. It will make things run more smoothly and help you to feel more organized and relaxed. Some things can even be cooked in advance. Casseroles tend to store and reheat well, just hold off on the crunchy topping until the big day.

Tip 5 - House prep. This one, I find, depends on whether or not you have young kids in the house. Cleaning and table setting ahead of time are great, however, you typically don't want a table set beautifully with you finest china ready for 5 days in advance when you have toddlers running around....your china may not survive! Focus on the rooms your guests will see. Keep decorations simple and fun and heck! Use paperware if you choose. It's great for a quick clean up and many brands are recyclable.

Tip 6 - Choose your outfit and YOUR favorite drink. You may be the host but that doesn't mean it's not your day to enjoy also. So pick an outfit that you feel great in and make sure there is plenty of your favorite treat, whether it be apple cider, wine, hot chocolate, beer or anything else. Once your guests arrive everything will come together. Conversation will flow, stories of thanks will warm hearts and togetherness will create smiles and memories for years to come.

Whatever you choose for the big day, have fun and enjoy the time with your loved ones. It's easy to get wrapped up tasks so don't forget to take a breath, look around and enjoy being in the moment. Give thanks to those around around you, then stop and give thanks to yourself. Life isn't always easy but we can all find something or somebody to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll!
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