September 18, 2011

Hostess Survivor Guide – Part 3

Hostess Survivor Guide to the Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner

This is Part 3 of my mini-series; Time Management.
Three to Four weeks before;
· Making your guest list and Inviting people 

· Making the Menu

· Making a List of ingredients

· Bake and Freeze
Baking and then freezing things that I need for Thanksgiving Dinner, like Pumpkin pies and  Butter horns.

· Room Décor

· Table Ware
Making sure that I have all the dishes, utensils, and glassware that I need to use for serving my meals and look for things that I need to buy.
Depending on your budget, you may like to buy new plates or just use what you have. Sometimes you might be able to refresh the look of your existing dinner ware, by just getting a set of new plates or bowls in an accent color to mix and match by layering them with your existing plates, or use place warmes. It adds touch of elegance to your table. Buying a couple of new serving bowls or platters in coordinating colors is another way to spruce up your old dinner while adding color and texture to your table.

· Table cloth, Napkins and rings, and Place Name Cards

For table cloth, I personally like to use an off-white or light color damask table cloth and then accented with a colourful runner, and napkins. For an extra elegance I like to use cloth napkins with napkin rings. I like to check out everything that I have ahead of time and one month gives me unrushed time to buy what I need and to make things like napkin holders.

napkin-ring combo3
                                              Napkin Ring

One of my hobbies is to make cards; It’s one way to show off my creativity. I am so fortunate to have my daughter here....she came up with this lovely napkin rings using some of the technics used in cards making.   If you like to make them yourself, you can find instructions on my  daughter’s blog.

 Table Decor
When it comes to decorating your Thanksgiving table, I like to take my clues from nature. A few leaves, miniature pumpkins, a few votive candles and voila! It’s all done!  

Avoid using tall candles and center pieces. They block view of the people facing each other and can be in the way of food serving and not to mention the danger of being knocked over.

table-accent4                                                     Name Place Holder

To make this lovely pumpkin name place holders, follow the link

One week before;
· Shopping for grocery

Now that you have made your grocery list, time to get shopping. Buy all the pantry items from your list and also the turkey, as sometimes it is hard to find, the smaller sizes last minute, or just the right size you are looking for. As I mentioned before, I like to do all my grocery shopping in advance to avoid crowds, and to make sure, I find everything I need for my menu.

Four days before;
· Clean the house and vacuum

· Defrosting the Turkey

· Turkey; If frozen, needs a couple of days to thaw in the refrigerator. For every 4 pounds of turkey, you need to allow for 24 hours (1 day) of thawing time in a refrigerator or 30 minutes per pound in cold tap water.

 How much turkey do you need? 
The rule is 1 pound of uncooked turkey per person. That allows a generous serving for everyone.

Two Days before;
· Buy your fresh produce and dairy.
· Look for table cloth and iron it if it needs to and place it on the table. Use an under pad to protect  
your wood.
· Bake the Pumpkin Cheesecake

One day before;
· Prepare Mushroom Stuffing,  when cool, place it in the fridge, (unless using store bought stuffing)
· Prepare Red cabbage sauté, when cool, place it in the fridge
· Prepare the mushroom gravy, when cool, place it the fridge. (unless you make it from drippings on the day off, after the turkey is roasted)
- Make the cranberry mold and leave it in the fridge overnight.
· Finish setting the table
· Check and make sure the ice maker is running
· Remove butter horns and Pumpkin Pies from the freezer to defrost.

Now that you have done all preparation well in advance, go to bed and rest so you are ready for your big day. Stay in touch for my final episode; part 4 - The Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner Day


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