With Thanksgiving around the corner you may be experiencing a high degree of stress. Especially, if months ago you made the decision that you wanted to host your entire family. That may have sounded doable in September but now between the long hours you’ve been putting in at work and taking care of the kids it seems that date has somehow snuck up on you. Before you start imagining what your mother-in-law will think if you burn the rolls or how you’re going to accommodate your nephew (who has recently decided to become a vegan) I want you to take a moment and breathe. Remember that Thanksgiving is just one day out of the year and appreciating your loved ones should come before making sure the cranberry sauce is perfect. So before you keel over with stress here are some helpful ideas to ensure your Thanksgiving runs smoothly.

Keep the menu simple:

For weeks you may have been collecting recipes from websites and magazines of elaborate dishes that sparkle and shine but are nearly impossible to make. No one really cares if oysters  are in their stuffing so put down Martha Stewart Living and choose a dish that is both easy to make and delicious! Remember not to weigh yourself down with too many dishes. Only prepare the basics. Fewer dishes mean less to clean up!

Mom’s Stuffing Recipe from simplyrecipes.com

This dish is not only wonderfully delicious it’s also very easy to prepare. This is one of my favorite stuffing recipes and if I can handle it, I’m sure you can as well. However, the recipe calls for homemade stock. If you feel compelled to try making your own from the neck and heart of a turkey go right ahead, but I can assure you that canned stock works just fine!

                       

Ingredients and directions found at: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/moms_turkey_stuffing/

 

 Holiday Spiced Sweet Potatoes

                One thing that I love about this recipe is that it can be prepared the night before. Having to make fewer dishes the day of will give you more space in the kitchen and allow you more time to spend with your family. Most notably recognized by their rich color and smooth texture sweet potatoes are a holiday favorite. If you don’t have a food processor handy, simply enlist the help of the kids and start mashing!

Ingredients and directions found at: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/holiday_spiced_sweet_potatoes_yams/

Green Beans with Shallots and Pancetta:

                Green beans make a great holiday dish because they are so versatile. If you don’t like Pancetta or don’t even know what it is (the first time I made these I had to Google it, no kidding) then you can easily substitute ham or bacon in its place. During the holidays it’s important to incorporate fresh vegetables into the menu in order to avoid a sugar and starch induced coma.

Ingredients and directions found at: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/green_beans_with_shallots_and_pancetta/

Make it a potluck:

Don’t hesitate to ask for help, especially when you need it. When preparing a menu focus on making a main course and only two or three well-made sides. You can also prepare a dessert depending on how many guests you’re expecting. As for the rest of the meal, encourage your guests to bring a dish or dessert. Why not allow those who love to cook the opportunity? Getting everyone involved in preparing the meal will add more variety to your Thanksgiving.

Get the kids involved:

Your kids will most likely be filled with uncontrollable energy or cranky from boredom on the day of. Rather than bundling them up and pushing them outside, leaving them to their own devices (however tempting this may be) consider involving them in the work. A great way is to engage them is with easy to make centerpieces and decorations. Not only will you be left with adorable crafts that your relatives can oo and ah over. It will also occupy their time so that you can get some work done!

Thanksgiving Turkey Place Card Holders from momitforward.com

These are easy to make and a great way to decorate your table! Making this craft involves small items so it’s a great way for your kids sharpen their fine motor skills but this also means that you should enlist the help of another adult to supervise them.

For necessary items and directions visit: http://momitforward.com/kid-friendly-craft-thanksgiving-turkey-place-card-holders

Teepee Centerpiece from Kaboose.com

This centerpiece is easy to make and allows children more creative expression by adding their own symbols and pictures to the teepees.

For necessary items and directions please visit: http://crafts.kaboose.com/teepee-centerpiece.html

 

Thanksgiving is about spending time with those loved ones you may not see regularly. It should revolve around enjoying good food with good people and stress or worry should be the furthest things from your mind. If you’re focus is on perfection rather than having fun chances are you will be headed towards disaster. By taking these three tips into consideration you can assure that your holiday will be enjoyable and stress free. And that really is something to be thankful for!

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