Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
I love traditional holidays. Not necessarily because of the traditions themselves, although they are meaningful, but because no one expects innovation. And no innovation means simple, because I’ve done it all before.
With the American Thanksgiving coming up at the end of the month, I thought I would share with you how I have simplified the big Thanksgiving dinner we have at our house.
One Holiday, One Menu
I love this part. Every Thanksgiving, my family knows exactly what to expect: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberries, rolls and pumpkin pie. Other dishes were tried and discarded. What remains are the family favorites. The menu stays the same from year to year, which leads to another simplicity: computerized recipes, directions and shopping lists.
Shopping Lists. A few years ago, I put the shopping list for all the dinner ingredients into my computer. Every year, I print out a fresh copy and I’m ready to go shopping. I print it out at the end of October and add a few on-sale items to my cart when I do regular shopping. That way I spread out the cost of the meal, as well as take advantage of seasonal sales.
Directions. The same year, I wrote down the timing for all dishes. I know exactly how long from when dinner will be served I need to start boiling potatoes, for example. This ensures that all the food makes it to the table at the same time, as well as nothing getting left behind (in the oven, for example, where it will turn into charcoal)
Recipes. All of my recipes for the dinner are in another computer file. When it comes time to cook, I just print out a copy. This saves time and effort on two fronts: I don’t have to hunt for recipes, and I don’t care if the recipes get covered in miscellaneous food substances during the cooking procedure.
I have basted a few turkeys in my time. What a waste of effort! I discovered Reynolds Cooking bags. You stick the turkey in, stick it in the oven, and at the end of the cooking time you have a turkey that is moist and falls off the bones.
I also simplify in another way: I make what I can ahead of time. The pies, rolls and green bean casserole are made up the day before.
By doing the above, I make Thanksgiving as stress-free as possible. I can easily add guests to our table with very little extra effort.
Photo by scubadive67