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Thanksgiving, Done Simply. For Real.

Thanksgiving already?!? But – but – we’re still trying to come up with creative Halloween recipes! As of this writing it’s two days before Thanksgiving and we’ve done nothing – nothing – whatsoever to prepare for a dinner for nine. Grocery shopping will have to happen after work; pies and rolls will be store-bought.

But even though we seem to say it every year, this year we really mean it: We’re going to spend this week in a Zen-like calm. No stress. Just simple. Focusing on what’s real. Surrounding ourselves with the good stuff and letting the complicated stuff go by the wayside.  Confidential to my family members: Stop snickering! It’s true!

How are we going to pull this off? Here are a few of our best ideas:

*Check out these handy, helpful and time-saving Thanksgiving tips from our chef friends at Simple Gourmet, who showed us a start-to-finish “Simple Thanksgiving” dinner. Sample time-savers: Put everything in shallow pans to speed up the cook time.

*Keep an emphasis on the plant-based foods with a “Plant Slant” Thanksgiving. Bonus: Your table will be so colorful you won’t need lots of fancy decorations.

*Go for “stress-less” side dishes. We love this recipe round-up from Priscilla of She’s Cookin because there are so many beautiful dishes in here (and we’re proud to be included among them).

*Put the kids to work. If your kids are watching TV or playing video games while you’re getting the dinner ready, you’re not taking advantage of your built-in labor force! There are hundreds of kitchen jobs your kids could be doing to help you. (Even if they don’t want to cook, they can be making placecards or table decorations.) And they will probably – gasp! – have fun in the process.

*Skip the fancy table decor. Yes, in our dream world we’d spend our days designing gorgeous tablescapes. But in the real world, we just want to get good food on the table. Last year we covered the Thanksgiving table with heavy brown paper and we gave everyone markers to finish the phrase “I am thankful for…” and make whatever doodles they felt like making. Later we cut out the pieces and photographed them for our family year-end photo book.

*Do however much cooking you enjoy doing, and don’t feel bad about store-bought. Consider this curious fact from the Smithsonian: Before Norman Rockwell’s iconic Thanksgiving painting in 1943 – and particularly during the Gilded Age -  Thanksgiving was a holiday for going out to a restaurant or hotel for a sumptuous meal.

Feeling better now? Good. Now stop reading blogs and go enjoy Thanksgiving with your loved ones!

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2 Responses to Thanksgiving, Done Simply. For Real.

  1. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious November 26, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    Yes!

    • Jeanne November 26, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

      Your story inspired me, Dorothy!

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