Lets get serious

Making a list and checking it twice isn’t just for Christmas. Any time a big dinner like Thanksgiving rolls around, or for that matter any time we entertain, I always work from a list. It just makes life simpler. Not that my list system is foolproof, Michael will tell you it’s not, but most catastrophies are minimized. Here’s how it works:
First, I go through my recipes to select a menu. Sometimes the menu is dictated by tradition, like Thanksgiving, and sometimes it’s more seasonal, like a summer barbecue. This year Emily is cooking the main meal at her house and we are bringing some of the sides and deserts. I pulled my recipes for Broccoli Casserole, Cornbread Dressing, Pecan Cheesecake Pie, and White Wheat Refrigerator Rolls. Reading the recipes, I noted that in order to make the dressing I would also need to bake a recipe of Iron Skillet Cornbread and some White Wheat Biscuits well in advance to let the breads go stale.
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Next, it was time to prepare my shopping list. I sat down with the printed recipes and made a list of all the ingredients and the quantity needed, grouping the quantity of common items, like eggs for example. I found I would need a total of 10 eggs for all of the selected recipes. I compared the items on this master list with what I had on hand and came up with my shopping list. Since I had a general idea of what I might be cooking for Thanksgiving, many of these ingredients were purchased ahead, ideally as they came on sale. I added a pumpkin pie to the bottom of the list, since pumpkin pie is mandatory at Thanksgiving but I’m not good at baking them.
With my shopping list done I moved onto the next task, scheduling my time. Sometimes, scheduling time is both the hardest to plan as well as the hardest to execute. I try to build in a little blank time so my Sticky Menu Plan has room to slide.  I try to have the bulk of my ingredients on hand well in advance, but with produce fresh is best, and that’s where it gets tricky.  I do not like fighting the  pre-holiday crowds at the grocery store.  Monday is my compromise day for a final shop.  Most of the produce is cooked into other dishes by Wednesday, so it’s not too far a stretch.
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I leave as few tasks as possible for Thursday, but there is always something left to do. Fresh is best. Happy Turkey Day!
Be thankful for what life gives you.

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