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11.18.2014

Fab Everyday Low-Stress Thanksgiving Menu and Shopping List


Fab Everyday is all about finding the right kind of balance in your life in order to live fabulously.  People often ask how I "do it all," or refer to me as a "super mom."  The reality is that I don't do it all.  My secret to being able to incorporate fabulous into my everyday life is that I prioritize the things that are important to me, and am comfortable letting go of the rest.  What I may need to feel fabulous may be different for someone else.  I encourage my readers and friends to identify what it is they would really love - what would give them joy in their everyday life - and to make it happen.  It could be by DIY'ing, finding a good deal, or giving up one thing in order to have the time, energy, or funds for the thing you really do want.

I am leading with all of this in today's blog post because the same prioritization is important when hosting a big meal, like Thanksgiving.  When hosting Thanksgiving, it is easy to get overwhelmed due to the pressure to do it all perfectly, a la Martha Stewart.  However, it is still possible to have a fabulous, stunning meal with less stress.  Like I said above, it is all about priorities, and fabulous can be attainable.  A big way to make things easier on yourself for Thanksgiving is to think about what you really want to make from scratch vs. what can be purchased store-made.  We don't need to "slave away" to have a great meal.

That being said, here is my Thanksgiving menu for this year for your inspiration.  I have also included a shopping list.  You can see exactly where I am choosing to put my effort, as well as the areas I am OK with going the easy route.  And you know what?  My family and guests will love it, despite not making everything from scratch.  Feel free to customize this based on your own favorite recipes and components that are important for you to make from scratch.

All of these recipes I have made before and can vouch for.  Click the links to get the recipes.

Fab Everyday Thanksgiving Menu

* Can be cooked in advance
(P) Can be prepped in advance

Thanksgiving Grocery Shopping List
  • Meat
    • Whole roasting turkey
    • Bacon
  • Produce
    • Onions (5)
    • Leeks (2)
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Fresh thyme
    • Parsley
    • Red bell pepper
    • Button mushrooms (1 lb.)
    • Green beans (1.5 lbs.)
    • Shallots (4)
    • Potatoes (5 lbs.)
    • Green onions
    • Garlic
    • Spinach
  • Dairy
    • Unsalted butter (3 sticks)
    • Butter (3 sticks)
    • Whipped cream
    • Milk
    • Parmesan cheese (1 c.)
    • Cream cheese (2- 8 oz. pkgs.)
    • Half and half
    • Smoked gouda (2 oz.)
    • Eggs
    • Shredded American or cheddar cheese (2 c.)
    • Crumbled feta cheese (8 oz.)
  • Baking/Cooking
    • Course salt (3 c.)
    • Sugar (8 c.)
    • Bay leaves
    • Cheese cloth
    • Brown sugar (or Truvia Brown Sugar Blend if you are cutting calories)
    • Mini marshmallows
    • Vegetable oil
    • Baking mix
    • Vanilla extract
    • Chopped pecans (3/4 c.)
    • Semi-sweet chocolate (3 oz.)
  • Canned/Other Dry
    • Dry white wine
    • Canned cranberry sauce
    • Jarred turkey gravy
    • Brown-and-serve bread rolls
    • Pumpkin pie
    • Bread crumbs
    • Can sweet potatoes (29 oz.)
    • Elbow macaroni
    • Boxed stuffing mix
    • Canned pumpkin (29 oz.)
    • Tortilla chips
    • Mayonnaise
    • Jarred pimentos (2 oz.)
    • Can chopped artichoke hearts

Note: this list does not include basic spices and seasonings that you probably already have on hand (i.e. salt, pepper, nutmeg, etc.).  

Tips for a Fabulous Thanksgiving (without the Stress)
  • Make-ahead or prep what you can in advance. There is a lot of cooking going on the morning of Thanksgiving, so bake desserts the days before and prep the casseroles in advance so all you need to do is pop them in the oven on Thanksgiving.
  • Be mindful of timing and temperature for things that need to cook in the oven.  Write down your menu items in a list along with oven temperature and cooking time.  I then like to organize my cooking order on Thanksgiving day by the oven temp for each recipe (start with those that need to bake on 350, then 375, etc.).  This saves time in between meals for pre-heating or cooling the oven to different temperatures.  Some things may also be able to cook at the same time.  Having multiple timers is helpful in this case.
  • Remember that the turkey takes a lot of time.  Like, days.  So be prepared.  If frozen, the turkey will need to defrost for several days. Per the recipe I use, it also needs to brine for 24 hours, following by sitting at room temp for two hours prior to several hours of roasting. 
Happy cooking, and here's wishing you a fabulous Thanksgiving!

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