Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Freak Out

There has been only one Thanksgiving holiday that I have not spent with my parents. This year will be the second. Matt and I decided that 20 hours in a car (10 hours each way) with our three kids through the mountains is just something we are not up for, especially since we will be doing it next month for Christmas. I have to admit, it was more my decision than Matt's. With how busy we have been and how busy we will be the next few months, I just want to stay home and relax for a few days. No running around, no pressure. I hope it was the right decision.

I have offered to host Thanksgiving dinner with two of my neighbor's and their families. None of us have family nearby so we have decided to be each others family for the holiday. Thursday I will be cooking for 14 people. And now that it is just two days away, I am starting to freak.

I have my menu all set and today I went shopping for all the ingredients.

Sausage Cheese Balls
Stuffed mushrooms

Turkey (duh!)
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Green bean casserole
Corn casserole
Sweet potato casserole
Homemade cranberry sauce

Pumpkin pie
Caramel pecan cheesecake
Chocolate Crack
Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

I have never cooked a meal like this all by myself. Sure I have done parties, but that is much easier than a formal type meal. Plus in Illinois we had a double oven. Here we have one. And that is reserved for my 22 pound turkey. So now I am premaking all the dishes and running them to the neighbors to cook. Plus I have no decorations.

I am not a holiday decorator so if anyone is expecting a stuffed turkey or cornucopias with pretty leaves they will be disappointed. And how about tableware. I have our regular everyday plates (8 place settings) and then plastic plates for the kids. It is either our everyday stuff (We only own 2 place settings of china so that option is out) or we eat off of the Dora and Diego paper plates Sami suckered me into buying. And I don't have a gravy boat. In fact I hate gravy. So what do I serve gravy in?

I love to cook and bake. Love love love. But I am not a formal party host. I am better at a beer and burger type of function than a formal dinner. So I am a bit nervous.

Any tips or easy decoration ideas? Send them my way! And don't worry, my digital camera battery is all charged and ready to take lots of pictures.


Jamie said...

You will be fine and it will all be delicious. And don't worry about no formal table settings and decorations. Anyone who really knows you and loves you would know not to expect all that. They are there for the friendship and food. To reflect on their Thankfulness to even have a friend like you who would invite them all to you house on Thanksgiving than to expect what your not. You are a "You get what you see" kind of gal and that's why everyone likes you so !!

Have a great day

Deborah said...

sounds like a great meal! I wouldn't worry about the place settings - it is all about the company (and the food)!

and, you can serve gravy out of a big measuring cup.

Happy Thanksgiving. :)

Michelle Pendergrass said...

We're cooking at our house, too. I've had more practice, though, this isn't the first time.

Crock pots are very valuable, call the neighbor gals and borrow theirs. Stuff (veggies and the like) can be warming and moved to serving bowls at the last minute. Or, if you're like our family, we eat buffet style and just leave everything where it is.

I didn't do gravy until Phil and he even taught me how to make it! I like it now. I don't have a gravy boat either, but I have this batter bowl that I serve the gravy in. Or just a good sized bowl with a ladle.

You'll have to post lots of pictures!!

SuperMom said...

I bet you'll do a great job-- and have fun in the process!

I've never hosted Thanksgiving, but I have hosted big holiday meals quite a bit and things that have helped me:

* prior to the day dedicate a serving bowl and spoon for each dish. You can lay it all out to see if it works prior to the day, even. Even if you set a buffet, I still like to use my best serving dishes to make the buffet area look beautiful.

* I always write out a very detailed menu, which it looks like you've already done. After that I always prepare a schedule (i.e. the turkey needs to sit for thirty minutes, so at that point stick in sweet potato casserole [BTW- are you still looking for a recipe? I just made mine last night and it was easy and delicious) and corn pudding and then start the pan dripping gravy).

*No fancy centerpieces required. My favorite standby is just a simple flower arrangement.

Take pictures, have fun and HAPPY THANKSGIVING! :)

it's me, Val said...

But the formal decorations are the FUN part! That's what I loooooove about formal parties, or any sort of parties! What advice do you want??:)

We're having Thanksgiving here but thankfully it's not formal. We'll have 10 kids. You know me. That's really scary for me! I'm just not a kid person!

And gravy, just put it in a pretty ceramic bowl. That's what I do :)

it's me, Val said...

I am making sweet potato suffle. It's been in the family forever if you want it. It's soooo easy but sooooooo sooo yum.

Tracey said...

Seriously, get thee to a Target tonight and buy a roaster! Something like this: (sorry, can't figure out how to make a shorter link!) Throw the turkey in it and it frees up your oven for the side dishes.
Good luck! I'm having my first Turkey day tommorow too, but my mom's the only one coming and I can throw a frozen pizza in if I screw the meal up!

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