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Must-Haves for Thanksgiving Success

Whether you’re hosting your first or twentieth Thanksgiving, this list of essentials will ensure you get to enjoy family and cooking time, instead of last minute grocery store visits.

Baking Prep

I’ve been lobbying to host my family’s Thanksgiving in Austin for as long as I can remember. Last year, I finally succeeded because I was due with my son a few weeks after the holiday and couldn’t travel. To keep things simple, we opted to enjoy the Whole Foods Market® turkey meal for four from the prepared foods department. This year, I get to host again and I’ll be making all the food myself (with my 11 month old under foot all the while!).

How do I plan to stay sane, get it all done and enjoy myself while doing it? By developing one of my now-famed dinner party itineraries, of course! While some friends tease me for the intense detail, most marvel at how easy my plans are to follow. The result? A stress-free execution of what might otherwise have been a daunting endeavor.

After deciding on a menu (yes, we will have two different kinds of stuffing — Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing and Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing with Walnuts), a detailed shopping list is a must. Here are some affordable essentials that are already on my list:

  • Broth. I stock up on Pacific Organic Turkey Broth to make gravy and stuffing. I appreciate that it’s 5-Step® Animal Welfare Rated. I also keep 365 Everyday Value® Organic Vegetable Broth in my pantry for any vegetarian or vegan guests.

  • 365 Everyday Value® Organic Unsalted Butter. It’s amazing how much butter goes into a Thanksgiving dinner! Use it to brown mushrooms, make piecrusts and flavor stuffing. Also grab some salted butter for hot, fresh rolls.

  • 365 Everyday Value® Organic Cranberries. Without a doubt, grab an extra bag. Everyone has their own favorite sauce recipe they’ll want you to make.

  • Frontier Co-Op Uganda Vanilla Extract. The bold flavor with floral and creamy notes elevate any baked good, not to mention 1% of sales supports microloans in Uganda through Whole Planet Foundation®, which is something to be thankful for!

  • 365 Everyday Value® Crispy Onion Salted Pieces. Because regardless of whether you love traditional green bean casserole, someone will demand the crispy onions at least for snacking while cooking!

  • 365 Everyday Value® Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Non-Stick Cooking Spray. You don’t want to run out and have the decadent sweet potato marshmallow topping sticking to the foil. Cooking spray to the rescue!

Generous and well-intentioned guests can also throw a wrench in the best-laid plans. I keep these things available to keep things running smoothly:

  • 365 Everyday Value® Real Dairy Light Whipped Cream for topping a surprise pie or dessert (bonus points if you have fresh mint or sage to garnish the pie!)

  • A few extra serving platters and spoons, clean and easily accessible so that guests’ offerings can be re-plated to match the meal’s theme and décor.

  • Oven space, because someone likely brought a side that quickly needs to be warmed up.

  • A vase and space for a lovely hostess gift of flowers.

What ingredients or recipes are your must-haves for Thanksgiving success?

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