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?