I love the Holidays. And while I want to recreate and build on the memories of my childhood, I also want to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas. With the help of my mom, my experience, and other Mommy Bloggers out there, I have complied 15+ Hacks, Tips, and Tricks to Make Thanksgiving easier

Thanksgiving Hacks, Tips, Tricks, and Recipes

Posted on Posted in Household, Parenting, Recipes
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Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season evoke such a sense of nostalgia. Unlike Chandler Bing, I was fortunate enough to have a childhood with wonderful memories of family and good food. Though I want to recreate the memories of my childhood, the idea of cooking a feast with a two and three-year-old “helping” is enough to send me into panic mode. Of course, I’m happy to have them involved. I just don’t want to be intermittently fishing Cheerios out of the gravy while making sure my daughter isn’t adding more salt to any already well seasoned while trying to time and cook each dish properly. On top of it all, I want to enjoy the holidays as much as everyone else. Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so.

Thankfully, my momma taught me well. When it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas, she has shown me a few tips and tricks throughout my many years of watching her cook. I have learnt my own hacks along the way  and, also, elicited the help of some of the best bloggers out there. Here are our combined hacks, tips, tricks, and recipes for Thanksgiving or Christmas! Be sure to check out my Thanksgiving Pinterest Board for more 🙂

 

Prep

Start prep day(s) in advance: When it comes to prep, my mom always told me start days early. This year I made soup a few days ahead of time and froze it. The bread for stuffing can be cut well in advance and frozen too. Then I cut all my vegetables the day before. Kristen Hewitt of Mommy in Sports suggests making sides the night before like any casseroles and sweet potatoes. Then, bake them next day. She also bakes pies days beforehand and freezes them.

Plan your cook times outright by writing them down: Susie and Kate at Twitchetts have a simple printout to set your day up for success. See it here.

Remember, there’s no shame in delegating: When people offer to bring something, don’t worry about the polite, “You don’t have to.” Most people offer because the want to help. Take them up on it!

Super Simple Decor

I love the Holidays. And while I want to recreate and build on the memories of my childhood, I also want to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas. With the help of my mom, my experience, and other Mommy Bloggers out there, I have complied 15+ Hacks, Tips, and Tricks to Make Thanksgiving easier

Make a super simple centrepiece: Buy ornamental corn husks. Slowly unfold the cornhusks and then place them in a vase.

I love the Holidays. And while I want to recreate and build on the memories of my childhood, I also want to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas. With the help of my mom, my experience, and other Mommy Bloggers out there, I have complied 15+ Hacks, Tips, and Tricks to Make Thanksgiving easier
Surround the vase with gourds and you’ve got yourself a simple, festive looking centrepiece for under $4. We added our toilet paper roll owls for added embellishments.

Make stylish placemats: Even the kids can help with these gorgeous placemats (seen below) from Canadian Mom Eh!

 

I love the Holidays. And while I want to recreate and build on the memories of my childhood, I also want to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas. With the help of my mom, my experience, and other Mommy Bloggers out there, I have complied 15+ Hacks, Tips, and Tricks to Make Thanksgiving easier

 

Simple Food Hacks

Make soups creamy with pureed potatoes: Any soup you want to have a creamy consistency without the saturated fat of cream, pureed potatoes will do the trick!

Lock in the flavour and juiciness of your turkey: Growing up as the daughter of a butcher (and having to help out at Thanksgiving and Christmas every year), I cannot tell you how many times I heard the words, “425°F for the first hour. 375°F after that.” This will make for crispy skin on the outside and a moist turkey on the inside. Calculate your cook time by this measure: 10 minutes per pound for unstuffed turkeys and 12 minutes per pound for stuffed ones.

Thicken and flavour your gravy with cream of chicken soup: Campbell’s, for instance, is only 3% fat. But the flavour and consistency will make for tasty gravy without a lot of trouble. Just add some pan juices, bits of turkey, a little bit of chicken or turkey stock, and whatever spices you may have. Et volia! Simple delicious gravy!

If you’re making anything with squash, save the time peeling: Cut your squash in half lengthwise and place it face down on a greased pan. Cook into the skin is wrinkled and the squash is cooked through. Then spoon the squash out and prepare as desired!

 

Find all sorts of Thanksgiving tips, tricks, hacks, and recipes including simple decoration ideas, ideas on how to keep the kids busy during meal prep and more!

 

thanks-giving-tips

Activities to Keep The Kids Entertained

  • Set up an easy, fun game of pumpkin ring toss, pre-organize a scavenger hunt, or choose from the other wonderful kid-friendly Thanksgiving games from My Kids Guide.
  • Have the parent outside of the kitchen do a T is for Turkey Craft and/or a toilet paper or pinecone turkey seen here.
  • Sue Parke from Sparke Fitness recommends painting pumpkins with chalkboard paint, letting them dry, and then giving them to kids with chalk! Love this idea 🙂

 

Have a Plan for All Those Leftovers

  • With a very picky three-year-old, I cannot go too bold in flavours, that’s why I love this turkey stock recipe from Tales of Motherhood.
  • For ideas from turkey pizza to a casserole to taquitos are more, Canadian Mom Blog has you covered.

 

Not sure what to make? My Thanksgiving Pinterest board is jam packed with side dishes, desserts, and more!

Do you have any tips for the Holidays? Please share them below!

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26 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Hacks, Tips, Tricks, and Recipes

  1. Love Love Love those place matts!! And your little Owls look like a lot of fun to make too! I am totally taking you up on planning an activity for the kids to keep them busy. Since we always have on football and the little ones don’t care all that much about the game.

  2. These are fantastic tips! I think a big problem most of us have is learning how to delegate. People really do want to help. And if nobody offers, it never hurts to ask them. It takes so much stress off so we too can enjoy the holidays.

  3. Great post!! Delegating is the best because everyone is always asking how they can help and usually people just say they are fine, but really, there is always something to be done!

  4. We thankfully go to my parents’ friends house for Thanksgiving, so other than traveling 4 (or more, depending on traffic) hours, it isn’t much work for us! However, I did host a holiday meal for the Jewish New Year in September. We do it potluck style, so I delegate out other foods, prepped some things ahead and have my husband watch our daughter. Although she “helped” (i.e. made a mess!) me to make the traditional bread. It was surprisingly easy, though still quite a bit of work. Great tips, Alana!

  5. Loving these ideas. We will be visiting family this year, but with our need to put the little ones on Gluten Free diets I am planning to make 2 or 3 side dishes I know they will like that are gluten free to share and then also a couple desserts. Planning ahead of time is going to be a major help. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. I’m so excited that thanksgiving is so close!!!!! Best meal of the year! I cook dinner every year soooo maybe I will
    Just add some of these hacks into my day 😉

  7. Keeeeep meaning to comment on this one! Love love love the idea of making creamy soups with potato puree! Yum! Ps, thanks for the shoutout! I got that idea from a friend who was hosting Canadian Thanksgiving last year!

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