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The Turkey is Done!

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ThanksgivingTimeline

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, and the preparation in full effect, I get loads of questions about what can be made ahead of time, and what must wait until the day of. Here is the timeline that will help you to spread out the workload and manage your stress.

1-3 weeks ahead

  • Send out an invitation and confirm guests.
  • If your guests are contributing to the meal, send out a list of specifics that you need. I used Sign Up Genius this year and it was wonderful and very easy!

3-5 days ahead

  • Go grocery shopping for all of the items on your list.
  • Wash and iron table cloths and napkins
  • Clean the house.
  • Get wine
  • Defrost the turkey (depending on weight, some can take 3-5 days to thaw)

1 day ahead

  • Brine the turkey
  • Boil the giblets with any extra veggies you may have floating around in the fridge. Strain and reserve the broth for roasting the turkey.
  • Purchase and assemble any flowers for centerpieces.
  • Set the table
  • Make the stuffing, but do not bake it until tomorrow.
  • Chill white wine

Thanksgiving Day

  • Put the turkey in the oven.
  • Make mashed potatoes in the morning and then keep them in your crockpot on “warm” until you are ready to serve.
  • When the turkey is done and resting, make gravy
  • Cook any side dishes, including the stuffing.
  • Try to do as much of your prep-work early in the morning so that you can wash those pans and dishes before anyone arrives.
  • Run the dishwasher and empty it  and the sink prior to the meal so that when you start clearing the dinner dishes, you have somewhere to put them all.
  • Hint– ask guests to bring their own storage containers, or purchase some extra at the dollar store, and share the leftovers with all of your guests. This prevents food waste and helps to keep your own calorie indulgence to a minimum! No one needs to eat pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes for 4 days straight!
  • Take a moment and enjoy the meal! You worked hard to make it, so be sure to savor it!
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Testy about Tests

‘Tis the season for standardized tests. Those of you with school aged children, or those of us that teach them, understand that this is the time of year that schools put kids through the ringer with tedious standardized tests. Whether you are taking the PSSA’s, Terra Nova’s, ACT’s, SAT’s, PSAT’s, Elemeno P’s (just kidding), it is an exhausting endeavour. As a parent, there are a few things you can do to help your student.

First, ensure that they go to bed early and get a good night’s rest. A shower at bedtime may help them to relax and sleep well. Second, discuss any stress that they may be experiencing and keep the week’s schedule simple. We don’t want them focused on friend or family drama. Third, plan stress busting activities for afterschool free time. Surprise them with some new outdoor activities like jump ropes, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, water guns… Fourth, keep morning routines simple and free from chaos. Pick out cozy clothes the night before and pre-pack their backpack before bedtime. And finally, feed them well.

As your Food Fairy, and resident teacher, I have a few ideas for snacks and breakfast that will boost your learner’s testing energy.

Breakfast–

  • eggs– dippy, scrambled, omelets, or Quiche
  • bacon, sausage, or ham
  • oatmeal
  • cheese
  • yogurt with granola
  • pancakes
  • french toast

Snacks–

  • cheese stick
  • peanut butter crackers (be aware of your school’s allergy policy)
  • apple slices
  • granola bar
  • fruit like grapes, berries, or a banana
  • small crackers or pretzels

Foods to Avoid–

  • High sugar foods such as candy, cookies, soda, pies
  • Sugary cereals
  • Any foods that may upset their stomachs– (be wary of fiber bars that may make them have to “go” during testing)
  • caffeinated beverages

Here is a recipe that my daughter has requested for her testing mornings. I plan to make some things ahead so that they just need to be reheated in the morning 🙂 Good luck!!!

Hash Brown Quiche

**adapted from a Paula Deen recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups, shredded frozen hash browns, thawed and drained
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup cooked sausage crumbles, or bacon crumbles, or diced ham
  • 1/2 cup diced green onions (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Gently press the drained hash browns between paper towels to dry them as best as possible. In a 9-inch pie plate, toss the hash browns with the melted butter into the plate. Press them into the bottom and up the sides to form a crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and starting to crisp.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. When the hash brown crust is ready pour the egg mixture over it and return to the oven.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for about 30 minutes until the Quiche is light golden brown on top and puffed.

PS…This is also a favorite in my house for Christmas morning, and dinner on a cold rainy night.