Hosting the Perfect Thanksgiving From Decor to Cleanup

Hosting the Perfect Thanksgiving: From Decor to Cleanup

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, togetherness, and of course, a delicious feast. Whether you’re a seasoned host or preparing to host your first Thanksgiving gathering, there are several key aspects to consider.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through every step of the process, from decorating your home and planning the menu to setting the table, preparing the perfect turkey, and handling the post-Thanksgiving cleanup.

Thanksgiving Decor and Themes

a. Seasonal Decor

When it comes to setting the Thanksgiving mood, seasonal decor is essential. Here are some ideas to infuse your home with the spirit of fall:

  • Pumpkin Parade: Use pumpkins and gourds of various sizes and colors as table centerpieces or to adorn your porch.
  • Fall Foliage: Collect colorful leaves and branches from your yard or a local park to create charming garlands and wreaths.
  • Candlelit Warmth: Place scented candles in autumnal hues throughout your home to add a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

b. Thanksgiving Themes

Choosing a theme can make your Thanksgiving gathering even more memorable. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Harvest Feast: Embrace the abundance of the season with a harvest-themed gathering, featuring rustic decor and a focus on seasonal produce.
  • Pilgrim’s Progress: Transport your guests back in time with a Pilgrim-inspired theme, complete with traditional dishes and period-appropriate table settings.
  • Global Fusion: Explore the world of flavors by incorporating international dishes and decor from various cultures into your Thanksgiving celebration.

Menu Planning

a. Traditional vs. Non-Traditional Menu

Selecting the right menu is crucial to your Thanksgiving success. Consider these factors:

  • Traditional Delights: Sticking to classic dishes like roasted turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce can create a sense of nostalgia and comfort.
  • Creative Twist: Introducing unique and creative menu items, such as a gourmet macaroni and cheese or fusion-inspired side dishes, can add excitement and surprise to your meal.

b. Dietary Restrictions

Accommodating dietary restrictions is a thoughtful way to ensure all your guests can enjoy the feast:

  • Vegetarian and Vegan Options: Include meatless dishes like roasted vegetable platters, vegetarian stuffing, and vegan gravy to cater to plant-based diets.
  • Gluten-Free and Allergen-Friendly Choices: Label dishes that are gluten-free or allergy-friendly, and be mindful of cross-contamination during food preparation.

c. Preparing a Cooking Schedule

To avoid a last-minute kitchen frenzy, create a cooking schedule:

  • Countdown to Thanksgiving: Plan your cooking tasks for the days leading up to Thanksgiving, including what can be made in advance and what needs to be prepared on the day.
  • The Big Day: Outline a step-by-step guide for the day of Thanksgiving, specifying cooking times and temperatures, and designate helpers to assist with various tasks.

Setting the Table

a. Table Decorations

Elevate your Thanksgiving table with these decorative ideas:

  • Nature’s Bounty: Incorporate elements from nature, such as pinecones, acorns, and autumn leaves, into your centerpieces and table settings.
  • Personalized Place Cards: Create custom place cards for each guest to add a personal touch to your table.

b. Tableware and Serveware

Choosing the right tableware sets the tone for your Thanksgiving dinner:

  • Formal Elegance: Use fine china, crystal glasses, and silverware for a formal dinner.
  • Casual Charm: Opt for durable and stylish options for a more relaxed atmosphere.

c. Seating Arrangements

Strategically arranging your guests can enhance the social dynamics:

  • Mix and Mingle: Seat guests with similar interests or family connections together to encourage conversation.
  • Kid-Friendly Zone: Create a designated area for children with activities and age-appropriate seating.

Cooking and Food Preparation

a. Turkey Tips

The centerpiece of your Thanksgiving feast requires special attention:

  • Choosing the Right Turkey: Consider factors like size, fresh vs. frozen, and organic vs. conventional.
  • Brining and Roasting: Learn the secrets to achieving a juicy and flavorful turkey through brining and roasting techniques.

b. Side Dishes and Accompaniments

Complete your meal with mouthwatering side dishes:

  • Stuffing Secrets: Discover tips for making the perfect stuffing, whether you prefer it inside or outside the turkey.
  • Mashed Potato Perfection: Learn how to whip up creamy mashed potatoes, and explore variations like garlic mashed potatoes or sweet potato casserole.

c. Dessert Selection

End your Thanksgiving feast on a sweet note:

  • Pie Paradise: Offer a variety of pies, such as pumpkin, pecan, and apple, along with whipped cream and ice cream options.
  • Alternative Desserts: Consider serving non-traditional desserts like cheesecake, bread pudding, or a dessert bar with assorted treats.

Post-Thanksgiving Cleanup

a. Cleaning and Dishwashing Strategies

Efficiently tackle the post-feast cleanup:

  • Divide and Conquer: Enlist the help of family and friends to handle different aspects of cleaning, from washing dishes to clearing the table.
  • Use the Dishwasher Wisely: Load the dishwasher strategically to maximize space and ensure a thorough cleaning.

b. Leftover Storage

Don’t let those delicious leftovers go to waste:

  • Safe Storage: Properly store leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator to maintain freshness.
  • Repurpose Leftovers: Get creative with leftover recipes, like turkey sandwiches, soups, or turkey pot pie.

By following these tips and guidelines, you can host a Thanksgiving gathering that’s not only memorable but also stress-free. From the decor to the cleanup, each aspect plays a crucial role in creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for your guests to enjoy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Meal Planning Made Easy

Meal Planning Made Easy: Save Money, Reduce Waste, and Enjoy Delicious Meals!

Welcome to the world of stress-free meal planning! By adopting effective meal planning strategies, you can save money, reduce food waste, and make cooking a breeze. 

Whether you’re a busy professional, a student on a budget, or a passionate home cook, these tips will help you stay organized and create delightful dishes without breaking the bank.

1. Create a Weekly Meal Calendar

Start by planning your meals for the week ahead. Consider your schedule, dietary preferences, and the ingredients you already have. Designate specific meals for each day, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

Having a visual representation of your meals helps you stay on track and avoid last-minute, costly takeout orders.

2. Shop with a Detailed Grocery List

Once your meal calendar is ready, prepare a comprehensive grocery list based on the ingredients you need. Stick to the list while shopping to prevent impulsive purchases.

Buying only what you require reduces food waste and keeps your spending in check.

3. Embrace Seasonal and Local Produce

 Seasonal produce tends to be more affordable and fresher than out-of-season options. Check out local farmers’ markets for great deals on fruits, vegetables, and other products.

Supporting local vendors not only saves money but also benefits the community.

4. Utilize Store Sales and Discounts

Keep an eye on store flyers, digital coupons, and discounts to take advantage of the best deals. Plan your meals around discounted items to maximize savings.

Buying non-perishables in bulk during sales can also be a cost-effective strategy.

5. Cook in Batches

Preparing meals in batches is a game-changer for both time and money. Cook a large quantity of staples like grains, proteins, and sauces, and then mix and match throughout the week to create diverse meals.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer for future use.

6. Repurpose Leftovers Creatively

Don’t let leftovers go to waste! Instead, transform them into new dishes. For example, last night’s roasted vegetables can be added to a frittata or turned into a hearty soup.

Be creative and experiment with flavors.

7. Plan for “Flex” Meals

Leave room for flexibility in your meal plan. Designate one or two days a week for “flex” meals, where you can use up any remaining ingredients or enjoy a spontaneous dinner out.

This helps reduce food waste and keeps your plan adaptable.

8. Invest in Proper Food Storage

Invest in good quality food storage containers to keep your prepared meals fresh and safe.

Organize your fridge and pantry, placing items that need to be used soon in the front, so they don’t get forgotten and go to waste.

9. Make Cooking an Enjoyable Experience

Get the whole family involved in meal planning and cooking. Not only does it make the process fun and interactive, but it also instills good food habits in everyone.

Experiment with new recipes and cuisines to keep things exciting.

10. Track Your Progress

Keep track of your meal planning success, noting the money saved and the reduction in food waste.

Celebrate your achievements and continuously refine your planning to improve over time.

Final Thoughts

Effective meal planning is a powerful tool that can save you money, reduce food waste, and make cooking a pleasurable experience. By incorporating these tips into your routine, you’ll not only enjoy delicious and varied meals but also take a significant step towards a more sustainable and budget-friendly lifestyle. 

Happy meal planning and bon appétit!


Wine down Wednesday meets Cinco de Mayo… Which drink is going to win? ???

I was at a networking event last night my first face-to-face in over a year! Hello people!
Take a peek at my video to hear all about my wine down Wednesday.
Want to hear an epic tip I learned at this event?!?? 
There is a “lipstick saver” mask insert you can use to 
1. Save your lipstick and gloss from smudgeing 
2. if you wear glasses this prevents fogging
My mind is BLOWN! Check it out here: 
[15 PCS] 3D Face Mask Bracket Inner Support,Silicone Mask Inner Bracket for More Space Comfortable Breathing,Face Mask Insert Support Frame,Mask Cups[Washable][Reusable][White] 


Willie Meat! (Mississippi Pot Roast)

My neighbor called & told me he had a really good pot roast recipe and wanted me to try it… I was blown away at the taste and flavor! 
Of course I want to make it for my family which turned out to be a hit. The whole neighborhood now makes it, and the new name is now “Willie meat“. Yes, some people call it Mississippi pot roast, but not in our cul-de-sac 😂 We give props to the one who introduced us to this delicious recipe.
My family likes it served with buttered egg noodles, pouring the meat and liquid on top. Willie and his family love it with mashed potatoes I’ve even heard some people enjoying it with white rice. During keto or whole 30, I made some cauliflower rice to have with it. Long story short, it’s ALL good!! 
You must give it a try- I bet it will be your family favorite too. Let me know your thoughts! 
Air Fryer Chicken

The Constant Nags of My Pandemic Life: Dishes, Dinner and Laundry

Guys…. I feel like laundry, dishes, and dinner are my constant nags… EVERY day of my life! It’s intensified big time through this pandemic… My 2 #dulinboys eat SO MUCH, constantly!!!
So, when I catch a good recipe or a good tip to lighten that load, I hold onto them tight, and share them with you.
Here’s a #tiptuesday and a recipe Im obsessed with:
Tip Tuesday- Plan a food swap night with your neighbors: We coordinated that on Wednesday we all make 2x of the same dish. We then package one family’s helping to go for a neighbor. With this plan, we eat our own dish on Wednesday, but deliver a full dish to our friends for them to have a meal (that they didn’t have to make) on Thursday!
A key point to this plan…. make sure you have friends who know how to cook (even just a little LOL) And of course, make sure that you feel comfortable eating from their house. Other than those two stipulations, This sounds amazing!!
We have a tight group of moms in our neighborhood, the #sisterwives who I’m doing this with. I’ll update you on how it’s going over the next few weeks!
RECIPE: I made this dish last night, and it was showstopper!! EVERYONE, I repeat, EVERYONE loved it! Super easy and a great add into the weekly meal collection
I made it with pasta and sauce for the boys, and sautéed zucchini for me. I also included a little caprese salad, because YUM!
I have no helpful tips for Laundry or dishes this week… they continue to be the bane of my existence. If you have any tips to add, comment below!.
chicken pot pie

Meal Planning

As we wrap up January, I wanted to share a technique that gives me so much calm during the week at dinner time… meal planning 💪🏻

I hate the feeling at 2pm on said weekday of “what am I making for dinner? Do I have the ingredients? Do I have to go to the store?” All of that is eliminated when I plan on Sunday for the week! Here’s my tips to a seamless meal plan:

  1.  Check the grocery store flyer for sales
  2. Pinterest ideas based on the protein on sale
  3. Think about what your kids will actually eat 😂😂
  4. Plan easy meals for the evenings that are busier, and more “homey” meals for less chaotic evenings.
  5. Incorporate the slow cooker or instant pot at least 1x week!
  6. Have a go to list of dinners that your family loves, to refer back to!
  7. Try and grocery shop only 1x week- guys SUCH a time and $ saver!!  

    Have any tips to add? Hope this helps with YOUR weekly planning ❤️