Thanksgiving To Do List: Two Stuffings, One Dry Brined Turkey & As Many Cranberries as Possible

by Lian on November 21, 2011

I just can’t help myself.  I’m attempting a “casual” Thanksgiving this year, with some formalities giving way to convenience. We are headed  out of town early Friday morning for a soccer tournament, so hauling all (my mother’s) china out of the basement has zero appeal. (It’s not the hauling out, it’s the putting back that I dread.) So does the thought of lots of leftovers, extensive furniture moving and tracking down doilies.  But declaring a “casual” Thanksgiving and actually staying “casual” are two different things! Here is my Trimmed Down but Not Out To Do List.


Get the Bird. Or, as we always say in our family, The Boiyd. My fridge is empty, clean and waiting for the Bird to begin the Dry Brine Process. This year’s brine: Sea Salt; Lemon Rind;  Rosemary & Thyme. I was going to go yesterday, but a heavy  rain storm dampened y enthusiasm for a giant shopping trip. Today is bright, sunny and perfect Turkey weather.

Commit to the Two Stuffing Menu I was going to only make one stuffing, a traditional Sage and Sausage. Then, I unpacked my treasure trove of Thanksgiving recipes and back-issues of Bon Appetit and Gourmet and there was my fave Artichoke & Sausage stuffing. How can I not make that? There’s casual and then there’s wasting an opportunity to eat artichokes.

Stock up on Cranberries In whole fruit, cocktail, and sparkling form.  In sauces, chutney and confit. Where there are Dolans, there must be cranberries. It’s our family’s official fruit. It we had a family seal, it would include a Cranberry. (And a Honeybaked ham.)  Are we clear? Never too many cranberry items at a Dolan Thanksgiving.

Squeeze in as Many Cardio Classes Between Now & Thursday at Noon I have my calendar marked with Zumba, BodyFit, Tabata and more. My mother in laws Cranberry Crisp is worth a two-a-day regime! And did I mention the two stuffing menu?

What’s on your Countdown to Thanksgiving? Who’s hosting? Guesting? Eating out? What’s your plan for the week. Let me know.

Embracing my Chaos, Lian






Lian November 29, 2011 at 8:31 AM

apple and leek compote sounds delish, T3Zoo!Lian

Beckett Graham November 23, 2011 at 6:33 PM

The big extended-family Thanksgiving has been moved to Saturday to accommodate some medical people’s schedules… SO…. rather than have another traditional Thanksgiving dinner on the day itself, we’re having….


Does this sound like a sit-com episode? We’re really kind of looking forward to it. It will be the first time we can watch the parade instead of someone making us turn over to the football. Whoo hoo!!

Kristin November 23, 2011 at 2:35 PM

Prepping by spending the week with my parents, where my mother will not allow me to help much. That being said, she is helping me tremendously, by watching the kids while I run, allowing for dates with my husband, and letting me sleep in. I am blessed to not have to travel tomorrow and am thankful for the new wireless my husband set up for my parents. May the whole Chaos Crew enjoy, whether it be around a family table or making reservations.

T3zoo November 22, 2011 at 8:34 PM

I’ll admit it; I’ve been cooking for a week. We usually have Thanksgiving at my house and we have a ridiculous number of dishes no matter how many guests are expected. Last night I felt like I’d lost my mojo and didn’t think I’d get everything done. I’m not finished yet but tonight I kicked it into high gear and baked an apple pie, two pumpkin pies, a pecan pie, and a pumpkin cheesecake. Also picked up my turkey. Whew! Tomorrow after work I will make my stuffing, sweet potatoes, and my signature dish, apple and leek compote. And set the table, and clean up, and change the towels, ack!! Craziness!!!

Happy Thanksgiving Crew!!!

Cyndi November 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

I’m all for casual. And tradition. But mostly casual so I say make it a comfortable day for you and for those around you with a slight nod to tradition. We can make our own tradition, right?

When you mention hauling your mother’s mother’s china out of the basement and putting it back (the dreaded part as you say) I have to ask … why do we torture ourselves? It’s great to uphold tradition but it’s also valid to ask why we need THAT china. ( and why we are storing it in the basesment. tiring, eh?) Maybe next time, do your own thing with placeware and bring out a few pieces of your mother’s china.

Ultimately, we need to gather as a family, eat because it’s social and enjoyable and so we can be thankful and all of that.

I always enjoy the podcasts around Thanksgiving – you and all of your sisters make me understand the big family dynamic when it comes to holidays. Thanks for the fun and Happy Thanksgiving to all of the sisters!

Linda Sue November 22, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Had my first “casual” Thanksgiving at my ex-sister-in-law’s. Her idea of casual was paper plates, white paper plates.

Happy Thanksgiving all!!!

William J. November 22, 2011 at 7:41 AM

My sister is in Dallas for the holidays. My Nephew invited his family to Mom’s house for Thanksgiving. Mom really isn’t physically able to cook. So I am the cook for Thanksgiving for eight folks. I am planning a Pepto Bismol based salad dressing and an Alka Seltzer based cocktail. I bought a really nice honey baked ham and although sometimes I am amazed at the levels I achieve I don’t think even I can screw up cooking the ham. They have good directions and for the first time in my life I plan on reading directions. Scalloped potatoes is on the agenda, throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl, put them in the oven and stand back. I’ve cooked a green bean casserole before so I am good there. Nephew is bringing desert.

Off to polish the bachelor’s china (paper plates).


Sunshine November 21, 2011 at 3:49 PM

My son is a fantastic cook who says he doesn’t need us to bring anything!
I am only assisting with the Pecan Pie this year. Still haven’t decided if I will bake it at home, or take the ingredients to make it fresh on Thursday.
We will join the millions of travelers on the highways. Just hoping the snow predicted is not heading toward Baltimore.

Happy Thanksgiving!
(Is it even possible to change the tradition, i.e. casual, dress down, sides? We never could pull that off when my mother was here.)

Pat Ledoux November 21, 2011 at 1:48 PM

We are eating out this year. I am not exactly crazy about the idea, but none of the children could travel to Florida for Thanksgiving. (I always make it clear that if they can only do one of the winter Holidays, I would rather it be Christmas.) We have a large group of friends in the same boat, and I just could not get up the enthusiasm to offer to cook, and no-one else did, either. So, reservations it is. Who knows, I may find it is the way to go!

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