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We are just a couple of weeks away from Thanksgiving! Do you usually host dinner? It can seem like a daunting challenge, especially if it is your first time doing so. We've compiled a list of ten of our favorite Thanksgiving Day tips to help make the big day less stressful!

 

Top Ten Thanksgiving Day Tips

 

1Remember that it can take DAYS for a turkey to thaw. It all depends on the size of your bird. The general rule of thumb is 4lbs per day. That means a 16 lbs turkey could take up to 4 days to thaw! Be prepared.

 

2Don’t be afraid to accept help. The wonderful thing about Thanksgiving is that it can (and should be) a potluck! Traditionally the host is responsible for the turkey and gravy. Allow others to bring sides, a salad, wine, and desserts if they would like!

 

Don’t cook a cold, damp bird! For the crispiest skin and most even cooking, make sure you pat your turkey dry with a paper towel, and bring it to room temperature before popping it in the oven.

 

Have extra Tupperware on hand for people to take home leftovers and/or for you to stick in our own fridge and freezer for future soups, sandwiches, and casseroles.

 

5Make sure you’re checking the turkey at the right time, in the right place, with the right tool. Usually, that means about 2.5 hours into cooking you should check the bird’s temp at the thickest part near the cavity, with a trusted meat thermometer. Don’t put any trust in that pop-up thermometer!

 

6Remember that you can eat this meal year round. Seriously. There is no need to gobble ‘till you wobble. Eat a little bit of everything and stop when you are full. Bonus: There will be more leftover for future sandwiches!

 

7  You can make most of the food days in advance. You even have our permission to cook the turkey the day before and pop it in the oven to warm it back up. Rolls, gravy, and cranberry sauce freeze very well. You can prepare them a week ahead of time and then de-thaw them the morning of Thanksgiving. Casseroles can be assembled 24 hours before-hand. Pies can be baked 2-3 days ahead of schedule. Pace yourself! No need to do it all at once.

 

8Know how much you really need to make. Do you know how many servings are in a standard pie? Will everyone be drinking wine? How many glasses are in a bottle? We have several handy infographics that cover all kinds of Thanksgiving math, on our “Thanksgiving” Pinterest board. You don’t want to run out of gramma’s sweet potatoes or have a freezer overrun with stuffing after the big day. Plus, if you don’t over-cook you save money on ingredients!

 

Don’t stress about appetizers. Most people will want to save their appetites for the big show, anyway. Have some fruit, veggies, and olives out for kids and adults to nibble on if they need to, but don’t let it stress you out one bit. Feel free to buy a pre-assembled appetizer tray or frozen finger foods if you really think dinner will be late.

 

10Take time to relax and really be present and thankful. It is Thanksgiving after all! It is a day set aside to reflect on all the blessings we’ve had this year and to surround ourselves with the people we love. In all the hubbub, make sure you take time to say thanks and enjoy the day!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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Pouches' Community Corner

Pouches is ready to kayak on the beautiful Rappahannock River. She’s also ready to learn more about how she can protect the river’s health using the Friends of the Rappahannock new River Report Card, sponsored by a surprise grant from the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region (CFRRR).

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