Thanksgiving should be a time to reflect and give thanks. A time to spend with family and friends and maybe catch up with family you haven’t seen in awhile.
But if you’re the host of the Thanksgiving meal the event can end up being a stress one that you wish would end sooner rather than later. And if you’re a real food family the stress can be even greater as you prepare food your family enjoys eating but others may find strange.
I’ve been hosting the Thanksgiving Day meal at our home for the past 8 years. I took one year off in 2010 when our son was born. Over those 7 dinners our thinking on food has changed quite a bit. The first year we bought a Butterball Turkey and most everything was store-bought. Back then I stressed over presentation and coordinating place mats.
Within the past few years we started to change the way we thought about food. We replaced the Butterball with a fresh, free-ranging hen from a local farm. By this time I was stressing less about the décor and more about the food we were eating. What would my mother in-law bring? Box mix brownies, a store-bought cake?
Now, I’m learning to relax. Learning to balance out things and worry less about the things I can’t control.
You can have a stress free Real Food Thanksgiving, here are some tips:
Having a well planned menu can help you reduce stress in the few days leading up to Thanksgiving. If you’re making soaked dinner rolls you want to be sure to plan your soaking time accordingly.
Other things to consider in planning:
- Thawing time for that wild turkey that was harvested during hunting season
- Rise time for sourdough bread
- Soaking time for crispy nuts
- Time needed to make homemade cream cheese for those yummy desserts.
Take Some Short Cuts
I’ve been making bread, yeasted and sourdough in the crockpot. Yep, you read that right, bread in the crockpot. Those two hours in the crockpot will free up space in your oven for the other goodies you’re whipping up.
So you’re a real food family with a bunch of SAD relatives. Guess what, they are still relatives and broadly speaking they want to help. Know ahead of time what you are willing to bend on an allow some help. Perhaps someone can make a tasty green bean casserole pumpkin pie. If you don’t want food brought in help your family feel welcomed by letting them bring some decorative napkins and plates or flowers for the center of the table.
Think Big Picture
I’m all about balance and so as I think of the big picture of life I know that I feed my family as healthy as possible most of the time. A slice of grandma’s pumpkin pie, barring any allergies, is not going to kill my husband. Although refusing to eat it might! Know where you’re willing to compromise ahead of time.
Image by sweetbeetadngreenbean
Keep It Simple
I have made the mistake, time and time again, of getting ahead of myself. I get so excited to try new foods that I want to do them all at once, while entertaining for the biggest meal of the year. When will we learn mamas!? If you’re new to real food pick one or two recipes you are comfortable making. Take it from me, and Kate, don’t bank on a artesian loaf of sourdough fresh from the oven 10 minutes before meal time if you’ve never made a loaf of sourdough in your life. Bread really is an art.
Here are a few simple things to incorporate in your meals:
- Homemade Cream Cheese – super easy and can be made from homemade or store-bought organic yogurt. Perfect for in your pumpkin rolls.
- Fermented potatoes – I’m trying these this year.
- Easy and Real – Wholesome Comfort has almost every recipe you need for a real food Thanksgiving that simple. Turkey, gravy, ‘taters and even a great bread recipe.
Whether you’re a seasoned real foodie or a newbie don’t let the Thanksgiving holiday stress you out. You should be cooking with love and a thankful heart.