Prepping for the Big Day

As the big day draws near, my to-do lists are getting longer and more detailed. I'm trying to get as much done ahead as possible because I need to pick my daughter, Laura, up in Portland on Wednesday and I'll be gone from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon. On top of that, my husband's birthday falls on Thanksgiving this year!

The following notes are not meant to make me look like a martyr or slave to my kitchen. Cooking is my thing and this is my favorite holiday. But for anyone who is cooking a big dinner for the first time (my oldest daughter is doing her first Thanksgiving dinner in North Carolina) , I thought these lists might come in handy.

The Menu

Roast Turkey
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Cornbread Dressing
Buttered Peas
Fruit Ambrosia (Mom's bringing it)
Macaroni & Cheese (Mom's bringing it)
Cranberry Sauce
Featherlight Rolls w/butter and homemade jam
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Olives and Sweet Pickles
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Sparkling Cider & San Pellegrino

Here's the game plan:

Several days ahead--

Big grocery trip for all of the non-perishable items. DONE!

Make a huge batch of granola for easy breakfasts. DONE!

Bake 100% whole wheat buttermilk bread and freeze several loaves for turkey sandwiches after Thanksgiving. DONE!

Refresh dormant sourdough starter so I can make Pain au Levain to use in the McDaniel Family Cornbread Dressing (that's my twist on it--it only calls for cornbread and whole wheat bread, but I like the slight tang of sourdough). DONE!

Iron all the cloth napkins. DONE!--I paid my son to do it.

Chop onions for the dressing and freeze. DONE!

Put the frozen turkey on a tray in the extra fridge to begin defrosting. DONE!

Make pie crusts and freeze. TOMORROW

Chill beverages. TOMORROW

Make cranberry sauce. TOMORROW

Bake Pain au Levain. TOMORROW

Cook pumpkins and puree for pie. Roast seeds. TOMORROW

Last trip to grocery store for perishables. TOMORROW

No school this week, so my son is home to help with all of the above!

Tuesday morning--

Make cornbread.

Wrap birthday gifts. Sign card.

Mix whole wheat cinnamon roll/sticky bun dough.

Clean house for the last time before the holiday.

Wednesday evening after we get home--

Leave cornbread out to dry.

Mix featherlight roll dough.

Make custard for ice cream.

Prep sweet potatoes (peel, slice, layer in buttered casserole with brown sugar, butter, a bit of salt and lemon zest. Cover and refrigerate.

Shape cinnamon rolls and sticky buns.

Bake pumpkin pie and apple pie.

On Thanksgiving Day--

Bake cinnamon rolls and sticky buns.

Get the turkey in the oven.

Set the table.

Soften butter for rolls.

Make ice cream.

Divide and shape rolls.

Bake sweet potatoes.

Make and bake dressing.

Whip cream for pumpkin pie.

Put out olives, pickles and cranberry sauce.

Boil and mash potatoes. (Save potato water for breadmaking)

Bake rolls.

Cook peas.

Make gravy.

Enjoy dinner with my family! (then relax while they do all the dishes)

I don't know if I will have time to post anything during all this, but I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with your family and friends.

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