Noreen's Kitchen: The Key to An Organized and Thrifty Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Key to An Organized and Thrifty Thanksgiving

In this post, I would like to touch on a few points that will help you prepare even further for your Thanksgiving feast.  Some you may already know and some may be new to you.  Either way I hope these tips help you in your quest to the best Thanksgiving meal ever but don't forget what the day is really about.  That is family, togetherness and thankfulness.

If you have never made the Thanksgiving meal yourself or if you have only ever had a small part in the preparations or maybe you have this thing down pat.  We can all use a little help and maybe even a few ideas that we had not thought of before.  This week I wanted to concentrate mainly on the hardest part, aside from the cooking and that is the shopping!  Shopping for the Thanksgiving or any celebratory meal should never be done at the last minute.  I wanted to help you prepare to make this year's holiday happy, not horrible!

Since this week, I am getting this newsletter out a day late, and I sincerely apologize for that, it is going out on a Wednesday.  That means that in my area as in many parts of the country, the new grocery ads were delivered in this morning's newspaper or if you are like me to your e-mail box or grocery store app on your smart phone.  These things can all be very helpful when preparing your shopping list for, not just your holiday meal, but for the upcoming holiday season in general!

Now that you have your menu planned the next logical step is taking a kitchen and pantry inventory and figuring out what you are going to need and what you already have.  Nothing is worse than getting knee deep in preparations for a big dinner only to find out that you forgot the corn starch, flour or some other necessary item that you didn't realize you needed.  Don't leave anything to chance!  Go through your recipes, item by item and make sure you either have them, or put them on the shopping list.  This may seem like a simple thing, but life gets busy and time gets short, so taking the time to really dig deep is important because being prepared is the best tool you can have when it comes to making your dinner easy as pie.

While you are taking time to make your list and inventory, be sure to check your spices!  If you are going to need spices that you don't use often you are going to want to replace them if they are older than six months old.  If you only use these spices during the holidays, chances are that you have spices that are a  year old and these are not going to make your dishes taste wonderful.  Pitch them and add them to your list.  They will most likely be on sale.  Another great suggestion is to purchase spice blends if you tend to not use them very often.  Poultry seasoning, salt free seasoning and apple and pumpkin pie spice can go a long way this time of year.  No need to take out a second mortgage purchasing a ton of individual spices if you are not going to use them up in about six months time.

We are currently two weeks away from Thanksgiving Day.  So this is the perfect time to undertake this task because you have breathing room.  The closer you get, the more time you lose and the more stressed you may become.  So get your menu, your grocery list and your grocery ads out and take a good hard look at what is currently on sale.  This time of year you are going to find all the basics for your Thanksgiving meal on sale.  Potatoes, sweet potatoes,  fresh and frozen veggies, artisan breads, all the fixings for your meal and of course the turkey!  Be warned though!  In recent years grocery stores have chosen to offer rock bottom prices for turkeys only if you purchase a certain amount of other items.  A good example is what is happening in my area.  Turkeys are currently on sale for .47 cents a pounds but only with an additional $40.00 purchase.  I asked the cashier this morning how that worked and was told that they will ring up your entire order before the turkey and then total it out.  At that point if you are at the minimum amount of $40 then they will ring up the turkey and the computer will give it to you for the .47 cents a pound price.  So it is worth it to pay close attention to those little tid bits because they like to put them in seriously small print just below the giant price.  It is your responsibility as a smart shopper to pay attention to these details.

Now that you are ready to shop, your list, menu and ads in hand here are a couple other suggestions. When you are going through the sale ads, have a look at the bigger picture.  Are you planning a Christmas dinner?  How about holiday baking?  Are there things on sale right now that you can take advantage of and squirrel away in your pantry, closets or cabinets that you will be needed later?  Will having them on hand save you money in the long run and logically, will any of these non perishables go to waste?  If these things make sense to you then buy the ham at a great price and toss it in your deep freeze. Stock up on a couple extra bags of $2 flour and sugar.  Buy the butter at a great price and freeze it as well.  Anything you can do now that will hedge your bets against rising prices later will be good for you in the long run. 

So I hope this helps give you some ideas about how to get busy now, to save time and stress later.  I personally hate grocery shopping this time of year.  Stores full of grumpy people who just want to get in and out.  Then there are the people who are visibly stressed because of financial strain and are adding up the items in their cart.  They want to make a great Thanksgiving but have little resources.  So while you are out shopping, please consider putting a few things in your cart to help out your local food bank if you are able.  I know how hard it is right now for many people, but even the least of us can  help in some way.  A can of beans or corn or a box of stuffing or even a small donation can make all the difference.  Be thankful for what you have, no matter how much or how little and make this holiday the best it can be for yourself and others.


Until Next time, I'll See Ya!

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