Tasty Tuesday: Thanksgiving’s on its way!

Today is November 1st and last night’s Halloween party food is already a thing of the past. It’s time to start looking ahead to the Next Big Food Event. (It does seem like we live from one Big Food Event to the next, doesn’t it?) It’s time to start collecting Thanksgiving recipes and even start shopping for our Homemade Thanksgiving Feast.

Start by brainstorming a list of all the must-haves for your traditional Thanksgiving Dinner. My list looks like this:

Bowl of Thanksgiving Pumpkins, squash and gourds

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll share the specifics and the recipes for the dishes on The List. I also plan to add to the list. For example, I just learned how to make Italian refrigerator pickles. They’ll be a perfect and colorful addition to our Thanksgiving table. I’m always on the lookout for recipes that have the potential to become family favorites.

You can also browse through the Holiday Recipe category here in the Kitchen where you’ll find a lot of favorites. Like I said, I’ll be adding a few new ones this year, but the ones listed are definitely my family favorites.)

After I find my recipes, I make my shopping list. I like to start early so that I can spread the expense of Thanksgiving dinner over several weeks. More important, there are some stores that start putting sale prices on the key components of Thanksgiving dinner early. I try to keep my Master List in my wallet so that I’m ready to jump on the great deals whenever I see them.

If you plan to buy a turkey, check your local grocery stores for specials. All the stores have them. In some parts of the country, turkeys are loss-leaders. I don’t quite understand why this is different in different parts of the country, but I sure do miss living in CO and getting their $4 turkeys. (When we lived there, I’d have a dozen turkeys in my freezer by the end of November! Stocking up on sale birds is a great way to save money over the winter months if you can do it.)

I also try to buy 80 to 120 pounds of sweet potatoes each year from a local grower. These sweet potatoes will debut in our Thanksgiving dinner and then go on to get top billing in a lot of other meals over the next year.

Boxes of Saura Pride sweet potatoes

Right now is still a good time to buy a pie pumpkin. Halloween may be over but many stores still have pumpkins. Fresh pumpkin for your pumpkin pie can make a world of difference. There are a lot of other goodies you can make with pumpkin too, so don’t let this season pass without grabbing a couple of these orange beauties.

It’s also a good time to be shopping around for Thanksgiving table decorations. I like to keep my decorating simple and basic; it’s not too early to shop for gourds, squash, and pumpkins if you decide to go that direction. Add a splash of color and some nature to your table decorations by sending your kids out to collect pretty fall leaves whenever the color is at its peak. If you press the leaves in a big heavy book like a dictionary, they’ll still be useable by Thanksgiving (in case your leaves peak earlier than late November.)

Last, but definitely not least, head over to Stick Boy Bread Company and check out what desserts they’re featuring this month. Need to buy your Thanksgiving dinner rolls? Stick Boy has those too. If you subscribe to their newsletter online, you’ll get the heads up on all the special holiday baking they’re doing at this time of year.

All the actual work of Thanksgiving dinner still lies ahead, but having a plan can make this Big Food Event entirely do-able. Having a plan also helps me deal with the stress of a big holiday meal and lots of guests.

So woohoo! It’s November 1 and today, I get to start planing for Thanksgiving Dinner!


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