Uncomplicate your Thanksgiving dinner

bigger paper

My friend Shirley, who is the proverbial “hostess with the mostess” has some great tips on how to make your Thanksgiving dinner picture perfect and save yourself some time and effort.

She has begun using paper plates and cups rather then her good china, which of course, she has more than enough to feed an army. She simply selects seasonally colorful plates, napkins and cups and uses them right along with her brass chargers. Her table was just as beautiful as in the old days when each guest used no less than four china plates during the meal.

When the meal has ended, the plates and whatever is left on them goes right into the trash bag. She waltzes in and spends the rest of the day visiting with family and friends, and the kitchen doesn’t look like a war zone the way mine does after feeding my family of 14.

Now, stop complaining. Maybe this isn’t the “greenest” thing you can do, but when you factor in all that hot water you will use washing three loads in the dishwasher, it makes perfect sense. Plus some paper company won’t have to lay off employees as the economy continues to head south.

I’m off to shop for paper products. I’ll plant a tree to make up for the indiscretion.

Here’s some other ideas for making your Thanksgiving extra special without going to the usual trouble and expense:

Combine Water, Apples for Simple Centerpieces

apples in bowl It’s both low-key (a single color palette) and low-tech (two ingredients, no Ph.D. in crafts necessary), but the results bring a Zen beauty to your table. Fill large clear-glass vases with water to different heights, then drop in bright Granny Smiths for a whimsical still life that beats faux-looking faux fruit any day.

Use Limes as Colorful Placeholders

Delightfully bright and pleasingly oval, limes are much too pretty to be sidelined as mere garnish. Instead, give them a starring role as placeholders. Write out each guest’s name on one end of a sticky file label, center the label at the dull end of a small wooden skewer (or a toothpick), then wrap, bringing the label ends together. Stick each skewer into a washed lime and place one on each plate. limes

Help for those challenged gravy makers

After years of dealing with last-minute homemade gravy for a crowd of 10-20 people, I came up with a new approach. I mix several different types of store-bought turkey gravy, then I destroy all the evidence before anyone gets to the house. It’s much smoother than my lumpy old gravy.

I’ll be reporting more time and work-saving tips as they are passed on to me.  I will also give you my recipe for crock pot turkey which people are already beginning to call for.  I’ve got to go look it up. Ihope to goodness I haven’t misplaced it the way I do everything these days.

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