Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving and Christmas? The focal point to both these celebrations is of course the meal, be it lunch or dinner. If you are a guest you can of course offer help as well as bring contributions to the feast. But if you are the host, the logistics and planning that goes in to putting together a meal for Thanksgiving or Christmas Day can be really quite stressful. Costs can quickly mount up,and if you don’t get things together enough in advance you could end up frazzled and too drained to enjoy the celebration you’ve worked so hard to create. So, how to make the whole thing less stressful and less expensive?
Tips to Make Hosting Thanksgiving & Christmas Lunch Less Stressful and Less Expensive.
In the spirit of the upcoming season, I have done some research into how to make your celebratory meal just that bit easier and cheaper. Here are some tips, which if followed, should mean a less stressed host, who gets to enjoy the festivities just as much as everyone else.
Shop Ahead for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day
Think about shopping ahead. Pretty obvious tip I know, but worth repeating.Take a list with you to the supermarket in the few weeks leading up to the Holidays and make the most of any deals available for the non-perishable items and frozen foods like mini sausages. Closer to Thanksgiving or Christmas when you are buying last minute foodstuffs, it’s worth remembering that day-old or stale bread, which is likely to be reduced in price, makes the best breadcrumbs for bread sauce.
Most vegetables can be blanched, which means cooked in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then immediately plunged into ice water to preserve their vibrant colour and freshness. When ready to be used, they will only need a few further minutes of steaming or boiling.
Gravy can be made in advance and frozen. Stuffing can also be made and frozen – one idea I saw was putting individual servings into muffin cases. You can freeze these and take them out to cook in a muffin tin when needed. Here is a good stuffing recipe: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/christmasapricotandc_73428
How to Keep Gravy Hot Whilst Saving Space on the Stove
Juggling space in the oven, stove top and preparation areas can be one of the most challenging parts of putting the meal together. I recently found a simple yet very clever tip for the gravy: keep it hot in a thermos flask or in a filter coffee jug on the hot plate of the coffee machine. You can also use a large teapot to both hold the gravy and even serve it at the table from the tea pot if you want!
Turkey Cooking Tips
Make sure that you take the turkey out of the fridge at least an hour before it needs to start roasting. Cooking it from chilled will take longer, and it may not cook as effectively. It will also need to sit and rest for around 20 minutes once it comes out of the oven, so allow for this when planning timings etc.
Cook the turkey in an oven roasting bag, to cut down on oven cleaning afterwards. Then you will have a handy bag to put all the leftover scraps and bones in, to either use for making stock for soup, or for tidily disposing of afterwards.
You could try poaching the turkey ahead of of roasting it. This will help to keep the meat tender and ensure it cooks more evenly, instead of the usual where the legs take much longer than the breast to cook, meaning that the white meat dries out. Place the bird on its back in a roasting tray filled with with about 2.5cm of chicken stock. Poach it on the stove top for around 15 minutes, then let it cool for ten minutes before stuffing and roasting as usual.
Thanksgiving and Christmas Drinks
You could think about just providing one type of alcohol,to both cut down on costs, and save preparation time. Something such as a Festive Cranberry Sangria is refreshing and very seasonal. You can make this ahead of time and provided you have a large enough punch bowl, leave it out for guests to simply help themselves. Try this fabulous cocktail from The Gold Lining Girl https://thegoldlininggirl.com/2016/12/cranberry-pomegranate-sangria/
Another idea would be: instead of using a fancy white damask tablecloth like the one in the picture, (which is beautiful but let’s face it is very unforgiving of spills and stains and even after being laundered, and will need about 2 hours-worth of ironing), consider buying a beautiful piece of fabric off-cut to use as a table covering. And if you don’t have time to hem it, probably no-one will notice anyway, as they will be so blown away by the amazing setting and the delicious food and drink!
When it comes to decorating the table natural items are the way to go: buy some fresh flowers as a base, but supplement with lots of greenery, berries and pinecones hopefully found for free outside. Add some tea lights and candles, or fairy lights. It will look and smell wonderful.
Adaptogens are defined as a particular class of plants, mostly herbs that are able to decrease the level of stress, anxiety, fatigue and tiredness in the human body ( symptoms often associated with high levels of stress) In particular, adaptogens increase the ability of the human body to react and adapt to a wide range of stressors
Adaptogens according to their proponents, have a normalising effect on the body. This means that they don’t serve a single function, unlike many medicines and herbs, and this is what makes them unique. The belief is that adaptogens may be able to ‘adapt’ to whatever the body is dealing with (stress, anxiety, fatigue), and help alleviate or lessen the symptoms.
Adaptogens and how they can help manage stress and anxiety.
Can adaptogens help relieve the mental and physical effects of stress? We may think of stress and anxiety as being modern conditions. A by-product of today’s hectic lifestyles where we are constantly on the go, managing work inboxes, updating social media, trying to be the perfect parent and partner, whilst bottom of the list is the one about carving out some valuable time for ourselves.
In fact the human body has always had to deal with stress, be it from wars, potentially fatal diseases, poverty, predators. So while the sources of tension and fear have changed over time, the existence of stress—and the human body’s response to it—hasn’t. (more…)
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It’s Time to turn ‘Should’ into ‘Action’
I Should have started this blog at least a year ago. It’s only now that I have taken Action and done so, that I realise how important turning Should into Action really is.
It had been buzzing around in my head for a good while that I wanted to start writing pieces for (mostly) women my age.
As you do, I kept thinking, huh, if only I had started already I would be a blogger by now. You can apply this thinking to lots of stuff as you know: diet and fitness, learning new skills, making a change in relationships etc etc. I did begin a couple of diary-type blogs but that is all they were, random musings and some unburdening of feelings. They lacked any structure, or indeed commitment to a process. I wasn’t ever planning to be accountable. They did not benefit anyone but me, so deserved to stay in the private domain. I wonder if anyone ever actually read them….
Life continued to get in the way of my starting a blog.
The followingBeginner Yoga Poses will serve as a great foundation to overall fitness and wellbeing. Whether you simply do them on their own, or even better, incorporate them into a varied fitness regime, you will find them very effective and helpful to your mind and body.
Yoga is a great form of exercise, suitable for all age groups, but it is particularly beneficial for fifty-somethings. As we get older our bodies can start to bend and hunch over. Bad posture and habits can take their toll, but the strengthening and toning properties of yoga can help to re-align your body and refresh your mind as you concentrate on the individual movements. (more…)
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How I Make Extra Money Every Month
I make regular extra money every month by testing websites for their usability. The User Testing website, http://www.usertesting.com is my preferred company for doing this. I discovered the User Testing site from a Pinterest post which was reviewing various work from anywhere sources of extra money.There are numerous ‘side hustles’ out there. Many of them don’t live up to their promises of being simple and lucrative. If they were, we would all be getting rich in our spare time for very little effort. (more…)
Did you sleep well? Adequate rest is the holy grail of well-being for many of us. We have the best of intentions about getting the ‘right’ amount of sleep (which we all know so well by now is 7-9 hours-worth). When as so often happens, we fall short of this, we can feel cheated, almost guilty, and as if we have failed in our duty to keep our bodies and minds in decent shape.
This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase something here I will receive a small commission. I only endorse products I have used myself and found to be beneficial and genuinely lovely to use.
Common problems associated with sleeping include difficulty falling asleep, waking in the night and waking up too early. Some have physical causes, some are linked to our mental state. All of these will lead to us feeling groggy and not ready to face the day, let alone get through it. (more…)
How to make Kegel Exercises Effective and Fun with the Elvie Personal Trainer
What are Kegel Muscles and Kegel Exercises?
Kegel Exercises should ideally be part of a woman’s daily routine. Kegel muscles also known as pelvic floor muscles are located between the tailbone and pubic bone.They are critical for ensuring good bladder control and also help maintain a strong and balanced core.
This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase something here I will receive a small commission. I only endorse products I have used myself and found to be beneficial and genuinely positive to use. However, I am sharing a review because I would like to share my thoughts and it would be really valuable to hear yours too, even if you have no interest in buying the product.
You may be wondering why so much importance, time and effort should be put into making your Kegel/ pelvic floor muscles stronger, and how they came to be weakened in the first place. Various activities and milestones in a woman’s life can put stress on the pelvic floor muscles, particularly pregnancy and labour, and even sports such as jogging or running. (more…)
The Challenges of Staying Fit in Your Fifties and Beyond
Maintaining a fitness regime is important throughout life. Whether or not you have exercised regularly over the years, once you reach your fifties and beyond, the challenges and rewards from keeping fit will become even more apparent. It really comes down to being able to adapt your fitness regime around perhaps dealing with some minor injuries, longer recovery times from exercise sessions and general feelings of apathy, which let’s face it affect us all. (more…)
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I had been thinking about setting up a self-hosted website and blog for a long time. I had a couple of starter blogs on Blogspot which were really just like random diaries. But I honestly did not know where to begin with getting a self-hosted blog going. It all felt pretty daunting. I did know that a self-hosting blog, with a purchased domain name would be the way to go if I wanted the blog to be adaptable in the future, and if I wanted to get the most of out of it with regards to visibility, search rankings, mobile-responsiveness to name just a few advantages.
This page contains affiliate links for products all of which I have used myself and fully endorse.
I feel genuinely enthusiastic and positive about the whole setting-up process I went through to get fifty-anything up and running, so would like to share how I did it. (more…)