3 Easy-to-Do Trimmings for Your Thanksgiving Feast

Fall is here and we are going into my favorite time of the year—the holiday season. It is filled with tradition, celebration, and joy. As much as I love, love, love Christmas, Thanksgiving holds a special place in my heart, too. There is no shopping required or any of the frenzied stress that can sometimes go along with preparing for Christmas. When I hear “Thanksgiving,” it gives me a feeling of peace, and I think of family, friends, and hosting a delicious meal at our home. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way to help me pull off a Thanksgiving feast with all of the trimmings:

1. The Creamiest Mashed Potatoes

Years ago my husband’s grandmother gave me a tip about how to achieve those perfectly whipped, creamy mashed potatoes that we all dream about having around the Thanksgiving table. Here’s the secret: the milk you add to the potatoes needs to be hot! While your potatoes are boiling (I always use red potatoes so I don’t have to peel them—less work and you get those gorgeous, rustic-looking mashed potatoes), put on a small pot of milk or heavy cream and butter. Set the heat to the lowest setting possible, and let it warm while your potatoes cook. You don’t want to scald the milk, so make sure you keep an eye on it. I also add a few cloves of smashed garlic to the milk and let the garlic steep while the milk heats. Then I remove the garlic cloves before mashing the potatoes; this way the garlic essence is present in the potatoes without being overpowering. Once your potatoes are cooked and drained, add the milk, butter, and salt, and you will notice how smooth and creamy your potatoes are after mashing all the ingredients together. I whip mine in my standing-mixer—it does all of the work for me!

2. Stuffing Dripping with Flavor

Stuffing is the best when it has been stuffed and cooked inside of the turkey because it catches all of the turkey drippings. The only problem with this is that it can increase the cook time for the turkey quite a bit. Also, I don’t always make the stuffing since someone else may bring it for the meal. If you find yourself in either predicament, there is a simple solution—just save some of your turkey drippings for your stuffing. I ladle several spoonfuls of the warm turkey drippings onto the prepared stuffing, and it tastes just as savory as if it had been roasted inside of the turkey.

3. Gratitude Cards

My last tip doesn’t have to do with anything in the kitchen, but it’s still a tradition our family has picked up along the way. I set out a gratitude jar with some notecards and a pen in our home on Thanksgiving and encourage everyone to list what they are most thankful for that year. We keep the notes anonymous. When everyone is satisfied and relaxing after the meal, we pass the jar around the living room. Everyone grabs a notecard and reads it aloud. For some reason, keeping it anonymous and reading someone else’s sentiment makes it a bit more fun and can also encourage family members and guests to feel more comfortable with sharing.

May God fill your homes with joy and thanksgiving throughout this season as we reflect on all that we have to be grateful for and what he has done on our behalf.