Are You Hosting a Feast?

Will you be hosting a feast this Thanksgiving? Let’s talk about how that can be a labor of love rather than a horrible burden.

Plan your menu ahead of time. Do this as soon as you can. Write down what you intend to make (and what others are bringing, as a reference). Make sure you have everything you would like and get rid of any extras that you don’t really need or want.

Once you know your menu, make a grocery list and schedule time to go to the store. We know that Wednesday afternoon is NOT the best time for this, so plan ahead and avoid the hassle.

Planning ahead involves knowing how your day will go (roughly) and knowing what you plan to make for a meal, but you also need to know how the various steps for your chosen menu will fit into your schedule. When do you need to start preparing? Do you need to figure on 2 hours in the kitchen or 20 minutes?

Many recipes now include prep time and cook time, which is very helpful. But you still need to know what you’ll be doing when.


Note: if you use frozen meat for your meals, remember to add defrosting the meat to your steps or your schedule the day before or early the day of. A turkey may need a few days to defrost completely.


As you look at your menu, map out the different steps and when you’ll need to do each of them (i.e., 2 hours ahead, 45 minutes ahead, right before serving, etc.). Some recipes or dishes are simple enough that you only need 5 minutes of prep time 2 hours before dinner. Some have a few more steps. Others are all last minute, just before you eat. Write it down in a timeline, counting backwards from your target mealtime.

For an example, you would sketch out a timeline like this:

  • 2 hours prior — prepare meat and put in oven
  • 45 minutes prior — prepare sweet potatoes and put in oven
  • 15 minutes prior — set table and steam vegetables

Do anything non-time-sensitive ahead of time as you can. Add a section to your timeline (or an additional sheet) that lists what you would like to be done at some point (prepare place-cards, make centerpiece, sweep front porch, pull extra chairs out of garage, etc.). Getting ready ahead of time helps you, and you’ll also have a quick answer for anyone who is available to help.

Now you also know what you are doing and that your bases are covered. Way to plan!

Good Ideas: Paprika App

If you like to pick up recipes from friends or browse Pinterest for delicious new ideas, this is an option for you! The Paprika app is a great way to store various recipes you find online, as well as a helpful tool for using them in your kitchen and routine. If you would like to try it, please note that there is a cost (currently $4.99).

IMG_7095You can store all the recipes you find in one place. All those recipes you find on Pinterest or links emailed from friends — in one place. Each recipe can be categorized and rated as you like. It is not as convenient for the family recipe book or the notecards passed down from your grandmother, but you can also type those into the app database to use.

You can scale recipes. Once you have the recipe in the app, you can choose to make it for the servings listed or cut it in half or increase up to 100-fold. All this is without doing math, just changing the setting.

IMG_7094You can plan your menus. If you do your menu planning in the app, you can pull the recipe into your plan with one click. The plan includes up to three meals and snacks for each day, and you can view your plan by day, week or month.

You can track your grocery list. Once you have your meal plan set, you can add the ingredients you need to a grocery list. The items are pulled off your recipes, and you have the choice of de-selecting items you don’t need to get before adding everything to your grocery list in the app. Just like that.IMG_7093

You can track your pantry. For a little more effort, you can keep track of what you have on hand and won’t need to add to the grocery list. The app will keep those off the grocery list when you carry over the recipe ingredients for your meal plan. You’ll also know what you have to use without a trip to the grocery store.

It’s a beautiful tool, whether you just use the recipe storage or max out all the options. More information on it can be found here and here.

If you already use this app, how has it helped you and what tips do you have to add?