The holidays are *a lot.* But what if they didn’t have to be? Emily’s bringing back one of your favorite guests ever: Nana, AKA her mom, Stephanie! In this episode, Nana gives you permission to make the holidays as simple as you need them to be. Emily and Nana talk through stress-free tips for Thanksgiving, how to ask for help if you’re hosting during the holidays, how to take the pressure off yourself during the big days, and even how much food to buy (because let’s be real: that’s super hard to figure out!). They talk about how to help kids with All The Feelings at the holidays, and what to do if your sweet and simple holiday doesn’t go quite according to plan. If you need a dose of grace this holiday season, this episode is for you.
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Nana’s Top Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving
- Clean the big stuff—and that’s it. If you're hosting Thanksgiving, think about where those people are going to be gathering. Pay some special attention to those areas when you're doing your cleaning. And don’t go clean places people aren’t going to see, like your closet—just concentrate on the big stuff!
- Clear the clutter. Ask yourself, “What can I take out of here?” to clear space for people to gather. And clear off flat surfaces, to make room for food and drinks.
- Wash your linens. Kitchen towels, cloth napkins, placemats, table cloths, pot holders: go ahead and clean them now, so they’re nice and fresh for the big day.
- Get some disposable pans and take-out containers. You’ll thank yourself when it’s time to give away leftovers (and your guests will be thankful there’s no Tupperware to wash and return!).
- Ask guests to bring dishes prepped and ready to go. That way, you free up your oven space for things you know you’ll need to go in. Guests can wrap heated items in a kitchen towel, and place them in a cooler to keep warm.
- Print out all your recipes, or save them in a single browser on an iPad. However you need, just keep those recipes handy so you don’t have to go searching for preheating temps or cook times.
- Get some conversation starters! Make your time together with your people special (Emily and Nana use these conversation starters with their family each year).
- Get plenty of turkey. To buy a turkey big enough that (A) feeds everyone on the big day and (B) gives you some leftovers, take the number of people you’re serving, and multiply it by 1.5. For example, if you’re serving 10 people, you’d buy at least a 15-pound turkey.
- Thaw out your turkey in time! It takes about 8 hours per pound to defrost. A good rule of thumb is three to four days before you plan to cook the bird.
- Freeze leftover turkey. If you possibly have any leftover turkey, it’ll keep beautifully in the freezer! You could pull it out to make an easy turkey pot pie or turkey noodle soup during the winter (or even later during the busy holiday season).
For more great tips, listen to the rest of the episode wherever you get your podcasts!
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A Blessing for Your Week
As you turn your heart toward the holiday season, I hope you find meaningful ways to connect with your people.
I hope you find magic in the small moments: like sharing a laugh with your dad, baking cookies with your brother, and playing board games with your nieces and nephews.
And above all, I hope you remember that holidays don’t have to be big, or expensive, or garner a thousand Likes to matter. Because we find meaning when we relish the love and relationship we share in the moment.
Simplicity Tip of the Week
After you’re done with a big holiday meal, do you find yourself with a bunch of random leftover veggies? A little ramekin of corn, a bowl of green beans, a few peas and carrots and potatoes? Do those ever get eaten, or do you find yourself throwing them out?
If you want to stretch your leftovers even further and you want to make a big recipe that’ll feed your people for a while, try making soup! It might not be a conventional soup, but I bet it can be delicious.
Get a big pot, throw in some oil, and sauté some onions until they’re translucent. Then, add your leftover veggies and stir them around for a minute or two, until they’re warm and a little browned. Then add some broth, and some leftover meat you made if that’s your thing—maybe some turkey or ham. Then maybe add some salt, pepper, and garlic, and let it all simmer till the flavors come together. Then congrats—you’ve made an easy and delicious soup! You can even add a little cream to make it a little richer, too.
This will go great with the leftover rolls you have—and at that point, you’ve basically made a pot pie. And you know who likes pot pie? Everyone.
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