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Simple Thanksgiving

thanksgivingEveryone seems to get so stressed out when the holidays roll around and I can completely understand why.  The thought of hosting a large group of people for an occasion such as Thanksgiving when you don’t entertain regularly can be overwhelming.  Oddly enough, the most stress I’ve endured on Turkey Day is from my family when I do try to simplify and stray away from tradition.  I understand the importance of tradition, but don’t be afraid to update the classics to make your life a little easier.  This Thanksgiving, try putting some of the following tips to use to ease your load:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help (or accept it if it’s offered) – If someone offers to bring a side dish, let them!  Also, I’m never afraid to ask for help with the dishes once the meal is done, and on a holiday like Thanksgiving, clean-up can just become another opportunity to visit with your friends and family.
  • Do as much do-ahead work as possible.  Set your table, clean the house, and look at your recipes to see what can be done before the big day so you’re not busy peeling potatoes when the doorbell rings.
  • If you are following a diet that requires you eat  gluten, dairy, or anything else-free, you can still enjoy delicious holiday food!  Check out this GREAT website for wonderful gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, etc. recipes and tips.
  • If roasting a whole turkey scares you, try a skin-on turkey breast instead.  Combine garlic, sage, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Stream in extra-virgin olive oil until it makes a thick but spreadable paste.  Spread the paste under the turkey skin and all over the outside of the breast.  Place the breast in a roasting pan on a bed of sliced onions, carrots, celery and enough chicken or turkey stock to cover the vegetables.  Roast at 325F for 1.5-2 hours until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the breast reaches 165F.  Don’t forget to let it rest before slicing serving!

And of course, the most important tip to relieve stress this Thanksgiving: don’t bite off more than you can chew (no pun intended)!  Take on what you feel comfortable with and no more!  The holidays have this overwhelming sense of  having to be complicated and they really don’t!  Your traditional Thanksgiving menu may include a 15-pound turkey and 10 complicated side dishes, but change it up this year and take a breather!  Spend time with your friends and family and enjoy the holidays for what they’re really about!

Written by Aaron Brophy, Sunshine Wellness Chef

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