You’ve been planning for weeks. You’ve been shopping for days. You set the table yesterday. You’ve got your guest list set, your menu planning done, and you’re in full-on Pre-Thanksgiving-Day prep mode.
And then BAM! You begin to pace, worry, fret that you’ve forgotten, well, something. The panic really sets in. Are you really going to be ready? Have you timed out the oven use? Laid out the appetizer placement properly? Pulled out the right serving dishes? Did you plan for enough wine?? Oh my god, WILL THE TURKEY BE DEFROSTED BY THURSDAY MORNING?!?!
Breathe. Really, just breathe. There are so many things that can go wrong, but will never come to pass. I’ve already covered many of the pitfalls for you (you’re welcome). Let’s face it, being the poster child for Murphy’s Law as I am, I am pre-ordained to have the bad stuff happen to me. It’s a gift.
For instance, for my first Thanksgiving as a married chick, we had just moved to Germany the month prior. And being the extrovert that I am, I proceeded to invite every person we met for that first month to our house for Thanksgiving dinner. By that day, the guest count was 17, most of whom I really didn’t even know. I had already worked myself into a tizzy trying to recreate the Thanksgivings I grew up with, which generally consisted of about 30 people for sit down dinner (no buffet for us, no sir!). I insisted on doing everything myself (martyr syndrome much?), which meant I’d spent the previous week rearranging everything from the extra tables to the linens to the hand towels in the powder room. I had sticky notes on every serving piece, and even a timeline of when each item was to be started in my Fischer Price-sized kitchen (ever tried cooking a 20lb. turkey in a tiny, standard European oven? I don’t recommend it.). I thought I was ready for anything. Bring it!
And then a pipe burst under the sink only 4 hours before dinner was to be served. Commence meltdown.
Any latent OCD I may have had lurking came roaring into focus that day, my friends. My saving grace was that in Germany, of course, it was just a regular Thursday. No holiday for them. My landlord was able to get a plumber out to the house within the hour, and we were back in business. But the emotional damage was done. I was a wreck. That’s when the (first of many) bottles of wine were opened.
Feel better about your holiday prep now? Are you still panicking? If you still feel like you forgot the cranberry sauce, or feel like there won’t be enough bread on the table for sopping up the rich turkey gravy, have no fear! Murphy’s Law Girl is here! These two extra little gems will be a hit, and will help calm you down knowing how easy they are, and how good they’ll make you look. Crisis averted!
Now where’s that wine…?
First, step away from that awful can of “cranberry sauce”, and go for the fresh stuff. Seriously. The only use for those cans is if you want to substitute them for paper weights. Or use them instead of hand weights. Or to throw them at an unruly dinner guest (well, maybe not that). Once you have fresh cranberry sauce, you will never go back, I promise. This recipe is adapted from a recipe out of an old cooking magazine from 2003 (yes, I still have a bit of a collection that I lug around from house to house). I love it so much that I’ve been known to only put out half of it so that I have some left to eat over vanilla bean ice cream. I also freeze any extra in ice cube trays and use them in cocktails. Heck, who am I kidding? I’ve been known to just eat it with a spoon. It’s so darned easy, too, that your guests will be begging you for the recipe. So. Darned. Good. Enjoy!
- 1 ½ c. orange marmalade
- 2/3 c. orange juice
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 1 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
3. Reduce heat to medium until the cranberries start to burst, about 5 minutes and the sauce starts to thicken, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
Sour Cream Biscuits
These biscuits are so easy it’s almost embarrassing. I admit that when my mother-in-law gave me the recipe, I thought she’d left something out, but nope! They’re really this simple. But I warn you—make extra, because these little gems will disappear faster than you can pull them out of the oven. The key is full-fat sour cream, and mini-baking tins. These 2 steps are important to ensure the right consistency of the biscuits. I’ve tried making them with low-fat sour cream, and they’re not as light. I’ve also tried them in regular sized muffin tins, and they get crispy on the outside and are doughy and raw on the inside. The mini-tins allow for just the right transfer of heat to bake them to perfection. And they freeze well, too; just thaw, and then warm them on a cookie sheet in a 250 degree oven to crisp them up again. Then POOF! They’ll be gone!
- 2 cups sour cream
- 2 sticks of butter, room temperature
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Fold together the sour cream and butter until blended, or use dough paddle on mixer to incorporate until blended.
- Spoon flour in slowly and incorporate one bit at a time until a stiff dough forms.
- Spray mini-muffin tins with cooking spray. Use tablespoon to fill each muffin cup 2/3 of the way.
- Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until golden. Voila!
Note: I have also been known to add various chopped herbs to the dough. My favorite is fresh chives, but feel free to use whatever fresh herbs you like as long as they are finely chopped and you can fully incorporate them into the dough.
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