I have been posting a series of recipes for a gluten-free dairy-free soy-free nut-free corn-free vegan-friendly Thanksgiving for a few weeks now. With Thanksgiving only a week away I thought I should pull it all together with exactly how I pull this off. How do I get all this food on the table without losing my mind? Here is what I do day by day so that I too can enjoy the holiday. It is long but only because it is so detailed. Believe it or not I do actually get to mingle with my guests on Thanksgiving because I have done so much ahead of time and the day of is under control.
Note that I do virtually the EXACT same thing for Christmas only with different desserts.
So here is my timeline. And yes, I have indeed spent years as a professional corporate strategic, operational, and tactical planner.
When planning the holiday
Ask Aunt Donna to make the coleslaw. It really is awesome cole slaw and all of the ingredients are easily hypoallergenic except for the mayonnaise. Provide the info on Earth Balance egg and soy free mayo. People want to know what they can bring. The coleslaw recipe is one that can be done by anyone you trust to actually clean the food processor and knives.
Order turkey from Good Shepard Farms. They sell happy heritage breed turkeys. Once you have one you can never go back…
Three Days Before Thanksgiving
Go grocery shopping for apples, pumpkin, vegan cream cheese, eggs, salad, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, onions, carrots etc.
Set out GF bread on racks so it will go stale in time to make stuffing.
Buy meat, crudites, hummus without tahini and any other dips or crackers you plan to offer as appetizers.
If you are using the recipe make spinach artichoke dip
Ensure that you have a point person to watch / entertain the children on Thanksgiving Day.
Clean house thoroughly
The day before or up to two days before.
Note that the bacon, sweet potatoes, and fruit salad will easily keep for two days
Make the Vegan Apple Tart and the Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Make the stuffing. Put all the leftover celery tops and bottoms in a plastic zipper bag for use in the stock. If you are using egg whites in the dressing, use the yolks for a different recipe (like egg nog or, if I ever get it done, key lime pie)
Make the turkey powder
Cut up fruit and make fruit salad
Make the pancakes (and syrup) and oven bake the bacon until slightly underdone, put pancakes and bacon in fridge in ovenproof containers.
Scrub sweet potatoes and put them on the cookie sheet on the counter.
Load up coffeepot to be ready with coffee in the morning.
Do any last minute cleaning
Pop pancakes and bacon into a 300 degree oven to reheat. Make coffee. Serve pancakes, bacon, fruit and coffee to all the humans in your house. As soon as pancakes are out of the oven raise heat to 400 degrees and put the sweet potatoes into the oven for an hour.
OPTIONAL – Warn guests to eat now because you are NOT feeding them again until the turkey is done.
Clean up after breakfast
Pull turkey out of fridge and remove giblets, put liver in a small container in the fridge to make liver pate, Put all other giblets in the pot to make giblet gravy. Put saved celery and onion and other ingredients in to the gravy. Start the boiling process.
Powder and stuff turkey
Put in meat thermometer
Remove now cooked sweet potatoes from the oven (if they are not done, just let them finish) and raise heat to 425. Put turkey into 425 degree oven.
Add more stock or water to the gravy and make sure it is just simmering.
You will now be gross and smell of raw turkey. This is the perfect time to take a shower
After 45 minutes, when you come out of the shower, turn down the heat on the turkey to 325 and cover the wings with foil if needed.
Cut up the potatoes and put them in pot of cold water. You will finish that recipe later
Add more stock if needed to gravy
Once sweet potatoes are cool enough, finish making mashed sweet potatoes
Make liver pate if using liver for that.
Remove cranberry sauce from can or, if you made it with your pancakes, just take it out of the fridge.
Set the table
Cook turkey until thermometer reaches 150 degrees
If guests arrive, feed them appetizers and wine.
Remove turkey from oven and cover breast lightly with tented foil. Turkey must rest at least 20 minutes and ideally half an hour.
OPTIONAL Pop apple tart into warm oven that has been turned off to gently rewarm it.
Boil potatoes. Heat peas and reheat sweet potatoes.
Make somebody else carve the turkey while you mash the now cooked potatoes.
Feed everyone. You have turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, peas, cole slaw, salad and two desserts which can be served with ice cream or whipped cream (dairy-free!)
Ask for help with putting away the food and doing the dishes.
If you are me, you then stay up until 1am to use the carcass to make stock for next Thanksgiving or for Christmas.
If you are a normal person, you probably put the food away, run the dishwasher and go to bed.