Food Prep for the Holidays and a Cookie Recipe

Craftsy

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and today I’m going to talk about food prep for the holidays.  This time of year can become really stressful if you let it!  Throughout the years I’ve learned to do some holiday prep to help things run more smoothly.  I want to be able to enjoy all the celebrating that comes along during this time of year.  I don’t want to feel like a frazzled piece of tinsel because I’m trying to create some perfect meal or place setting.  The best part about this time of year is sharing the love, joy, and hope inside us with friends and family.  Although we may all do this in different ways, it’s this feeling that makes me so excited about this time of year.  My first tip is to take a deep breath, let it out, and focus on what makes you and yours happy.  Don’t worry about that Pinterest ready house down the street!

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Food Prep for the Holidays

Ok, we all eat {probably too much} around this time of year.  There’s usually more than one event to attend that requires a food or food related contribution.  In my family, I have 2 Thanksgiving and 3 Christmas events we attend.  There have been occasions that something else gets added in!  Those with children will most likely have school events to add to that.  Maybe you’re hosting, which is a whole other mess of things to do!  Here’s my tips for being prepared for the feasts!

bring-on-the-food

Find out what you need to contribute 

  • Check at least a week ahead of time to see what’s needed for any events you’re attending.
  • If you know there’s something you can do versus something you can’t do, volunteer for it early!
  • Don’t get roped into doing something you’re not comfortable doing.  That just adds to stress!
  • Even if you don’t cook, most events need drinks, napkins, paper plates, etc.
  • Consider ordering from a catering service.  Most grocery stores offer bakery and finger food items.  Make sure to get your order in ahead of the rush.
  • If you are unable to contribute to the meal, volunteer to help set up or clean up.  Any hostess will be happy for the help!
  • For my hostesses, ask for help!  Even Martha Stewart has people helping her!

Check your pantry

  • Look at what supplies you have on hand and get to the grocery store sooner rather than later.  Yes, that pumpkin puree may be 20 cents cheaper right before the holiday, but is that really worth your sanity?  Plus certain things become scarce the closer it gets to a holiday!
  • Make a list and check it twice!  No one wants to run out at midnight to get a “must have” ingredient.  Ask me how I know!
  • Stock up on things that keep well after the holiday.  That’s when you’ll find the best prices, then you’ll be prepared for next year!

cutting-butter

Make things ahead of time and freeze

I make pies for most of these events and I make my own pie dough.  So, yesterday I whipped up enough pie dough for two pies in my Ninja to stick in the freezer.  It took less than 30 minutes.

ninja-pie-dough

Anything you can make early and freeze will make your life so much easier later on!  If you don’t know what you can freeze, pop on over to Once a Month Meals.  They have a vast variety of recipes and they show you how to prepare it for the freezer.  I used there meal planning service when I worked full time and it was such a time saver!  There are recipes for 7 different dietary preferences and they give you everything you need to know from start to finish.  Here’s just a few basic sides that can be frozen:

  • mashed potatoes
  • mac and cheese
  • corn or squash casserole

Trust me, getting some of the major prep done ahead of time will make the day of the event so much easier!

Make a Plan

I know, you can never plan for everything – that’s impossible!  So, let’s call it a strategy!  Once you’ve decided what you’ll be preparing or bringing, make a punch list.  For example, I know I need to take my pie dough out of the freezer the night before.  Otherwise I’ll never be able to use it!  Having a punch list that’s made when things are not chaotic can really help prevent things from being forgotten.  Here’s some things to think about when you’re making your punch list:

  • When do I need to lay out things in the freezer?
  • How long does it take to cook anything I’m taking?
  • Can I go ahead and put some things in the car the night before?
  • What am I wearing?  Does it need ironing/dry cleaning?  How about the kids?
  • When do I need to leave to be on time for the event?
  • How long is the event?  Will you need to take any medicines with you?
  • Is there gas in my vehicle?  {Don’t laugh!  This has been a real issue for me in the past!}

These are just some things to think about ahead of time to try to lessen the stress the day of the event.  Most of all, don’t take everything so seriously!  If something doesn’t go as planned, it’s not the end of the world!

Dad’s Peanut Butter Cookies

I promised you a cookie recipe, and it’s at the bottom, I promise!  This is a quick and easy cookie recipe that is great with a cold glass of milk.  We used to make these with my Dad and my favorite part, besides eating them, was smashing them with the fork.  The recipe calls for plain peanut butter, but I mixed it up this time with chocolate peanut butter.

peanut-butter-cookies

This is a dough that can be made ahead of time {in the Ninja!}, rolled up, and stored in the freezer until ready to bake.  Here are some ideas to mix it up a bit:

  • Use a flavored peanut butter.  There’s so many out there to choose from!
  • Add chocolate chips.  Chocolate and peanut butter is a great combo!
  • Add some cinnamon.  They also have cinnamon peanut butter, which tastes like a graham cracker with peanut butter on it!
  • Add some pecans or other nuts.

Whatever you decided to do, I’m sure you will enjoy the recipe.  Just make sure to use self rising flour and not plain!  I may or may not have done this and that may or may not be the reason there are no cookie pictures in this post.  Just saying – use the self rising flour!

Y’all have a great weekend and I’ll be back on Monday with Easy Christmas Gifts Part 2.

 

Dad's Peanut Butter Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 22 minutes

Yield: 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, self rising

Instructions

  1. Add peanut butter, brown sugar, and butter to the mixer. Blend until creamy.
  2. Add honey, vanilla, and egg and blend until smooth.
  3. Add flour and blend until soft dough forms.
  4. Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to drop onto cookie sheet. Optional: Flour a fork and press criss-crosses in the top.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes at 325 degrees.

Notes

Use parchment paper to help prevent sticking.

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