Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lazy = Making Choices that Work for YOU!

Often when I tell people I co-wrote "The Lazy Woman's Guide..." they say "you are NOT lazy you DO so much!" In our book we address this - LAZY is not about being a sloth and stopping life, it's about making priorities that create less stress and more joy. So, what does that mean at the holidays? It depends...

For me what that meant at Thanksgiving was to first give up expectations of what it should look like. When the Haiti disaster occurred I decided I wanted to do relief work the week of Thanksgiving. But a few months ago it became clear that might not be good timing. So then I signed up to go back to New Orleans and work with Habitat for Humanity. They still need so much help and have been all but forgotten. But because of Thanksgiving I found out their holiday schedule only had people working two days that week, so I realized fairly late that I should stay home and create a wonderful Thanksgiving for friends and family. Once that was decided I got very excited about doing the best Thanksgiving ever!

So, we got our guest list together and worried about people getting along. I decided to drop every expectation about how people would behave, react, interract. And, I kept dropping the expectations -- it doesn't happen just once, it's an active exercise. And I have to say it was one of my favorite Thanksgivings ever because the "chemistry" was perfect. It was joyful and stress-free.

How else was I lazy this season? I decided I felt like cooking for days! Seriously I was in the mood to cook and I wanted to make it the most amazing meal, decorate the most amazing table, and just cook up a storm. So, here's how it all got done -- the LAZY way ... step by step, a little bit each day so each day was relaxing and fun:

Saturday before ThanksgivingDesign the menu...

Cocktail Hour
· Pomegranate Champagne Punch
· Blue Cheese & Fig Crostini
· Pesto & Radish Crostini
· Artichoke & Olive Crostini
· Pomegranate Turkey (this was Aaron's Baby)
· Sourdough Wild Mushroom Sage Stuffing
· Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Fried Sage
· Apricot Pecan Sweet Potatoes
· Green Beans with Lemon, Butter & Herbs
· Lemon Smashed Potatoes
· Cranberry Sauce (this was my Mom's Baby)

· Pumpkin Cheesecake
· Pumpkin Pie (this was my Mom's Baby)
· Chocolate Apricot Tart
· Pumpkin Ice Cream (this ended up being the HIT of the dessert menu and it was easy!)

Sunday before Thanksgiving· Design the table and buffet table (you can see on photo above that I put post-its on the serving dishes to make sure everything is covered)
· Print out all the recipes
· Make shopping list for every single item on the menu - broken down into sections of the store -- Fruits/Veggies, Dairy, Dry Goods, etc.

Monday before Thanksgiving· Buy flowers
· Start setting the table (so that if what is in your mind's eye doesn't work in reality it can be tweaked)
· Buy new tablecloth (Because I was collaborating with Aaron, this meant adjusting the design in my head to accommodate his wishes, i.e., for a white tablecloth)

Tuesday before Thanksgiving
· All Grocery Shopping
· Buy flowers, candles and any other decorative items needed
· Make Pumpkin Cheesecake and ice cream custard
· Finish setting table to see if anything missing
· Prep sourdough bread for stuffing
· Prep bread for Crostini
· Tape recipes to kitchen cabinets -- as recipes are completed they get thrown away but a great way to keep them in eye’s view and not get them messed up with food drippings!

Wednesday before Thanksgiving
· Make Chocolate Apricot Tart
· Final step of ice cream – put custard in ice cream maker so it can set overnight
· Make Mushroom/Herb sautee for Stuffing
· Clean potatoes and sweet potatoes
· Take brussel sprouts off stalk and clean
· Make pesto for crostini hors d’oeuvres
Thanksgiving Day
· Final prep on all the food – but with so much having been done over last few days it’s pretty stress-free in the kitchen. And, there’s even plenty of time for me to go to the gym and pre-work it all off!
· Make gravy impromptu with drippings right before serving – add stock mixed with cornstarch to thicken
It looked good. It tasted good. But, most important -- it was FUN to do and LAZY!!!! But it was LAZY for me because this was my CHOICE this year -- to cook up a storm and entertain. You need to make choices that fill your heart and soul. Some years that might mean make it a potluck, another year it might mean go to a restaurant, or yet another might mean go out of town....it's your CHOICE. Once you make the choice that gives you the most JOY make sure you do it so you have the least amount of stress by taking care of yourself and everyone around you....planning is my de-stressor and doing a little bit every day. Do what is LAZY for you!
Happy Lazy Holidays to YOU!

No comments:

Post a Comment