Tackling the Holiday Kitchen

With Halloween behind us that means Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are just around the corner.  This year has just flown right by!
Our new front door in progress
Unless you can hire a caterer or order out all of your meals, it’s the time of the year we will spend countless hours in the kitchen.  If it’s not finger foods for an Alabama-LSU game day party, it is a cake or pie for Thanksgiving, appetizers for a buffet table, caramel apples for a snack or dinner for 12 on Christmas Eve.  Yes, we love the holidays, but prepping for them can be quite the challenge!
I am not a “wait until it happens” kind of gal.  By the time October has ended,  I am in full nesting mode when it comes to schedule planning and kitchen organization. WIth four children and a hubby traveling for work being organized is so vitally important!
I start with pulling out the day planner and marking down all of the parties and gatherings that we know will occur around our normal activities of basketball games and youth group.  I share this with Audley so that he can arrange his travel schedule around them.  With him already in Spartanburg, this holiday season will be very important for being organized!
Nesting also means I am finding my favorite holiday serving pieces and dinnerware, doing inventory of the cabinets and refrigerator, and pulling out my go-to recipes for parties and other celebrations.  While the kiddos find themselves caught up in homework in the evenings is a perfect time to flip to magazines and cookbooks for other great ideas to add to my holiday menus.  I can mark down ideas and things that I will need in my day planner and have handy when I am out and about.
Buying extra groceries for the holiday season can be a challenge because no one wants to add an extra $100-$200 to their already high grocery bills!  Over the years I have discovered that by starting in October, I can add a few items that I know I will need to the grocery basket each week and not add that much to my weekly grocery bill.  I know that it truly makes life a little easier for me!  This is also a good time to clip coupons if you don’t already.   Many of your grocery stores have displays with holiday baking products that are common this time of year.  If you are watching the Sunday paper for coupons, you will discover that many of these items are represented there as well!  I also like to shop in bulk this time of year, so our membership to Costco is especially useful!
Having a well stocked pantry around the holidays certainly saves a lot of wasted time in the car running to the store for one item here or there.  It also ensures that you will have ingredients on hand for a last minute dish as well.



Here is a sampling of what I like to stock my pantry with during the holiday season:

*Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk (must have for pumpkin pie)
*Pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
*real butter
*pie crusts
*whipping cream (no need for the fake stuff)
*brown sugar
*autumnal spices like cinnamon, ginger, & nutmeg
*granulated sugar
*plenty of farm fresh eggs
*cheddar cheese (for a cheeseball or cheese straws)
*vanilla extract
*assorted jams and jellies for a spontaneous brunch with friends
*phyllo dough
*miniature phyllo cups (perfect for bite-sized appetizers and desserts)
*fresh apples (for a scrumptious apple spice cake)
*cream cheese
*variety of crackers for dips
*sour cream (for those delish dinner rolls)
*Fresh Cranberries
*Fresh Florida oranges
*chocolate chips or andes mint chips
*English Breakfast tea (to relax with @ the end of the day)
*hot chocolate and marshmallows
*apple cider
*miniature quiches or other “pop into the oven” treats for last minute guests or parties
*extra ziploc bags or plastic storage containers

What do you like to keep on hand during the holiday season?
Put on your favorite music (I’ve already broke out the Christmas CD’s), light an apple cinnamon candle and get to organizing your kitchen for the holidays!  They’ll be here before you know it, and you sure don’t want to be caught unprepared!



3 thoughts on “Tackling the Holiday Kitchen

  1. You are one organized gal! I will sit down and plan Thanksgiving dinner as I just found out that I will be hosting. It will be a smaller group, but we will have fun. I will plan fun and we will move on through to a new normal. We will. Do I sound positive yet?

    Love your tips and I am going to actually snag your list, if you allow, to put in my housekeeping notebook. Just back from minor grocery shopping at my little grocery right here in town. They're affiliated with IGA so they already have some wonderful sales going. I picked up a few things. Another thing is that they had a sign on the frozen food section that said “Making Room for Turkeys.” Everything in that section was on sale from ice cream to frozen steak. Yup, I took advantage of that, too.

    Hugs to you, my dear, as you go through some major transitions of your own. I'm thinking of you!


  2. Pingback: Holiday Entertaining Timeline | Fiddle Dee Dee

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