Thanksgiving Keep-It-Together Checklist

If you do just one thing… Enjoy a stress-free Thanksgiving. Don’t let a day filled with cooking the big feast, hosting relatives and friends, and keeping the kids entertained get the better of you, so you can calmly deal with anything that comes your way.

Clean your stovetop in just five minutes. Keep the area spotless pre- and post-turkey with this quick routine.

Speed Cleaning Your Stovetop:
1. Make sure the stovetop is cool. Remove the grates and the knobs (with an electric range, also take off the drip pans). Drop them into a few inches of hot, soapy water in the sink. Time: 30 seconds. With a damp paper towel, wipe crumbs off the stovetop.
…Time: 20 seconds.
2. Grab the knobs from the sink. You don’t want to oversoak them or the markings might come off. Rinse. Shake excess water out of the inner workings, wipe dry, and set aside on a dish towel.
…Time: 1 minute.
3. Spray the stovetop generously with Clean Team Red Juice (or another all-purpose cleaner). Let sit to soften stuck-on gunk. Meanwhile, spritz a paper towel with Red Juice and spot-clean the back and the knob area.
…Time: 1 minute.
4. Scour the stovetop with a gentle scrubber, such as the Scotch-Brite Greener Clean nonscratching scouring pad.
…Time: 20 seconds.
5. Wipe the stovetop clean with a paper towel. To shine, spritz with a glass cleaner. (I like Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day window spray for its combination of shine and aromatherapy.)
…Time: 20 seconds.
6. Scrub any dirty spots on the grates (or the drip pans, for an electric stove) with the scouring pad. Rinse and dry.
…Time: 1 minute.
7. Replace the grates and the knobs, making sure the off-position indicators are aligned.
…Time: 30 seconds.
8. Put on the teakettle and relax. (The clock is off.)

I love this! It reminds me of football. Timeout!!!

Skip getting sick. By now you know that frequently washing your hands with good old soap for 20 to 25 seconds is the first line of defense against germs that lead to illness. Here’s what you can do to get safely through the cold and flu season in 3 Steps:

Step 1: Regularly disinfect the kitchen sink, the trash can, the bathroom faucet, and the tub. They’re some of the germiest places in a home, according to studies. The champion of contamination? The kitchen sponge. Clean it in the dishwasher weekly.
Step 2: Take a brisk walk five times a week. Studies show that regular exercise can help reduce your likelihood of catching a cold.
Step 3: Work probiotics (a.k.a. good bacteria) into your daily diet to help your immune system ward off bad bacteria. Try yogurt, fortified drinks, or a tasty treat like the 90-calorie Attune **Dark Chocolate Probiotic Bar ($1.20, http://www.attunefoods.com for stores). ** Now made with vegan and gluten-free ingredients!

Spice up everyday mixed nuts. Upgrade this Thanksgiving Day snack with this easy recipe…

Buttered Nuts With Rosemary and Orange
Melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 cups lightly salted roasted mixed nuts (an 11.5-ounce can), 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, and 1 tablespoon thinly sliced orange zest (from 1⁄4 of an orange) and cook, tossing, until the sugar is melted and the mixture is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool on a baking sheet.

Add Brussels sprouts to tonight’s dinner. Add an earthy taste and a hearty texture with these mini Super Veggies! They are low in calories and fat-free. Bonus: You’ll get a good helping of vitamins C and A, Vitamin K, dietary fiber, potassium, and folate. They are also a cruciferous (crew-sif-er-ous) vegetable, which have been linked to lowered cancer risk, oxidative stress and heart-disease rates.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts: I just cut them in half, brush with a small amount of olive oil and broil until they are slightly browned, turn them over and when that side is browned a bit, they are done. I love to cook them the same way on my grill, too. When they are done, I sprinkle on a little pepper. I LOVE these!

Brussels Sprouts With Brown Earth Balance and Sage
Serves 4-15 Hands-On Time: 15m Total Time: 35m
1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts (20 to 25 sprouts), trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup coarsely chopped sage leaves (6 to 8 leaves)
sprinkle of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, add the sprouts to boiling salted water and cook until bright green and just tender, 6 to 8 minutes; drain and set aside. THEN in a large skillet, over medium heat, melt the Earth Balance and cook until nutty brown in color, being careful not to burn it. Add the sage, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sprouts, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat in the butter and cook until heated through, 5 to 7 minutes.
Quick Tip: Blanching vegetables locks in flavor, texture, and color, and you don’t have to worry about undercooking or overcooking.
Daily Do-Over: Don’t eat Brussels’ sprouts 2 days in a row.

And try Marilu Henner’s Brussels Sprouts with Vinegar-Glazed Onions recipe from Healthy Life Kitchen.
serves 4
1 basket Brussels sprouts (about 10 ounces)
1 Tablespoon soy margarine
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Trim the outer leaves and stems from Brussels sprouts and discard. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil; add salt. Add Brussels sprouts and cook until tender but still bright green, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and plunge into a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well and cut in half.
Heat ½ Tablespoon soy margarine and ½ Tablespoon olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts and cook, tossing occasionally, until they are brown and crisp on the edges; about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to a large bowl. Cover with foil to keep warm.
Add remaining soy margarine and oil to the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted and transparent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vinegar (stand back to avoid the fumes), and stir to loosen any brown bits on bottom of pan. Cook until vinegar is reduced and onions are glazed, about 30 seconds. Add the onions to the Brussels sprouts and toss well. Serve immediately.

Take time to relax. Sneak a few minutes after the guests have departed and the kids have gone to bed to pamper yourself. Whether it’s with a book, a bath, or an extra bite of pumpkin pie. It’ll be one more thing to be thankful for.

Go shopping online on Thanksgiving weekend. Many “Black Friday” online sales begin on Thanksgiving Day, so while everyone else is falling asleep in front of the football game, steal away for a few minutes and score some great deals. Too busy to hit the Web on Turkey Day? Then check sites like http://www.target.com and http://www.bestbuy.com early on Black Friday morning ― they often make changes to their websites before dawn!

How to Shop Black Friday Online: To preview the day’s bargains, view leaked deals at http://www.bfads.net andhttp://www.gottadeal.com. For “Cyber Monday” sales (many Web retailers cut prices on the Monday after Thanksgiving), try http://www.cybermonday.com and http://www.bestcybermondaysales.com.
Start early. As in, on Thanksgiving Day. Many Black Friday online sales begin on the holiday, giving you the advantage of scoring deals while everyone else is feasting.
Really early. Major online retailers (Target, Best Buy, Macy’s) tend to make changes to their websites overnight, from about 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. ― the online equivalent of restocking the shelves and doing markdowns. Be sure to log on right when you wake up to take advantage.
Get advance copies of store circulars. http://www.gottadeal.com and http://www.bfads.net aggregate a ton of sales content, featuring everything from clothing to technology, and post ads and circulars weeks before the shopping holiday.
Print out receipts. Don’t consider it game over just because you made the buy… keep an eye on the price for 10 days to two weeks after making the purchase. For example, Banana Republic, Best Buy, Gap, Nordstrom, and Victoria’s Secret will make an adjustment within 14 days of purchase.
Check social networks. Tweeting will emerge this year as one of the best ways to learn of can’t-miss deals in real time. On social-networking sites, post a question like “Looking for a good iPod dock under $150―any leads?” and hope for quick responses, even links, from your shopping-savvy “tweeps.” (Yes, that’s Twitter slang for peeps.)

Organize one room. Take advantage of the long holiday weekend to create smart storage solutions and use foolproof strategies no matter which room you decide to tackle. Use ideas from Real Simple Magazine’s 22 Clever Ways to Organize Your Home.

Save on shoes and boots. Before buying a new pair for the winter, examine where the sole meets the upper; you shouldn’t see glue or loose stitching. You also don’t want to see bumps, loose threads, or awkward construction where two pieces of leather or fabric meet. Next, look for discoloration or unevenness in the material, whether leather or man-made, as it will only get worse with time. Finally, make sure the heels don’t wobble.

Skip the takeout and make yourself lunch! Your lunch doesn’t need to be as boring as the brown bag it came in. Get inspired by some new recipes for sandwiches, soups, and salads that put takeout lunches to shame.

Salade Niçoise Sandwich: All the makings of the classic Niçoise salad heaped onto a baguette. Combine canned tuna, grape or cherry tomatoes (halved), kalamata olives, red onion thinly sliced into half-moons, a pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper to taste, with 1 part red wine vinegar to 1 part olive oil in a bowl. Halve a French baguette lengthwise, then cut it crosswise into 4 portions. Toast the baguette, if desired. Spoon some of the tuna mixture onto the bottom of each baguette portion. Sandwich with the top half and press gently but firmly. Serve with steamed green beans.

Make this next fast meal even faster by using store-bought hummus.

Smashed White Bean and Avocado Club: In a medium bowl, combine 15 oz. canned white beans, 2 tbsp olive oil, dash salt and pepper. Roughly mash the mixture with the back of a fork. Place 8 multigrain bread slices on work surface. Divide mashed beans among the slices. Top with thinly sliced red onion, thinly sliced cucumber, sprouts (alfalfa, radish, broccoli, or a combination), and sliced avocado. Stack open-faced sandwiches on top of one another, avocado-side up, to make 4 double-decker sandwiches. Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread. Goes well with Spiced Pita Chips, or Olive Oil Dip and Vegetables.

Crispy Chickpea Pita: Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add a 15.5-ounce can chickpeas and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add a few tblsp fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Toss. In a small bowl, combine some whole parsley leaves, diced tomatoes, and a bit more olive oil, salt, and pepper. Divide the warm pitas or flat bread among individual plates and spread with store-bought hummus. Top with the chickpeas, thinly sliced red onion, and 1 tsp hot sauce (Tabasco).

Serve with the parsley salad with vegan yogurt and lemon wedges. Goes well with a Basic Vinaigrette, Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, or Roasted Cherry Tomatoes.

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~ by thetotaleffect on November 24, 2010.

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