Holiday Planning “To-Do List”

Are you having Thanksgiving dinner at your house? What about Christmas or Hanukkah? Are you traveling out of town to visit relatives or are they coming to visit you?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions now is the time to start planning your “to-do list” so everything runs smooth and on time.

Turkey Rolls

Holiday Meal Planner

Gather up a pad of paper or spiral notebook, a calendar, and a pen. If you are planning a holiday meal decide what the whole menu will be and write it down on one piece of paper. Do this at least several weeks before the date.

If guests and/or family members bring different dishes, write their name next to it on the menu. Make sure they know what they are expected to bring and how many guests will be at the table.

Once you know what dishes your will be making then write down all the ingredients needed. Make a shopping list and take advantage of the sales on the non-perishables ahead of time.


Holiday Home Cleaning Planner

Creating a planner to prepare your home for the holiday meal is similar the plan for the meal. It can be set up in the same notebook. Make a list of everything that needs to be done starting with the day of the party and work your way backwards. If you work outside the home and don’t have a full couple of days ahead to clean, then list a few tasks for each day starting 3 or 4 days to a week ahead of time.

List the day and date and then fill in what you want to get done on those days. If you don’t complete the task on the designated day then transfer it to the next day. It will make more work for you the next day but also give you a greater sense of urgency if you keep procrastinating. Enlist help from family members. Write their name next to the task and let them mark it off when they have completed it. This will help them know what is expected from them each day.


Travel Planner

If you’re traveling to visit relatives, make a Travel Planner to keep you organized.


Please let me know how you plan your holiday meals or trips by leaving a comment.



Decluttering Your Recipes

I love to cut recipes from magazines and print out ones from the internet. I have good intentions of expanding my culinary skills with mouth watering new recipes. The pictures look so good. I love to bake but I have very little family in town to bake for.

Since my children have grown and moved out of town I find I cook the same old recipes each week. Because my husband doesn’t have a sweet tooth (a real oddity) I don’t have anyone to bake for besides myself (I do have a sweet tooth). Controlling my weight is a problem so not baking is a good thing in the long run. It’s just not much fun when looking at those recipes for cookies (my big weakness) and other sweets in the magazines.

My local grocery store puts out a bi-monthly brochure filled with recipes for the upcoming season. Autumn is just around the corner so recipes for those sweets are catching my eye.IMGP0384_edited-1 But what about all those recipes I already have collected but never tried? It’s time to do some decluttering of the old so I can start collecting the new. The key is to be very discriminating about the criteria for keeping a recipe, whether old or new.

So I am now going through my old recipes in the evening while watching the baseball games (Go Cardinals!) on TV. Here are a few questions I am asking myself with each recipe. I hope you find these questions helpful when decluttering some of your unused recipes.

1. Is this a recipe my family would like, not just me?

2. Are the ingredients ones I have on hand?

3. If I need a special ingredient is it hard to find, expensive, and will it be used up? Is it worth it if I only use a small amount and the the rest gets wasted?

4. Is the recipe time consuming and would I ever want to spend that amount of time on it? I love baking bread and don’t mind the time but other recipes are not worth it to me.

5. Is it a recipe that can be cut down for fewer servings? Rarely do I cook for more than two and my husband isn’t good about most leftovers from the freezer.

6. Is it a recipe where leftovers or extras freeze well? Cookies freeze great but I love them frozen. Not a good thing when watching my weight.


7. Is it a healthy low fat recipe for everyday? Special occasion recipes don’t need to meet this criteria.

Do you have other criteria for keeping recipes to try? Please leave a comment and let me know. Thanks.

Janice (please follow me on twitter)

Holiday Baking/Cooking Supplies

The holidays are upon us. Ovens are heating up and luscious smells are coming from them. Do you have all your baking supplies ready to go? Have you checked your recipes for ingredients needed? If not, now is the time to make that grocery list.

Make sure your ingredients are fresh. Most have “best used by” dates on the packages. If you put some of your ingredients into canisters, do you remember when you bought that last bag of flour? Flour gets rancid over time. Baking soda and baking powder get old and will not leaven your baked goods as well. Spices and herbs lose their punch.


If there isn’t a date on the package to go by you might be better off buying new. After all, you put your time and love into baking those cookies and cakes so you want the freshest ingredients to make them taste their best.

If you get all those supplies in the house now you will be able to bake up a storm when the weather outside is frightful.

When you start making that holiday meal (all or part of it) you’ll want everything ready to go. Plan ahead now so you won’t be heading to the grocery store for last minute items with all those unorganized people.