I heart spreadsheets. For Thanksgiving? You Bet!

Structure binds anxiety.

Sage words from my past life as a corporate trainer.



Your Grocery List

I love a spreadsheet for this sort of planning. I actually have two. One is the daily to do items. On it the left most column is the menu, the days between today and Thursday across the top. In each cell is the buy/make/prep note that gets the whole shebang done at the right time.

I have a second list/spreadsheet for groceries. It's so easy to forget if you need 4 eggs for one thing and 8 egg whites for another, you won't have 6 whole eggs left for the strata on Friday. Placing the menu on the left column, it's easy to scan and take a quick inventory of all that you need so you don't over-buy in a grocery shopping daze (8 lbs of butter "just to be safe" will take up precious space in your freezer, trust me on that one).

Your To Do List

Remember yesterday's advice about delegating? This will help you clarify all the things you want, in a perfect world with 36 hours a day, to be done before next Thursday. And, it will help you let go of all the things that you really can let go of. For example, my late night craft project might suggest a need for a glue gun. This is beyond ridiculous. Off the list! It's a great feeling to vanquish the demons that threaten to undermine you.

Don't forget to add actual notes to remind yourself to work out. Take a walk is a nice thought, but it's much more likely to happen if it is on the plan, in the calendar, staring at you from the list.

Your 2015 List

Why start now? Because you'll forget on Friday all the little things that worked or didn't, the mental notes you made to do X the day before, to add more herbs to this, less clove to that, which new dish was raving success or one to never try again. Hat tip to Cheryl Sternman Rule for the excellent advice on this one.

Create a list NOW (yes now) to post on the fridge or somewhere handy, to keep a running tally of reminders for next year. You will thank me later.

Some of my items from last year's list:

  • Calibrate Thermapen.
  • Alsace Cremant goes well with appetizers, priced well, bright crisp flavors great with tiny rich bites (like the turkey liver marsala mousse) and oysters. (Apparently I made a turkey liver marsala mousse last year, must've been a last minute improv because I have no recollection nor recipe!)
  • Shaved fennel, green apple, celery salad better to serve in small dishes than big bowl.

At the bottom of the list: Place a reminder in calendar for October 1 (or April or May 1 if you're pitching stories for Thanksgiving) to have the reminder on the calendar gives you a fighting chance at avoiding last minute panic next year. 


Next up:

  • Pie tips and recipes.