Black Friday Leaks Into Thanksgiving Day

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mavis pilgrim

Remember when EVERYTHING was closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter?  It was hard to find a gas station, let alone a grocery store for those “uh-oh, I burned the…” moments.  Nowadays, though, stores are opening their doors so that shoppers can get a head start on their holiday shopping.  Retailers are looking to get the corner on the market and bolster their sales with by milking every moment of holiday shopping possible.

According to Huffington Post, Target will open its doors at 6 p.m. on Thursday.  Target announced that they will provide incentive pay for employees, and try, if possible to take volunteers to work the once no-work-day holiday.  Other stores, like J.C. Penney, Toys R Us, and Kmart will also open their doors sometime Thanksgiving evening.  For some, I know that Black Friday is a bigger holiday than Thanksgiving.  I can appreciate the tradition of meeting sisters, girlfriends, etc. with coffee in hand and hitting the pavement, all while Christmas lights twinkle and sales hit epic proportions, but, I have to ask…are the deals really worth it?  I am not asking with judgement, but I’d rather stay home and avoid the crowds and chaos.  Traditions change.  Priorities change.  I get that.  But, what are we giving up?  What are we gaining?

I kind of just want to open it up for discussion.  What do you think?  Are we gaining more than we are losing by having the stores open on the Holidays?  Or is it vice-versa?

~Mavis

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10 Money Saving Tips for Hosting a Thanksgiving Day Feast

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10 Money Saving Tips for Hosting a Thanksgiving Day Feast

Have you ever offered to host something, because you thought the whole tradition of it would be awesome, and then, after you had committed, realized that it was going to require you to take an advance on your retirement in order to afford it?  Thanksgiving can totally be one of those times.  Over the years, though, I have learned quite a few ways to put on a generous spread and still keep the budget in mind.

If you are hosting this year, here are a couple of ideas to keep money in your pocket and food on the table:

  1. Right off the bat, the easiest way to have a nice spread is to go potluck, or at the very least, take people up on it when they offer to bring something.  It totally eases your load in the kitchen too.
  2. It’s never too early to stock up on non-perishables.  If you notice that chicken broth is on sale {and be still your beating heart, there is a coupon too!} in September, swipe it up and store it for the big day.
  3. Make up for upfront costs with creative uses of left-overs.  Make turkey pot pies with leftovers that you can freeze for later, when you aren’t sick to death of the sight of turkey.  Supplementing later meals will help to balance out your budget.
  4. Know common ingredient substitutions.  No need to buy buttermilk if you can make it with the ingredients you already have at home.  It could save you a lot of time and money to just use what you already have.
  5. Keep the meal simple.  Yes, it would be awesome to make every single recipe you pinned on your appetizer board on Pinterest, but that gets time consuming and costly.  Be realistic about how much food you actually need.
  6. Use what you already have for your centerpiece.  Cut some boughs off of your tree, sprinkle in a couple of candles, put fall leaves in mason jars, etc. and you have an instant centerpiece that cost nothing.
  7. If you serve alcohol, keep it simple.  Provide beer and wine.  Anything more gets super expensive.
  8. If you only use sage and thyme {or whatever the spice may be} once a year, consider buying it in the bulk section of your store.  I know the word “bulk” implies that you have to buy a ton, but that’s the beauty, you can literally just get the tablespoon worth you need.  It will save you big bucks–and valuable kitchen storage space.
  9. Hit Farmer’s Markets.  You can usually find a much better deal on produce around this time of year if you have access to a farmer’s market.
  10. Cut out the convenience foods altogether.  For example, a jar of gravy costs waaay more than homemade gravy, which literally cost pennies and extra time.

Do you have any money saving tips for hosting the Big Feast?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Thanksgiving Planning Timeline and Checklist

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Thanksgiving Planning Timeline and Checklist

Can you believe it’s time to shift into holiday planning already?  Seriously, where did the time go?!

Thanksgiving is less than 4 weeks away, and if you plan on hosting this year, it is time to start checking things off of your to-do list.

In an effort to stay organized, I decided to break up the holiday chores by week.  That way, I know exactly what I need to do, and it doesn’t all seem overwhelming.

Cuisinart roasting pan

3 Weeks Before

Plan your menu.  Decide which recipes you plan to make and make sure you can pull them all off {i.e. make sure you have the oven space and time}.  Also, make sure you have everything you need to make the dinner.  The first time I hosted a Thanksgiving, I had to go out and buy a roasting pan, baster, meat thermometer, etc.

Make a giant master grocery list.  This will give you time to watch for sales, etc., if you find great deals on items on your list, go ahead and pick them up over the next few weeks.  Any items that don’t go on sale, you can get the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Write down a list of all of the recipe preps you can do ahead of time.

If you order a free-range turkey, now is the time to reserve your bird.  Send out invites, make phone calls, email, etc. your guest list.  You will want to give everyone plenty of time to R.S.V.P. so you don’t waste money on unnecessary food.

Pull out your holiday decor {if you have some} and set it up.

2 Weeks Before

If you go potluck style, make sure to assign what your guests will bring now, so that you don’t include it in your planning.

It’s also a good time to go over your table settings.  Do you have enough?  Did some of your linens get ruined last year?  Replace these all now, when stress level is low.  If you do a centerpiece on your table, now is a great time to make it/buy it {unless it’s fresh flowers, of course}.  The days right before the big show are always chaotic, might as well check what you can off the list now.

Thanksgiving-Turkey-Cookies1{Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies}

The Weekend Before

Time to do the grocery shopping.  If you buy a frozen turkey, it’s best just to stick it in the fridge now so it will thaw by Thursday.  You may have to make a final trip to the grocery store a little later in the week, because if you are like me, you will inevitably forget something, but at least the bulk of the shopping will be done.

Now is a good time to clean the house too.  If you are planning on overnight guests, this might be a bit more work–make sure you have enough clean towels, etc.

Tuesday

You can make anything that can be chilled in the fridge today {think:  cranberry sauce}.  This will make the actual day of much less hectic.

cranberry-apple-pie-recipe

Wednesday

By making Wednesday a full day, you will be able to actually enjoy your guests on Thursday.  Start with a last minute dash to the grocery store.  Grab anything you might have forgotten.  You can also pick up fresh flowers if you are using them for your centerpiece.

Wash and chop onions, celery, etc. You can store them in the fridge until you need them tomorrow.  You can even assemble your stuffing and store it in the fridge until tomorrow.

Bake pies and desserts.  For pies {like apple}, best served warm, just warm them right before serving.

You can also make the dinner rolls today.  Wrap them in foil tomorrow and rewarm them in the oven, if you’d like.

Set the table Wednesday night after dinner.  I always make the kiddos eat at the bar on Thursday morning.  That way, Thursday, all I have to do is cook and present the bird Martha Stewart style to my guests {on a big platter, wearing a dress and a smile–ha!}

If you serve wine with dinner, make sure to chill white wine over night.

sweet potato casserole recipe

Thanksgiving Day

First off, Happy Thanksgiving.  Second, pour yourself a glass of bourbon, you may need it–in about 5 hours your house will be full of family, friends, and chaos.  Kidding!  Obviously you’re happy to have them!

Put in the turkey.  While it is roasting, prep and make any side dishes.

About 30 minutes before guests arrive, set out hors d’oeuvres if you made them.

When the bird is done, let it rest while you make the gravy–which should be your final step before calling everyone to eat.

Right before you sit down to eat, pop in any desserts that may need to be warmed.

Sit down and enjoy the fact that you have great food and people to share it with.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How Much Are You Willing to Pay for Your Thanksgiving Turkey?

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How Much Are You Willing to Pay for Your Thanksgiving Turkey

I recently received an email from a company that was advertising free range Thanksgiving turkeys for $130 – $175. Wowza!  I don’t think I’ve ever paid for than $10 for a turkey {in fact most years I’ve gotten them for FREE} so when I saw how much they are selling the birds for I nearly fell over.

I totally get that most people who pay that much for a turkey do it for ethical reasons…because how much better can a $150 turkey taste than one for $10?  Even more, I get the farm to table thing is totally rad.  It’s so much better for the turkeys to spend their days roaming around and foraging for food.  Plus, the birds are supposed to be better for us when they’ve lived a lower-stress free-range life.

Still, I wonder, even if you really wanted to be able to support your local farmer by purchasing a free-range bird, what is your cost threshold?  Would you happily spend the $150?  Maybe you’ve got a line on a farmer who gets you an awesomely delicious bird for less?  I am super curious, what do YOU pay for your Turkey?  {Meanwhile, I am totally looking into turkey farming as a side-job :) }.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Cranberry Cinnamon Pear Sauce – Perfect with Ham or Turkey

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Cranberry Cinnamon Pear Sauce

Last week I was searching for some sort of cranberry recipe to serve alongside this years Christmas ham when I stumbled upon this recipe on Mennonite Girls Can Cook, I thought it was perfect.  Until I realized that I didn’t have an onion or any apples in my pantry. So I adapted the Mennonite Girls Can Cook recipe a wee bit and now I’ll be serving a delicious cranberry cinnamon pear sauce to my family this Christmas instead.

Don’t you love it when things work out like that? I do. :)

pears and cranberries

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup water
4 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup dried cranberries
2 ripe pears, peeled and diced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt

Cranberry Cinnamon Pear Sauce, Perfect with Ham or Turkey, Cranberry Side Dish

Directions

Place washed cranberries in a large saucepan along with ALL of the other ingredients.  Stir to combine.  Cook over low to medium heat for about 30 minutes. You will need to babysit this one and stir frequently or it will scorch. Ideally you want all the cranberries to “pop” and the sauce to be nice and thick when you’re done with it. Makes about 4 cups.

Cranberry Cinnamon Pear Sauce

Serve alongside ham or turkey. Nom.Nom.

Merry Christmas everyone,

~Mavis

terra organics

Thank you to the awesome folks at Terra Organics for supplying me with the fresh pears and cranberries for this recipe. Terra Organics delivers the best selection of organic, seasonal produce in the Northwest.  Fresh from their farm to you in King, Pierce and Thurston Counties. Go HERE to check out Terra Organics.

Supporting your local farmers is just plain cool. :)

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Thanksgiving Leftovers – Sweet Potato Muffins with Crumb Topping

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Thanksgiving Leftovers - Sweet Potato Muffins with Crumb Topping

Open your fridge.Do you still have leftovers? There are only so many times you can reheat and recreate that Thanksgiving meal before your children revolt. So go grab that sweet potato casserole and make these muffins. Your family will thank you for the change and your taste buds will thank you because, well, it’s freakin awesome.

sweet potato muffin batterIngredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda {15 Cool Uses for Baking Soda}
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup leftover sweet potato casserole or pureed sweet potatoes
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Thanksgiving Leftovers - Sweet Potato Muffins with Crumb ToppingIngredients for the oatmeal streusel

3/4 cup old fashioned oats {I used quick oats}
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoon cold butter, sliced

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the ingredients for the oatmeal streusel topping in bowl and, using your fingers, work the ingredients together for a minute or two until they are nice and crumbly.

Mix all the ingredients for the muffins together in a large bowl until well combined.

Using a 3 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the batter into muffin cups or a well oiled muffin tin. Sprinkle the oatmeal topping over the batter and bake the muffins at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until done. Leftover muffins freeze really well so double the batch if you want!

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Gig Harbor Turkey Trot

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gig harbor turkey trot mavis butterfiled

Yesterday I met up with my buddy The Mad Scientist to run/walk the Gig Harbor Turkey Trot. Holmes Chiropractic holds the fun run every year as a fundraiser or the Gig Harbor Food Bank. {How cool is that?} I’m always amazed at how many families show up to this event every year.

gig harbor turkey trot

It’s awesome to see thousands of people show up downtown wearing running tights and turkey hats so early in the morning, just to get in a little exercise. I mean really, with all the food that’s consumed on Thanksgiving, I think we could all use a little something to help burn all those calories, don’t you?

gig harbor turkey trot

Pilgrims and Indians, still rockin’ it after all these years. ;)

How about YOU?

Did you get any exercise in yesterday {other than exercising your fork}?

Mavis wants to know.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Happy Thanksgiving from Mavis!

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mavis pilgrim

My house smells so good right now I want to lick the walls. I look forward to our Thanksgiving feast ALL. YEAR. LONG. I’m getting giddy just thinking about all the turkey, sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie I’m going to consume.

But it’s not just about the food, right {right?!}. It’s about pausing and remembering all of the awesome things in your life that you have to be thankful for. And I have a lot. Hope you do too!

Be thankful for all you have, eat until it hurts, and may your day be blessed.

Peace out pilgrims,

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Pick Up Lines for Thanksgiving Dinner

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Pick Up Lines for Thanksgiving Dinner

I know what you’re thinking:  ”Pick-up lines for Thanksgiving dinner?  Aren’t you usually with FAMILY on Thanksgiving?”  No, no, my friends, lots of people don’t live near family and get invited to dinner with co-workers, neighbors, and friends.  If you are one of those people and are single, and looking for love, asking someone out who is loaded up on Triptophan and wine might just be a recipe for success. ;)

Here’s a couple of ice-breakers for you to lead with:

  1. “I can give you something to be thankful about.”  {Yep, creepy and straight to the point}
  2.  ”The only thing sweeter than pumpkin pie is you.” {If you are looking for g-rated and cheesy, this is your best bet}
  3. Lay your head on her shoulder, and then say, “Sorry, it must be the triptophan.”
  4. “Meeting you is something I’m thankful for.”
  5. “You’re as hot as the gravy we just ate.”  {What woman doesn’t want to be compared with gravy?  This is a no-brainer.  Ha.}
  6. “Wanna share the wishbone, cause it’s wishing for you.”
  7. “I have a thing for butterballs.”  {In fair warning, you will probably get slapped for using this one.}

Ahh Ha Ha.

Good Luck, and have a great Thanksgiving everyone.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Cook a Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

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How to Cook a Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

The Girl Who Thinks She’s a Bird has been cooking our Thanksgiving turkey since she was 9. Yes, NINE years young. One year she asked if she could make it, I said yes, and she has made it every Thanksgiving since. There are a few lessons to be learned here: first is if you have kids or nieces/nephews/cousins/neighbor kids around for your Thanksgiving festivities, put them to work! Even if you don’t trust them to cook the bird, there are all sorts of ways they can help.

Don’t want crazy kids running wild through your kitchen? Give them a potato peeler and sack of potatoes & have them sit outside & peel away. Second lesson here is that I’m pretty sure my daughter makes a better turkey than I ever did. Never would have known that if I didn’t give her the chance!

How to Cook a Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

Here are some tips and tricks she uses to cook the most delicious turkey every year:

1. Make sure you allow plenty of time to thaw your turkey.  Overnight thawing just won’t work for a big bird {most turkeys really} and you’ll have a Thanksgiving disaster on your hands if you try to cook a frozen turkey! Be prepared for up to 3-4 days of thawing. Also pull the turkey out of the fridge about 2 hours before you plan to cook it.

2. The girl sometimes spreads a dry rub on the turkey consisting of a few tablespoons of salt and a little pepper all over the skin before she throws it in the fridge for a few days. All that salt soaks into the skin and makes it that much more delicious!

3. Don’t stuff your turkey. I know, I know. This goes against so many Thanksgiving traditions, but it really does complicate things. It’s hard to get the guts you’ve stuffed cooked to the correct temperature while still evenly cooking your turkey. Nothing seems to benefit from a stuffed turkey, the turkey or the stuffing, so we avoid it!

4. Don’t baste the turkey either but do spread a fatty rub all over right before you cook. She uses a mix of butter, garlic powder, more salt {I know it seems like a lot of salt but trust me it cooks off and tastes awesome} and some herbs like rosemary and/or thyme.  Rub it all over the bird & even under the skin, but don’t go too crazy with it or you’ll end up with a greasy turkey! She also will put a little broth in the bottom of the roasting pan to keep the turkey moist during cooking sometimes.

5. Cooking temp is important. Cook the turkey for the 1st 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven and then lower the cook temp to 350 for the remainder of the cooking time. Plan on about 15 minutes per pound. We use a roasting rack to allow the heat to circulate. The Girl says it cooks the turkey more evenly.

6. Buy a meat thermometer that can stay in the turkey like this one. Takes all of the guess work out of it. It will let you know when your bird is done without you having to open and close your oven a million times. If you don’t have a thermometer that can stay in the turkey, just make sure the thermometer you use reads 170 at the thickest part of the turkey before you take the bird out. Plan on a cook time of about 15 minutes per pound.

7. Let the bird sit for a few minutes before you serve it. This “resting” period not only keeps your finger tips safe from scalding turkey burns, but it also makes the turkey a bit juicier.

8. Speaking of juices, don’t throw them away. Save them and cook them into the best gravy ever!

And there you have all the tips our resident turkey cooker could think of. What are some of yours?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

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