Friday, November 18, 2011

My Guests Arrive Tomorrow!

Thanksgiving: the food holiday, and an appropriate place to start our blog, don't you think? This year I'm hosting not just Thanksgiving Dinner itself, but we are having guests at our home for the entire week, starting tomorrow! Thank Heaven we finally finished the brunt of the renovations in our basement where reside our guest bedroom and bathroom. We still need to install the toilet, which will have to wait until just hours before they arrive (*fingers crossed all goes smoothly*), but otherwise we're in good shape.

We're not doing Thanksgiving with family this year even though Shawn's family lives just 45 minutes away and the holidays with them are always beyond wonderful. However, since we'll be having Christmas with them and spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas with them last year, they've graciously agreed to do without us this time around so that we can host our friends Bryn and Alex from Boston who we haven't seen in two years. And as luck would have it, mutual friends of ours Shauni and Richard found themselves without family this year as well, so they'll be joining us on Thanksgiving Day, too! For me, both couples are family, so I'm thrilled.

Whenever I have special meals or events to host, I always make a Google document so I can plan everything out and keep track of my progress. Preparing for Thanksgiving is stressful enough, but to be also in charge of a week's worth of meals surrounding Turkey Day...

As always, my imagination gets carried away with me when I first start planning. I imagine myself making quiche from scratch for brunch one day and rising early to make gourmet pancakes and scrambled eggs for breakfast the next. But I am not a morning person. So, I end up having to discipline myself enough to simplify, knowing that if I don't, I'll become my own (and my husband's) worst enemy. Besides, who wants to forgo precious visiting time with friends to stress over a quiche crust, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner? So, I've decided to make breakfast and lunch incredibly easy and just worry about dinner. For now I'll just give you what we're having for breakfast and lunch and then document our dinners throughout the week. Here's what's on the menu:

Breakfasts for the Week:
-Quiche- Buy ready-made and ready-to-heat from a reputable bakery. Costco also sells yummy ones in sets of two.
-Fruit- Apples, Oranges, and Pears are in season. Cut some up and put them in a nice bowl.
-Greek Yogurt- To be mixed with quality honey and topped with dried cherries and good granola. Set out a little yogurt station of sorts if you want to make it special.
-Cereal- We keep a good mix of all-natural and standard varieties on hand. I know this isn't glamorous, but some people are very simple breakfast eaters (like me) and will appreciate the option.
-Hard-boiled Eggs- Make sure they're fresh so the shells are easily removed. Make them ahead of time, and consider peeling them so your guests don't have to struggle though it. Pat them dry with a paper towel and place them in a sealed container in the fridge. They'll last up to a week. Serve with salt and pepper shakers in case they prefer to eat them that way.
-Apple Cider- Find a brand you love. If you're willing to indulge, order a gallon or two from Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Vermont. You'll thank me.

Lunches for the Week:
-Sandwich buffet- I keep my favorite sliced wheat bread on hand. If you want to go the extra mile, run out and grab a good loaf of fresh bread from your local bakery. A crisp, French baguette (should make a nice crunchy sound when you squeeze it) sliced once lengthwise and then three or four times horizontally makes sets of sandwich ends that your guests can fill as they choose. Ciabatta, focaccia, and quality pita breads are great options as well. Here's what I'll be offering as fillers:
      Sliced cucumber, (room temp.) sliced vine tomatoes, sliced avocado, sliced red onion, sliced apples (granny smith or fuji,) plain hummus, mayo, yellow mustard, brie, applewood smoked cheddar (or muenster or havarti, if you can't find this,) bourbon ham, roast beef, and roast turkey (all from the deli, and organic if the budget allows, since it tastes best.)
-Terra brand Sweet Potato Chips, or plain kettle chips
-Sliced fruit
-Baby carrots
-Ice water- Just put it in a nice pitcher and nobody will think anything lacking!

This is all I'm planning because, not only might we eat lunch on the go while touring museums in the District, but we'll also have plenty of dinner left-overs from the night before that can make for great midday eats. 

Wish me luck!

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