End-of-Year Holiday Cooking Without the Stress

Whew! Thanksgiving is over and now many of us are gearing up for the next holidays: Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, etc. and New Year’s Eve.  There seems to be a great deal of stress surrounding cooking for the holidays, so I am offering something that Jay, my son-by-marriage, does every Thanksgiving he comes East. He is the chef-in-charge & I am just another pair of helping hands to set the table, make the salad & appetizer, and clean up.

What Jay does is make a time line for all the items that need to be prepared and as the tasks are completed, he crosses them off the list. He makes two lists: one is what we can prepare early in the day; the second list starts with the time we are going to eat and then work backwards. Since we have only one oven, timing is essential!

10 am – 1 pm

1. Set the table with cloth, napkins, silverware, serving pieces (utensils & platters) & centerpiece.
2. Wash lettuce and prepare other salad ingredients but don’t mix; keep cold.
3. Wash & cut Brussels sprouts in half; return to ‘fridge.
4. Make cranberry sauce & refrigerate.
5. Prepare snack table with coffee maker and drinks.
6. Cook & puree chick peas with avocado (See recipe below). Bake small tortillas that have been cut into wedges  to use for dipping. Wash snow peas and cauliflower for dipping. ( I made this.)

NOTE: By 1 p.m. or so, all of these above items will be crossed off.  Putting a line through each item as you complete the task feels very positive!

pm (Jay uses exact times for these steps.)

4 pm Eat & Enjoy!
3:50 pm – Dress mixed salad with olive oil & lemon plus S & P.
3:45 pm- Carve the turkey, heat the Gravy (premade), put applesauce in serving bowl.
3:30 pm – Remove turkey from oven. Toss Brussels sprouts with oil & herbs and place in oven, which is now free.
3:15 pm- Fry potato latkes for Thanksgivakkah. Use as an appetizer. (My husband makes the latkes.)
3:oo pm – Wash and grate potatoes for frying, start water for stuffing & place in crock pot after it is mixed. (Jay & my husband love Stove Top Stuffing, which I avoid because of the unhealthful ingredients, but this is their tradition.)
2:30 pm – Mix salad but don’t add dressing.
Noon- Take MANNA* pie from the freezer to thaw. *Non-profit organization that has a Pie-in-the Sky fundraiser every Thanksgiving to help with costs of preparing meals for critically ill clients.

Again, cross off each step as it is completed.

Everything was ready to the minute! What a stress saver this idea is. Thanx, Jay!

Here is my recipe for sprouted hoomus, although you can also use regular chick peas. Sprouted beans & grains are more digestible and release more of the nutrients.

Holiday Hoomus


I served my dip with snow peas and cauliflower (both raw) & some tortilla chips because I made the hummus with avocado to be more like a Spanish or Mexican dip.

Utensils: 2 qt. saucepan, cutting board & knife, blender or food processor
Prep. Time: 15 minutes with cooked/canned chick peas (garbanzo beans)
Cooking Time: 30-45 minutes for chickpeas that you purchased dry
Categories:Vegan, Gluten & Sugar Free


2- 2 1/2 sprouted++ or unsprouted and cooked chick peas
1 cup of the cooking water
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped
1/4 cup tahini (Sesame seed paste)
one small avocado, peeled and pit removed
one scant tsp. salt
one tsp. cumin powder
dash of powdered cayenne pepper
Juice of one lemon
Parsley & sesame seeds for garnish


1. Place cooked chick peas and garlic in blender or feed in food processor and add 1 c. water (from cooked chickpeas,  if available).
2. Add tahini and chunks of avocado. Blend again, adding salt, cumin, cayenne and lemon juice. If too thick, add a little more water and blend or process items until smooth. (Different brands of tahini differ in their denseness.)
2. Spread on  a platter. Top with chopped parsley and sprinkle with sesame seeds. (I also sprinkle on some paprika for color.)

Yield: About 3 1/2 cups unless you add more water to thin out the dip.  (You can use more or less water depending on how thick you want the dip/spread and the consistency of your brand of tahini.)

++I buy dry, organic chickpeas and soak them overnight. Next day I drain them and place them in a colander over a bowl, rinsing them about 2 times the first day. By the second dsy, sprouts should be forming. You can rinse for another day, then place on a cookie sheet to freeze. Once frozen, place in a freezer bag and take as many cups as you need for a recipe. If they don’t sprout, you may have purchased old beans. I usually buy mine from the health food store & not the supermarket.

If you use canned chickpeas, I suggest Eden brand, because they use no BPA in their linings. BPS has been shown to cause health problems.


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