Are you cooking for gluten-free eaters? Before you throw in the towel, see if you can easily modify any of your existing recipes. One of our holiday favorites is butternut squash casserole. We swapped the flour for cornstarch or an inexpensive gluten-free flour from Aldi.
If you want to branch out, search for “flourless recipes” and you’ll find many new recipes for favorite foods. Check out sites like Gluten Free on a Shoestring to get everyday ideas.
The next step is planning your shopping. I like to make a comprehensive list from my recipes of every ingredient needed. Then I check my pantry and cross off what is already here. That way you can reduce or eliminate the day-of “oops, we don’t have…” shopping trips. Have those recipes you’d LIKE to make, but aren’t sure you’ll have enough time to make? Add them to your pile and get the ingredients. That way if you get extra time, you’re ready to whip it up.
There are many fun ways to dress up your holiday table. If you have kids, you can have them help you make napkin rings out of a paper towel tube and construction paper. Simply cut the tube into 2” rings, cover with glue, and roll them in a shallow dish of cut or torn construction paper squares. These become a cute Indian corn-style napkin ring. You can save them for next year, or simply recycle them after dinner. Gather pine cones and turn them into turkey place card holders. Cut a turkey head out of construction paper, and use craft feathers (or make construction paper ones) for their plumage. Cut a paper rectangle for each person, and tuck it in to the quills of the pine cone. Make it even easier and cut out pilgrim hats. Fold a black construction paper square in half lengthwise, cut down both sides leaving a square sticking up in the middle. Glue on a yellow square for a buckle (or use a paint marker), and write their name across the top of the hat in white. For easy place mats, teach your kids how to weave paper strips into a mat or decorate sheets of construction paper. If you don’t feel crafty, you can use some pillar candles in varying sizes and make an arrangement with small gourds or pumpkins. Search sites like Better Homes and Gardens and you’ll find all kinds of interesting, inexpensive ideas.
The most important thing to remember when you find yourself stressing about the menu or decorations or cleaning, is to just pause. Anxiety affects nearly 20% of the population and you can feel this pressure most keenly over the holidays. Stop what you’re doing; take a deep breath and remind yourself that this whole day is about being thankful for the people in your life. They could get a “picture perfect” meal anywhere. They’ve chosen to spend their time with you. If you feel like your anxiety is ruining your holiday joy, contact QC Counselor for some help. Focus on a healthier, happier you this year.