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A guide to Thanksgiving (& Black Friday Sales!)

We’re having dinner made for us this year, as we’ll be returning to Lake Tahoe to celebrate. But many of you may be looking for a little last-minute help, so here’s a round-up of my favorite cooking resources (including some tips from the archives):

Here are some more links to guide your prep… 

On Traveling
Tips for flying with kids and ways to keep them entertained in the car.
When to leave, according to Google, from your city on your drive out of town.

On establishing a timeline
A complete game plan, from a most-trusted resource. Get started…

On Choosing the Wine
There’s no wrong wine for Thanksgiving, so check out these suggestions from a former French Laundry sommelier.

On On Setting the table
Thankful placemats and mini rosemary wreaths. And more full-size wreaths.
Setting up the Kids’ Table (DIY: enlarge coloring pages from books)
The Emily Post guide.
And a Pinterest board with more inspiration.

On keeping everyone (food )safe
The five most common mistakes. Wouldn’t it be a nightmare if everyone were sick the next day?

On our new favorite method for cooking the turkey
Jacques Pepin’s Steamed Turkey (sounds odd, but so good—and so much faster)

On Troubleshooting
One year, I listened to much of the America’s Test Kitchen Thanksgiving Special on NPR, “Turkey Q & A and The Real Story of The First Thanksgiving,” and loved hearing them answer the top ten Thanksgiving day questions they get.

On Menu inspiration
Many families have their sides set in stone, but if you have some flexibility and are looking for inspiration, Saveur has a wealth of sample menus.
My favorite leek and mushroom tart
A savory galette with eggs (that could be for breakfast)
How to bake root vegetable chips or compose a shaved brussel sprouts salad
An alternative to cranberry sauce, the famous Stamberg cranberry relish
Cutting and cooking with chestnuts
Some ideas for dessert.
And just for fun, how the menu has changed at the White House over time.

As Sam Sifton once said, “you are going to need a lot of butter.” If you’re lucky enough to have someone else hosting, be sure to note how much work it is and say thank you.

On what to watch, besides football
AMC’s top ten list, (including my favorite). And a list for kids from Common Sense Media.

On using the get together to record your family’s oral history
Suggestions from Story Corps. Check out its Great Thanksgiving Listen project, where kids interview their elders about their lives. Anyone with a smartphone can participate. (Check out the great questions list, A-11)

On Leftovers
How to repurpose leftovers for the ride home

On Sales, sales, sales.
Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals: 
As a blogger, I get sent all sorts of announcements from stores and brands, so I’ll continue to update this with some of my favorites as more details come out. Some sales start tomorrow… 

ANTHROPOLOGIE: 20% off all full-price home items. Free shipping over $150+ for AnthroPerks members. No code needed.

ASOS: 30% off Everything 11/22–11/28 with the code EPIC30. (This is a good one. I’m pre-loading a cart.)

BAGGU: 25% off entire store (sale included). Free US shipping and returns. 11/24–11/27 with the code OKHOLIDAY

BODEN: TBD (Last year they offered 30% off everything)

DERMSTORE: Save up to 30% on Black Friday using code FRIDAY. Save up to 25% on Saturday and Sunday with the code WEEKEND, and on Monday with the code MONDAY.

DYLAN’S CANDY BAR: 40% off site-wide on Black Friday with code, THATSALE

FOOD 52: Wednesday, 11/23 – Sunday, 11/26 20% off $100 with code: TREAT

H&M: 20% Off everything after 4pm with code 1662. 30% Off CyberMonday

JCREW: 40% Off 11/21-11/26. Valid online on full-price and sale items marked “40% with code THANKU”

MADEWELL: TBD (Last year they offered 25% off everything)

NEED SUPPLY: 20% off Sitewide on 11/24.

NET-A-PORTER: Up to 50% off.

NORDSTROM: Select items. Black Friday deals start Thursday, November 23, online and Friday, November 24, in stores. They plan to offer further discounts on sale items on Monday.

SAM EDELMAN: 30% off Sitewide 11/21–11/25 (Free Expedited Shipping 11/24–11/25), with the code SAMSGIVING

SHOPBOP: 20% off orders over $200, 25% off orders over $500, and 30% off orders over $800, 11/21–11/26 with code MORE17

SHUTTERFLY: 50% off Hardcover Photo Books and 40% off Everything Else, 11/24–11/26

TOTOKALEO: Up to 50% off on Friday

URBAN OUTFITTERS: Up to 50% off, 11/23–11/26

and of course there’s AMAZON, where they started 10 days of discounts on the 17th. Deals appear and disappear every day, sometimes for just a few hours. I.e. They don’t want you to leave.

Any holiday tips or sale notices you would add? 

Easy as Pie: Desserts for Thanksgiving

Are you tasked with bringing dessert to Thanksgiving? Or maybe just hoping to volunteer? In some ways, it’s the easiest job: dessert so much easier to like than green beans. But Thanksgiving desserts can be tricky because you’re playing with traditions. Everyone already has an idea of what their favorite pumpkin pie should taste like!

So if you’re just looking to tweak the classics, here’s a trick that might help you make it memorable—in a good way.

Make it beautiful. 

There aren’t a whole lot of variables to apple pie, but you can still get it wrong. So stick to a tried-and-true recipe and instead play with appearance. I spotted the most beautiful variation on a classic apple pie on MissJordanKelley‘s Instagram feed, featuring rosettes. You can simply modify your favorite recipe to omit the top crust…

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Sweet Child of Mine (& Friday Links)

The junior high school around the corner from us is closed today after it received a notice of a gun threat. It’s put the entire community on alert as we hestitate to send our kids to the other schools in the district, and watch police cars patrol at drop-off. So I’m revisiting to make another donation and looking forward to pick-up time this afternoon and getting back into our regularly scheduled holiday fun!

This weekend is the annual Turkey Trot. For the first time, both of our kids are entered into races. Hudson is going to do a 2-mile race, and Skyler will join in the 1/4-mile fun run. After that, she’s requested to play at the park. No problem, kiddo. Later that evening, we’re going out to dinner with friends and then walking over to the Golden One Arena to see Guns n’ Roses! “Sweet Child of Mine” remains one of the best rock songs of all time, in my opinion. Can’t wait!

Finally, it’s the last weekend of basketball camp for Hudson on Sunday morning, but if the timing works out I’d like to head into SF to catch some of the West Coast Craft show. It’s always inspiring—if a bit more challenging to shop with kids. Anyone going?

Have a great weekend! So many links of note… 

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