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5 Thanksgiving Disasters And Solutions

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5 Thanksgiving Disasters And Solutions

Well, it’s getting to be that time of year again. That time when majestic shades of reds, browns, and golds grace countrysides across the nation, and the novelty of school starting back up is wearing off. You’re beginning to think about covering your rose bushes, and weekends are filled with cheers and cries from football fanatics everywhere. And of course there’s Thanksgiving: the feast to end all American feasts.

Whether you’re a long-time host or long-standing guest of this epic meal, you’ve likely experienced or heard about your share of Turkey Day disasters. Of course, when you’re preparing a meal of this magnitude, there are things that are bound to go wrong. Here are a few potential day-ruiners and some handy solutions.

1. Vegetarians on the guest list.

These days, more and more people are cutting meat out of their diets. If you have a vegetarian on your guest list, it will be a nice gesture to prepare a dish with them in mind. It can be hard to change the entire menu—the main dish is a turkey for crying out loud! But you can have an alternate main menu item, like vegetarian lasagna, and plan to make at least one batch of stuffing without any meat-based broth, along with other vegetarian-friendly side dishes.

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With a little forethought, you can adjust your Thanksgiving recipes to your guests’ dietary needs and coordinate accordingly. You could even do a quasi-potluck where guests bring some of their own favorite dishes as well. That way, you can be sure that everyone there will have a dish they enjoy, and they can share their favorites with each other, embodying the spirit of the holiday: sharing and thanks.

2. The turkey didn’t thaw all the way. (Or at all!)

Did you rely on someone else to pull the turkey out of the deep freeze for you? Perhaps you did it yourself, but didn’t allow enough time for the bird to thaw completely and the inside is still frozen solid. Never fear, for you have options here.

If you have enough time, you can thaw it using cold water. Just submerge it breast-side down in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. Soak it this way for 30 minutes for each pound of the turkey that’s frozen still (you’ll probably have to make your best guess here). Now, if you’re on a time crunch, you can cut the turkey into quarters before you roast or fry it to cut down on the cooking time.

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Further, if you aren’t in a position to thaw it, contrary to popular belief, you can cook it frozen. For future reference, the bird will need to thaw for 24 hours for every four to five lbs. of girth.

3. It’s dinnertime and the turkey isn’t done.

You’ve spent all day preparing the meal of a lifetime, but come dinnertime, you pull the turkey out to carve it and it’s still completely raw in the middle. Now what? First things first: breathe. Take a deep breath and roll with it. Carve up the parts that are cooked—usually the white meat—and serve that. The key is to not panic, and not let your guests know there’s anything wrong. Put the rest of the turkey back in the oven for 20-minute increments until it’s done, and add it to the spread.

4. It won’t all fit in the refrigerator.

If you find that your goodies won’t all fit in the refrigerator, it’s time to get creative. Pull out everything that isn’t essential to the meal. Make some hard decisions about what you need to keep and what can be thrown out. Chances are there are some expired items lurking in there.

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Then channel your inner Tetris champion and stack those items in there as best you can. Remember to leave a little space between food items to encourage airflow. If it still won’t all fit, enlist the help of a neighbor, or if you live in a cool climate you may be able to temporarily store some dishes outdoors while you guests help make more space in the fridge.

5. You’re fresh out of oven space.

It’s no wonder with that many dishes people often run out of oven space. The trick is to time your masterpieces based upon the temperature they need to cook, and coordinate them accordingly. Surely there will be some items with flavors that you won’t want to cook together, but generally speaking, timing is everything. But even the most perfectly timed dinners can be more than a single oven can handle.

Counteract this potential disaster by making as many dishes ahead of time as you can. That way you’ll just have to warm them up in the oven rather than cook them from the beginning the day of your dinner party, minimizing the time spent in the oven. There are also several recipes that can be done on an outdoor grill or on the stove top. Think outside the oven!

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If you encounter any of these Thanksgiving disasters, don’t panic. There’s always something that can be done to save the day. Just stay calm and summon all the ingenuity you have at your disposal.

What Thanksgiving disasters have you experienced? How did you overcome them?

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Last Updated on January 13, 2022

10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

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10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

A honeymoon is important.  The wedding is over.  The months, or even years, of stress and planning are finally over.  It’s time for the two of you to relax, settle in, and start enjoying your time together as you embark on your first journey as a family.

To make the most of this time for the least amount of money, it’s important to focus on what you want out of a honeymoon.  This isn’t your typical list of touristy honeymoon locations everyone goes to.  Rather, it’s a list of cheap honeymoon experiences a couple can enjoy together, regardless of where it’s at.

1. Camping

A week long camping trip is a fantastic way to see how you mesh together as a couple.  You’re put in a low impact “survival” situation where it’s just the 2 of you and nature.  You have a chance to see how your new spouse handles themselves when left with the basics of life.  There are amazing national parks all over the United States where you can camp for a week for $20-30, disconnect from technology, and enjoy some of the natural wonders our nation has to offer.

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2. Staycation

You don’t have to go anywhere for a honeymoon.  In fact, the tradition of taking a honeymoon vacation is a relatively new one.  Prior to the 19th century, a honeymoon involved staying home together for a month to get to know each other physically.  Think of how blissful it could be to take a full month off work, disconnect from the outside world, and focus entirely on projects together.  You may not be wowing your friends and family with pictures of some exotic location, but they’ll be envious of your escape from the rat race nonetheless.

3. Island Getaway

People tend to overspend on their honeymoon vacations to Hawaii, Tahiti, etc.  Going to these places doesn’t have to be expensive.  You don’t need to stay in a 5 star resort when you’re on a Best Western budget.  You’re there to be in the atmosphere of the island, not a hotel room. Book a cheap flight and sleep in a hotel alternative, on the beach or in your car.  It’s the view in paradise that really matters.

4. Fancy Resort

Book an expensive resort, spa, or retreat in the city you live in.  While this may seem counterintuitive as a cheap destination, when you consider your savings on airfare and other travel costs, you can afford to be treated like royalty within your own city limits.  If you book a honeymoon package, you’ll end up with a lot of free amenities and extra attention.  There’s no need to fly halfway across the world to live the good life.

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5. Road Trip

The journey is often more fulfilling than the actual destination.  If you fly out to some exotic locale, you’ll be stuck on a plane for 8-30 hours.  Rent a luxury car, pick a handful of places you each have always wanted to visit, and go on an adventure.  You can keep food costs down by packing your own snacks, but it’s always a good idea to sample the local delicacies wherever you go, even if it’s only a few states over.

6. Charter a Boat

If the ocean is your thing, a week-long cruise can cost you $1500-$3000 per person, depending on the destination.  You also have to factor in travel costs to and from the cruise, alcohol, souvenirs, and on-shore excursions.  You’ll also be surrounded by people.  For the same price (and often much cheaper), you can charter your own boat and enjoy the experience in private.

7. Las Vegas/Atlantic City

If gambling is your thing, these are the places to do it.  Which one you choose depends on your preference, budget, and proximity.  The way to make this vacation cheaper is to gamble smart.  Stay away from low odd tables (i.e craps, roulette) and read up on the MIT blackjack strategies to beat the house.  If you do it right, you can win enough for a free trip (and gain a valuable team skill in the process).

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8. Themed Retreats

There are weeklong retreats all over the world where you can fully immerse yourselves as a couple into a hobby you’re both passionate about.  Go on a yoga/meditation retreat, a ranch, a vineyard/farm, a backpacking adventure, treasure hunt, or whatever you’re into.

9. Working Honeymoon

Your honeymoon doesn’t have to be a vacation.  For a truly memorable experience, dedicate a week to a charity or volunteer organization.  You can drive out to a campground to help restore it in the offseason.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to volunteer to help out your local animal shelter, plant trees, help the homeless, etc.  Use the time to do something together as a couple that will fulfill you spiritually while contributing to the community.  Just because you’re on a honeymoon doesn’t mean you can’t be productive.

10. Festivals, Fairs & Special Events

Every city, state, and country has festivals, fairs, and special events.  Find one you’re interested in.  If you time your wedding right, your honeymoon can be a trip to one of these festivals.  Burning Man, SXSW, Bonnaroo, the Renaissance Fair, regional harvest festivals, Mardi Gras, New Years Eve in Times Square, a movie premiere, or whatever you’re into.  If you plan your honeymoon at the right time in the right place, the possibilities are endless.

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Featured photo credit: Josue Michel via unsplash.com

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