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5 Thanksgiving Disasters And Solutions

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 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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