1) EXPAND YOUR PANTS. Before we get started, lets get our priorities straight. Loop a hair tie around your pants button, thread it through the loophole, and back around the button. And BOOM. Your pants can now expand for second (and third) helpings. This is assuming you aren’t going to wear your old maternity pants.
2) BOIL & SHOCK POTATOES. Avoid the tedium of peeling (your fingers) by boiling the potatoes until they’re soft and then shocking ’em in ice water. The skin will practically peel itself off. This works with beets, too, btw.
3) HACK A SLOW COOKER AS A WARMER. One of the trickiest things about prepping Thanksgiving dinner is timing out the various foods — there are, like, a zillion moving pieces! Not to mention all the pressure to not eff up those highly-anticipated, beloved sides. Cross those MVP mashed potatoes off the list by keeping them toasty in a slow-cooker on its ‘warm’ setting.
4) COOK IN THE DISHWASHER. Hi-tech hack alert! Your dishwasher can actually steam veggies (yes, we tested this). Grab an airtight mason jar, add veg, water, and seasonings, and you can actually cook ’em while doing your first load of dishes. Two birds, one stone.
5) DITCH THE TUPPERWARE. Store food in plastic baggies (rather than structured containers) to save precious fridge real estate.
6) SPRAY IT GOLD. For bling-tastic table decor, pick up a can of gold spray paint and go to town on all sorts of things (think leftover Halloween pumpkins, leaves, or even kids’ plastic toys) for instantly glam centerpieces.
7) PUT OLD WINE CORKS TO WORK. Stick old wine corks with toothpicks for place cards that look rustic yet sophisticated yet adorbs.
8) PAPER THE PLACE. For the Kids’ Table, don’t even bother with a real tablecloth. Instead use easel paper (aka butcher paper), throw in some crayons, and let the kids occupy themselves for awhile (and maybe even stay at the table longer than 10 minutes). Pro tip: lay a vinyl tablecloth under the kids’ table to catch spills so you can blissfully ignore the hoopla if all the water cups go down like dominoes. And by ‘if’ we mean ‘when.’
9) CONTAIN THE GRAVY. An insulated creamer carafe will keep gravy warm. Perfect, since that’s the special sauce everyone’s come for.
10) TRIPLE-LINE TRASH. Line three trash bags in advance so when you haul out full ones you can just walk away like a bada$$. Bam.
11) USE YOUR COOLER TO WARM. Yes, it’s counterintuitive, but you can line a cooler with aluminum foil and it’ll keep things heated. Consider it your own little DIY warming plate.
12) DAZZLE WITH “HOMEMADE” DESSERTS. A biscuit-cutter makes dainty little pumpkin treats from that generic store-bought pie…
…or scoop pie into mason jars, top with whipped cream, and if anyone asks, yes, you made it, thank you.
13) SEND LEFTOVERS HOME IN STYLE. At the end of the night, instead of giving away Tupperware, decorate paper takeout containers to send leftovers off in cute to-go boxes.