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Dinners This Week

I am taking very seriously your recommendations to try a food service; it won’t happen immediately, and of course I have to get my husband on board (though he’s typically amenable to logic), but I have been looking at different options and trying to get my head around whether it will truly be helpful or not. I TRUST you, strangers of the Internet, who say it help ease the dinner-planning pressure, so I am really, really considering it.

But. This week it will not happen. And this week is also the Family Thanksgiving, so there’s that to plan for.

I have a multi-page document for Thanksgiving that includes every recipe and a detailed grocery list and when and where to go shopping. And of course I ALSO have a minute-by-minute schedule of Thanksgiving Day, so I remember to shower and wash the roasting pan and which serving dish I use for the sweet potatoes etc. And… I am completely stumped this year by how I am supposed to update the schedule for this year. I NEED my schedule. I made it YEARS ago, and it’s been my Thanksgiving Religious Text for all those years. But now we are having Thanksgiving on a different day of the week AND at a different time and it has thrown me for a real loop whatever that expression means. Just picture me doing dizzy cartwheels instead of updating my schedule which is basically what’s happening.

It SHOULD be easy, right? You just… figure out when you want to eat, and then… adjust the times from there. RIGHT? So why can I not figure this out?

Part of it is that we will have two Major Interruptions: 1. Someone will have to go pick up Carla from school right about the time when I should be shoving the turkey into the oven and 2. Someone will have to go pick up my sister and niece at roughly the same time. Because of the number of cars we will have at our disposal, these two someones will be different and one of them will likely have to be me. I could have my mother-in-law do the turkey, yes indeedy. But I am not ready for that. I will relinquish the stuffing and the sweet potatoes but not the mashed potatoes or the turkey or the gravy, no sir.

Part of it is that my husband will be coming home from work… and we can’t eat until he gets home… but we have only a general idea of when that will be.

ALSO, my sister and niece will be arriving right as the cooking is getting going so… that’s not really going to work, is it? A) I will want to greet them and offer them drinks/snacks when they arrive, but I will of course ALSO want to be making the dinner and B) I will NOT want everyone to be in my kitchen while I am cooking. It is seriously giving me palpitations just thinking about it.

WELL. I have gone to a dark place here, Internet. I am just about ready to throw up my hands and say IT CANNOT BE DONE LET’S GO GET THAI FOOD.

(You know the problem with this perfectly reasonable suggestion, right? My mother-in-law will kindly and generously offer to do the whole Thanksgiving meal herself! And then I will die of the tangle of neuroses that make me so stubborn and ridiculous and unwilling to LET GO.)

Let’s rein it in here. This was not supposed to be YET ANOTHER food-related panic session. In fact, I have made the meals this week Very Easy, on purpose. Let’s skip straight to that so I can go do some deep breathing in a dimly lit room.

Dinners for the Week of November 19-November 25

Now, per my only-partially-updated schedule, I need to go make salad dressing and cranberry sauce.

I am going to take a break from posting dinners next week – you’ll probably be gearing up for your own Thanksgiving food and I will be watching movies with Carla while recovering from being around people for multiple days in a row. And maybe subsisting on leftover mashed potatoes and gravy as long as they last.

Dinners This Week

You know what really grills my cheese today, Internet? People who don’t follow the rules. Why? What is it about some people that makes them so confident they are ABOVE the rules? Or that the rules don’t apply to them? See ANY NEWS ITEM ANYMORE for plentiful, deeply disheartening examples.

Today, specifically, I am directing my rule follower rage at the woman who not only brought her cart out into the parking lot – which is strictly forbidden at my grocery store – but then LEFT IT THERE, on the tiny concrete divider between the parking spaces.

I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps there is some physical disability at play. But, honestly, that excuse ain’t gonna cut it, sistah, because our grocery store offers – purely because of the no-carts-in-the-parking-lot rule – courtesy bag loading into your car. It’s totally free! There are even signs everywhere that say NO TIPPING (although I still tip; people tip and I don’t want to be The Woman Who Doesn’t Tip, especially given that I go there every week), so she can’t even blame the lack of cash in her wallet.

Okay, okay. I KNOW there could be other perfectly valid reasons – like maybe she has an emergency that she learned about exactly at the moment she was done checking out and can’t fathom waiting in the bag loading zone for the two extra minutes it takes the cheery bag loader staff to load your bags into your car. Or maybe she just got some terrible news and, completely gobsmacked (why is gobsmacked not a word, Word?) by the terribleness of it, she is floating through the store forgetting her eggs and not really paying attention to her cart.

But my overall experience with people is that there often ISN’T a reason, besides an inexplicable certainty of being the center of the universe and therefore able to flout rules whenever the whim takes hold.

See also the people who go zooming down the shoulder of the freeway when everyone else is stopped, waiting for an accident to clear. Who ARE those people? And why do THEY get to decide THEIR needs take priority over everyone else’s needs and safety?

Well. I am in A Mood, apparently.

It’s the week before my family’s Thanksgiving, so I’m a wee bit anxious about that. Pre-exhausted, still, even though I was pre-exhausted two weeks ago.

And I am yet again faced with planning and making meals for myself and my family. Whatever shall we eat?

Dinners for the Week of November 12-November 18

Note: I went to three different grocery stores to find the haloumi, which is a firm cheese that this recipe recommends pan-frying and turning into croutons. I DID find the haloumi at the third store, but it was $9.99, so I did not buy it. I will do a lot for the sake of an interesting-sounding recipe, but it turns out I will not spend just shy of $10 on a block of cheese. Instead, I bought something called bread cheese, which sounds similar to haloumi, although I guess we’ll never know, and was a much more reasonable $6.35. Sigh. That is STILL too much to spend on cheese, but I did it. I will report back on whether it was worth it.

Note: We did not eat this last week, even though it was on the menu. So I am making sure we eat it THIS week. Also, I do not particularly like roasted carrots but I saw a bag of rainbow carrots at Trader Joe’s and I was powerless to resist it. 

Note: This is an old standby. Good when I have no inspiration.

  • Chicken with Zucchini

Note: Speaking of no inspiration — this is like… just the basics. I have chicken in the freezer, a plethora of marinade possibilities, and a pile of zucchini, so I’m ready for whatever day requires a super easy meal. 

  • Pork Chops with Broccoli

Note: Same as above, but with pork, obvs. And I even splurged and got pre-cut, bagged broccoli this week. Maybe this will help me stick to my menu plan and not make a last-minute decision to go eat Mexican food. 

Note: I made the MOST AMAZING impromptu pizza this weekend, and I am going to make it again for dinner on Friday.

  • Breakfast for Dinner

Note: Breakfast is one of the few foods that Carla eats reliably – and she will even eat scrambled eggs if I bribe her with pancakes. A few commenters suggested this last week, and I never do it, even though it is SO easy, and relatively healthful. Well, now I have bacon in my fridge and I’m stocked up on eggs and freezer pancakes and READY TO GO.

 

 

What are you eating this week, Internet?

The night before my baby brother got married, his brother-in-law-to-be and some of the couple’s friends threw a pizza party for themselves and our families. It was so much fun – everyone was so game and friendly. One of the guys manned the giant wood fired pizza oven at the fancy mansion where we were all staying (and where the wedding took place) and one of the guys helped with dishes and my brother’s brother-in-law made the pizzas. He had a huge array of toppings and sauces and he asked people what they wanted, but he would also just… throw stuff together. And my favorite of the night – probably one of my favorite pizzas of all time – was one of those impromptu creations. It had some sort of creamy balsamicky sauce on the bottom, and then it had goat cheese and caramelized onions on the top. It was exquisite.

Anyway, I have been thinking about that pizza for more than a year. And this weekend I decided I would try to recreate it.

What I came up with is not exactly what my brother’s brother-in-law made, but it was close. And it was delicious. AND it was super easy. I didn’t measure ANYTHING.

Goat cheese pizza 2

Goat Cheese and Mushroom Pizza with Arugula and Onion Jam

Ingredients

Pizza dough (obviously, you can make your own dough or buy one pre-made; I always use Papa Sal’s because it is delicious and foolproof.)

Herbed olive oil (I used this Classical White Pizza Sauce with Oregano, but I can’t find it online in a single bottle; you are probably NOT going to buy 12, but then again I don’t know your life)

Goat cheese – 6 to 8 oz, depending on how much you like goat cheese

Onion jam (I got the Stonewall Kitchen Roasted Garlic Onion Jam because it was available at my grocery store)

Mushrooms (I just used a handful of regular old white mushrooms, but you can really go crazy here! Trader Joe’s has a bag of mixed mushrooms in the freezer section that I am going to use the next time I make this pizza.)

Balsamic glaze (this one looks very similar to what I have – and I use it liberally when I make caprese salad with chicken)

Arugula (I use a couple of handfuls of arugula – this is a pizza, not a salad) (but if you can only buy arugula in bulk, I heartily recommend this spinach and arugula salad – for which you can also substitute goat cheese for the feta, in case you have extra goat cheese)

Directions

  1. Leave the pizza dough to rest on a greased baking sheet, covered with lightly oiled plastic wrap, until it has come to room temperature and risen slightly. I sprinkle a little bit of corn meal on the baking sheet before I put the dough on it – I think it adds to that authentic pizzeria-style flavor.
  2. Once your dough is room temperature, flatten it out a bit. Move the top rack of your oven to the very highest point it can go, about three or four inches beneath the heating element. Then pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. While your oven is pre-heating, wash and slice your mushrooms. No need to be particularly precise. And there’s no specific amount of mushrooms – if you love ‘em, put on more. If you don’t love ‘em, maybe choose a different recipe to follow. My only recommendation is to slice them thin, so they don’t make your pizza damp.
  4. Shape your dough. Sprinkle the dough with your olive oil and herb mixture. No need to be super careful, or to assure full coverage.
  5. Using a fork to prevent messy hands, distribute your goat cheese around your dough. Okay, you may need to use your hands to do this part.
  6. Plop some large spoonsful of onion jam in and around and between your chunks of goat cheese. You can use the back of a spoon to smear everything together, if you want more even distribution. But it’s really okay to have pockets of cheese and pockets of jam speckling your dough.
  7. Sprinkle your mushrooms all over your pizza.
  8. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.
  9. Cook for 15 minutes, or until your cheese is melty and your crust is golden brown.
  10. Once you remove your pizza from the oven, top with arugula, and serve.

 

Goat cheese pizza 1

Easy peasy and so yummy.

Thank you for your Thanksgiving advice, Internet. I am going to (TRY TO) treat it like an unusual day and just… delegate. The logistics of delegating are boggling my mind right now, but I think I can figure it out. (Just… ask my mother-in-law if she will take over X and Y and I will cover A and B and then… tell her when she has free rein in the kitchen?) (She is coming in from out of town, so will have to do actual cooking in my kitchen rather than bringing something she made at home.) (Making some things in advance will be KEY. Definitely I can do cranberry sauce and gravy a few days before, and maybe even the mashed potatoes…? Well, maybe not, but the mashed potatoes aren’t hard.) I am happy to let go of the traditional stuff and let her have at it; I can try Swistle’s idea for cajoling her into making my husband’s favorite dressing, because he IS her Darling Baby, so she probably will want to do what he wants. And then I can make whatever my husband and I missed for Actual Thanksgiving. We’ll see if I can make it work. I will report back.

Well. That’s enough Thangstgiving talk. Ha.

Let’s talk about the more immediate necessity of feeding myself and my family, shall we?

My mood regarding meal planning remains grim. Nothing – not even TACOS – sounds appealing. Can we somehow blame this on the end of Daylight Saving Time? Or maybe on it being NOVEMBER already?

Whatever it is, we must just grit our teeth and get through the week. Here’s what I’m grudgingly planning:

Dinners for the Week of November 5-11

  • Tacos

Note: The return of Taco Tuesday and I’m not even a little bit excited. What is my DEAL? 

  • BBQ Pork with Baked Potato

Note: I don’t know if I can drum up enough cooking enthusiasm to make coleslaw for my husband. Maybe I can get away with some roasted green beans on the side instead?

Note: I probably won’t include the steak here, just chicken. By the way, I heard about this recipe from Jenna Fisher on her The Office Ladies podcast, which I am enjoying IMMENSELY. My husband and I are re-watching The Office, and even though we are way ahead of where Jenna and Angela are on their show, it’s fun to experience each episode again through the lens of two people who were there. And who talk about it so charmingly.

Note:This is fairly easy and relatively healthful and I know it’s good, so. You know. As little effort as possible this week, folks.

Note: This is a new-to-me recipe, but it sounds easy and tasty. I do need something green to eat alongside it… Maybe I will try to sneak a side salad onto the table…

  • Something else that’s easy?

Note: I have hundreds of recipes bookmarked and hundreds more recorded in these pages or in my “dinners this week” emails to myself and NOTHING SOUNDS GOOD. Not even leftover Halloween candy. I am sick, aren’t I? That’s the only possible explanation.

  • Out

What are you eating this week, Internet? Hit me with your foolproof favorites.

We are on Day 2 of a serious Halloween Hangover. Carla – whose bedtime is a strict 7:30 – didn’t go to sleep until ten on Thursday, yet still woke up at six on Friday. She was off all day – due to tiredness, no doubt – and I managed to cajole her into taking an actual NAP Friday afternoon. It didn’t take much convincing, I just said, “Carla, you are taking a nap.” And she said, “Okay,” and fell asleep pretty much immediately.

Of course, we put her to bed at 7:30… and then, at ELEVEN PEE EM IN THE EVENING, she showed up downstairs saying she had never fallen asleep. First, I find it a little hard to believe that she was awake, by herself, in her room for three hours, entertaining herself. But stranger things have happened. And, after I gave her a melatonin gummy and snuggled with her a bit and then took her back up to her room, I noticed she had a cookbook open face-down on her bed, which she claimed she had read through during her non-sleeping hours. So maybe she WAS awake the whole time. Wait, there was a “first” back there and now I have forgotten why. Presumably there was at least a “second” in mind… Well, it is lost to the sands of time.

She woke up today at a more reasonable time, but she did NOT get the eleven to twelve hours of sleep that she requires. So we are watching Barbie movies on Netflix. Well, she is watching Barbie movies and occasionally directing my attention to something extraordinary (Barbie’s hair turned pink! There’s a mermaid!) and I am typing this blog post. Okay, in the time it took to write this MONSTROSITY of a post — be warned — Carla’s movie ended and I suggested she take a nap. She agreed without argument and went upstairs… only to reappear five minutes later, yawning extravagantly and claiming her nap was very restful and she was ready to play. She is now setting up a make-up salon in her bathroom, and forging her wares out of paper. Age six is a DELIGHT.

Halloween was fun, I think. We had a few friends over – the very lovely families of two of Carla’s school friends – and I continue to find entertaining absolutely exhausting. I enjoy it, though – or, at least, I want to enjoy it  I love planning the food and buying the wine and the actual conversation when people are here. But my little introvert soul gets so completely worn out by all these extra people in my space… I don’t know. Would it get better/easier if I did it more often? Could I possibly do less in preparation, and would that help?

I made soup and bread and a veggie tray, which seems like the bare minimum. Well, I could have bought the bread, but it really is the EASIEST bread recipe in the universe. I did order pizza, as well – that’s what the kids ate, but I ordered enough for every person to have at least three pieces. And then it all slowly burnt into molten, inedible bricks in my oven over the course of the evening, so I had to throw most of it away. Horrified grimace emoji.

I could have JUST gotten pizza, right? We went to a friend’s house last year for Halloween, and they had ordered pizza and a salad. And it was PERFECT. But… well, I guess I just can’t get past trying too hard. Like, people who order pizza and a salad are already In, and I won’t be invited In unless I prove myself through baking??? As though that is a normal or reasonable barrier to entry into a social group??? What is wrong with me?????? Eye-roll emoji.

Aside from feeling exhausted by entertaining, I have come to really enjoy Halloween. It has all the fun of The Big Holidays – decorations, planning, special food – without any of the pressure. I suppose if I handmade all of Carla’s costumes, as my mother did for me, it would be much more pressure-filled. But since I buy Carla’s costumed pre-made and only have to worry about doing an appropriately tiger-y face-painting job (she was a tiger this year, which hopefully makes the previous part of this sentence make more sense than it otherwise might have), it’s very low-pressure for me.

I love all the homes that decorate for Halloween – and there’s such a wide range. We have the people with a cheery pumpkin or two on the front stoop, and then there’s the family with an entire army of zombies or skeletons posed on the lawn. It’s delightful. Carla had a hankering for “something you stick in the lawn” this year, so we found a very nice collection of ghosts – ones you could hang up OR stick in your lawn! – at Target and that was really fun to add to our outdoor décor.

The ghost brownies I made for Carla’s class party turned out well and the kids LOVED them.

Halloween ghost brownies

I also made little bags of popcorn, which Carla and I decorated as monsters, and those were fun as well. (I just wanted the kids to have a non-sugar option.)

Halloween popcorn monsters

My candy-corn veggie arrangement did NOT turn out well; my serving dishes were the wrong size/shape and/or my veggies weren’t putting on their best candy-corn show, so I just did a tray of veggies in Halloween colors: a stripe of orange tomatoes, a stripe of cauliflower, a stripe of yellow peppers, etc. etc. I thought it was festive enough, but it turns out that yellow/orange peppers and tomatoes and cauliflower aren’t particularly popular, at least not with this friend group.

The pounding rain stopped literally minutes before our neighborhood’s designated trick-or-treating time, and Carla and her friends had a great time going door to door, despite the biting wind. Then they had an even better time handing out candy to the other brave trick-or-treaters – a group of mainly older/bigger kids that arrived in swarms. I remember being that weird age between Eager Trick-or-Treater and Too Old/Too Cool for Halloween, and felt very tender toward the Big Kids, especially the ones who tried, by wearing a mask or some other gesture toward a costume… but, well, also the ones who didn’t have a costume at all, but merely gave in, possibly at the last minute, to the overwhelming desire to prolong the youthful fun of Halloweens past/collect free candy.

Now, November is upon us. And Thanksgiving is bearing down – more quickly for me than for you, because we are hosting Thanksgiving a week early (my husband is on call for the real holiday).

I am exhausted just thinking about Thanksgiving. Is this how I feel most years? Let’s see. I have been hosting Thanksgiving since 2010, and my memory of how I normally feel is that I face the holiday with pluck and enthusiasm. I should have it down to a science, what with my multi-page planning document and my detailed Week Of schedule. But this year, I just feel… drained. Not a good way to go into it, is it?

So, for the first time ever, I am considering asking for help. Gasp. Shock. Wide eyes. I know, I know. This DOES NOT sound like me. And perhaps it will not BE me, at the actual time. But the considering is the first step.

Let’s lay out my concerns/aversions to help.

  1. Differences in Technique: My mother-in-law – who has kindly and generously OFFERED to help – does things differently than I do. You may recall that I am Very Particular about things, especially when it comes to my kitchen. And I don’t want to micromanage, but I also feel very viscerally uncomfortable when someone is rummaging around in my cabinets or doing things differently than I would do them in my very own kitchen. You may be thinking, at this point, that I need to seek extensive therapy and should probably scrap the idea of asking for help. And perhaps you would be right.
  2. Space Constraints: Along similar lines: I only have the one kitchen with the one oven and stove and it’s much easier when I am the only person making the meal. It’s very simple to coordinate with myself, right? But if a whole other person is in my kitchen, chopping veggies and jockeying for the stove… well… that seems like a recipe for frustration/despair.
  3. Specificities of Taste: My husband LIKES the way I make things. Therefore, we have a very specific — I am avoiding the word “rigid” here — Thanksgiving menu, from which we rarely deviate. Could I really impose my specific dressing recipe on my mother-in-law, and expect that she make it exactly the way my husband likes it? That seems unreasonable. If she prefers, say, pumpkin pie or something chocolate for dessert… can I really expect her to make the pumpkin bars that are OUR (my husband’s and my) tradition? That seems very dictatorial of me/us.
  4. Some Sort of Mental Issue Related to Pride/Ownership: Again with the need for longterm therapy. I think somewhere along the line, I have absorbed this very strange and very stubborn feeling that I MUST do the entire Thanksgiving meal or… Or what? I lose street cred? I lose my Housewife Credentials? I don’t even KNOW. It’s just this weirdly pervasive buzz inside me that says I am the hostess, I need to provide the Entire Meal and do all the dishes and make it look effortless or else I lose. Lose what, again, I don’t know. Yet it’s THERE, inside me, buzzing away, making me feel like I am less of… something if I don’t do Thanksgiving perfectly and all by myself. This is one of those weird double-standard things that I apply ONLY TO ME, by the way – I fully understand and admire people who split the Thanksgiving duties among many, and I would gladly and gratefully pitch in with the cooking if I were invited to someone else’s Thanksgiving, and never for a single moment think less of the host. It’s some sort of weird Hostess Martyrdom that I’ve internalized somehow and I don’t understand it but nor can I rid myself of it.

Here are things working in my favor – by which I mean, that the following are present in my psyche makes me hopeful that I can get past my deterrents/aversions.

  1. I don’t particularly LIKE Thanksgiving. This is a little sad, because I think Thanksgiving used to be one of my favorite holidays. But that was back when my parents did all the work, I think, and I just had to show up? It got less enjoyable in college, when generous friends and extended family members opened their homes to me for the holiday – and I spent Thanksgiving feeling deeply, guiltily homesick. More enjoyable again when I began to establish my own traditions with my husband. And now less enjoyable again, now that it’s just A Big Day of Work. Also, I don’t really like the food! I eat turkey literally only on this one day a year. Sweet potatoes with marshmallows are fine in very small doses, but I could take ’em or leave ’em. I loathe wet bread, so the dressing is something I make but never even taste. The only things I like about Thanksgiving are the mashed potatoes and gravy. And the gravy is SO MUCH WORK and the potatoes won’t be exactly how I like them because I don’t make them with goat cheese out of respect for one family member who REVILES goat cheese. The pumpkin bars are good, but really BETTER when my husband makes them and I don’t know if he will have time/energy this year. So. If I don’t really care about the food — nay, if I don’t really EAT the food — why am I so resistant to having someone else make it???? A question for the ages.
  2. This year will be weird, so it’s almost like Not Thanksgiving, which makes me… care about perfection less. Like I said, we’re having Thanksgiving a week early. My husband will be at work all day, so he can’t help even if he wants to. My sister and niece will be flying into town at some point, so I’ll want to spend time with them rather than in the kitchen. Someone will have to leave to collect my sister and niece, someone else will have to leave to collect Carla from school, so there will be interruptions during the day. The timing of the meal will be later than normal (because my husband will be at work), so it will feel more like Any Old Dinner than Thanksgiving. All of these variables are making it wholly UNusual, so why stick to the usual plan?
  3. Plus, we have a built-in Do-Over available to us if we want it. I mean, Actual Thanksgiving will still happen. So I could save Doing It My Way for the ACTUAL DAY.
  4. My mother-in-law really wants to help, so why not give her that pleasure? As a relatively new hostess (can I still say “relatively new,” after nearly ten years of hosting this holiday?), I think I revel a bit in being The Provider. I want my guests to sit back and relax, rather than work hard in the kitchen with me. But… I think it causes my mother and my mother-in-law mental stress and even emotional pain, to sit and relax. They want to help. They have MULTIPLE DECADES of prior Thanksgivings behind them, during which THEY were the hostesses, and they have so much experience and expertise to share, and they are so accustomed to being busy that I think they feel… useless and unneeded when I shoo them out of the kitchen. Part of me feels – rather harshly – like they should learn to chill out and accept that this is the next phase in their lives, that their role now is NOT hostess, but guest and grandmother, that they should let the next generation have a turn at planning the menu and taking care of them. But… a growing part of me feels really bad and guilty and selfish about that, and wants desperately to be more generous about sharing the hostessing. God, this is all SO VERY STUPID and yet it causes me GREAT ANGST. (Also, I am feeling VERY CRANKY TOWARD and simultaneously VERY JEALOUS OF The Men, who seem to be completely unencumbered by any of this, and at least ACT totally content to simply sit in the living room watching football. WELL. There will be NO FOOTBALL this year, Men!) (P.S., in case this paragraph confused the issue, only my in-laws will be here for this Thanksgiving. I just brought my mother into it because I realized last year that she feels kind of sad and unwanted/unnecessary/superfluous when I don’t let her help with holiday meal preparation, and that made ME sad and I have been reflecting on it ever since.)

Okay. So I think I have laid it ALL OUT for you. It’s ugly and doesn’t paint me in the best light and it probably doesn’t make much sense outside of my very specific brain, but there it is.

So what should I do? How should I approach this Thanksgiving? Business-as-exhaustingly-usual? Or welcome my mother-in-law’s offer to help? And, if the latter, HOW do I do that, given the constraints above? If you were ME, with all my neuroses and particularities, how would you make THIS Thanksgiving easier and more pleasant and less tiring?

At this very moment, the biggest part of me wants to make a reservation at a fancy restaurant and have our faux Thanksgiving THERE. But I don’t think there are any restaurants that offer faux Thanksgiving. I don’t even know if the grocery stores offer their pre-made Thanksgiving meals for sale a whole week prior to the real holiday. Can I even get a turkey that far in advance???? And, really, I don’t want my Thanksgiving Antipathy to ruin a beloved holiday for the rest of my family. So I am resigning myself to making Thanksgiving dinner at home as usual. But maybe not exactly as usual…?

Help?