How to Make the Holidays A Little Less Stressful

It's been a week since my last post and despite the fact I have have been super busy in the kitchen since Thanksgiving, I have no new recipes to share...at least not yet.  In case you haven't figured it out yet, I am a bit of a planner.  I like to make things ahead, plan out my meals for the week and figure out how I can use leftovers in future meals.   This is especially true around the Holidays.   

The closer it is to Christmas the more baking I need to do.  Parties always seems to fall around the same time and Christmas week I like to deliver my cookie boxes.  Unfortunately it is just me in the kitchen and even with Mr. Apron's help doing dishes and last minute runs to the store, there is only 24 hours in a day and I have a fulltime job.  This leaves only so much time for baking and cooking.

In order to make sure I have time to enjoy myself, watch Christmas movies, and fullfill all my baking desires I start planning and preparing for Christmas baking and cooking around Veterans Day.   In mid November I made a bunch freezer-friendly meals that I can easily put into the oven in December.  I am lucky to have a second refrigerator and  right now the freezer is stock full of Pilgrim Pies, Beef Stew, and Stuffed Shells, just to name a few.  Mr. Apron and I eat all these pre-made meals between now and Christmas. I also will utilize my slow cooker as well.  This planning might seem crazy but  it makes weeknight dinners a breeze during the holidays, without resorting to take-out, and it is one less thing to worry about during this busy time of year.  

Once Thanksgiving is past my focus is on baking, especially Christmas Cookies.   I typically give out boxes full of Christmas Cookies during the week leading up to Christmas.  The hard part is the weekend before usually is a busy time for Holiday Parties and other events, and I don't want to miss out on seeing my friends and family, but I don't want to forgo Christmas Cookies either.  In order to create a cookie-social life balance I look for recipes that allow me to make the dough and freeze it and cookies that can be frozen until they are given.  Eggnog cookies are a good example of a dough that can be made ahead, then I simply have to bake them later in the month.  Truffles can be made well ahead of time, and then frozen until they are ready to be eaten.

I also start baking sugar cookies in early December and freeze them.  Baked sugar cookies that have not been decorated can last over two months in the freezer.  My freezer currently has several dozen cookies that I made this weekend that will be decorated closer to Christmas.  

I realize not everything can be pre-made and decorating sugar cookies takes time.  But if you have pre-make weekday meals and do not have to worry about cooking a full dinner, it is amazing how much time you will have on your hands to complete everything on your holiday to-do list.

This is what works for me, and of course everyone is different so this might not be what works for you and your family. But hopefully I've provided you some ideas on how to help plan ahead as Christmas approaches.  What do you do to help with your Holiday planning? 

I can't wait to show you everything I have been working on this past week, including what I made for the Food Blogger Cookies Swap!

3 comments:

healthyfoodietravels said...

Great post - I certainly will need a bit of a break, plus I'm traveling back home to Germany.
I can't wait for the Cookie Swap reveals (and the cookies!)

Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. said...

I love all of your tips! I am always running around like a crazy person during this time of year so it's nice to have some ideas so that we can actually relax and enjoy the holidays!

Little Housewife said...

Those are great tips, its a shame I have only one freezer that I have to share with few people on top of everything. Because of that I decided to make cookies that can be stored in jars this year... but the idea I think is the same. Wishing you relaxing Christmas preparations ;)

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