Lauren’s Favorites

Season’s Greetings on Christmas Eve!

New Fantastic Food:

I found a fabulous new line of nut cheezes that are made from cashews and coconut oil! I was so delighted to find vegan cheeses that have healthy, familiar ingredients! I have tried the shredded Mozzarella, Cheddar and Pepper Jack and they have worked very well in my recipes including: Quiche, French Onion Soup, Enchiladas, Lasagna, Pizza, Grilled Cheeze on SRSLY Sourdough and much more. They have hard and soft cheeses in a variety of  fabulous flavors.

Parmela Cashew Cheeze-Our nut milk cheeses are made using traditional cheese making techniques.  Rich nut milks made from blending cashews and almonds with filtered water form the base.  These are much thicker than the nut milks you would drink, and amazingly have more flavor potential than dairy milks.

It took over 2 years and 2,000 iterations to get the cultures to grow properly in the thick cashew milks and unlock true cheese flavors for the Creamy Treenut Cheese.  In crafting our new aged cheeses we up over 4000 iterations of cultures grown.

The nutmilk cheeses can be found in Whole Foods, New Leaf Markets and other natural food stores or ordered directly  http://www.parmelacreamery.com 

 

SRSL Bread-Gluten-free, Dairy-free San Francisco Sourdough Bread and Rolls! 

SRSLY Bread

http://www.breadsrsly.com

OMG, I thought I’d never be able to eat Sourdough again…until now! I did the happy dance when I found this amazing bread. I am a traditionalist so I like the classic best, but the seeded is very good and my husband loves the Kale(me too). The sandwich rolls are made out of just Sorghum flour so its great for people who have multiple grain sensitivities. She also makes a huge Pullman Loaf that you can special order!

WHY SOURDOUGH?

Bread SRSLY is committed to making nourishing bread. Each loaf is leavened with wild yeast, cultivated from the air and grain. Unlike commercial yeast, wild yeast helps to break down the grains, making them easier to digest, and adding a pleasant tang that we call sourdough.

WHY SERIOUSLY?

We created our bread only after months of research, applying traditional sourdough techniques to our gluten-free recipes. We learned that good bread takes its time to rise. Each Bread SRSLY loaf rises for more than 12 hours, making it SERIOUSLY good for you. In addition to being gluten-free, all Bread SRSLY products are free of dairy, egg, soy, nut, potato, tapioca, and garbanzo.

Available at Health Food Stores including New Leaf Market, Staff of Life, Bi-Rite Markets or Order at: http://bread-srsly.myshopify.com

 

Want to bake your own Bread?

Manini’s Bread Mix & Fresh Pasta

These pastas and breads are so nutritious and have great texture! I’ve enjoyed Manini’s Spaghetti, Lemon-Thyme Linguine and Lasagna Noodles(not the ravioli b/c they contain diary) and bread mixes which are easy and nutritious. Even my Italian friends are now loving this pasta!

At the heart of our commitment to quality is our dedication to making all of our fresh pastas, breads & bakery products and flours from naturally Gluten Free Ancient Grains. Our Ancient Grains include Amaranth, Teff, Sorghum, and Millet, plants that are essentially unchanged from hundreds of years ago. The result is a nutritious, fiber-rich, great-textured food that is delicious and superior in taste, texture and nutrition to the vast majority of typical rice and corn based Gluten Free foods.

http://www.maninis.com

Want less carbs and more protein in your pasta go for: Tolerant Red Lentil or Black Bean Pasta which have great texture and tons of protein and nutrition! Available at Health food Stores and online.

Tolerant Pasta

Sonoma Pasta SauceSonoma Mushroom Pasta Sauce. I had to stop eating tomatoes due to arthritis and was so happy to find this tomato-free sauce! They have many flavors, but not all are dairy-free. I do still make my own with wild mushrooms and sherry, but nice to have a jar in the pantry in a pinch. Available at Health food Stores and online.

 

Paleo-Cake-Therapy-Paleo-Chocolate-Cake-Mix.jpg

Cake Therapy  Paleo Cake Mix: offers gluten free and paleo baking mixes, made from quality natural ingredients, without preservatives or additives. Cake Therapy’s products are always free of gluten, dairy, soy and corn, with grain free options.

Paleo Chocolate Cake Mix Ingredients: Organic coconut flour, arrowroot, almond meal, organic coconut sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla powder, salt, baking soda, baking powder.

I’ve tried all three flavors: chocolate, vanilla and spice, and love them all! They make a moist and tasty cake or cupcakes. I used my Chocolate Ganache Frosting  with Lily’s Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Chips and Cashew Cream Frosting with them. They have recipes and adaptations on their website too! I used the Spice Cake Mix to make a Carrot Cake and it was so delicious.

Teas to go with your dessert or just enjoy anytime:

Art of Tea: Chocolate Mint Tea which is so rich and tasty it does not need anything else. Great way to avoid sweets, drink this tea instead!  www.artoftea.com 

Numi Turmeric Teas are anti-inflammatory and very tasty especially when I add some local raw honey, ginger and homemade cashew milk! Available at health food stores or http://www.Numitea.com

Steven Smith Lord Bergamot Earl Grey Tea

A few other goodies I’ve fallen in love with this year:

Lily’s Fair Trade Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Chips

We love premium dark chocolate. We don’t like sugar. The addition of stevia to premium dark chocolate is a perfect fit. It makes our favorite food even better. Click to learn more about why we love stevia.http://lilyssweets.com

 

 

Chai-I

Vixen Kitchen Premium Vegan Gelato!  So creamy and delicious you will think you are in Italy!  The first time I tasted this luscious Gelato I was in San Francisco on a cold windy day, but had to have it as my teeth chattered! OMG, I was in Heaven and forgot about the cold the first lick! I love that they sweeten with real maple syrup and use cashews as the base! Again, nutritious and delicious and guilt-free! It is expensive b/c they use the highest quality ingredients and it is worth it! Available at health food stores, including Staff of Life. Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Chai, Coffee, Mint,Blueberry.  http://vixenkitchen.co

Xyloburst Chewing Gum, stays soft, sweetened with xylitol which is great for teeth and tastes good! Available at health food stores,  iherb.com and Amazon.com

My new favorite website to buy all the aforementioned goodies and many more at a 25%-75% discount/usually 25% is at http://www.ThriveMarket.com

 

Kitchen Tools:

  • Kitchen Aid 7 Quart Mixer is the largest capacity home mixer and I love my new one in Candy Apple Red! I also bought the:
  • Spiralizer Attachment that also slices and peels fruit and vegetables!

Body Care Products: Many skincare products contain gluten and dairy which go into your bloodstream within 30 seconds! Yes, it will cause you just as much trouble as eating it!

  • Nubian Heritage Soaps and Lotions
  • Evoli Body Butter & Lip Balm, made from all organic healthy oils
  • Zoya Nail Polish, free of formaldehyde and other bad chemicals available at Whole Foods
  • DoTerra essential oils: I do not travel without the OnGuard and put it on my feet every night! DoTerra.com
  • For the Bathroom: Poo Pourri toilet spray. This is so Brilliant! You spray your favorite essential oil based Poo Pourri into the toilet before you go and it acts as a barrier to help keep your bathroom smelling good! It really works, honest! I keep one in my purse and in our bathroom.

Healthcare/Natural Medicine:

  • Alpha CF Homeopathic liquid is lactose free and is what I use at the first sign of a cold or flu and it usually gets rid of it right away or at least shortens the duration to a few days instead of a few weeks. Available at health food stores, you may have to special order the liquid form.
  • Occiliccocinum homeopathic cold and flu, Walgreens, CVS and healthfood store. Pellets contain lactose so either dilute a dose in water and only take a teaspoon or find the Alpha CF liquid.
  • Deep Lung is great for respiratory infections.
  • Chestal Homeopathic Cough Medicine with honey, health food stores and CVS and Walgreens.
  • Yin Chao Chinese Medicine for colds that start with a sore throat is great.
  • High Dose Vitamin C Meyers Cocktail Infusion through an IV drip or push by a naturopathic doctor. http://www.naturopathic.org or wwwCalND.com in CA. This saves me every Christmas/Winter, including this week!

Books:

  • Can’t go to Italy this year read, Dolce di Love By Lynch
  • for Humor and belly laughs read Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
  • go to http://www.hayhouse.com for many inspirational and spiritual books, audio books and DVD’s for adults and children
  • Listen to shows on:
  • http://www.HayHouseRadio.com

Games:

  • Kids and Adults: Simon, an electronic game that lights up and tests your memory. Can be played with 2-4 people
  • Adults: Rummikub, a game with tiles and numbers. Good mental challenge and fun.

 

Clothing:

  • Nomads Organic Clothing, this Canadian company uses all organic fabrics made from hemp, soy, bamboo and cotton. It feels so good on and will not disrupt your hormones or endocrine system and it’s great for the environment. A win-win-win! Just wish they did not make them in China. Sometimes you have to compromise. These clothes feel really soft and warm; and look stylish.                                   Available at https://nomadshempwear.com
  • Synergy Organic Clothing, mostly cotton, made in Nepal. Stores in Santa Cruz and San Francisco and available online http://synergyclothing.com
  • Smart Wool Socks, wool that doesn’t itch and keeps your toes and feet warm in the coldest weather! They also make runners socks-breathable and cushiony! Available at The Sock Shop and online http://www.smartwool.com

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Healthy, Happy New Year filled with wonderful food, friends, family and goodies that improve your health and life! Love and Blessings to all! Please Comment and share with us your favorite  Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegan, Organic food, things & products.

Be Well and Thrive into your Dreams! 

Balancing Blood Sugar!

Sugar Solutions & New Products

I hope you all had a wonderful summer. I don’t know about you, but I ate too many sweets! Balancing Blood sugar is an art! Did you know that sugar is the new villain? Yep! The good news is that there are more alternatives and products available now to help us to satisfy our sweet tooth without getting cavities and many other health problems that come with sugar.

This summer I taught Kids and Teens how to cook without using refined sugar. We discussed how sugar, both natural and processed, requires the body to produce insulin and how the pancreas has to work to keep the body in balance.

They all felt much better during camp while eating sugar-free/sugar-low, gluten-free and dairy-free and they loved the food!

I had one former students realized that sugar was causing warts. She reported that she got rid of warts by cutting sugar out of her diet except for fruit only. Now I say, WOW to a 10 year old having that much insight, dedication and will power!

I’ve seen many of my students and my husbands patients that are children who had many physical problems that affected their ability to perform and concentrate in school to thriving in school after changing their diet! Most of them removed sugar and/or gluten and/or dairy.

These are three big culprits in affecting health especially lack of concentration, brain fog, hyperactivity, fatigue, depression, social challenges, headaches, skin rashes, behavior problems and more.

Most of you know by now that food sensitivities manifest in 4 areas:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Neurological
  • Psychological

I wanted the Kids to see just how much sugar was in a can of soda. So, we took a glass jar the size of a can of soda and poured 1/4 cup of white sugar into it as a way to see how much sugar a can of soda contains! They were all shocked! A Big Gulp is a 1/2 cup!

So, we took naturally flavored stevia, a natural sweetener from a leaf, that has no sugar, but is naturally 300 times sweeter than sugar, and mixed it with sparkling water to make our own delicious soda! Guess what? The kids love it.

I also had them do a tasting panel of the canned Zevia Sodas, and the Black Cherry and Strawberry were the most popular with Cherry Cola being the runner up and the least favorite were the Lemon Lime and Orange, which surprised me! On the last day of camp we had a movie day and watched Super Size Me and enjoyed healthy snacks, Zevia Soda and sugar free lollipops sweetened with Zylitol(natural and good for teeth!).

For desserts we made a lot of things with chocolate chips sweetened with stevia. I love Lilly’s Stevia Chocolate Chips made in Santa Barbara, CA! I found them at the health food store. The favorite desserts of the summer were Soft Serve Ice Cream sweetened with Stevia and  Chocolate Cake Pops! The good news is that one little pop was just as satisfying as a huge piece of cake-AMAZING! I will be teaching you how to make the Soft Serve Ice Cream in the Sugar Solutions Series!

Okay, as adults we know that Diabetes is an epidemic, and statistics report that approximately 1 in 4 people have Diabetes. I am sure even more have pre-diabetes and hypoglycemia.

I use to have terrible hypoglycemia! If I did not eat every 4 hours I would want to eat my arm off and it was a National catastrophic emergency until I ate! I would feel very weak, shaky and voraciously hungry. Oh, and the worst headache.

Fortunately, after cutting out processed sugar and using alternative sweeteners, eating a diet filled with whole foods and lots of veggies, nuts and healthy fats I am pleased to report that I feel much better. And, I don’t scare everyone away when I get hungry! I do still keep a snack in my purse though!!

A once a year fast and detox has really helped me balance my blood sugar too. My husband specializes in running fasting groups in the fall and spring. You can find more info atwww.drbradwest.com

In addition to diabetes, the latest cutting-edge medical findings are being reported that sugar is correlated to most diseases! Sugar is the new villain!

I am teaching a Sugar Solutions 6 week course all about how to cook delicious, nutritious whole foods that will help balance blood sugar and end sugar cravings. Many people have a candida overgrowth and do not even realize it, and the course menu will be Anti-Candida too. This is diabetic friendly. So sorry, but I do not recommend this course to anyone who is vegan this time around. I will try to offer a vegan course in the future.

I only have space for 8 people in this course which is at New Leaf in Santa Cruz from September 13-October 18th on Saturday’s from 11am-1:30pm and it includes Lunch! Sign up fast before it fills up at link below or www.NewLeaf.com and go to Events at the Westside Store
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/sugar-solutions-meal-planning-for-a-sugar-free-diet-tickets-12517930467

For an incredible lecture by Dr. Lustig, The Bittersweet Truth about Sugar, go to the video page on my blogwww.NoWheatNoDairyNoProblem.com

BTW, my Biscotti are sweetened with low glycemic Coconut Palm Sugar and are only 18-28 Glycemic Load! I also use high protein Oat Flour! Try a bag of Cinnamon Raisin,  Double Chocolate Chip or Cardamom! Purchase on my blog.

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Monthly Featured Recipe


Make your own sugar free soda or buy a Zevia!
Stevia Soda

16 oz. sparkling water, chilled
6-8 drops SweetLeaf flavored Stevia(cola, raspberry, orange etc…) available at Health food stores in the nutrition department
I recommend SweetLeaf brand(wwwSweetLeaf.com). Do not use dry, powdered stevia b/c it has other ingredients which are not healthful.
Serve over ice and enjoy without any blood sugar problems or fear of cavities.

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Monthly Upcoming Classes

Cooking Class Schedule

  • COOKING CLASSES ALL INCLUDE EATING WHAT WE MAKE!
  • GLUTEN-FREE(you’ll be surprised at how good is)
  • DAIRY-FREE(you won’t miss it)
  • REFINED SUGAR FREE! (Will still satisfy you)
  • No Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum added!
  • HIGH PROTEIN & FIBER, LOW CARB & affordable
Sugar Solution 6 Week Series, New Leaf Westside
September 13-October 18 Saturdays 11am-1:30pm w/Lunch
Limited to 8 people. If you cannot make all 6 classes you may sign up for individual classes during the 6 weeks.

www.NewLeaf.com and go to Events at the Westside Store
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/sugar-solutions-meal-planning-for-a-sugar-free-diet-tickets-12517930467

Private Chef Service

ALL FOOD IS FARM FRESH, ORGANIC,
 SEASONAL AND LOCAL WHEN POSSIBLE
Specialties: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Low Glycemic, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Raw. My service is completely customized to your desires and dietary needs.

A la Carte Services
  • Skype consultation
  • Shopping trip
  • Pantry Make-Over
  • Deluxe Package

PRODUCTS


No Wheat No Dairy No Problem
Delicious recipes for people with food allergies/sensitivity and everyone who is looking for healthy alternatives. The cookbook I wish I had!

Available in ebook or softcover.

Find out more and purchase here.




BISCOTTI (Skinny Dunkers) 

  • HIGH PROTEIN
  • HIGH FIBER
  • GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, NUT-FREE, only a tiny bit of soy lecithin in the chocolate chips
  • ALL ORGANIC INGREDIENTS-just not certified yet
  • LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX/LOAD
  • MADE IN A GLUTEN-FREE FACILITY
MADE FOR DIPPING INTO YOUR FAVORITE BEVERAGE
Copyright © 2014 Lauren’s Kitchen, All rights reserved.
New Leaf Market Classes
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Lauren’s Kitchen

P.O. Box 1665

Los GatosCA 95031

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Holiday Menu! No Wheat, Dairy, Refined Sugar or Gluten!

Don’t know what to make for Christmas or another Holiday you celebrate? If you have my cookbook, here are some menu ideas( Appetizers-desserts and gifts) for you to choose from depending on your taste and guests needs. Have guests/family that have health or food issues? Here is a delicious tasting menu that is great for everyone including: Vegetarians, Vegans, Meat eaters, people with Food Allergies, Diabetes, Celiac’s(Gluten Free), Autism etc..

If you are not in the mood for cooking, you can order delivery or take out too, but there’s nothing like creating memories with homemade holiday dishes!Besides, the house does not smell the same with take out.

We usually had a Turkey, baked Ham or Roast in my home. I remember all the wonderful smells that filled the house. From Christmas morning pancakes to the Ham covered in cloves and pineapple-Yum! A few other things that come to my memory that were so enjoyable growing up, are various dishes that relatives would bring, including smoked salmon dip, candied yams, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, holiday cookies, fudge, brownies, chocolate truffles and more! This year, we are breaking tradition and having Chicken or Shrimp Curry! So, do what you like and enjoy it.

The first apartment I had when I moved away from home, I decorated my first Christmas tree with plaid bows, a plaid taffeta skirt, strings of popped corn and cranberries-made by yours truly, and puffy red hearts! I threw my first party and remember the smell of hot apple cider with an orange studded with whole cloves and cinnamon sticks. The smell  wafted down the stairs which brought everyone running! What are your favorite food memories and smells that bring them back? Hope you will try a few of my recipes and that these menus make it easy and memorable for you and your loved ones.

See the Thanksgiving article below for timelines and leftover ideas.

Appetizers/Snacks: Hummus(pg. 112) with raw veggies, olive assortment, roasted/spiced or herbed nuts. Crab Cakes(pg.31), Swedish Meatballs(pg.61), Cranberry Sauce(pg.97) as a side or Pour over Toffuti “Cream”Cheese with Glutino crackers or wheat free bread for an appetizer

Beverages: Flavored Water(pg.151), Mojito(pg.160), Champagne(my favorite Veuve Cliquout), Pomegranate juice with sparkling water. For dessert drinks: Hot Chocolate(pg.154),  Ginger Lemon Tonic(pg. 153), Chai Tea(pg.148)

Soup/Salad: Pureed Vegetable Soup(pg. 123) Butternut Squash in nice, Caesar Salad(pg. 125 “Parmesean”pg.114)

Main Course: Roasted Turkey(pg.54) and Gravy(pg.106), Rack of Lamb(pg.52) with Reduction Sauce(pg.103), Vegetarian Mushroom Pot Pie(pg. 48)

Vegetable: Candied Sweet Potatoes(pg.70), Mashed Potatoes(pg.78), Scalloped Potatoes(pg.90),Cornbread Stuffing(pg.110), Carrots and Parsnips(pg.72)

Green Vegetable: Roasted Brussel Sprouts(pg.68), sautéed Kale, Swiss Chard or Spinach(pgs. 86-88)

Dessert: If it were up to me, this is where we would start! You could really make any of the desserts in my cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem and they would all work. Here are some ideas:

Pie: Apple(pg.169), Sweet Potato Pecan Pie(pg.275), Pecan Pie(pg.244), Pumpkin Pie(pg.256)

Cake: Pumpkin Cheesecake(pg. 252), Pina Colada Cupcakes(pg.250) Buttercream Frosting(pg.173), Gingerbread Molasses Cake(pg.218)

Tart: Lemon Meringue(pg.227), Key Lime Meringue(pg.221), Raspberry Linzer(pg.229)

Chocolate: Fondue(pg.183), Mousse(pg.190), Truffles(pg.193), Fudgy Brownies(pg.213)

Cookies: Rugelah(pg.263), Shortbread(pg.266), Thumbprint(pg.278)

A la Mode/Ice “Cream”: Vanilla Bean(pg.282), Pumpkin(pg.254), Dark Chocolate(pg.196)

Show Stoppers/Over the Top: Tiramisu(pg.280) don’t make if it’s raining, Chocolate Covered Cream Puffs(pg.198)

Gifts for Guests or Hostess: A copy of my cookbook(order on PayPal from this site) with a celophane bag filled with Chocolate Truffles(pg.193), Fudgy Brownies(pg.213),  or cookies, . Great project for the teenagers/kids or petite gourmets in your family!

Most things can be made ahead of time except the chocolate mousse, meringue or Tiramisu(don’t make either if it’s raining), green vegetables and salad. See the Thanksgiving article below for timelines and leftover ideas.

Happy Cooking and eating. May all your days be healthy and happy! With Love and Blessings, Lauren

Gluten/Dairy/Sugar-Free Thanksgiving with all the flavor of a traditional one!

Have family or friends or maybe yourself who are coming for Thanksgiving who are on a special diet or have health issues and concerns and you don’t know how to manage? Whether you just want to eat healthy and delicious food or have a food/health issue…you don’t have to spend the whole day cooking and cleaning in the kitchen this Thanksgiving! Everyone that has eaten my Thanksgiving recipes all said they are as good or better than what they have had, and they did not miss the wheat, dairy or refined sugar! Wow, this is so wonderful and many heartfelt thanks!

Here is an easy guide to help you prepare things ahead of time you so you can enjoy your holiday and guests. Trust me after 20 years of doing this…it is so much easier that trying to be the Superhero on Thanksgiving…especially if something goes wrong-very embarrassing. Don’t be afraid to send the recipe to one of your guests/relatives and ask them to make it and bring it-delegate and accept the help. I know it is not easy, especially for people who like to be in control/charge! Remember, we allow others to grow and feel needed and be blessed by their contribution/help too. This is what helped me to realize micro-managing was stunting the growth of my employees! Let go, ah, it feels so good! There is still plenty for you to do.

I am listing all the goodies you can prepare ahead of time by day from my cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem-order it now on this site!

Up to one week ahead: Pie Crust (see Recipe of the Week-15 minutes) Wheat, dairy and Gluten Free, Cranberry Sauce(sugar free and way better than anything that is store bought-15 minutes)

Up to three days ahead: Candied Yams( adapted from Paul Prudhomme)-40 minutes, Mashed Potatoes 30 minutes, Sweet Potatoe Pie Filling 10 minutes

Up to two days ahead: Brine 5 minutes and soak/refrigerate Turkey(fresh or frozen)-will be the juiciest ever!, clean your house or have it cleaned, do laundry etc..!;) See my directions for thawing turkey according to weight-must be done in the refrigerator.

The day before:  make salad dressing/vinaigrette, chill wine, Pecan Pie Filling, Cornbread for stuffing, chop vegetables(onion, celery etc…), Assemble and bake pie-Sweet Potato Pecan, Pecan, Pumpkin. I highly recommend the Sweet Potato Pecan-it’s a sure winner! See my utube video for rolling pie crust and dicing an onion at http://www.utube.com search under LaurenHooverAuthor and laugh out loud!;) You try being videotaped and then laugh at yourself…I did! Take a hot bath and get a good night sleep, you’ll need it. Spend quality time with those you love, play a game together, go for a walk etc… because Thanksgiving is so busy that you may not get a quality conversation in that day. It so important to remember to be thankful and tell our loved one’s how grateful we are for them-especially children…they really are not mind readers!;)

Go to the grocery store for anything you forgot and pack your patience-it will be crowded and filled with crying children and you(or your spouse) will circle several times to find a parking place-don’t give the teenagers the car today!

Thanksgiving day: Eat Breakfast so you are not ravenous all day and then get a stomach ache from not eating for hours-you will be so much happier and your family will be very thankful.This is a lovely time to have quality time with whomever is in your home before all the rest of the guests arrive and it is crazy.

Begin with a Clean Kitchen-which will keep you organized and calm. Set out ingredients, measure them out and follow the recipes. Have fun! I like relaxing or upbeat music playing while I cook.

Get the kids/husband/family/friends to set the table, build a fire,  decorate-it will keep them busy and out of your kitchen-unless they like to cook! Kids love to make the name tags for the place settings-great project to keep them entertained.

Prepare stuffing(cornbread or regular or Gluten Free) and chop herbs, Stuff Turkey and bake (see my recipe that was even good enough for a US Senator)! The secret…cooking it at a very high temperature will create  crispy skin and juicy meat- not to mention-save time and energy! Yum! Reheat Mashed Potatoes, Candied Yams in the oven or microwave if absolutely necessary, cook and chop vegetables and wash/spin salad greens-toss at the table. Teenagers who like to cook will love to make salad or this is a good item to ask some else to bring. Pour wine and enjoy!

I do not put out a lot of snacks…just a few to tide people’s appetite, but not spoil it for a huge dinner. Perhaps a bowl of nuts and some raw vegetables and hummus or dip and deviled eggs all of which can be made the day ahead or store bought(of course I make them myself)!

Important tips: See Professional Secrets and Tips section of my cookbook-it will help to ensure YOUR success.

Use  oven and digital read thermometers-temperature is key. Enlist help, people love to help. See my guide for cooking times according to the weight of the Turkey.

Clean(with hot water and soap) all surfaces, sinks, counters, cutting boards, utensils and hands that touch raw Turkey to prevent spreading salmonella-food poisioning.

Keep Turkey refrigerated at 38 degrees until ready to stuff and bake.

Stuff the Turkey just before baking so bacteria will not grow.

Do NOT and I repeat, DO NOT leave food out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. It is best to put out smaller batches. Optimal Bacteria growth temperatures are between 40-140 degrees…yep, room temperature! It grows extremely rapidly by the hour after four hours throw it out. I hate waste…so I put out smaller portions or serve everything at once and put it away or send it home with guests just after eating. Only follow this advice if you want to avoid food poisoning or a big tummy ache-really you will be so much happier and healthier.

Final Tip/Preference: To baste or not to baste? I like to soak a large piece of cheesecloth in grapeseed oil, fold it in half and in half again to fit over the Turkey. Cover the Turkey with it and I do not baste if you  like a crispy skin. The high temperature will crisp the skin and seal in the juices. Resting the Turkey for 20-30 minutes is the ONLY way to have the juice stay in the meat. If you cut into the Turkey right away or before 20 minutes, watch all the juice run away and there is nothing to get it back into the meat…it will be dry, I promise.

Let someone else, especially the teenagers, do the dishes!

BTW, I did all of this in a cooking class last week in 3 1/2 hours with no help- I slept very well that night!  So, You can do it too. Just follow my recipes carefully-read them first. I like to read them the night before I cook/prepare them. and again just before making them. Buy my cookbook even if you only use the Thanksgiving recipes!

Take a deep breath, have a glass of wine, relax and have a very Happy Thanksgiving. From my heart to yours…may you have much to be grateful for this year. I am so grateful for many things/people  including everyone who has been so supportive of the launch of my cookbook. Thank you for all your continued support and passing the word about my blog and cookbook.

Many Blessings, Be Well and Happy Thanksgiving, Chef Lauren Hoover