Last-Minute Thanksgiving Tips and Recipes

Quinoa-Stuffing-Marla-Meridith-IMG_52561Picture courtesy of Family Fresh Cooking

Can you believe Thanksgiving is now just a few short days away?

You may already have your menu finalized, your groceries purchased, your table decorated and your array of allergy-friendly, gluten-free recipes ready – but if you don’t, here are some last-minute Thanksgiving tips to help:


Thanksgiving is a celebration of the harvest and changing seasons – so the décor can be rustic, organic, and even a bit messy. Grab a selection of colorful decorative gourds while at the grocery store, along with a few autumn leaves and twigs from your yard, and scatter them around the room or create an uneven cluster in the center of the table. The idea is to bring the beauty of fall indoors.

Also, think of ways to showcase what you are thankful for. One way is to use a large sheet of white paper as a tablecloth, and ask your guests to write down what they are thankful for before dinner. This will add to both the décor and the warm, fuzzy feeling that this holiday evokes.


If you’re looking for some creative, delicious and gluten-free Thanksgiving side dishes that everyone is sure to enjoy, try:

Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, Leslie Durso

Quinoa Sage Stuffing, Tasty Yumminess

Warming Mushroom and Kale Risotto, AncientHarvest.com

Quinoa Stuffing with Apple, Sweet Potato & Hazelnuts, Family Fresh Cooking (pictured)

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Apple Cider Vinaigrette, AncientHarvest.com

We also have a great collection of gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes in our new Ancient Harvest Modern Meal Cookbook.

Miscellaneous Tips:

First, in the days leading up to the big feast, empty your refrigerator. Coming home with a full load of Thanksgiving groceries only to find that there is no room to store them is an unnecessary and easily avoidable mess.

When grocery shopping, consider taking a “divide and conquer” approach. Since an entire feast’s worth of cans, bags and produce is too much for one person to carry (or one trunk to old) and you are bound to forget at least one key ingredient while at the store, divide your shopping list into categories ahead of time (canned goods, baking supplies, perishables like eggs and produce) and take several short trips to the store over several days instead of trying to do everything at once.

Organize everything ahead of time. Take the night before to print out or make copies of every recipe you plan on using, and organize them so that you are not thumbing through cookbooks or web browser tabs while cooking. Also, consider making what caterers call a prep list – a list of all tasks that needs to be completed, in the order that they need to be done. See what recipes can be made at least one day in advance, giving you more time to relax and enjoy the company of your loved ones on the big day.

Remember that above all else, this day is meant to be a celebration! So the turkey’s a bit dry or the pie crust didn’t come out exactly as you wanted it to – so what? You are surrounded by friends, family and food. Try your best to relax and enjoy the day.