No, I'm not putting the cart before the horse, I know its not Christmas yet. I'm talking about hitting the grocery store-Prepared! I have nightmares of Thanksgiving days past rattling chains all night with me tossing and turning in fear that I have forgotten something vital for my meal. Because of the anxiety that can consume the Thanksgiving day cook, here comes a nearly full proof plan.

My best full proof plan is to let someone else cook! I' m kidding, of course though, that's not a bad idea.

Here comes the seemingly silly part of my plan. Sit down at your dining table with a cup of coffee and look around. Don't stand in the kitchen. Don't hold the fridge door open and stare inside until  you bring your milk to room temp. Don't hang out in the pantry or page through all of your cookbooks. Today, you are simply going to sit and relax at your dining table.

This has become the best way for me to visualize everything. I picture in my mind where everyone is sitting. I imagine how the table will be set. I take a sip of my coffee and take in a deep breath. Now, I look around as if they're already there, I can see what they're eating. I write the dishes down on my grocery list, just what they are for now.  Once I have everything in my minds eye I think about what goes into each of the dishes. Underneath each dish I write what goes into them, not quantities, just what the ingredients are in the dish. I usually know what I have on hand and what I don't, but if I am unsure I put an astrix next to the ingredient and check to see if I have it before I finalize my grocery list. I know that this sounds quite simple, but it really works. Since I have started doing this, I have not forgotten one ingredient. If you are thinking that you don't have time to sit and daydream, think about the time you didn't have to run to the grocery store Thanksgiving morning.

Another thing that is easily forgotten is breakfast. I know that we have talked about this before, I serve my meal typically in the late afternoon, so something for breakfast is nice to have on hand. Something that you don't have to think about, but something you do have to put on the grocery list.

So how are you doing so far? Is it time to go shopping? What's on your list?

celery, eggs, poultry seasoning, chicken broth, bread crumbs, olives, pickles, corn, sausage, potatoes, carrots, flour, butter... that should be a good list starter!

Most of all have fun and enjoy your family, when it gets hectic take a minute and quietly slip off into your bedroom, listen to one of your favorite songs or sit in the calm. Then take a deep breath and hit the kitchen with your second wind. And remember, the only exceptions of the day that matter are the ones you put on yourself, and you are in complete control. Sorry if this sounds a bit like dear doctor somebody, I have just seen so many people end up with a horrible holiday because of all the added stress of a house full of people and self expectations that are way over the top.

Have a great Thanksgiving!