Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week for Thanksgiving Dinner

mini-loaf-pansThe countdown to Thanksgiving isn’t quite as dramatic as the countdown to Christmas, but the holiday requires quite a bit of preparation. If you’re hosting this year, now is the time to start planning! A lot of tools go into making the meal perfect and we want you to be prepared so we came up with a list of items we think can help you with that. Here is this week’s Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Make It Personal Whip up some smaller portions of baked goods for yourself or to share as gifts with this Set of 3 Mini Loaf Pans. These affordable, pastel colored dishes feature an inspirational phrase on the side. Make a variety of small-portioned treats for holidays, birthdays or office parties. They can also be used as serving dishes. 6-1/8″W x 3-1/8″D x 2-1/4″H (14 oz.), each. Stoneware. Dishwasher, microwave and oven safe.pumpkin-side-dishes

Make It Cute Fill your dining room with the color of this decorative and functional Set of 4 Pumpkin Side Dishes. Great for individual servings of stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and more, these pumpkin-shaped dishes also have decorative handled lids. Leave more room on your plate when you add these adorable dishes to your table ensemble. 5″ x 4-1/2″ dia., each. Dolomite.buffet-caddy

Make It Simple Buffet Caddy keeps all your serveware in one compact space. The top section arranges your flatware in 4 circular baskets, the center section accommodates napkins and the bottom section keeps dinner plates within reach. Metal frame has a scrolled design and durable balled feet to keep the caddy in place on any surface. 18-1/8″ x 12-1/2″ x 8-1/2″.quilted-casserole-carrier

Make It Warm Carry your dish to the next potluck or family get-together in the stylish and convenient Quilted Casserole Carrier. It’s insulated and lined with foil to keep your food warm while on the way to its destination. The carrier has two inner flaps with a fabric-magic closure to secure the dish inside. Two wood handles make it easy to tote. 14-3/4″W x 10-1/2″D x 5-1/2″H. Polyester and foam. Imported.harvest-leaves

Make It Fall Add seasonal flair to your nightly dinners with the Harvest Leaves Table Decor. Each features colorful accents in shades of orange, red and green. The Set of 4 Tapestry Placemats (19″W x 13″L, each) and Table Runner (13″W x 72″L) feature a tree design. Organize your cutlery with the 4-Pc. Utensil Holder Set (approx. 3-7/8″W x 5″L, each). Polyester. Placemats and runner, cotton and polyester. Imported.

5 Ideas to Keep Kids Busy on Thanksgiving

girl-helping-thanksgivingYou will soon be welcoming friends and family to your home to share your Thanksgiving feast. Putting together a turkey dinner with all the trimmings is ten times as much work as your regular weeknight dinners and loads more people walking in and out of the kitchen eating, drinking and chatting. With all the kitchen chaos, keeping an eye on the kids and making sure they’re happy is tough as you juggle all the elements for the perfect holiday dinner. Here are 5 ideas to keep kids busy on Thanksgiving.

Reindeer Games Have a few games and puzzles pulled out for the kids to play. Don’t give them too many options — three or four games you know they like (not one you have to teach) is plenty to keep them distracted from their rumbling tummies as you put the finishing touches on the meal. If there are kids coming that your kids don’t know well, games are a good ice breaker and will get everyone interacting with each other. If you’re lucky, they’ll enjoy the games enough that they’ll return to them after dinner.

Thanksgiving-Table-topDuty Calls Give each child a job to do. For the younger children, assign them simple tasks like folding napkins or making sure the spoons are shiny. For older kids, give them the big duties that require critical thinking — put them in charge of the checklist of all the things that need to be done and have them make sure everyone is staying on task. For children of ages in between, have them set the table, greet friends and family at the door and take their coats. Giving kids a hand in the event makes them feel part of the production while giving them something to focus on rather than watching TV while you work.

Letters to Santa Thanksgiving is the perfect time for the kids to write their letters to Santa. Set aside plenty of paper and pens and catalogs (for inspiration) so they can put together their wish lists. For young guests, it will get them excited and distract them from the idea of being in an unfamiliar home. For the kids who no longer write letters to Santa, have them help the younger kids craft the perfect letter to old St. Nick.

Clever Crafts If there are a lot of kids coming over to share your holiday, set up a craft table with Thanksgiving themed projects to work on while the adults socialize and get the turkey on the dinner table. Have the older kids help the younger kids to make it a family activity. A craft table might seem like too much to take on, but giving kids something to pay attention to and work on will save you the headache of coming to the rescue when they get bored.

kids-craftingLast Resort The TV can be tricky when there are a lot of kids with different personalities — you don’t want any clashing over what to watch. Let them turn on the TV, but only give them a few, non-negotiable options for watching TV. Limit the programming to holiday movies or specials. If you have to turn it on, it should be something for everyone to enjoy.

Planning activities or crafts for kids during Thanksgiving is a big task to add to your Thanksgiving plate, but reducing the risk of boredom and tears makes the overtime worth it.  If it’s not doable, pass the job off to one of your guests a few days in advance. Anyone who’s hosted a big Thanksgiving will jump at the chance to help out.

Happy Thanksgiving planning!

5 Items You Need to Pull Off a Perfect Thanksgiving

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner is a challenge for even the most experienced host, but there are a few gadgets that can make things easier. Here are 5 items you need to pull off a perfect Thanksgiving.

countertop-protectorSave Your Counters! The 3-Pc. Countertop Protector Set won’t let a burn come between you and your favorite pots and pans. You’re going to need every inch of counter space to put your sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie — with the Countertop Protector set, you can put hot pots and pans on the counter without putting it through the wear and tear of a big holiday meal.

microwave-cooking-setMagical Microwaving There’s only one of you and thirty dishes to make — you’re bound to look to your microwave for a little help. Make sure you’re cooking with the right containers — the 6-Pc. Microwave Cooking Set has the right container for just about anything you need to heat quickly to get everything done and on the table when the guests arrive for Thanksgiving dinner!

Lid-holdersHelping “Hand” You have stock simmering on one burner, another is keeping the gravy warm and the two remaining burners are reserved for cranberries and the butter for your pecan pie — they all don’t have to be covered at once, but you don’t have the space for the lid when it’s not covering the pot. The set of 4 Lid Holders gives an extra spot for your dripping hot lids when you don’t have an extra hand.

3-tier-cooling-rackCookies, Casseroles, Pie, Oh My! The 3-Tier Cooling Rack allows you to make use of vertical space for all your baked goods while they cool off when you don’t have extra counter space. It provides a safe place for fresh-from-the-oven goodies to cool, while allowing air to flow freely around them. This rack is made for big jobs — like Thanksgiving dinner — when you have a lot of hot stuff coming out of the oven and more stuff going in.

frosty-serverService with a Smile The Lighted Holiday Serving Stand is a festive piece for the dining room where it gets crowded — but with the 2-tiers for dinner and dessert plates and the built-in utensil holder, you’ll have plenty of room at the buffet for the Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings.

The Lakeside Collection has a variety gadgets and cookware to choose from — check out our housewares and dining section for more products to help you put together a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner.

Defrosting 101 – Turkey Edition

Some of you have been cooking turkeys for decades.  In fact we don’t doubt that some of our readers could pluck and stuff a bird so beautifully it would make us cry.  However many of you are undertaking your first turkey this Thanksgiving.  For those first timers, the key to a decent (or at least edible) turkey is to defrost it properly.  After that, the rest is gravy (sometimes literally…gravy can salvage even the driest bird).  Here are some tips for defrosting your fowl friend.

If you bought your turkey frozen, keep it frozen until you are ready to thaw.  Then follow these thawing tips (curtsey of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service)

Since Thanksgiving is approaching in T-3 days and counting, get defrosting and good luck!