Yankee Swap, Secret Santa, Grab Bag, White Elephant – whatever you call it, there’s a good chance that you’ll be a part of a gift exchange this holiday season. White elephant gifts are usually something inexpensive – humorous tchotchkes that you most likely won’t be jealous giving to someone else. So whether it’s for your office Christmas party or a family holiday gathering, here are a few white elephant gift ideas ranging from off-the-wall to practical.
My 20 month old is finally over Halloween. After realizing that “trick or treat” was a sure way to get candy, he took to trick-or-treating like peanut butter on jelly. Unfortunately for him, this stopped working after October 31. Now he’s gearing up for Thanksgiving, and after seeing a few live turkeys this past weekend, he’s been gobbling at everyone in the house. His adorable “gobble gobble gobble” is a true sign that Turkey Day is right around the corner.
How are you getting ready for Thanksgiving? If you’re hosting the big dinner, you’ve probably started to panic about all the cooking and cleaning that has to be done before next Thursday. And this is just the beginning; come Thanksgiving morning, you’ll be hurriedly mashing potatoes and becoming hysterical when your juicy 25-pound bird doesn’t cook as quickly as you’d hoped.
To minimize stress and prepare for Thanksgiving dinner, do as much as you can ahead of time. If you have hungry houseguests to feed, preparing breakfast the night before will help free up both your stove and your sanity on that crucial morning. So if you’re feeling the pressure, here are some make-ahead breakfaststhat’ll satisfy all of your holiday guests.
Slow cooker oatmeal
When it comes to prepping hot food in advance, slow cookers are your best friend. If you’d like to roll out of bed and serve a hot breakfast without slaving away in the wee hours of the morning, this is the recipe for you.
The Yummy Life blog has a few different recipes for slow cooker oatmeal. Her recipes use steel-cut oats, which supposedly make you feel fuller for a longer time because they’re not processed. It’s as simple as throwing the ingredients in the slow cooker, mixing it up, and turning on the heat. The oatmeal will be ready after cooking for about 7 hours.
If you’re not an apple-cinnamon kind of family, this blogger has slow cooker recipes for pumpkin pie, cherry almond, and banana and coconut milk oatmeal. I can’t imagine anything better than waking up to the scent of hot, flavored oatmeal.
The night before Thanksgiving, layer vanilla yogurt, granola, and fresh berries in tall cups. These simple ingredients will agree with just about any taste buds, but if you’d like to get a little fancier, check out this recipe, which calls for Greek yogurt, oats, apples and nuts. To sweeten up any yogurt recipe, add a little bit of honey to your parfait layers. You can refrigerate yogurt parfaits overnight, and they’ll taste just as good when you’re ready to eat them in the morning.
Basic crêpes are a fairly simple recipe, and they’ll work well for Thanksgiving morning because they freeze beautifully, so you can make your crêpes weeks in advance. You can find a simple recipe for crêpes here.
When freezing, stack the cooled crêpes on a plate with sheets of waxed paper in between each one. This will keep them from sticking together. When you get out of bed on Thanksgiving morning, set them on the counter to thaw, or thaw them in the microwave. When your guests get out of bed and you’re ready to serve, microwave each crêpe for about 20 seconds.
Crêpes go well with a variety of fillings. Here are just a few ideas for serving them.
- With fresh fruit
- Drizzled with melted butter and dusted with confectioner’s sugar
- With Nutella (and bananas, if you’d like)
- With strawberries and whipped cream
- Drizzled with chocolate sauce and filled with fruit
- With syrup and fresh berries
- With honey
- With fruit preserves
- With ricotta cheese and cinnamon
Since crêpes are a multi-purpose wrap, you can stuff leftovers with meats and cheeses for an easy lunch, or with mousse and pudding for dessert.
Sausage and egg breakfast casserole
If you don’t serve your Thanksgiving feast until evening, you might want to make a dish that’s a bit more filling. One of my personal favorite breakfast recipes is a sausage and egg breakfast casserole; it never fails to be a hit. Brown a pound of pork sausage, mix it with half a dozen eggs, milk, cheese, cubed bread, and a few other ingredients. Pour the mixture into a baking pan, cover it, and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. On Thanksgiving morning, bake it at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. This breakfast casserole is guaranteed to keep dinner guests feeling full until the turkey is ready. You can find the complete recipe here.
If you’re looking to save time and energy on Thanksgiving morning, make breakfast a few days ahead of time. What will you serve guests for Thanksgiving Day breakfast? Let us know in the comments!