Thanksgiving week is upon us! For a variety of reasons, you may find that this year’s feast isn’t going to be quite like we all hoped. Many of us expected this Thanksgiving to be more “normal,” yet as our numbers of covid cases in this county continue to be some of the highest in the United States, it’s likely playing a factor in how some gather. Whether you are in quarantine, celebrating with your inner circle, choosing not to travel or perhaps even spending your first Thanksgiving alone, we’ve got a whole bunch of reasons you can still have your Thanksgiving feast, and how to make it last longer. Yes, longer! In our books, if you’ve got leftovers, then you certainly have something to be thankful for!

Thanksgiving is great but rumor has it, the leftovers are even better! Unfortunately, many of us end up throwing away food as we grow tired of or totally forget about what’s hiding in all that Tupperware. To make this special feast day last even longer, here are some fun ways to use those leftovers and keep the festivities of Thanksgiving lasting for weeks to come.

Got a carcass? Your turkey carcass is just begging to be put into the hot tub (pot of boiling water) to be turned into stock. Boiling your bones with veggies and herbs is a great way to make your own stock for soups, stews, and even for flavoring your rice and potatoes. Take the extra time this year to let the bird simmer and you can be sipping on homemade soups all winter.

Got Meat? If you have lots of meat leftover you don’t have to force yourself to eat a turkey sandwich every meal until it’s gone. Cube it up and freeze for easy meals ahead! You can use it later for your soups, stir-fry or even turkey pie. Or, if you have a little extra time, make those freezer meals now, store in a Ziploc, with the date and you’ll have a few dinners ready to go soon! Think turkey broccoli casserole, turkey tamales, turkey tacos and really, any turkey delight you choose!

Got Cranberries? If you have a bunch of fresh berries you also have a bunch of opportunities! String them with popcorn for a beautiful garland. Freeze them in your ice cubes for a festive frosty feel, or you can even dehydrate them to make your own potpourri, tea, or ornaments. If it’s the sauce you have on hand, you are so lucky! Adding cranberry sauce to yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal and mayo brings a refreshing vibe to your meals. Add the leftover cranberry sauce into baking like you would apple sauce!

Got Potatoes? Where do we start? Potato pancakes are super fun and easy with a side of Greek yogurt. You can also add in all your baked potato toppings, mix and bake for a super-deluxe mashed casserole. You can mix with chopped-up and cooked broccoli and cauliflower, roll into little pillows and make your own tater-tots. Some people even use mashed potatoes in breads and pasta!

Got Squash? Take that roasted squash and make some soup. Sauté some onions, carrots, and celery until cooked through. Add in your squash and fresh turkey stock. Blend to your desired consistency and enjoy! If you have cubed squash it makes a fun garnish for salads. You may also want to freeze this seasonal favorite for when it’s out of season.

Leftover pie? Well, we have a hard time believing there will be leftover pie, but…on the slim chance you do, share it! Everybody knows somebody who might enjoy a slice of pie. As mentioned, some people won’t be celebrating in the same ways this year and some may even be alone. Don’t be afraid to call a friend and tell them to check their doorstep for a sweet treat! You could also portion it out and freeze it for a sweet treat when you need it.

Got Thanks? Don’t keep this stored up like leftover gravy! Shower this day with thanks. Take some time on Thanksgiving to write, email or text those who have made this year special, those you miss or someone who just deserves some good old-fashioned gratitude. Take some time to thank yourself too! Think of all you’ve done, think of who you are and all you have to offer. Give thanks! If you have extra time, get a jump on some thank you cards to share with your mail delivery person, paper person, hairdresser, neighbor, or anyone you choose. Walk outside and silently say thank you for all the beauty you see. Just don’t store up all the goodness of gratitude!

While we are still living with some of the highest Covid-19 cases in the country, it may have you rethinking your Thanksgiving feast or worse, feeling less than grateful. We get it. It’s really hard right now and even harder that we don’t know when this will end.  What we do know is that group gatherings have proven to increase our cases, and we all can play a part in how safely we celebrate. No matter what, that doesn’t mean you have to skip the feast, especially if you enjoy cooking! Make plans to zoom call while you cook or talk to your family on the phone while things bake. Meet up with someone local for a fun walk or join us at 9 am at The Wellness Center for a fun workout! Don’t let the day go by without connecting. There are still many ways to make this day of thanks meaningful. And, when it’s all said and done if you’ve got leftovers? Give Thanks!


Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center