Planning a Disability-Friendly Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is, for many, a day of good food and good company. Having a disability shouldn’t get in the way of enjoying either.

With a little forethought, your disability won’t stand in the way of enjoying the holiday, whether you want to help prepare the meal or just enjoy the company of others.

The Thanksgiving Meal

Why put the burden of the entire holiday meal on yourself or your hostess? Make it potluck. The hostess makes the main course and each guest brings a side dish or a dessert. With a potluck, each of your guests is guaranteed at least one dish they love and you’ll get the chance to sample everyone else’s favorite holiday recipes.

You can also do dinner buffet-style. Purchase all of your favorite prepared foods in advance. On Thanksgiving Day, simply warm the foods according to the directions and set them out on a separate buffet table. You’ll save yourself hours of slaving in the kitchen and give yourself more time to savor your favorite goodies as you spend more quality time with your family and friends.

Meal Preparation

There are always the tried and true methods of purchasing a complete meal and having it delivered to your home or going to a restaurant for your Thanksgiving meal. If neither of these is an option for you, though, there are some things you can do to make your part in the dinner preparation easier on you.

Potatoes and gravy. Try using instant mashed potatoes. If you’re screwing up your face and thinking about the way instant potatoes used to taste, take heart. There are a variety of potatoes, including Country Crock and Bob Evans, available at your local supermarket that are made from real potatoes, not dehydrated flakes. Ore-Ida has also recently introduced Steam ‘n Mash, real potatoes that are already peeled, diced and cooked. Simply steam the bag in the microwave, pour into a bowl and mash. Either of these options will save you a lot of time and energy. When it comes to the gravy, try a jar of Heinz Homestyle Turkey Gravy. Empty the jar into a gravy boat, toss the jar in the trash bin and your guests will never know the difference.

Desserts. Visit a local bakery and purchase your Thanksgiving pies. Order ahead of time and they will be fresh and ready the day before or the day of. If you prefer homemade, visit for the recipes of any kind of dessert you can possibly imagine or Kraft Foods for a deliciously easy double-layer pumpkin pie recipe. Look for pudding, cream or no-bake pies and desserts. These sweet treats can usually be prepared with minimal effort and can be dressed up to give a beautiful presentation and a wonderful homemade taste.

Spending Time With Family

A big part of Thanksgiving is getting together with friends and family. However, if you’re in a wheelchair or have a mobility impairment, this can sometimes be difficult or even impossible.

If your family plans a big family dinner, ask around and find out which family member has the most accessible home. Ask if they are willing to host the dinner this year. If not and you have an accessible home, volunteer to have the family over to your house for dinner.

If you don’t want to have a big dinner at your home, suggest that each family enjoy dinner in their own home and everyone get together at your home for dessert.

Quick and Easy Extra Peanut Buttery Peanut Butter Pie

This dessert recipe is quick, easy and loved by everyone -especially peanut better lovers!

Prepare a 5-ounce box of Jello Cook & Serve Vanilla Pudding according to the directions. Melt 4 to 5 cups of peanut butter into the pudding as it cooks. Pour immediately into a ready-made graham cracker crust. Refrigerate 4 hours or until set. Top with Cool Whip, chocolate syrup and crushed peanuts.

For a chocolate peanut butter pie, simply substitute Cook & Serve Chocolate Pudding. Top with Cool Whip, chocolate syrup and Reese’s Pieces.

With a little planning, all the work involved in putting on Thanksgiving dinner can be minimized and the day can be more joyful than stressful.

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