Lee's Marketplace bakery

by Emily Buckley, editor-in-chief 

Do you love the holidays? Yes, probably. But they can be stressful too. From gift preparation to decorating, you may feel overwhelmed before the big days even arrive. And, let’s face it, many of our celebrations are centered around food, which adds another component of last-minute stress for the hostess.

Here are a few tips from the local food and grocery experts at Lee’s Marketplace to help the feast-making and treat-baking as simple as possible during the holiday’s.

  • Plan ahead: Many people make recipes during the holidays they don’t prepare any other time of year. Many of these call for staple ingredients you may, or may not, have on hand. Check your refrigerator and pantry ahead of time to ensure you have enough butter, eggs, flour, sugar, spices and seasonings to get you through your meal and goodie preparation,” said Floyd Salisbury, Lee’s Marketplace bakery manager. “Also, think of the less common ingredients that are common in holiday dishes like mint extract, canned pumpkin, cream cheese, chocolate chips, whipping cream and food coloring. Another thing people sometimes forget to plan for are leftovers, Floyd said. “You may want homemade rolls for the main meal, but pick up some fresh rolls to use with your leftovers for the next couple of days.”
  • Special order: The bakery, deli and meat departments at Lee’s can help you prepare the perfect feast for your family. Whether you decide to make your meal preparation minimal and order a ready-to-serve Thanksgiving dinner from the deli (that you can pick up the night before and heat the day of) or get a pre-seasoned aged New York roast, prime rib or fresh turkey from the meat department, they can easily accommodate your needs with a call-ahead order. Services like seasoning, custom cutting and slicing your meats come at no extra charge, so plan ahead and special order all or part of your meal to get just what you want. “Special orders are what make the holidays fun for us,” Floyd, who says they bake nearly 15,000 dinner rolls for
    Thanksgiving and Christmas each year, said. “Your imagination is the limit on what we can prepare, so get creative.”  The Lee’s bakery also offers time savers like baked-from scratch pumpkin and other specialty pies, raw premade pie shells and loaf breads (which work great for neighbor gifts).
  • Give up some of the work: Save yourself some time by picking up freshly made cheeseballs from the deli and a box of crackers for an appetizer, office party or hostess gift. Another good idea is to keep a veggie or cheese tray on hand for unexpected visitors. Lee’s has a wide variety of pre-cut produce that will save you the time on cutting your fruit and vegetables. The Lee’s fresh-cut team starts with quality produce at the peak of freshness and has individuals trained to avoid waste cut it to give you the most bang for your buck when purchasing in-season produce.  To save some extra effort when decorating Christmas cookies, you can buy un-frosted sugar cookies from the bakery in holiday shapes and colored frosting separately so your kids can enjoy decorating, or if you want to do the cutting and baking yourself, just get the frosting and save yourself that step.

By implementing these tips and taking advantage of the services offered by your local grocery store, you will have less to stress about and more time to enjoy what matters most this holiday season: your family.