Oh, the holidays– A time where family members and difficult people can sometimes go hand in hand. Thanksgiving is no exception when it comes to these family members causing stress.  Cooking can really help to destress before a big gathering, so I have a recipe for you along with therapy tips at each step that will be sure to help. Here’s how to heal your Thanksgiving by making caramelized onion and kielbasa tartlets.



  • 3 white onions, thinly sliced
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 pre-cooked kielbasa, thinly sliced
  • grated Swiss cheese
  • fresh thyme



1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large skillet, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until deeply golden and caramelized, this takes about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Therapy During This Step: Remember that your job when you see the difficult family members is to be polite and keep all conversations neutral. That’s all you need to do when seeing them. Tell yourself while you sauté the onions that you will avoid discussing any topics that in the past you have either disagreed on or believe will set this person onto a tirade. Decide what you will do if they try to engage you in those topics. You can always simply change the subject or excuse yourself.


2. Unroll two sheets of thawed puff pastry. Prick both sheets all over with fork, and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread tops with onions, kielbasa, and Swiss, leaving a half-inch border around all sides. Bake tarts until puffy and golden and cheese is melted, for about 25 minutes. Therapy During This Step: Decide what your boundaries will be. Write them down. Create healthier boundaries through accepting the reality of who they are. You’ve been through enough Thanksgiving dinners with this person to understand who they are and how they interact in your family. Rather than complaining about it or letting it ruin your day. Deal with it. Just accept who they are and how they will be. Giving them too much of your attention and energy is giving them too much power. Create the boundary for yourself that you will not take it personally and you will let whatever they say to you roll off your back. Specifically write down what your boundaries are. How much time will you engage with them and what will you do when they start to get under your skin.


3. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper. Slice into squares for serving. Therapy During This Step: Make sure you give the difficult person a job to do on Thanksgiving Day right away. Decide what that job will be while doing this step and practice telling them what their job will be. Classic “difficult person” jobs: gathering coats when people arrive, setting the table, going out to get ice, or entertaining the kids with a movie while dinner is prepared. If you are not cooking the meal, talk to who is and let them know your plan so that they can assist you with this step when the time comes. Getting these difficult people jobs to do keeps them occupied and out of your face.

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With these 4 steps you have now armed yourself with a solid plan for how to handle those difficult people this Thanksgiving. Remember their misery really has nothing to do with who you are, and you can’t allow it to mess with your holidays. Now, stop worrying about them and allow yourself to have a happy holiday and enjoy your day! And have an extra piece of pie. No one will care :)


— Allison