Our first Thanksgiving was a success!


Michael and I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time last week! To be honest, I rarely cook any sides with dinner, so this task was something I was a little bit nervous about. I also didn’t really know where to start in planning this meal, so I figured the best place to start would be with what we have.

I pulled out all of my serving dishes, pots and pans and crammed them into the oven to see how many things I could heat up at the same time. It was a little bit of a Tetris game, but I was surprised by how much we could fit! Beyond maximizing our oven space, I also wanted to get the most out of our time with our guests. This meant prepping most of the food ahead of time, and making the cooking as easy as possible on Thanksgiving day.

This is the menu we worked with for seven people. Our guests also brought some roasted veggies, so we had a lot of vegetable options, which are always a hit in our family! And y’all know Thanksgiving is really about the sides.


  • Cheese platter

  • Pom bruschetta


  • Turkey



  • Apple pie

  • Pumpkin pie

  • Homemade chai ice cream and molasses cookie sandwiches (recipe for this coming soon!)

We got ahead of our food prep and ended up having a fairly low-stress day on Thursday! This is what we did to prepare.


  • prep bruschetta, make relish

  • lay out cheese platter (don’t cut anything yet, but just plan for what fits on the plate and fill any gaps!)

  • chop butternut squash, measure out cranberries and feta

  • cut bread, vegetables and assemble spice mixture for stuffing (leave bread out the harden for a day or two)

  • make apple crisp, cover and put in freezer

  • chop up and measure salad ingredients

  • peel and chop carrots

  • make apple pie, cover and put in freezer

  • make chai ice cream and molasses cookies, put in freezer


  • assemble chai ice cream sandwiches

  • make pumpkin pie - I have yet to find a recipe better than the one on the pumpkin puree can lol

  • make dough for rolls

  • make pumpkin pie


10:00am - bake rolls

12:00pm - assemble cheese platter and bruschetta

12:45pm - preheat oven to 350

1:00pm - put frozen apple crisp in the oven

1:25pm - heat butter, celery and onions on stove for stuffing

1:35pm - assemble stuffing, cover and bake for 40 minutes

2:15pm - uncover stuffing and bake for another 45 minutes

2:20pm - put butternut squash in oven

2:40pm - start stovetop carrot dish and green beans

2:45pm - add cranberries to butternut squash

2:55pm - sprinkle feta, honey and cinnamon on butternut squash dish

3:00pm - put frozen apple pie in oven

And in a real buzzer beater, Michael whipped up some of his gravy and to my huge relief EVERYTHING was hot and ready to be eaten at the same time!

By the time everyone had finished eating, the apple pie was just about finished. Overall, I think it went just about as well as it could have! The one thing I don’t think we will make next year is the butternut squash. It was good, but nothing too exciting. I’m also going to do some experimenting with the apple crisp. I’ve had better.

Grace van Meurer