Thanksgiving Planning

As I mentioned in last week’s post, this year my husband and I are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time ever, ahhh! When we completed our not-so-hostile takeover of the holiday it seemed like a good idea, but I obviously didn’t realize I’d be nearly seven (!!) months pregnant (although I did hope I would be at least a couple months along). Luckily, this year will be a bit scaled back as a few people won’t be attending – so, we’re down to a measly 14 people rather than the initially anticipated 27.

To be honest, I really enjoy hosting holidays. So far this year I’ve hosted New Year’s Day dinner, Easter, and most recently a brunch for my mom’s birthday. With those three meals under my belt I know that I can get the house ready in advance, have multiple dishes going at the same time, and clean up with no problem… but is there anything more terrifying than the thought of messing up the turkey?! I mean, in terms of holidays Thanksgiving is kind of the Super Bowl of food. Add to that that both my husband’s mother and my mother usually host and do an amazing, out of this world job and… yeah, no pressure.

So, what have I been doing to get ready? Well, obsessively thinking about where people are going to sit (I still haven’t quite figured it out yet since our dining room can squeeze 12… which leaves us with two people unaccounted for), trying to figure out some sort of cute, Pinterest-inspired center piece (…not gonna lie, I’m probably just going to pick something up at my go-to florist and call it a day), planning and re-planning the menu, and constantly re-confirming with people that they’ll be bringing X side dish. (#pregnancybrain)

The Menu

Of course we’ll start with some appetizers. Everyone tells me I always go overboard with the pre-meal bites and nibbles, but in my book there’s nothing better than a cheese board (sometimes I’ll just whip one up in the evening and call it dinner, haha). So I’m thinking a cheese board or two, some brie, pigs in a blanket (because they’re husband’s favorite), and perhaps some sort of dip (because who doesn’t love buffalo chicken dip or three layer Mexican dip – or both – during a football game)?

From there, we’ll move on to dinner. I’ll be serving a soup to start (Split Pea with bacon, I think) and then of course Turkey accompanied by a plethora of side dishes. Honestly, it’s going to be way too much food. There will be:

  • two turkeys (my MIL makes the best turkey, and she swears it’s because she makes two medium sized ones instead of one big one, which cuts down on cook time and keeps the turkey from drying out),
  • three different stuffings (one of which will be vegetarian for my aunt),
  • three different potato dishes (classic garlic mashed, an addicting dish that my MIL makes that I just call “Sharon’s potatoes,” and my Vavo’s sweet potato casserole),
  • two different types of cranberry sauce (the canned kind, because my husband has an affinity for it and a homemade kind that’s got blueberries and oranges in it – so good!),
  • roasted carrots,
  • roasted Brussels sprouts,
  • green beans,
  • corn,
  • and my husband’s family’s super special coleslaw.

…. Yep, that’s 15 dishes total, not to mention the corn bread. (Full disclosure: I won’t be cooking all of it! All three stuffings are being brought by guests, as are the coleslaw, my MIL’s potatoes, and the Brussels Sprouts). 

You didn’t think I was going to stop there though, did you? Of course not – because then it’s on to dessert! Right now the count is at a minimum of six desserts, including an apple pie, pumpkin pie, and a cheesecake. All homemade (and yes, most of these are being brought by guests as well).

And phew! I am a bit exhausted and overwhelmed from just typing all of that out! Luckily a lot of the parts of the meal that I’ll be making can be made a day or two before, and the ones that I’ll be making that day can at least be prepped the day before and/or don’t take that long in general to prepare, so I’m not too worried about the timing of everythin

And then we’re off to the races on Black Friday! No, just kidding. I’ve never shopped on Black Friday and never will (unless there are some early web deals). I’ll be in a food coma and trying to climb out from under a pile of left overs and dirty dishes.

I’m going to do my best to document the prep and cooking process (it’ll probably be easier for the things I’m making a day or two in advance) and share the recipes with you at some point – especially for things like the cranberry sauce (it’s so freaking good!) and my Oreo trifle.

In the meantime, let me know in the comments how you’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving this year!

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