Sunday, November 24, 2013

Our Thanksgiving Plans

Where has the time gone?

I have neglected this blog due to some recent traveling, a couple sick children, and general laziness and procrastination. Now we are suddenly a mere four days away from Thanksgiving...where did the time go?

For Thanksgiving this year, we are going to be having a "quiet" celebration with just the four of us. This will be the first year we have not celebrated with any other family members. We debated this year about spending the day at my parents' house but we both have been spending a lot of time traveling that the thought of getting up early and spending the majority of Thanksgiving Day in the car traveling just sounded exhausting. I'm going to miss seeing my siblings and cooking with my mom in the kitchen, but I certainly will not mind not having to pack a suitcase.

Emma destroying Matthew's train set. He would be oh so upset if he knew. Luckily, he was in the basement
harassing the cat and missed Emma's surprisingly accurate reenactment of "Godzilla".
Even though there will be only four of us seated at the table for Thanksgiving (and one of us is completely toothless), we still plan on making a turkey with a bunch of traditional (and some non-traditional) Thanksgiving side dishes. Paul is going to try grilling our turkey this year. This excites me because the oven will be FREE for me to bake some fresh bread, pies, and side dishes without having to stress too much about how many dishes I can squeeze in at once.

I'm sharing our Thanksgiving menu below along with my tentative timeline for prepping, cooking, and baking (thankfully my scheduling and planning is nowhere near as obnoxiously anal as this one...then again, I have yet to host a big family gathering). I like to do a lot of prep ahead of time to free up the day. I'm planning on spending a large chunk of Thanksgiving morning making some turkey and pilgrim themed crafts with Matthew, exercising, and attending Thanksgiving Mass.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes and traditions?

Nistler Family Thanksgiving Menu 2013

Pumpkin Bread with Cinnamon Butter
Pumpkin Pie (because Paul is nuts and thinks it's a breakfast food)
Fresh Fruit and lots of coffee

Brie Cheese
Cranberry and Walnut Chutney
Toasted Cranberry-Orange Bread
Sliced Summer Sausage

Main Course
Mixed Greens Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
Cranberry Jello Salad (a blend of these two recipes)
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
Grilled Turkey (complements of Paul the Grillmaster)
Herb Gravy
Sausage, Cherry, and Pecan Stuffing
Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole
Mashed Potato Casserole
Lion House Dinner Rolls
Dry Riesling or Maybe My Favorite Sparkling Wine
Sparkling Grape Juice (for the little guy although I'm sure I'll find Paul guzzling it at some point)

Apple Crumble Pie
Vanilla Ice Cream

The Game Plan: Prep and Cook Schedule

Four Days Ahead:
Make Cranberry-Orange Bread (let cool and freeze)

Three Days Ahead:
Make Pie Dough
Make Gravy

Two Days Ahead:
Make Salad Dressing
Iron Linens for the Table
Wash the China!

Day Before:
Assemble Sweet Potato Casserole and refrigerate (unbaked)
Assemble Mashed Potato Casserole and refrigerate (unbaked)
Make Cranberry Pretzel Salad
Make Pumpkin Pie
Prep Bread for Stuffing

Thanksgiving Day:

10:00 AM: Prepare dough for dinner rolls
10:30 AM: Help Matthew set and decorate the table
11:00 AM: Assemble and Bake Apple Pie
12:00 PM: Turkey Goes on the Grill; Shape the Rolls and let rise again; Prepare Appetizers
1:00 PM: Bake the Rolls; Set out/Eat Appetizers
2:00 PM: Pull Casseroles out of fridge and let sit on the counter-top to come to room temperature
2:15 PM: Make Brussels Sprouts Salad; assemble completely and then let sit in the fridge
2:30 PM: Finish prepping the Stuffing
2:45 PM: Place Stuffing in the oven
3:00 PM: Sweet Potato Casserole goes in oven (covered) with the Stuffing
3:15 PM: Mashed Potato Casserole goes in oven; remove cover from Sweet Potato Casserole; warm gravy on stovetop
3:45 PM: Assemble the mixed greens salad. Toss with vinaigrette.
4:00 PM: Remove all items from oven. Place on table. Carve turkey. Give thanks and EAT!

Have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving Day!

Especially because right around the corner is...


  1. Have to admit, I was a little envious that you get to plan and do your own Thanksgiving for your little family. Then I looked at your to-do list and I'm glad we get to mooch off both families. =) Someday I will get to do my own!

  2. I made the herb gravy recipe several times. It's really quite good. I added the drippings from the turkey to it, minus the fat, and in no time had delicious gravy.