Thanksgiving Planning

It’s time for my favorite holiday!  (Is anyone surprised that the day comprised of eating good food is my favorite holiday??)  Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time to appreciate how much we have, to spend time with people that are important to us, and to not have to stress about finding the perfect present for someone (Does anyone else find gift-giving a little stressful?)!

So I thought I’d share a bit about my family’s Thanksgiving traditions.  We’re really traditional…at least when it comes to our Thanksgiving foods.  Here’s our menu:

  • Turkey
  • Vegetarian main dish
  • Stuffing (veggie & turkey broth kinds)
  • Mushroom gravy
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Barbecue Green Beans (veggie & bacon versions)
  • Corn Casserole
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Japanese Sweet Potatoes
  • American Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Ambrosia (Sweet potato and carrot puree)
  • Cucumber Salad
  • Broccoli Salad
  • Orange Jello Salad (there’s nothing salad-like about this dish…)
  • Rolls
  • Sour Cream Pumpkin Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie Bars
  • Apple Crisp Bars
  • Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars


A feast indeed!  Most of these dishes have been part of our yearly feast menu for at least my whole life.  Since my grandparents lived in Japan, Thanksgiving usually occurred at my parents’ house.  So my tradition was really the combination of my parents’ traditional foods.  So it’s a pretty big deal if we try to change the menu.  A couple years ago my dad switched from the traditional American sweet potatoes with the marshmallow topping to the new family favorite which has a pecan topping, but we had a couple years with 3 kinds of sweet potatoes…this year we seem to be going through a similar theme by adding the Ambrosia.  Fortunately we’re fans of leftovers!

We’re having a large gathering this year!  There will be 16 of us–12 adults, 4 kids.  Mom’s sister is bringing the cold salads.  She can make them ahead and they’re not as difficult as hot dishes to travel with when trying to get kiddos out the door as well.  Dad’s sister-in-law is bringing the ice cream and rolls.  Sister’s friend is bringing this deeelicious ambrosia dish that she made last year, it has now been added to the list of dishes that must be had for a true Thanksgiving feast.  Chris’s parents are bringing a vegetarian main dish.  And the rest was up to Mom and me!  We got a lot of the prep work done ahead of time.  So today will be about spending time with family, cooking the turkey and the last minute things right before dinner.

I hope you all have a very special Thanksgiving and are able to enjoy your time with family and  friends!

What are your favorite must-haves for Thanksgiving?  Any tips that help you get it all together on the big day?

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