My First Thanksgiving Meal

OK. First thing’s first.

Update your feed for Running Around Normal by clicking the subscribe button in the upper right corner! I made the switch to Bluehost yesterday (and got a new blog design!) so the feed has also changed.


Lately (for the past two weeks, I’ve been hearing!) nearly all of my comments are going to everyone’s spam folders! I’ve tried contacting Akismet to see if I’m on a spam list, but haven’t heard back…

Does anyone know how to fix this?

It sucks big time, and I’m trying to figure it out, but for now, if you usually see a comment from me on your posts and you haven’t for a while, please check your spam folder and “de-spam” me! Hopefully this gets resolved soon.

Until then…

Thanksgiving At the RAN Household


(you’ll be happy to know, there was absolutely NO spam served up here 😉 )

This was my first time ever hosting Thanksgiving dinner. And although it was only for four people, I went all out. How else is one supposed to host their first Thanksgiving, after all?

Dinner wasn’t until 6:00, but the kitchen chaos started around 10 am. When I got home from spin class and buying new spin shoes, the husband already had the turkey in a cold water bath.


Thanks to those who left comments on this nifty trick! The turkey was a wee nine pounds, so it worked perfectly!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I can be very bad with time management. I always over estimate the amount of time I have and end up running around Normal like a mad woman during the eleventh hour.

Today I knew I didn’t want that to happen. So I got organized.

I wrote out the menu, including notes about how long each would take, and which dishes I could prepare first and then stick in the oven half an hour until dinner.


I utilized space after preparing said dishes:


the good thing about the Midwest is the back patio doubles as a refrigerator for the holidays 😉

On the dishes, I stuck post-it notes on what I had left to do in order to have the dish in “ready to eat” status:


I took Sabrina’s cue by setting out all the dishes and cookware I needed and put sticky notes on them, letting me know what each one was for:



And this method worked wonderfully. I felt SO organized as I whipped through all the desserts:




Gooey pumpkin butter cake (notes: prep and bake first)



Apple pie (notes: prep and bake first)

the casseroles:



Butternut squash lasagna (prep first, bake within the last hour)



Green bean casserole (my own) (prep first, bake within the last 20 minutes)

Sweet potato casserole slipped my camera! (prep first, bake in the last 5 minutes)

Prepped the potatoes:


notes: boil potatoes first, heat, mash, and add seasonings within last 20 minutes

and the rolls:


Cheddar Bay Biscuits (prep within the last hour, bake within the last 15 minutes)

And finished with…


the cranberry sauce: just frozen cranberries, organic cane sugar, and water (make within the hour, reheat within 5 minutes)


the gravy: just butter, flour, milk, and s&p! (make within the hour, reheat within 5 minutes)

and the salad:


Needless to say, the convection oven came in mighty handy. Thankfully, the turkey finished just as I needed to start putting in my dishes.




I couldn’t believe it. The husband and I really worked well together during that last hour to tie everything together, and at the end it all came out perfectly. Nothing was a flop. Everything tasted so, so good.

…even the turkey! (So I hear…)


Which is very impressive seeing that neither of us knew the first thing about how to cook a turkey before yesterday.

My plate:


Green bean casserole, b-nut squash lasagna, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and salad. Phew! I also had a couple glasses of cab sauv throughout the night.          

Oh, and a well deserved bloody mary during the eleventh hour of cooking 😉



It was also so nice to be able to visit with Shane’s dad and his girlfriend. We love them so much, so it means a ton to be able to spend time with them during the holidays especially :)


Tens of hours spent in the kitchen, hundreds of dollars, and umpteen sticks of butter later, and I’d be happy to do it all again next year :)

I never realized how many sticks of butter go into Thanksgiving…


Now that Thanksgiving is officially over, it’s time to decorate the tree! Busting out the eggnog and Christmas sparkling wine 😀

When do you make the transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas? Is there even a transition?

But first, I’m off to do a little retail damage with my madre. Have a great Saturday everyone!!!

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  1. What a fantastic spread! I’m impressed!!!!

  2. Great job! You stayed so organized – impressive! And everything did look super delicious.

  3. That’s awesome your Thanksgiving was a hit and all your food prep went so smoothly!! I bet that’s a huge relief! But it comes with such a sense of pride :)

  4. Looks like a picture perfect Thanksgiving!!! My Mom was hosting, but I did all of the cooking (for 20 people) including my very first (27 pound ) turkey! I ran around like mad, but it was so worth it in the end and I am excited to do it all over again next year. OMG I never realized how much better goes into Thanksgiving either!!!

    Have a very happy Christmas season :)


  5. Awesome job, Paige! I am super impressed. I am glad your first foray into hosting went well! :)


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