This post has been edited from the original which was published on November 17, 2011.

It’s always hard to accomplish your Thanksgiving tasks when you don’t know how many people you’re having over!  I think I have the final count and we’re only going to be 20 people this year, including my two daughters who will be coming home.  I am so excited to have all my kids in the kitchen this year prepping and cooking with me.  I had a stroke of genius seven years ago, which was to tack my Thanksgiving to-do list on the refrigerator and have everyone sign up for three tasks.  Even my husband helps out!

My last class is tomorrow, but I have a few fun things to keep my busy until Thanksgiving.  Today (Thursday) at 2:30 pm PST/5:30 pm EST, my friend and Sprinkles Cupcakes founder Candace Nelson and I will be doing an Instagram LIVE. We’ll be answering your questions about making pies.  Please join us!  I’ll be getting busy on Sunday when I start making applesauce and cranberry sauce.  Monday, I’ll be coming to you on Instagram LIVE from Thrive Market headquarters at 5:00 pm PST.  I always plan Thanksgiving day down to the last detail because I don’t like forgetting things and a schedule makes me feel more relaxed, which equals more fun for me! But just because Thanksgiving is the star of the show this week doesn’t mean that I can forget about normal life on very other day. So I think about regular meals and activities, too. Here’s what my schedule will look like from Sunday until we eat on Thursday at 4:00 pm (-ish). This shouldn’t make you feel exhausted, but merely show you what you can do ahead for your own Thanksgiving!  The Chalkboard Mag published a really great blogpost two years ago with tons of tips from lots of food experts (including me!)  I highly recommend giving it a quick read.

My Thanksgiving ebook is available for only $9!  This PDF contains all my Thanksgiving recipes, tips and tricks, in one document!  You will have everything you need to plan and execute your best Thanksgiving ever.  Click here to access the Thanksgiving ebook.


Here’s my menu for Thursday and after that is my timeline so you can see how everything can get done.  This just to give you some idea to plan your menu.


Struesel coffee cake (I’ve been making this for 20 years, but it’s from an old, out-of-print book. It’s not healthy.  Not even a little.  Recipe is in my e-book.)

(My Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal would also be a great choice – you can prep it the day before and bake it in the morning.)


Butternut squash soup

Mini Cornbread Muffins













Crispy cauliflower

Zucchini cheese tart

Small cheese board


DINNER ( I think this is too much food, but no one will let me take anything off the menu!)

2 Whole Roast Turkeys and Gravy (13 pounds each) I will be spatchcocking them this year, which is a technique I taught in my in-person and online cooking classes this year.  Not in my ebook.

Cranberry Sauce (x2)

Applesauce (x1)

Mashed yukon gold potatoes (6 pounds)

Sweet potato casserole (x 1 1/2) or Sweet Potatoes Pomes Anna with Sage from cooking class

Stuffing (mushroom and leek) (x1)

Stuffing (sourdough, chicken sausage, apple, fennel)(x1)

Roasted Fall Vegetable Salad or  Persimmon and Brussels sprout salad from my ebook (x2)

Stovetop Brussels Sprouts (x3) from my cookbook or White Balsamic Braised Root Vegetables from cooking class x 3

Green Bean Casserole (x2)

Creamy Corn Pudding x1












2 Apple pies

2 Pumpkin pies

2 Pecan pies

Pumpkin Bread Pudding using leftover grain-free pumpkin cake from cooking class

Homemade vanilla ice cream

Whipped Cream

Apple-Caramel Sauce

Fresh Fruit Platter


butternut squash soup and mini corn muffins



Grocery shop for everything that hasn’t been purchased other than turkeys and herbs, lettuces, Brussels sprouts

Arrange tables & chairs

Make cranberry sauce and applesauce

Write placecards



Pick up turkeys and produce

Dry brine turkeys

Make salad vinaigrette

Make 2 qts. ice cream

Dry mix for sweet potato casserole with a note about adding butter

Make pumpkin bread (I will have a leftover pumpkin cake from my Instagram Live)

Make pastry dough for all pies (watch this how-to video)

Dinner: naan pizzas, salad with Everyday Salad dressing #1


Parent-Teacher Conferences at Mr. Picky’s school

Buy and arrange flowers (last year I made arrangements with white hydrangeas, flowering kale, roses, and snapdragons)

Set tables

Wash and dry greens

Shred cheese for tart, salad

Toast pumpkin seeds for salad

Dry bread cubes for stuffing

Chop onions for soup, stuffings, gratin

Defrost spinach for gratin

Defrost turkey stock and chicken stocks

Make apple caramel sauce

Dinner:  slow cooker chicken tacos (aka, the easiest dinner on the planet!)


Make butternut squash soup

Steam cauliflower; bread and refrigerate

Make sweet potato casserole
Clean mushrooms and slice for bean casserole

Make stuffings (I actually made and froze 1 already)

Prep Brussels sprouts
Prep zucchini

Blind bake tart crust

Prep vegetables for salad

Blanche green beans

Make pumpkin pies

Make pecan pies

Defrost corn for pudding

Assemble bread pudding

Make vegan coffee cake

Set up coffee and tea service

Check powder room

Uncover turkeys (makes the skin crispier)

Leave butter, eggs and sour cream out for cake

Dinner:  tuna patties kale salad with quinoa, avocado and whatever else I need to get rid of in my fridge! I have 4 great kale salads on my site that would be work – citrus dressing, lemon dressing, Harvest kale salad, and kale Caesar.

Before bed: make sure garage refrigerator door is closed! (Eight years ago, I left the door open to my extra fridge in the garage all night long. OMG. Disaster! Needed to buy two new turkeys on Thanksgiving morning!)

Let's eat!


6 am Wake and shower

Make coffee cake

Make decaf coffee

Make cornbread

Make apple pies – All pies must be out by 10:45AM

10:00 Take turkey out of refrigerator

Roast veggies for salad

Prep turkeys

Get dressed and do hair

Bake bread pudding in small oven

Make crispy onions for bean casserole (I always make extra because they get stolen while they’re sitting out)

Prep coffee machine for after dinner

12:00 Put turkeys in oven

Reheat soup

Herb oil for tart

1:15 bake corn pudding in small oven

Remove sweet potato casserole, stuffings, salad dressing and Brussels sprouts from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temp

Prep gravy ingredients

Add melted butter to sweet potato topping

Assemble fruit platter and cheese board (my daughters do this for me)

2:00 Peel potatoes; make mashed potatoes; keep in bowl over simmering water

Prep tart

2:15 Bake tart in small oven

2:30 make cauliflower and serve hot

3:00 sweet potato casserole in small oven

start green bean casserole

3:15 Take turkey out to rest, oven to 350

Reheat stuffings at 450

Make gravy

3:30 remove foil and add topping to sweet potatoes

Add green bean casserole to oven

Sear Brussels sprouts

Light candles, water, butter, cranberry sauce, applesauce, assemble salad

3:45/4:00 Carve turkeys

After dinner: whip cream, coffee and tea, sparkling water

After everyone leaves, write notes for next year!

apple pies


Make turkey stock

Start holiday shopping!

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  1. Oh how I would love to be a guest at your Thanksgiving dinner. I would even take more then 3 jobs to help lol What a blessing you are to your family and to me also. You have helped me feed my family nutritious food other then pizza and frozen dinners I recommend you to everyone I know. I even refer to you by your first name to my husband and he knows who I’m talking about . Thank you Pamela!

    • You are the absolute sweetest, Andrea. Thank you!

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