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The Journal

Mother-In-Law Approved Pumpkin Pie

Greg and I had been married for about five years and it was the first time his family was coming to our house for Thanksgiving. In my head, this was my chance to show my mother-in-law what I could do in the kitchen. Have I mentioned that I'm a recovering perfectionist? ;) So, I did what any daughter-in-law would do and decided to make everything for our Thanksgiving meal (and I mean ev-er-y-thing) from scratch. Have I mentioned that cooking is not my spiritual gift? Yes, I had completely lost my mind.

The number one thing I worried about and fussed over was the pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving dinner isn't Thanksgiving dinner without pumpkin pie. I researched recipes, watched YouTube videos, and scoured Pinterest for days. Thankfully, I found a classic recipe that wasn't intimidating, but different enough to make a mark on this 100-percent-from-scratch-and-therefore-hopefully-impressive-to-my-mother-in-law Thanksgiving dinner.

That year, I learned three things: 1) A totally from-scratch Thanksgiving dinner isn't worth the hassle. #stovestopdressing4eva 2) My mother-in-law loves me no matter how many from-scratch dishes I make. 3) Most often, our holiday stress levels are heightened due to our own expectations of ourselves. If we aren't careful, those expectations can become "holiday idols" and we forget to enjoy the season for what it is.

I learned some valuable lessons that year. You know what else I learned? That pumpkin pie recipe was amazing. It ended up being the star of the show that Thanksgiving. Even five years later, this is my go-to pumpkin pie recipe and the fact that it's so easy just makes it that much better...

1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pre-made pie dough

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Prep the pre-made pie dough according to the package directions.
  • For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half and melted butter, and beat until combined. Lastly, add the vanilla, cinnamon and ginger and beat until incorporated.
  • Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature.


Whether you use the pumpkin pie recipe or not, remember that we have a loving Savior whose plan is perfect. If your Thanksgiving plans include a completely made from scratch feast or a take out dinner from Cracker Barrel, it is exactly what God planned and He doesn’t make mistakes. "...his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him." Psalm 18:30

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