Celebrating Thanksgiving the 9miles way

by | Nov 15, 2021 | Company Culture, Holiday Marketing, One More Mile

Meet the author: Sofia Abdo

Meet the author: Sofia Abdo

Sofia is an account executive at 9miles Media. She is a creative content writer and social media strategist.

Most of the time, Thanksgiving is spent surrounded by family, and, if you’re as lucky as our team, by friends that feel like family. 

When I started to outline our third annual Thanksgiving blog, I thought to myself, “our team has a few cherished traditions.” But, as I started to list them out, “a few” turned into many, and I began to realize how seasoned our 9miles Media family traditions really are.

For one, this annual Thanksgiving blog post tradition began in 2018 when I first started working here after college. Every November I rally the troops to submit their favorite recipes and short anecdotes of long-anticipated Thanksgiving traditions they’ll repeat on this beloved holiday. 

Below are just a few of my favorite traditions our team observes. After that, read on for some recipe inspiration for your Thanksgiving table, courtesy of the 9miles Media team. 

9miles Media Team Traditions

  • Quarterly Outing: Past outings have included Kickball at Dorthea Dix Park, Ziplining at Go Ape!, Tower Escapes Escape Room, and pumpkin carving at Winterpast Farms (pictured above)!
  • Bi-annual Retreat: Past retreats have taken us to the BlueMind Coworking space in Wilmington, a mountain cabin in Boone, and the beaches at Morehead City.
  • Morning Stand-up Meeting: Our daily standup meeting features a different prompt every day giving team members a chance to share their expertise and knowledge on certain topics.
  • 4pm Friday Meeting: Our weekly team meeting on Friday afternoon is nothing short of a party. Beers, laughs and team shout-outs aplenty are shared at random as we wrap up the week.
  • Birthday Week: Around here, your birthday is a pretty big deal. Festivities occur at random and usually span the entire week. One day you might find a card and goodies on your desk, and the next you’ll be subject to watching 10 minutes of sentimental, heartfelt, and usually hilarious videos submitted by team members on your behalf (and at your expense).
  • Ringing the Gong: Just closed a deal? RING THE GONG at an ungodly decibel for the whole office to hear. 

Next Up: Favorite Recipe Submissions

Ben Armstrong

Favorite Appetizer: Armstrong Pizza Dip


  • 2 8oz pkg of cream cheese 
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 24oz can Hunts traditional pasta sauce
  • 1 pouch pepperoni (chopped into small pieces) or mini pepperonis
  • Italian seasoning, basil, garlic powder, crushed red pepper 

In a baking dish, place two bricks of cream cheese. Sprinkle with seasoning as desired. Layer mozzarella cheese. Pour in pasta sauce. Add pepperoni. Stir. Bake at 350 until bubbly (15-30 min). Serve with pita chip crackers!

Sofia Brown

Favorite Appetizer: Butternut Squash Soup

“Both of my parents are incredible cooks and have hosted Thanksgiving for our extended family, relatives, and friends for the past 14 years. Most years they make an incredible butternut squash soup that’s the perfect appetizer before our big Thanksgiving feast. My dad also loves to get a bunch of premade frozen puff pastry appetizers to pop in the oven to tide everyone over before we eat at 4pm.”

Maria Ralston

Favorite Main Course: Turkey and Oyster Dressing (Stuffing)

“My family bakes a turkey, fries a turkey, and we get a ham for my brother. One of our traditions is that all the cousins and grandchildren baste the turkey in the oven every 30 minutes. We also make an oyster dressing (stuffing), which has been an Irish recipe in our family for generations. We use real oysters along with the rest of our recipe, because it gives it a special salty tang. We always make extra because our neighbors ask for our leftovers! Usually the next day my mom makes a big brunch skillet with all the leftovers because the flavors are even better the next day (and it’s the perfect hangover meal).”


Favorite Side Dish: Cheesy Hash-brown Casserole Recipe

“My favorite Thanksgiving dish is a hash-brown casserole dish! My favorite part is how she substitutes out regular cheddar for Irish cheddar which always packs a lot more flavor! She’s been making this for Thanksgiving but also as a general comfort meal for over 15 years.”

Thomas Armstrong

Favorite Side Dish: Paleo Stuffing

“Stuffing is my favorite treat, so I had to find a healthy alternative. This stuffing is AMAZING!”

Jay Clarke

Favorite Side Dish: Spicy Sausage Mac-N-Cheese

“Sometimes I make spicy sausage mac-and-cheese. You just get a pack of Velveeta shells and cheese going in one pot. Then, in a separate pan you brown up some Neese’s or Bass Farm (NC represent) spicy sausage. Then you mix the two together. Easy peasy.”

Colton Cockman


“My mom always makes a sweet potato casserole and I basically eat the whole thing lol it’s amazing.”

Favorite Tradition: Every year, as part of the fire department, Ben and I take donations from the firefighters at our stations and provide meals for the Raleigh Helping Hand Mission. In the previous years we’ve donated hundreds of meals and thousands of pounds of turkeys to provide thanksgiving meals to those less fortunate. We partner with Food Lion every year. One of my favorite things to help out with 🙂

Dan Burniston

Favorite Side Dish: Grandma Marie’s Candied Yams

“My family has been making these for the last 65+ years (as long as my grandparents have been married) Every Thanksgiving they are featured as a side dish at our family feast.” 


  • Sweet potatoes (2 lbs)
  • Brown Sugar (1 cup)
  • Butter (1 stick)


  • Boil potatoes
  • Drain & peel the potatoes
  • Cut into cubes and place in a baking dish
  • Spread brown sugar on top of potatoes
  • Cube the stick of butter & place on top of potatoes and sugar
  • Put in oven at 350 degrees for 1.5 hours


Favorite Tradition: My family’s Thanksgiving tradition is to watch football and begin setting up Christmas decorations.

Billy Weidrick

Favorite Dessert: Caramel Apple Pie Cheesecake

“By far, my favorite Thanksgiving event is the desserts, the number one spot for me is the Caramel Apple Pie Cheesecake. We only started making this about 6-7 years ago, but when it had its debut, it was an instant fan favorite. The secret is using Saigon Cinnamon and Honey Crisp Apples. Like any baked cheesecake, there’s a few steps involved to get it right…but with this one, it’s absolutely worth the effort. You’ll see.”



  • Caramel sauce for drizzle


  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • 1 Tsp saigon cinnamon
  • 6 Tb melted butter


  • Four 8-ounce packages cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1⅔ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream

Apple Pie Mixture:

  • 4 medium honey crisp apples
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon saigon cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water



  1. Combine all ingredients and press into a 9 inch springform pan.
  2. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Let cool.


  1. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1 package of the cream cheese, ⅓ cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch together on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl several times.
  2. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each.
  3. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining sugar, then the vanilla.
  4. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
  5. Beat in the cream just until completely blended.
  6. The filling will look light, creamy, airy, and almost like billowy clouds. Be careful not to overmix! Gently spoon the batter over the crust. Wrap the sides of the pan in aluminum foil. (or use a MOAT)
  7. Place the cake pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes halfway (about 1 inch) up the side of the springform. Bake until the edge is light golden brown, the top is light gold, and the center barely jiggles, about 1¼ hours. If the cake still feels soft around the edge, let it bake for 10 minutes more (the cooking time will be about the same for both the 8- and 9-inch cheesecakes). 
  8. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours. Chill until cold.

Apple Pie Filling:

  1. Peel apples, core them and slice into small chunks.
  2. Melt the butter in a pot over medium and add the cinnamon.
  3. Stir in the apples, sugar & 3 tablespoons of water.
  4. Cover and cook, stirring every few minutes for 8-10 minutes or until slightly soft.
  5. In a bowl, combine cornstarch and water.
  6. Whisk this mixture into the pot and cook another 2 minutes or until thick.
  7. Let cool and pour over cold cheesecake.
  8. Drizzle with caramel sauce

Favorite Tradition: When all the plates are cleared and tables reset, the dominoes come out and the real fun begins.

Last year’s Thanksgiving may have looked very different for you. It certainly did for many of us. This year, we hope that if old traditions came to an end, new ones formed in their place. From our team to yours, we wish you a holiday full of family, friends, food, and traditions, old or new.

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