Are you ready for that big Thanksgiving dinner? I kept thinking there was another week before it came, so it had me off guard completely. I can't believe it is here already, but it will be, whether I am ready or not. It really threw our plans crazy.
The Delaware house had to be closed up for the winter (hopefully, the pipes haven't frozen yet.) and we had planned to go there on our way to a Thanksgiving holiday this week. Now, I find out our reservations aren't for Thanksgiving week this year but the following week. I knew it seemed early for Turkey Day, but I didn't double-check to find out Week 47 wasn't Thanksgiving week. As of this writing husband Norm has not been told of this drastic change of plans. If you never hear from me again, you will know I have been shipped to Mars or Venus or somewhere else in the galaxy. I really don't think he will mind that much except for the fact he doesn't like last-minute changes in plans. I had planned to "eat out" instead of cooking a big dinner, but now I guess I had better get busy planning the annual feast.
We have a lot for which to be thankful next Thursday. We live in a country, which still allows us the freedom to celebrate like we want to and to have something worth celebrating. Sometimes it helps one to actually write down all our blessings and be glad for each one of them. Each day is a gift, so that is one place to start. Even if we don't always get along with our families, we need to be thankful for them. When one has no place else to go, one's family is still a place for a safe harbor. If we are upset with our boss at work, we can be thankful to have a job. If we don't have a job, we can be thankful for friends and neighbors who help us out. If we are well, we have much for which to be thankful, and if we are sick, we can be thankful for doctors and nurses who can help us. We should always give thanks for our children because they are a gift from God, even if we don't always agree with what goes on with them, they are still, and always will be, a part of us.
Anytime one feels like having a private Pity Party, just think about someone who is having a harder time with life than you are. If you have a roof over your head, be thankful it has walls and a roof, not an open space under a bridge. If one has clothes to wear, be thankful and share the excess with someone who doesn't have them. In this country, we should all be brothers and sisters and help each other out because someday we all might need help in a big way.
Be thankful for the beautiful valley in which we live and the way it has been spared the awful weather some areas have had. If the little ones leave their handprints on your newly washed windows, be thankful they are able to do that because there are children who cannot walk or even know what a window happens to be. If they get into the Thanksgiving dessert before it is served, be thankful they can enjoy it and be glad you made it don't be angry with them for wanting to sample your good cooking.
If you have a family dinner, be thankful you have family close to you who can come and enjoy the closeness of family. If you are going to be alone, invite another lonely person to share your meal. One of my favorite Thanksgiving dinners was when the choir members of our little country church found out several folks would be by themselves and we all brought whatever we had fixed for our own family and shared it all with the others. What a glorious dinner and afternoon we had with friends and neighbors.
In giving thanks, be sure to include all those who might not be able to be with their families because they are protecting us from those who want to hurt us. Say a prayer for them and their families. Holidays can be so lonesome when one is away from home and family. As you give thanks for all the things in your life, be sure to add prayers for our country and guidance for those who will be making the decisions for us all in the weeks and months ahead. Brother Dave used to say, "Pray for your enemies and drive them wild." Pretty good advice.
The magazines this month are full of recipes for you to try for the big day. It is good to try at least one new dish for your dinner and the magazine I recommend for this is the one in your paper today the Cookbook from the annual contest for this year. There are so many good ones that you might have a hard time picking just one. This is the edition of the paper I look forward to all year be sure to save it. The recipes following are mainly dressing recipes from different parts of the country. Enjoy.
Have a joyful, prayerful and thankful Thanksgiving. God Bless one and all.
Two pounds chestnuts
One-and-one-half cups (3 sticks) butter
Two cups onions, chopped fine
Two cups thinly sliced celery
Nine cups fine dry bread crumbs
Two teaspoons salt
One teaspoon dried thyme
One-teaspoon dried marjoram
One-teaspoon dried savory or sage
Make a gash in the flat side of each chestnut, place them in a saucepan with boiling water to cover and simmer for about five minutes. While nuts are still hot, remove shells and inner brown skins. Cover chestnuts with more boiling water and cook slowly for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Drain and chop coarsely. Melt butter in a saucepan, add onions and celery, and saute until limp. Add breadcrumbs to this mixture and mix thoroughly. Then add salt, thyme, marjoram, and sage and mix them in well. Add the chestnuts. This will make enough stuffing for a 12-15- pound turkey.
Two packages (6-oz.) Martha White cornbread mix
One can (6-oz) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
One-fourth cup butter or margarine
One large onion chopped (2 cups)
Five celery stalks, chopped (1 cups)
Five cups chicken broth
Four large eggs, lightly beaten
Two teaspoons rubbed sage
One-and-one-half teaspoons pepper
Three-fourth teaspoon salt
Prepare cornbread mix and biscuits as directed on package directions. Let cool, then crumble into a large bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add celery and onion and saute until tender. Add sauted vegetables, broth and remaining ingredients to the crumbled cornbread mixture. Stir this lightly, but well. Spoon dressing into a lightly greased 13- by-9-inch baking dish and bake, uncovered at preheated 350-degree oven for 55 minutes or until browned.
This can be made ahead, but do not bake. Cover and freeze dressing for up to 3 months or refrigerate up to 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator and let stand 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake as directed. If frozen, let thaw before baking.
MOM'S FAMILY RECIPE FOR OYSTER STUFFING
(For 10-lb. turkey double if larger bird)
One cup chopped onions
One cup chopped celery
Three-fourths cup butter
12 cups SOFT bread crumbs
Two teaspoons salt
One tablespoon poultry seasoning
One-half cup boiling water
Two cups raw oysters with liquid
Saute onions in butter just until transparent. Add celery, salt, poultry seasoning and mix. Drain oysters, reserving liquid, and chop. Add oysters, liquid and water to onion mixture. Put breadcrumbs in a large bowl, pour liquid mixture over and toss gently until well mixed. Stuff fowl loosely; don't pack in. This can be baked in a baking dish instead of in the turkey, too.
NOTE: This recipe calls for soft breadcrumbs but I often use the packaged croutons or the dry dressing mix you can buy in the grocery. This doesn't take as many cups of breadcrumbs as the soft crumbs, but if you use the seasoned dressing mix, change the seasonings as those mixes are often already seasoned. As with any dish, taste as you go and adjust to your taste.
One small head cabbage, finely shredded
One carrot, finely shredded
One-and-one-half cups finely chopped celery
One medium can crushed pineapple, drained reserve juice
Three small boxes gelatin two lime and one-lemon OR 2 large boxes one of each flavor
Mix together vegetables, pineapple, and salt and put into a glass or metal baking pan. Make gelatin as directed on package, using pineapple juice as part of the water, and reducing total liquid by one pint (2 cups). Pour over vegetable mixture and let set in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Serve with a dollop of mayonnaise.
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