Through the years, my grandparents and their children encountered many difficult and sometimes overwhelming situations, but God never failed to provide for their family’s basic needs. It’s an eternal promise that God makes to all believers.
Perhaps you’re in the midst of a tough time and unable to see anything good in your life. Maybe you’re wondering what you have to be thankful for. If you’re reading this, I can immediately think of one thing God is blessing you with this very moment: you are breathing. Sometimes our thankfulness has to begin with something as basic as recognizing that we are alive. And as long as we’re alive, there is always hope for better times.
Television, newspapers, and social media try hard to convince us that Thanksgiving is a time set aside for parades, football games, and shopping. May you and your family gather together on Thanksgiving Day, remembering the real reason for celebrating this special holiday: give thanks to the Lord for all of the innumerable blessings He has bestowed upon each of us during this past year.
Come, join my family and me as we remember and celebrate the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
With Thanksgiving just days away, I’d love to share several of my family’s favorite recipes with you:
After dining at one of Colonial Williamsburg’s taverns many years ago, my mother arrived home with a new turkey dressing recipe. It’s been a family favorite ever since.
Williamsburg Oyster Dressing
1 cup butter
1½ cups onion, chopped
1½ cups celery, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
16 cups stale white bread cubes, lightly toasted
1 quart oysters
Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet. Add onion, celery, and parsley; sauté over medium heat until vegetables are tender. Do not brown. Add salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl. Add the sautéed vegetables, and mix well. Drain the oysters, reserving the liquid. Chop the oysters coarsely, and add to the bread cube mixture, tossing gently to mix well. Add a little of the reserved oyster liquid if the dressing seems dry. Taste for seasoning. Stuff and truss the turkey. Place any leftover dressing in a buttered casserole. Bake in the oven during the last 30 minutes of the turkey’s roasting time.
Yield: makes about 12 cups – enough for a 20-25 pound turkey.
Nearly ninety years ago, my Grandma Alice began a family tradition when she prepared several Thanksgiving desserts for her large family on their Pennsylvania farm. Grandma Alice’s tradition continues three generations later! Along with pecan and pumpkin pies, we sometimes serve this swirled pumpkin bread.
Pumpkin Swirl Bread
¼ cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1 16-ounce can pumpkin
4 large eggs
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9×5-inch loaf pans and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine all filling ingredients. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed (1 to 2 minutes); set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil, water, pumpkin, and eggs. Beat at low speed, scrapping bowl often, until mixture is smooth (1 to 2 minutes). Continue beating at medium speed, gradually adding all remaining bread ingredients and scraping bowl often, until well mixed (1 to 2 minutes). Place about 1 cup of the pumpkin batter into the bottom of each of the two greased and floured loaf pans. Carefully spread half of the filling mixture over the batter in each pan; top each pan with half of the remaining pumpkin batter. Pull knife or spatula through the batter and filling to create a swirl effect. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool bread for 10 minutes before removing from the pans. Cool completely.