Holding Thanksgiving Dear

Thanksgiving

I stopped by Pier One yesterday hoping to pick up some little something for the Thanksgiving table or for a treat for the kids.  To my amazement, there wasn’t a thing in the store relating to Thanksgiving.  It was totally about Christmas.

Now I like Christmas as much as anyone, but does it have to start so early?  Decorations are up all over and already Christmas music is playing on Sirius and a local radio station.  I remember a time when none of that happened until after today.  Does that mean I’m old or is this early welcome a fairly new phenomenon with Thanksgiving being an almost forgotten day wedged between Halloween and Christmas?

Whatever, I’m holding on to Thanksgiving.  I like it because it’s relatively stress free and a day that the hubby and I so enjoy.  Most years our family gathers at our house which is a gift as this is the only holiday we lay claim to.  For years everyone has chosen a special thing to bring which makes the preparation oh so easy for me.  We always stuff ourselves, but that doesn’t keep us from looking forward to leftovers the next day.

As important as turkey and all the trimmings are, what is really special about this day is what each of us has for which to be thankful.  Even when life isn’t perfect, there’s good in each day be it sunshine or rain, laughter or tears.  I try every day to be thankful, but today my heart is even more full because my small family is in one place.  That doesn’t happen very often.

In addition to the obvious gifts, I am also thankful for each of you, known and unknown, who take the time to read my words and from time to time offer an appreciative or encouraging comment.  Enjoy your day to the fullest and join me in holding Thanksgiving dear.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Keeping It Going

Just as the dishes and the dryer hose pumpkins are a staple at Thanksgiving, so is cornbread dressing made just like, well almost like, Mom used to make. For that matter, I think she made it the same as my grandmother, so I like the idea that this dressing has been around for a long time.

I’m not sure how Mother made her cornbread, so I rely on this recipe in my trusty Southern Living cookbook.  Can you tell it has been around for years and is much used?

Country Cornbread 

1 1/2 c. cornmeal

3/4 c. flour

2 t. baking powder

1 t. salt

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 c. milk

6 T. shortening

Preheat oven to 400. Combine the dry ingredients with eggs and  milk.  Spoon shortening into a 10″ skillet (I use an iron one) and heat in the oven until the shortening is melted and the skillet hot.   Pour the cornbread mix into the skillet and bake for about 20-25 minutes.

Now for the dressing which combines a few simple ingredients.  I usually make it a day ahead of time so the flavors are well blended.  

Though the main ingredient is the cornbread, Mother always crumbled a few leftover biscuits into the mix.  If I don’t have biscuits, I toast a few slices of bread and then make cubes or crumbs.  That seems to work just fine.

Cornbread Dressing

1 round of cornbread plus biscuits or bread cubes

1 lb. sausage

1 c. each celery and onion

3 eggs

1 t. poultry seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

1 c. Craisins (that’s my touch)

3-4 c. chicken stock

Brown sausage with celery and onion.  Add to crumbled breads. Mix in remaining ingredients being sure to add enough stock to  make the dressing nice and moist.  Spoon into a large casserole dish.  Bake at 350 until the dressing is heated through and the top is a bit crispy.

Though much of the dressing disappears at the Thanksgiving table, there’s always enough left over to put it on turkey sandwiches the next day.  I’ve even made soup out of the remains.  It was quite good, but dang, I can’t remember how I did it!

OK, enough words.  It’s time to get on with making the dressing. If you have a favorite dish for Thanksgiving, do tell.

is so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

 

It’s Time!

Four days until Thanksgiving means it’s time to get my act together.

The first thing, my favorite, is setting the table which means bringing out the dryer hose pumpkins and the Della Robbia dishes. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving at this house without them!

The challenge is thinking of some new way to use them each year. Hmmm, how about mixing them with some almost real pumpkins, a few fall leaves and some green apples?

As I add each piece to the table, I am overwhelmed by memories.

Some memories are of people who are no longer with us and whose chairs have been filled by new family members.

Other memories are of years when our family was a little out of sync. Those may not be the most pleasant, but they, too, are part of our Thanksgiving story.

As every item is brought out, I think of where it came from and who brought a special little treasure to add to the table.

Most of all I think about all that my family has to be thankful for which is reason enough to put all else behind us.

As I hold on to those few things that are repeated year after year, I find myself hoping that when daughters take over this holiday they might hold on to them, too.

With the table done and reflections safely stored, it’s time to move to the next step, thinking about what is needed from the grocery for the familiar favorites that will be on the table.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Digging’ It and Dishin’ It

 

Promise of Independence

Fireworks-52

July 4th, a day of flag waving, bar-b-que, hot dogs, apple pie and fireworks in the United States.  While all of this is great fun, it does not tell what this holiday is all about.  July 4th is the date the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain in 1776 with a document of promise and hope.

For the last several years I have been asked to read from the Declaration of Independence in a patriotic celebration in small town Maine, and I am so grateful for the opportunity as it brought me back to the real significance of July 4th.  As I look over them today, I realize that the words crafted by early American patriots could apply to all  mankind.

We hold these truths to be self evident:

That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights: that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them small seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

In these days of turmoil throughout the world, it would serve us all well to take such truths to heart.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Looking Back & Ahead

First, thank you for all of your well wishes in response to my last post.  They have great healing power.

Valentine tableIt just dawned on me that Valentine’s is a few days away.  To escape the crowds and avoid the hassle of finding a place to eat without a reservation, I started years ago making that a special evening at home for which the hubby is most grateful.

tablescapeThis year that won’t happen as I’m not quite ready for kitchen duty, but let’s take a look back at tables that helped make the Valentine meal special.

tablescapeMost years we’ve eaten at what we call the big table.  After all, it is a special evening.

tablescapeSometimes the table has a touch of elegance, 

tablescapeand Valentine’s is a perfect time to bring out those pieces  associated with people I love.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore often than not the table is playful with those mixed patterns and colors I so like.

Valentine tableOn those February evenings when the weather is spring like and dove songs fill the air, we take advantage and eat on the screen porch, always a treat.

tablescapeNo matter where we eat or how the table is set, flowers help make it special

Valentine rosesand none are more special than the bouquet I get each year from the hubby.

No, there won’t be a dinner at home or a special table this year, but looking ahead to next week I have other plans that will give the hubby a night off from bringing me the evening meal.  Shhhh, don’t tell!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Tablescape Thursday

To You with Thanks

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are many blessings in my life, and today I will give thanks for all, including you who are such faithful followers of Lulu’s Musings.  Some of you I’ve been lucky enough to meet face to face, but most of you are unknown except for what I learn about you through your blogs.  It’s amazing what connections are made online.

As I gather with my family around the table today, I lift my glass to you with the hope that you have a wonderful day no matter where you are.

Thank you for being a part of my life.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Getting Ready

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the hubby and me, Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday.  Maybe that’s because it’s the only one where the family still gathers at our house, and each year we hope that all of our small brood will be at the table.

img_8283Most things stay the same from the table setting to the menu. Out come the dryer hose pumpkins that have been a centerpiece mainstay for oh so many years.  

img_8280The trick is to create a little different look each time they appear.  At some point, I may have to start repeating!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

No question the Della Robbia ironstone will come out of the cabinet for its annual appearance.  It is the first set of dishes I bought so they have real sentimental value, and given that only one piece has been broken they are indestructible.  For sure the color way is reminiscent of the 70’s, but for Thanksgiving it is perfect.

Like with the pumpkins, the challenge is to change things up each year, and that is getting harder.  It’s likely that that no one notices whether anything is different,  but for me its’s  what makes setting the table fun.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMost years a little something new is added.  It may be a placemat

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAor glasses or napkin rings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome months ago I purchased this inexpensive flatware thinking the colors and shape were fun.  It never occurred to me that it would be a great match for the Thanksgiving dishes, but here it is. Carson of Downton Abbey probably wouldn’t approve of the arrangement, but it adds a bit of jauntiness.

The something new this year are the place holders that I recently found in a cute shop in Franklin, Tennessee.  You can bet they will be part of tables to come.

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With the table ready, I’d best get thinking about a grocery store list!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Tablescape Thursday