Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s not about the presents, the candy, or the decorations; it’s about being thankful for what you already have.
The focus of Thanksgiving is love, appreciation, and family. (And food, which is always a favorite topic of mine!)
I was looking back through old photos today and recalling fun thanksgiving memories and family traditions:
- My daughter and I taking walks to gather pretty fall leaves to display down the center of our table.
- Setting out homemade decorations like squash and corn from the garden and pretty fall images overlaid with scriptures about being thankful.
- Spending time outside with our dogs and chickens and jumping into piles of leaves.
- Gathering pecans in the yard, then cracking them in my Dad’s workshop near the toasty wood stove. He mounted a heavy-duty nutcracker onto a homemade bench. A quick flip of the handle, and the cracked nut falls into a container that hangs underneath — so easy!
- Did I mention the traditional Thanksgiving meal? Mashed potatoes. Purple hulled peas. Homemade pie. It’s all so delicious!
One of my favorite Thanksgiving foods is my mother-in-law’s dressing. Hot or cold, fresh or old, it’s so tasty I can eat it as a meal by itself!
People can have strong opinions about who makes the best dressing, but her’s is the one I prefer over all the others I’ve tasted. She makes it slightly different each year because she doesn’t follow a recipe, but it always tastes great.
A few years ago she tweaked her recipe in an attempt to make it more healthy, and it was particularly delicious to me. That afternoon, I sat her down while the process was still fresh in her mind and worked out the following recipe, which she is graciously allowing me to share with you. It’s a little different than typical dressing because it does not contain sage (we have a family member who can’t eat sage).
“Healthy Cornbread Dressing”
Prepare cornbread and cooked chicken before making the dressing.
2 cups white corn meal mix
1 large egg
1 cup milk
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine dry mix & milk, then add egg. Make sure the batter is thick, not soupy. Put 2 Tbs. oil in 10″ iron skillet & preheat pan on stovetop until oil is hot. Add batter to skillet & bake about 20-30 minutes until lightly browned.
Boil 2-3 chicken breasts in plenty of water so you will have lots of broth. Season with salt, pepper, & a little Mrs. Dash Table Blend (contains: onion, black & chili peppers, parsley, celery seed, basil, bay, garlic, etc.)
1 10″ skillet of cornbread, crumbled small
2 Tbs. ground flax seed
1 Tbs. Mrs. Dash Table Blend
3 large eggs
4 slices dry bread
Salt & pepper to taste
Chicken or turkey broth — add enough to make it soupy (If you don’t have enough broth, add canned chicken broth.)
2-3 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour, or until lightly browned.
Want some dessert to eat after your dressing? Try my best friend’s New-York-Style Cheesecake recipe! Such a sweet delight!
What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions or treats?