21 November 2007

getting in the holiday spirit...

30 days of thanks...

can this be day 21 of this wonderful theme? is it really Thanksgiving here in the US tomorrow already? my kitches says it is so!...the counter is beginning to fill with baked goods, the ever-present turkey is ready to be stuffed. i look around at all the abundance of this season of plenty. how can i not feel gratitude... for having enough to feel full~ in the heart & in the tummy, for the delights of the season's produce, for the recipes handed on to continue the traditions, for the aromas that will swirl all through the house today & tomorrow, for the chance to sit together at the table~ all six of us!~ & enjoy the bounty of laughter & love!...

i also feel deep gratitude for the memories of shared holidays with those we love... those who cannot be here any longer. my momma prepared thanksgiving dinners for most of my earlier childhood. by the time i was in high school, daddy's sister~ aunt O.~ decided that her siblings needed to draw closer as they were aging. she began hosting a beautiful thanksgiving meal every year over a period of a decade. she prepared the bird & its dressing with many side dishes. my aunts & momma also provided sides to the affair. many of the recipes were similar to momma's own recipes. these meals, overflowing with love, are some of the very best memories from my teens & early 20's. as happens with the passing of time, aunt O. found herself too overwhelmed to host on such a grand scale. this was around the time Baby Girl & K-Bug were babies. i was also overwhelmed at this time with the obvious tasks of early motherhood & found myself preferring to not pack the car for holiday jaunts. logically, this lead to yet another way to celebrate...i would host the holiday! i did so with great joy...my momma, my aunts & i in the kitchen with babies at our feet. what a very special few years they were.
now, my momma & my aunt O. have gone from this world. but the love does indeed live on. those babies are no longer at my feet...their hands are in the preparations. & i pass the torch of family recipes to them! for what's cooking wednesday i decided to share one of momma's traditional recipes (nearly identical to my aunts' recipes too)...her stuffing/dressing/filling~~whatever you call it...i call it very good!
Stuffing for a 10-12 lb. bird + one casserole dish (~2 qt.)

*melt 2 sticks butter on stove top & add 1 large yellow onion, diced, & 2-3 ribs celery, diced. saute until desired softness.

*place 16-20 cups semi soft bread cubes (i now use whole grain wheat - 2 loaves) in a large container

*season bread with salt, pepper, parsley, & nutmeg...i use fresh ground spices & fresh parsley, but momma did not~ it's all good!

*pour butter mix over the bread

*whisk 5-6 large eggs & pour over bread

*add milk to bread mix to achieve desired consistancy

*stuff your bird's cavities

*for remaining stuffing...butter a 2 qt. casserole dish & pat stuffing into it...poke holes with your fingers across the top of the stuffing...pour basting juices from your baking bird over the top of the stuffing...bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes, then serve.

may you all have a blessed, peaceful, wonderful thanksgiving!!


Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you as well :)

Leslie said...

Nutmeg! I never thought of adding that to stuffing. I make mine with sausage and sage.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Claudia said...

You make me want to celebrate it too, even though I'm Italian!

I used to cook with my granma, so I know what a beautiful experience it is!!
Tender and precious moments, indeed!

Have a joyful Thanksgiving!


tongue in cheek said...

Happy Thankgiving! Looks like your kitchen is baking up love and happiness!

qualcosa di bello said...

maryann...your bright, joyful sunflower in my comment box always makes me smile...have a wonderful thanksgiving!

leslie...i don't see it often in recipe searches either, but i just love nutmeg.

claudia...of course you should celebrate...it isn't about boarders of countries...it's about gratitude~ have a joyful thanksgiving too (i like "joyful"!)

corey...baking up love & happiness is the perfect way to say it!