Thornton Wilder said, "We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” How excellent it is that we have a national holiday set aside specifically for us to focus on that.
This time of year, when the weather finally cools off and the sunsets get even more colorful than the leaves, brings with it a sense of relief. It signals that it’s time to gather together under one roof, to take a collective deep breath, and to experience some peace and comfort together. Though this year we may not all be able to gather together in large groups like we normally do, we can still do many fun things to remember how blessed we are in so many ways.
Let’s do a few things this week:
Let’s tell funny stories about when we were children
Let’s talk about Grandma’s caramel cake recipe
Let’s compare notes on what we’ll plant in the spring
Let’s look at old photo albums and laugh about happy memories
Let’s share family recipes to create a family meal, even if it's postponed a bit
Let’s volunteer to help someone less fortunate than ourselves
Let’s let go of grudges
Let’s tell corny jokes and laugh together
Let’s not talk about politics
Let's be grateful for the simple things.
In short, let’s spend time this Thanksgiving season expressing gratitude for the people in our lives, the breath in our lungs, the food on our tables, the presence of friends and family, the memory of loved ones no longer present, and most of all, for the Creator who blessed us with it all.
"O Lord that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.“ - William Shakespeare
I’m thankful for each of you and the way you bless me with your encouragement, your ideas, your taking the time to read what I write and respond to it. You are a blessing to me.
To show how thankful I am, I'll share two new recipes that I hope you’ll enjoy trying out during the holiday, or anytime at all!
First, this new way to make sweet potatoes is surprisingly delicious for such a simple recipe. I created it this week when pondering how to use up some jalapeños I had canned. If you don’t have any that you’ve canned yourself, you can buy them on the Hispanic aisle of your grocery store, or you can even mince up one fresh jalapeño. Remember to remove the seeds from a fresh jalapeño if you don’t want the recipe to be very spicy hot!
Steph’s Kicked-up sweet potato-cranberry casserole
For the sauce:
Next, try these little dressing bites as an appetizer before the big meal, or as a snack a day or so after Thanksgiving to use up any leftover dressing you may have.
Sausage and apple dressing bites
Serve with warmed whole berry cranberry sauce for dipping, if desired. Enjoy!
Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life… a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe product of the year – and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God. ~Ray Stannard Baker
Stephanie Hill-Frazier is a writer, food blogger and regional television chef, whose on-air nickname is "Mama Steph." She grew up in Gulf County, on St. Joe Beach, a place she will forever call home. She is married and has three sons she is infinitely thankful for. You can find more of her recipes at WhatSouthernFolksEat.com.
This article originally appeared on The Star: What Southern Folks Eat: A heart replete with thankfulness