Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cornbread dressing!

Thanksgiving dinner conjures up memories of heavenly smells,  family, laughter, and a belly so full we all have to watch a little football before we can play Scrabble or move outside to play cornhole. I LOVE Thanksgiving when all my enormous family crowds into my small house for a day. Pure heaven.

My favorite, favorite, favorite thing to eat on Thanksgiving--and Lord knows I have many-is cornbread dressing with cranberry sauce, slathered in turkey gravy. Oh, yeah!! So, I'm always on the lookout for tasty new dressing recipes. Down here in Oklahoma, we call it dressing but if you call it stuffing, that's okay. It tastes great either way.

This is a new recipe I'm trying this year.  It comes from Paula Deen's website. Thanks, Miss Paula!

Bacon and Pecan Stuffing or Dressing

Save some of the bacon drippings to rub into the turkey skin for extra crispiness and flavor. (Linda's note: or be naughty like me and dump it in the dressing.)

Makes about 7 ½ cups, enough for a 12-pound turkey

4 cups (firmly packed) diced day-old firm home-style bread (crust and all)
4 cups day old skillet cornbread, crumbled
8 slices bacon, diced
1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 medium)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup toasted and roughly broken pecans
½ cup minced parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons crumbled, dried sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons crumbled, dried thyme
About 1 to 1½ cups turkey broth, made from neck and giblets
Salt and whole black pepper in a peppermill
Whole nutmeg in a grater
2-3 tablespoons butter, cut into bits

Position racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and preheat to 225 degrees F. Spread the bread and cornbread on large, rimmed baking sheets and bake until almost dry. Meanwhile, sauté the bacon in large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat until browned. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings, add the onion and celery, and sauté, tossing, until golden but not browned, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Toss together the bread and pecans in large mixing bowl until mixed. Add the onion, celery, and herbs and moisten well with broth, but don’t make soggy. Season liberally with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, toss to mix, and if made ahead, cover and refrigerate. Let it sit at room temperature for thirty minutes before proceeding.

If using this to stuff the turkey, put it in the skillet in which onions cooked (or use 2 if you don’t have one large enough). Turn on the heat to medium heat and heat thoroughly, tossing. Spoon it loosely into the turkey while hot. Truss it as usual and roast the bird at once. Do not stuff it ahead and let it sit or refrigerate it.

If baking it separately as dressing, position a rack in the center of oven and preheat it to 350° F. (I put it in the oven when the turkey comes out, so that it bakes while the bird rests.) Lightly butter a 9" by 13" baking pan or dish that will hold all the dressing in a single 1-inch-deep layer. Pour in the dressing and pat flat. Dot the top with butter and bake until the center is set and the top golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Stories

While taking food to people stranded in one of high-rise buildings today, we met a lady on one of the top floors who stays there to take care of a 100 years old bedridden woman. She was so discouraged and scared they won't make it till power and heat is back and felt she was getting sick and getting fever. She was also so worried about the lady she was taking care of and was running out of supplies for her (diapers, paper towels, gloves, ensure drinks as she can't eat, etc), had her covered with 4 blankets and candles around to keep her warm.

After we gave her food and lots of big hugs, we comforted her, assured that she is not by herself, she is on our list and will be checked on every day till power is back on. I offered to pray for her, she was so happy! I prayed for peace, strength and healing over her. After we came back to our base center, thankfully we were able to find all the necessary supplies, even the last bottles of Ensure drink were waiting for us! We went back to deliver and she was like a new person, said her fever left right after we left (we checked, her forehead wasn't warm any more), she felt so much better, felt strength from God, so grateful to God for providing with all those necessities! She definitely didn't feel they won't make it any more! It was awesome!
Thank you to all the organizers working on this full time and all the people, places, organizations donating food, water, supplies and all the volunteers! You are saving lives!
Lilia, MSNY Volunteer

On Saturday morning, I headed to 10th Street and D Avenue to serve with several MSNY fellow church members. Volunteers and hurricane victims lined the park, a now make-shift hurricane relief center. The multi-organizational effort gave water, food, and a hot meal to the victims. For 5 days prior this lower region of Manhattan had been in the dark, and some homes flooded by Sandy's disastrous influence.

While at the relief site, I found my way to the Mercy Chef kitchen, where for the next 4 hours, serving hundreds of victims their first hot meal in days. Volunteers sang God Bless America and I'm Proud to Be An American as they passed out hot meals, sounding a needed message of hope and healing.

One particular meal served stood out to me. A Volunteer ran in and said she needed 5 meals for a mother and her four children-- they hadn't eaten in some time and were hungry. My heart sunk, wondering how many others that we were serving had empty stomachs and truly hadn't had a hot meal in days. Seeing the church and the American people come together, rally around this tragedy, and extend their hand of help in a time of great need, is what the church is for and the American spirit is all about. I am proud to be an American and even prouder to be a part of church that loves and serves.

Sundy Goodnight, MSNYvolunteer
A few of the donations to MSNY

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Relief

My daughter lives in Manhattan, New York where she works for a nonprofit. She is also on the church staff of Morning Star New York (MSNY). As such, her church joined other volunteers to serve the enormous needs of those most harmed by the recent Hurricane Sandy.  Saturday MSNY had volunteers in numerous areas of the city, including lower Manhattan which remains without power. Many people had not had a healthy, hot meal since the storm. Volunteers set up in one of the concrete parks where they prepared and served 2000 meals--until they ran out of food.
Here are some photos from my daughter's camera.
Sundy in the scarf with other volunteers getting ready to serve lunch!

Volunteers helping hurricane victims get much needed items like food, water, and baby formula.

Much needed water being given thanks to a multi-organizational effort. Msny, Trinity Grace, the National Guard, Salvation Army, Mercy Chefs and others helping with volunteer efforts

Many New Yorkers  out of electricity for days were fed a hot meal today.  
www.msny.org  has a relief donation page if you're interested.