I love the entire holiday season and my husband loves the holiday that is coming up next week-Thanksgiving. Because he loves it so I love to make Thanksgiving extra special for him. This Thanksgiving we're going to have our oldest daughter Niki, her husband Brian and their two little ones with us, my dad and Lela and her daughter Esther and Uncle Mike (Shockley) with us. I'll love every moment of it. (Though I wish I could blink and have every child and grandchild gathered into my kitchen.)
We have the old faithful recipes that we cannot imagine a holiday dinner without---Turkey and dressing, Swiss Medley, Sweet Potato Casserole, Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Cheeseball and crackers, hot rolls, pecan pie and some kind of cheesecake for dessert. (This year is a toss up trying to decide between Pumpkin Praline and Reese Cup Cheesecake.)
I also like to try something new each year. This year I'm trying two new recipes. My pecan pie is going to be a chocolate pecan pie. Esther brought me some really, really nice Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips and I decided to use one bag for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas. So they're going to find their way into a chocolate pecan pie. Then I found a recipe for some Cranberry Crumb Bars that sounds wonderful and very Thanksgiving-ish so I'm trying them. Have to make lots of desserts so I can share!
So how about an old recipe and a new recipe? For the old I'm going to give you the Sweet Potato Casserole. I'm sure many of you have had it since it's a Southern recipe, but till I moved south I had only had the sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top and I took just enough to be polite. But when I tasted this one I was hooked, begged for the recipe shamelessly and made everyone that came to my house try it if it was on the table. I've had more than one person that swore they hated sweet potatoes decide they hated sweet potatoes and loved this casserole and had one person tell me that if it wasn't bad manners they'd lick the pan when it was gone! So here's my sweet potato casserole recipe given to me back in 1987!
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup margarine
Mix well. Pour into shallow buttered casserole. (I use a 9x13 pan.)
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/3 cup margarine
Blend flour and sugar well and sprinkle on top. Mix nuts and butter and sprinkle on top.
(I mix all of the ingredients into one bowl instead of doing it separately like the recipe says.) Bake at 350
degrees for 30 minutes.
I usually make this the day ahead and store it in the fridge so all I have to do is pop it in the oven. I usually set it out in the morning and let it get to room temperature. If not you have to give it a little extra baking time!
Now for my new recipe this year:
CRANBERRY CRUMB BARS
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup cold margarine
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 T. corn starch
1 T. brown sugar
1 can (16 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
1/3 cup flour
2 T. brown sugar
1/4 cup cold butter or margarine
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (I'm going to use pecans.)
In bowl, combine flour and powdered sugar, cut in the butter until crumbly.. Press in a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until light brown. Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees.
In bowl, beat cream cheese till smooth. Add milk and lemon juice; mix well. Pour over crust.
In bowl, combine corn starch and brown sugar. Stir in cranberry sauce till combined. Spoon over cream cheese layer.
For topping, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter. Fold in nuts. Sprinkle over filling.
Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes till topping is golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Cover and chill for 3 hours before cutting. Yield: 12-15 servings.
I think they sound (and they looked) yummy! If my 55 year old brain can retain this thought, I'll try to post pictures of both of these after Thanksgiving!
I am so thankful for the Lord's tender care of me all these years, I'm thankful for the wonderful, wonderful marriage He's given me, the children He gave us and then the bonus children He gave us, for giving me faith to believe Him and to trust His word, for the new truths He gives me every day in His word.
I've been thinking of other things this last couple weeks...I've thought so much of my children and all they've taught me, for the blessing of seeing my grown children in church and serving the Lord with all their hearts, for the blessing of seeing my grandchildren receive Christ as their Saviour, I've thought of my brother and sisters and how precious they are to me and what wonderful memories I have of my life with them, of my nieces and nephews and just little snippets of memories have come floating back, (like MaryBeth staying with me after my foot surgery to help me), I've thought of so many people that have been used of the Lord to refresh Gary and I spiritually at just the right time, of my parents and my in-laws, of friends who have remained faithful to us through the years and the list could go on and on and on....
I read aloud to our children at breakfast this week Abraham Lincoln's proclamation http://www.classicallibrary.org/lincoln/thanksgiving.htm concerning Thanksgiving. In it he makes sure the people know it is God who they had to thank for their blessings and God who they should fear for His judgment on our nation (the Civil War) for their unfaithfulness to Him. He recommended thanksgiving and repentance as a nation. My, can you imagine what would happen today if a president made a proclamation like that?
It made me want to search my own heart for any idols or any lack of fear and reverence for a very real Almighty God.
As we enter Thanksgiving week, I pray that we all will recount our blessings before God and give Him thanks and that we all will search our hearts and ask Him to grant us repentance where we lack giving Him credit and thanks where they are due. May each and every one of you have a wonderful Christ-honoring Thankgiving Day!