Be Grateful

I wrote the following blog last week.  Since that time, Mike’s beloved Grandma Po stepped into glory.  Some of the last words anyone heard her speak were, “I want to go home.  Take me Jesus.”  I am grateful to be a member of her family.

I read this week where a famous actor was asked to describe how he felt as he reached the 80 year milestone.  He was terrified of dying.  He envied anyone who had hope in an afterlife.  My heart aches for those who live their lives empty chasing after the things of this world.  They exist void of the blessings of God and family.

Grandma Po lived a simple life compared to most.  For nearly a century she never wandered far from her birthplace nor the birthplace of her children, grandchildren, and great and great great-grandchildren .  How could anything entice her away from those she loved most?

She was quiet, sweet-spoken, prim and proper.  She logged thousands of hours as a hospital volunteer and as many miles running in marathons when most her age watched on the sidelines.  But the highlight of her accomplishments could be measured every Sunday evening when her children gathered together in her living room to share stories of the past week and of the good ole days.

That’s how I want to remember Po.  Rocking in her favorite chair, arms crossed, smiling broadly as her beloved Eugene, Jeanine, and Karen came home each week and for a few hours were once again her children.   She wanted nothing more of this world but to be their mother.  

I can so relate.  I dream of being somebody, of doing something to make a difference in this world, and making my family proud of me.  Yet those are just dreams that pass away the second I see my kids and my grandson.  Nothing on this earth would fulfill me more than to have a Gramma house where weekly my family would come together and allow me to once again be their mother hen.  

It’s the simple things of life that matter most.  Thanks Po!  Your legacy will never be forgotten.  Someday we’ll join together for a reunion that will never end.  Until then, I love you.

I am grateful for all the failed thanksgiving turkeys in my history.  To each of those disgusting, over-cooked, dry birds, I say thanks.  Your waste was to my gain.  I sought hard for the perfect recipe and finally succeeded.

Anyone out there want to impress your family and friends?  This recipe may help.

Brine your bird 4-6 hours (as long as it’s not already basted or kosher)

One-cup salt per gallon of water as needed to immerse the bird.  I use a garbage bag with bird and salt water sealed tightly inside then submerged in a cooler with ice water.   The brining salt seals in the juices so you are guaranteed no more dry birds.

At least 8 hours before baking, place the brined and rinsed bird on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate.   Yes, that’s uncovered, butt-naked.  This will insure an evenly browned coat.

Ready to roast in 400-degree oven on V-shaped rack.  Brush butter over skin of turkey.  No need of basting while baking.

Here’s the key, roast breast-side down for 1st 45 minutes.

Remove roasting pan, close door to maintain temperature, and carefully flip the bird.  Continue roasting breast side up until thickest part of breast registers 165-degrees.  I recommend a remote control thermometer so you can relax and enjoy your family while the bird bakes.

Final step and super important….let turkey rest for 30 minutes before carving.

I know it takes 2 days and some preplanning but the way I see it, for the family,  it’s worth it.

My family asks for a turkey dinner once a year but they beg for my sausage apple stuffing as often as I will make it.  Since Thanksgiving is a time to share, here’s the recipe.

Saute over medium heat: 2 TBS of butter, 2 yellow onions diced, and 3 garlic cloves minced.  (I normally go more on the garlic!)  Salt and pepper.  When onions are soft, add ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, 2 Golden Delicious apples peeled and cut into small cubes, and ¼ cup dry white wine.  Cook until wine has reduced, about 10 minutes.  Transfer this mixture to large bowl.

In same pan, brown one-pound pork sausage.  Add sausage to apple mixture.  Add two boxes of turkey stuffing mix with the seasoning spices.  I also cut 5-6 slices of fresh bread into cubes and add to the mixture.  Not sure why, but my momma always did, so I do it too.

As I mix this all together, I add chicken broth, about 4-5 cups.  You want it moist but not soggy.

Transfer to pretty rectangular baking dish.  Brush butter across the top.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes in 350-degree oven.

Sadly, being vegetarian, I can’t indulge in either of these.  But I am blessed with all the ‘yums’ I hear around the table.

If you ask, I’ll share their favorite dessert recipe, Pumpkin Bars with cream cheese icing.

Until next week, have a blessed Thanksgiving.  Enjoy your loved ones!

Anyone want to share a thanksgiving tradition we can begin this year with Eli?


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