Family Favorites for the Thanksgiving Feast!

Thanksgiving and Christmas always have a few staple items that have been on our family table for longer than I have been alive. I am sure the same could be said in your house.

For me, these are traditional, southern dishes that are ubiquitous to a lot of southern family dinner tables.

Deviled eggs, green beans with ham or bacon, pecan pie, million dollar pie, potato salad and or mashed potatoes, homemade cranberry relish. And dressing.

Old Traditions

Yes, dressing. NOT stuffing. 

Good, old-fashioned, Southern-style buttermilk cornbread dressing.

It isn’t fancy. It is very unassuming, but oh so delicious!

And it simply wouldn’t be a holiday feast without it. PERIOD.

When my dad was still living, my mom would make two giant aluminum pans full of this fabled dish for his holiday get-together at work.

And not one crumb would be left.

New Traditions

When my husband and I got married and his family tasted our family recipe, it became a standing request that my mom make the dressing from there on out.

It is that good.

Now, all that being said, now that I make the dressing, I have gussied it up a bit.

Nothing radically different mind you, but a few tweaks here and there that just up the flavor profile.

So, here it is in all of its glory.

Mama’s Southern Cornbread Dressing

Ingredients for the cornbread

1 large egg

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup melted unsalted butter

2 cups Self-Rising Buttermilk Cornmeal 

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp fresh parsley, minced

½ tsp fresh sage, minced

HEAT oven to 450ºF. Use non-stick spray or some butter to coat bottom and side of baking pan (8-inch round or square). Place in oven to heat for about 5 minutes.

WHISK egg in medium bowl. Stir in buttermilk, melted butter and corn meal mix until smooth. Batter should be creamy and pourable. If too thick, add 1 to 2 tablespoons additional buttermilk. 

ADD black pepper & minced herbs, stir to combine.

REMOVE pan from oven and pour in batter.

BAKE 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

When cornbread is done, turn out onto a cooling rack to cool.

Remaining Ingredients

1 TBSP unsalted butter

1 onion, diced

4-5 stalks of celery, diced

1 TBSP poultry seasoning

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp fresh parsley, minced

½ tsp fresh sage, minced

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, minced

1 pkg Pepperidge Farm Herbed Classic Stuffing

1 1/2 cartons low-sodium turkey stock (chicken stock will work if you cannot find turkey)

HEAT a skillet to medium heat. Add butter. Once melted, add diced celery and onions and cook until soft and translucent. (takes about 10 minutes).

REMOVE vegetables from pan to cool.

BREAK up the cornbread and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooled veggies, minced herbs, pepper and poultry seasoning. Add 3/4 of the Pepperidge Farm stuffing.

MIX dry ingredients to combine. Add ½ carton of the stock and mix again. Add remaining half of carton and mix well.

Now, this is where it can get tricky…you kind of have to know what the final mixture should look like.  It needs to be fairly wet, but not soupy.

If it appears too wet, add more of the stuffing mix. Too dry? Add stock.

I mix my dressing the day before and let it sit covered in the fridge so all of the flavors have a chance to marry.

The next day I take it out and assess if the mixture needs more stock. If it appears to have dried out a bit, I add stock ½ cup at a time and remix until I like the way the mixture looks.

I know, I know.  This isn’t exact science, but I’m telling you it is the only way to do it!

Family feast pin

Baking the Dressing

HEAT oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 x 11 glass baking dish with some non-stick spray or butter. Pour the dressing into the pan and smooth out any lumps.

BAKE in oven for 60 minutes or until the middle is set and the top is golden brown.

Time to Eat!

This dressing has all of the Thanksgiving flavors you are looking for in it! And it is warm and comforting to boot!

Pair it with your favorite gravy or some homemade cranberry relish for a real delight. I’d love to hear what your family favorite recipes are!  Drop a note in the comments.

 

Favorite Blog Posts…

Favorite blog posts

For those who may be new to my blog, today I thought I’d do a round-up of my favorite posts to date.

All of these were written at different points of pain or struggle in my life. Writing allows me to journal through those experiences to grow and heal. It’s been a tool I’ve used since I was a child.

Even the act of writing is soothing to me.

My prayer is that these posts will touch others and help them grow and heal as well.

8 Favorite Blog Posts

Returning to my first love
Do You Know How to Fight Right?
Hope in everything but God
Outside vs. Inside
Darkness cannot stay where there is light
5 important promises when everything seems to be wrong
Guest post on marriage on With Purpose with Lo Tanner
Not so different

If God uses any of these posts to speak to you, would you drop a comment and let me know?

Be blessed.

Top Holiday Traditions

My absolute favorite time of the year is the holidays and all of its traditions.  Once November 1st hits, I’m all about fall decor, preparing menus for Thanksgiving and Christmas, thinking about my Christmas decorations and watching all the Christmas movies I can fit in!

I start looking at local event schedules to see what area churches are doing in connection with the season. I am legit upset if my top holiday traditions don’t happen.

Concerts, Displays, Boat Parade & more!

I want to take in every musical, concert and sermon I can!

church

Light displays? I want to go see them!

carridedisplay

Festivals? Where, let’s go!

Boat parades, golf cart parades, the more, the merrier!

boat parade

Confessing Christmas Addict

Some might say I am Christmas crazy. Maybe so.

But it all just brings back so much nostalgia and I do not ever want to lose that.

It reminds me of holidays spent with cousins in south Georgia, running around with sparklers after dark. 

Of more than 40 (give or take a few) people crammed inside a 4 room house less than 1000 square feet big. And yet we had plenty of room.

It reminds me of gift exchanges, chicken and dumplings and 17 layer homemade chocolate cake.

And a ceramic Christmas tree that was my grandmother’s that I still put out every single year. (which somehow I have NO picture of. Rectifying that this year!)

5 Top Holiday Traditions

As I prepare to celebrate this holiday season, I thought I would share some of my top holiday traditions.  

  1. Celebrate Thanksgiving and fall decor! This one may seem like a “duh”, but how many people do you know that skip straight from Halloween to Christmas? Am I right? I like to give Thanksgiving its’ due with table decorations, a fall door wreath and yard flags and of course…pumpkin candles. (As you will see below, I need to up my fall picture game)
  2. Plan the meals…especially the treats! I LOVE to bake. And this time of the year I bake a TON of goodies. My husband owns a business and the first year I set a tradition of baking goodies for our customers at Christmas. A few years ago, I added Thanksgiving. Guess what? Don’t start something you can’t keep up as my Daddy would have said. The customers ask every year if I’m baking.
  3. Tree MUST be up no later than Thanksgiving night. It was always this way growing up and I plan to do it this way as long as God grants me the ability to. My favorite Christmas decoration is my tree. I have collected numerous ornaments over the years, each with special memories. That tree becomes a living reminder each year of all the wonderful Christmases, vacations and family gatherings before. And I want to enjoy it as long as possible!
  4. Watch Christmas movies! Hallmark, Lifetime, The Nativity Story, Elf, all three Santa Claus movies…I want to watch all of them I can between now and the new year. And if I miss one, I will record it and still be watching Christmas movies in January. Don’t judge.
  5. Ride through neighborhoods to view Christmas lights! There is something about this that brings all the childhood feels back. It’s been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember and I truly enjoy it so much! Secular or sacred displays. Elegant or whimsical. I don’t discriminate.

Holiday Traditions of Christmas past

Sharing is Caring!

I’ve shared mine…won’t you share yours? I’d love to hear how your family celebrates this joyous season!

My life in 10 (or more) songs

Getting my life in 10 songs (or more) gives you a glimpse of how diverse my music

tastes are. Music is an absolute passion of mine. And I enjoy a variety of genres.

Hip Hop. Rock. Broadway. Pop. Rap. Native American. Celtic. Country. 

Old style hymns and modern worship. Even some metal.

To narrow down a list that I would call the soundtrack of my life is not easy.

Concerts, musicals, oh my!

I think about all of the concerts I’ve taken in over the years.

Alabama. Clint Black. Garth Brooks. Sawyer Brown. Charlie Daniels.

New Kids on The Block. Vanilla Ice. 

TobyMac. Newsboys (with and without Peter Furler). Manifest. Skillet.

The musicals…Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserable, Hairspray.

By no means an exhaustive list. I could easily list two dozen more acts.

So you see my problem, right? How do I pick just a handful of songs to represent my soundtrack?

I thought about the artists as well as favorite songs that really feel like they define parts of me.

My life in 10 songs

My top 10 (or more) in no particular order…other than how I remembered them.

A portion of my life’s soundtrack.

I Love a Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbitt – country was my upbringing and this song always made me smile and dance.

Some Girls Do” by Sawyer Brown – My absolute favorite country band ever! So hard to choose only 1 of their songs, but this particular one was an anthem to my teenage years. I followed them from when they were on Star Search… have been to dozens of their concerts, and I was super excited when I found out that lead singer Mark Miller is the producer for one of my favorite Christian bands, Casting Crowns.

That’s My Job” by Conway Twitty – My father was a huge Conway Twitty fan and I cannot listen to the song without crying. I lost my father when I was just 25. And this song epitomizes the kind of man my Daddy was.

I Cross My Heart” by George Strait – My wedding song. In honor and memory of my brother-in-law who died by suicide the year I got married. The day before my birthday that year in fact. Sometimes I listen to this with fondness. Sometimes I just can’t.

Jesus Freak” by dcTalk – My introduction to Christian rap. And every 90s Christian kids’ battle cry. It felt a bit rebellious, and yet pointed straight to the Savior.

Gone”, “Made to Love”, “Burn for You”, “Till the Day I Die”, “Move (Keep Walkin’) – OK, I know this is more than one song for the century but I am a huge, HUGE TobyMac fan!! I love the rhythm of his music, the diversity both and has a band physically as well as in the instruments utilized, and most importantly the words. I’ve been to dozens of his shows, Jesus freak cruise, and have every CD he’s ever made. His heart for God makes his music come alive.

Phantom of the Opera” by Sarah Brightman & Michael Crawford – My favorite Broadway musical. My senior prom song. We were drama and chorus geeks, what can I say?

He’s Alive” by Dolly Parton – In my opinion one of the best worship songs ever written or sung. It absolutely gives me chills every single time. And every time I hear it I am reminded of the great sacrifice made and the love the Father has for me.

Monster” by Skillet – Skillet my favorite Christian rock band. This song resonates as I often struggle with keeping the ugliness of my humanity at bay when I feel hurt or wronged. It lets me know I’m not the only one and that helps me feel more normal.

Cry for You”, “Welcome to America”, “ Good, Bad, Ugly”, “Tell the World” – Okay, again I couldn’t narrow it to just one for this artist. Lecrae is a phenomenal rapper with a heart for the Lord and for marginalized people. And he isn’t afraid to talk (or sing) about it. He’s bold yet humble…like I hope to be.

So there you have it. Songs that resonate with who I am and seasons of my life that defined me.

What does your life sound like?

This is me…a quick look at who I am

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I am passionate and flawed. I am opinionated and empathetic. I am sensitive and yet I can be

hard-hearted at times. I am creative, yet not.

Like many of you, I am complicated.

I am Ammie Black. Wife. Fur-mom. Child of the King. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Co-worker.

Co-laborer for Christ.

I enjoy being outdoors, especially if I get to be on or near a body of water. I find water immensely

peaceful.

BUT, I also love being inside, curled up with a good book (usually non-fiction) and just read and

read and read all day.

I really love to cook, especially around the holidays. I enjoy pleasing people with food. And I love

the way it reminds me of family get-togethers when I was a kid.

I like to exercise. I enjoy Zumba, but my knees don’t so I had to stop. Working on finding

workouts that work for me now in this season.

Don’t ask me to draw anything, but I am very creative when it comes to putting together flower

arrangements, decorating for the holidays, creating graphics and cards and coloring books

(coming soon to the blog!) and I’m a creative writer.  I have long enjoyed writing poetry and

songs. I love sharing stories in those ways.

I love connecting people to Jesus.  These are some of the things I enjoy as part of my daily

walk to do that.  How about you?