Homemade Cornbread Dressing

Make your own tasty dressing instead of buying it at the store!

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Years ago, I started making our holiday dressing from scratch, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as far as our holiday menu each year.  Cornbread dressing has to be one of the most forgiving recipes ever, and anyone can tweak it to their own taste.  Indeed, I think I’ve varied my own recipe just a tad every year, and that is just part of the fun of making it.

Today, I’m sharing my dressing recipe, along with photos of each step.

  • Steps in Part 1 of this process can be done ahead of time to save time on the day the meal is to be served.
  • Steps in Part 2 are best done on the day the meal is served. 

Part 1 (Advance Preparation)

In my previous post, I shared the first aromatic step in making this dressing, sautéing the Creole mirepoix (meer-PWAH).  While this recipe can certainly be tweaked in many ways, omitting a basic mirepoix of onion and celery with another ingredient would be a mistake, since this is the foundation of the dish as far as flavor.  For several years, I just used diced onion and celery, but more recently, I have added diced red bell pepper to the mix because it adds even more flavor and also some nice color.

The mirepoix for the dressing consists of one large sweet onion, the green stalks of a bunch of celery (not the tougher white parts) and one large red bell pepper, all chopped finely by hand or in a food processor.  The mirepoix is then sautéed in about two tablespoons of Land O’ Lakes soft butter/canola oil, but feel free to just use butter or oil, if you desire.

Good cornbread is the base of the dressing, and I prepare two boxes of Jiffy Cornbread Mix.  Jiffy cornbread is actually a traditional family dish and the only cornbread my mother ever baked.  She also added a little sugar to her cornbread, and I’ve been known to do that a few times myself.  For this recipe, I follow the recipe on the box, which calls for one egg and 1/3 cup of whole milk per box, doubling those for this recipe.

The cornbread can be baked as desired, but I start mine on the stove on medium high heat in an enameled cast iron skillet that has been warmed to 400 degrees in the preheated oven.  Before adding the cornbread mix to the skillet, I melt two tablespoons of Land O’ Lakes butter with canola oil in the skillet, but butter or oil alone would be fine, too.  Allow the mix to heat on the stove for only one minute, no longer, then transfer the skillet to the 400 degree oven for twenty minutes or until the cornbread is thoroughly done in the middle, using the toothpick test.

Cornbread is a real treat for me these days, as I have to follow a low-carb diet most of the time.  So, when I make it, I want it to be pretty much perfect.  This method of preparation is the best I’ve ever found, as the cornbread has a little crunch on the bottom and is evenly cooked throughout.

Isn’t this a beautiful… gorgeous… lovely sight?

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Cornbread, baked to perfection!
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The cornbread turns out to a plate with ease
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I confess. I ate a warm piece. Cooks prerogative.

I could have just stopped right there and eaten the whole thing!  Seriously.

After letting the cornbread cool, crumble it into a bowl or large pan and leave it on the kitchen counter covered by a paper towel for one or two days.  I used a pan with more surface area to allow it to dry out a little faster.  If pressed for time, use the oven at 250 degrees to help the cornbread dry out faster, stirring it every ten minutes until it is a bit crunchy but retains some moisture, too.

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Crumbled cornbread dries for one or two days on the counter or faster in a low oven

Adding one pound of cooked pork breakfast sausage is an optional step, but it is a requirement for us because it adds even more flavor and helps keep the dressing moist.  Simply cook a pound of regular sausage, then drain it thoroughly on paper towels, removing as much fat as possible.  Store the sausage in a sealed container in the refrigerator until the day to make the dressing or in the freezer if making the dressing more than two days later.

At this point, I add some finely diced fresh parsley.  It adds a subtle flavor and also adds some color, complimenting the red bell pepper nicely, and I store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator until I’m ready to make the dressing.

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Several sprigs of finely diced fresh parsley

 

Part 2 (Assemble and bake)

On Thanksgiving, all that is left to do is combine the pre-prepared ingredients with the seasonings and chicken broth, then bake the dressing in the oven.  Yes, that’s it!  Easy peasy.

Combine the cornbread, mirepoix, sausage and parsley, then add most of a 32 oz. carton of chicken broth, reserving just a bit of the broth.  Add seasoned salt and poultry seasoning, sprinkling both generously over the top, then stir well to combine.  Feel free to taste test and add seasoning as desired, being careful to not over-season the mix.  I don’t add pepper but some other people include it.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the empty baking dish in the oven to also preheat.  I used an enameled cast iron baking dish.  When the oven and baking dish are preheated, remove the dish from the oven and spray it with non-stick spray.  (Don’t spray the dish before pre-heating it.)

Pour the dressing mix into the pre-heated dish, smooth it out, then bake it at 350 degrees for thirty minutes.  At that point, remove the dressing from the oven and stir it thoroughly, then bake it for fifteen minutes or more until it reaches your desired consistency.

I love, love, love this dressing!

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The finished product… oh, how I love this!

I can make a meal on this dressing and nothing else.  It’s that good.

As I said earlier, dressing is a very forgiving dish to make.  If your dressing is a bit dry, just add a little more chicken broth and heat it a bit longer.  Take it to new levels by adding even more tasty ingredients, like sautéed diced mushrooms or finely diced jalapeno pepper

For this dish, I do not recommend adding any other types of bread other than cornbread, but feel free to give it a try if you’re feeling especially adventurous.  The consistency and flavor of the cornbread is what makes this dish, in my opinion.  If you opt to use other breads in place of part of the cornbread, just be sure to dry them out as much as possible before making the dressing.

Here is the complete list of ingredients.  Just read back through this post for the preparation instructions.  Enjoy!

Southern Cornbread Dressing

For the Mirepoix:
one large sweet onion

one bunch of celery (use only green stalks)
one large red bell pepper, seeded and cored
two tablespoons Land O’ Lakes butter/canola oil spread

For the cornbread:
two boxes Jiffy Cornbread Mix
two extra large eggs
2/3 cup milk
two tablespoons Land O’ Lakes butter/canola oil spread

one pound regular pork breakfast sausage

7-8 stalks of parsley leaves, diced

poultry seasoning (to taste)

seasoned salt (to taste)

 32 oz. box regular chicken broth 
(if using low sodium broth, use a little more seasoned salt or regular salt)

 non-stick spray for the bottom of the baking dish

I use enameled cast iron dishes (pre-heated) to bake both the cornbread and the dressing for best results.  If using other non-heated baking dishes, cooking times may take a bit longer.

Happy Thanksgiving cooking!  Savor every moment of the fun!  🙂

 

Creole Mirepoix

The start to so many great dishes!

I’m not sure I enjoy savoring anything more than the colorful look and the fragrant aroma of a nice Mirepoix (meer-PWAH).  My personal favorite is a creole variation with red bell pepper, and I also like equal parts celery and onion in mine.

Sautéing mirepoix is the first step in making our traditional Southern cornbread dressing, and I’m pleased to share these photos today as a part of the daily prompt, “aromatic.”  I only wish I could also share the actual aroma here, too.  Ahhhh!

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Even though we will be dining out with family and friends this Thanksgiving, I still had to make a pan of our traditional dressing because it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving to me without it, even if we enjoy it in the days after the holiday.

Dressing is not difficult to make, and over the past few years, I’ve convinced a few friends to ditch the store-bought dressings in favor of their own homemade versions, especially since most everything can be done ahead of time.  Tomorrow, I hope to share my recipe here, complete with step-by-step photos, but today, I will just enjoy the aroma of this fabulous mirepoix!

via Daily Prompt: Aromatic

 

Decorated Valentine’s Day Cookies

Ten dozen pretty decorated cookies for family and friends!

I’ve missed baking and decorating cookies.  During the Christmas holidays, when I normally take on this special project for friends and family gifts, my right hand was hurting too much to even consider decorating so many cookies at once.  So, for that reason, I took a pass on the project and hoped to take it on for Valentine’s Day.  Happily, my hand is quite a bit better now, and I was able to bake and decorate about ten dozen cookies over the past few days.

This is also the first time that I have made cookies for Valentine’s Day gifts, and I must say that I like decorating them for this special holiday as much as I like decorating them for Christmas.  I opted to stick with heart shapes to help keep things a bit more simple.  After baking the first large batch and experimenting with different ways to decorate them, I quickly discovered that one particular cutout shape was by far my favorite.  So, for the final large batch, I only made cookies with that shape – a medium heart cutout with a pretty scalloped edge.

These are vanilla-almond sugar cookies and are so tasty, even without icing.  I also add a little almond flavoring to my royal icing before thinning it for piping and flooding the cookies.  The heart flowers are quite simple to do.  Just layer three dots of flood icing on top of each other, then drag a toothpick from top to bottom through the center of each one in one slightly curved motion.  I varied the heart flower designs on most of the cookies, just to see what each different combination would look like, and there are many combinations that I like in the bunch!

Here are the results of this year’s big cookie project!  I had so much fun that I’m thinking about doing Easter cookies this year, too, if I can find some cute cutouts soon.

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Four different heart cutouts (Wilton brand)
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The second large batch made 62 cookies.

 

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This is my favorite design for Valentine’s Day – a heart flower design with three-color flowers!
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My first attempt at “painted” roses.
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Sprinkle cookies are easy to make and are always a hit with kids.
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More flood icing designs
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Some of my favorites – each a bit different
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These were actually for a sweet little girl’s first birthday party and matched the party décor so well.
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My first attempt at a jumbo double cookie was very cute, and next time, I will make it with the three-color heart flowers.
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Two-color heart flowers are cute, too.  The darkest color can be used for either the outer or inner color, resulting in a slightly different effect.
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More two-color heart flowers
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Two-color heart flowers
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Smaller two-color heart flowers
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The first round of gifts are packaged and ready to deliver and mail!
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Ghirardelli dark chocolate chip cookies were a special request by our daughter, and they are now winging their way to California!
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The Best Low-carb Pizza Crust

After much searching, here is a great, low-carb pizza crust recipe!

In a previous post on Tuesday, I shared a photo of our very first “keeper” recipe for a low-carb pizza crust.  This crust is made from riced cauliflower and grated cheese with a variety of spices that makes the flavor of the crust complimentary to the other ingredients added on top.

Prior to trying this recipe, I made a couple of recipes that used almond flour as the primary ingredient in the crust.  Neither of us cared for these crusts, as the almond flavor didn’t seem to work with the savory pizza toppings that we like so much, and we also did not care for the consistency.  We actually just scraped off the toppings and left the crust on our plates.

Over the past few weeks, I have been searching for a low-carb crust recipe that might actually work for us.  I knew that a cauliflower crust would most likely work with our personal tastes, as long as the consistency and flavor worked with our pizza toppings, too.  On Monday, after narrowing down the search to two basic recipes that were almost identical, I decided to give it a try.

I bought a large head of cauliflower with the intention of making two pizza crusts, rather than just one.  While I was giving this a try, it made sense to make one crust, then make a second one with some adjustments if I felt that the first one wasn’t quite up to our expectations.  If both turned out well, we would have a spare crust to freeze and use for another meal later on.  This was a good strategy, and thankfully, the first one came out very well.  I simply repeated the process for the second crust, and it turned out nicely, too.

One of the most important things to do in this recipe is to drain as much liquid from the cooked cauliflower as possible before adding the other ingredients.  This takes a few minutes, but it is an essential step.

I followed the directions and used a kitchen tea towel.  I measured out the cooked, riced cauliflower and used three cups in each crust, and I highly recommend measuring it out, rather than eyeballing it.  I didn’t pack it down, just spooned it into the measuring cup.  I also did not add the optional tablespoon of almond flour, since my goal was to keep the almond flavor out of the crust completely.

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The first crust s ready to go in the oven. I pressed it out to about 10″ in diameter, and that is as thin as I would recommend for one recipe. I actually dried out the cauliflower a little more for the second crust. Practice makes perfect! 😉

 

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The first crust s ready to go in the oven. I pressed it out to about 10″ in diameter, and that is as thin as I would recommend for one recipe. I actually dried out the cauliflower a little more for the second crust. Practice makes perfect! 😉

The crust turned out pretty much perfect, and even though I didn’t give it a try, I think this recipe might even make a nice faux flatbread to cut and eat with another entrée, especially one with Italian flavors.

We topped our lovely pizza with a quick sauce that I made by mixing a regular can of tomato sauce and a tiny can of tomato paste, since I never buy pre-made pizza or spaghetti sauce anymore.  I did not have sugar-free tomato sauce, so I just used the sauce a little sparingly.  Also, not listed in the original recipe, I sprinkled some Italian seasoning over the sauce before adding the other pizza toppings, then added a layer of grated mozzarella cheese.  We then added sliced pepperoni, a little crumbled sausage, black olives and a sliced fresh jalapeno, seeded.  Finally, we topped off our pizza with some fresh grated parmesan.  I love to have both mozzarella and parmesan cheeses on a pizza.

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Our tasty pizza is ready to go back in the oven for about five minutes at 450 degrees.

Since the crust was already baked, the pizza with toppings only needed to bake about five more minutes in the 450 degree oven.  I added the fresh basil leaves to the top after removing it from the oven.

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Lastly, we topped our delicious and healthy pizza with some fresh chopped basil.

It was pretty funny as we sat at our dinner table and tasted our new pizza at the same time.  I wanted to wait to share my own reaction and thoughts until I saw what Hubby thought of it.  Bless his heart, sometimes he will compliment my cooking even when he probably shouldn’t, so I wanted to try to get an honest reaction from him.  It didn’t take long, maybe two bites, before he shared that he really liked it!  I agreed, and we proceeded to eat the whole thing, along with our side salads.  If I had made the second pizza, we might have eaten it, too!  It was that good, and we have definitely missed eating good pizza.  I honestly believe that we would not have known this was a low-carb option if we judged it only by the taste, especially since we like the thinner crust anyway.

Next time, I may try to put the baked crust under the broiler for a minute or so, just to crisp it up a bit more, since that is how we tend to like our crusts, thin and just slightly crisp but not overcooked.  I may also try adding a little more grated parmesan cheese to the crust batter.  The other recipe that I found was pretty much identical to this one but had 1.5 cups of this cheese, not just 1/4 cup.  I don’t think it needs that much cheese, but a little more might just make it even tastier!  (Grated parmesan cheese baked in the oven makes tasty snack crackers that are perfect on a low-carb diet.  I buy them at our local deli.)

One more nice thing about this crust is its low cost.  I calculated the cost of each crust right at $1.  I’m all about saving a little money where I can, for sure.

Here is the link to the original site where this recipe was posted on The Lucky Penny Blog.

The BEST Cauliflower Pizza Crust

This recipe has also turned up on Pioneer Woman’s “Tasty Kitchen” site, with a reference back to the original post. This crust, or a variation of it, honestly seems to be one of the more widely used low-carb pizza crusts now, for good reason.  While it took me a little more time to make it on this first attempt, it will definitely go faster next time.

Going forward, I will make several crusts at once and freeze the other baked crusts for future use.  If I had to make a crust from scratch like this every time we want a pizza, I probably wouldn’t go to the effort, but making several at once makes perfect sense.  I can’t wait to actually have pizza on one of our future RV trips, too!  What a treat that will be for us.  I also plan to experiment with this recipe as a standalone flatbread, too.

Where there is a will, there is usually a way, and I’m glad that I kept searching for such a great pizza crust option that works for us.

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Pistachio Brittle

I started off my holiday baking escapades this week with a new twist on a favorite recipe.  I have always liked peanut brittle, even though I will confess that I am really not a fan of the peanuts, per se.  The buttery and sweet brittle is what I love the most.  As I have dieted over the past year, one food that I have enjoyed almost daily for a little snack is pistachio nuts.  Costco sells a big bag of the shelled nuts at a good price, and I have been so grateful to keep a bag of these healthy nuts on my kitchen counter over the past year when a snack attack hits me.

Hubby and I discussed some of the sweets that we would like to have and give this year during the holidays, and we both agreed that substituting pistachios for the peanuts might be worth a try, as we both love to eat them.  I have also had a slightly spicy pistachio brittle in the past (similar to the recipe at that link), and it was very good.  However, for this first attempt, I opted to use a more traditional recipe and substitute the nuts as the only change.

Pistachio Brittle
Lovely Pistachio Brittle!

This was definitely a successful modification, and I seriously doubt that I will ever make regular peanut brittle again, unless I make it for someone who prefers it over this kind.  The wonderful green color from the pistachios even makes the brittle more festive for the holidays, too.

I used a recipe from Land O Lakes, with only two slight changes, in addition to substituting the nuts in equal amounts.  After adding the baking soda, I also added one teaspoon of Watkins vanilla extract, and I also turned the entire recipe out into just one buttered pan instead of dividing it between two pans.  In my opinion, it came out great!  Using a candy thermometer makes this a simple recipe to prepare, too.

Candy Thermometer
This candy thermometer belonged to my mother-in-law, and I treasure using it every year when preparing holiday treats. What a story it could tell over the decades!
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Brittle in a buttered pan

I buttered the baking pan well, turned out the hot brittle mixture into the pan, spread it to the edges with a buttered spatula, then let it sit for about an hour until it was completely cooled.  Once it was cooled, I then turned the pan upside down over a large cookie sheet and gently tapped the bottom of the pan with a hammer (that I only use in the kitchen) until the brittle fell loose.  While the brittle was upside down on the cookie sheet, I used the clean hammer to gently break the pieces apart, using only the edge of the hammer when tapping.  There is no need to line the pan with foil or parchment, as the brittle slides out quite easily after it is allowed to completely cool in the well-buttered pan.

I also experimented with another new recipe that has pistachios, too.

Cranberry Pistachio Bark
Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate Bark

I found this simple recipe for Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate Bark online from Brown-Eyed Baker.  This took about five minutes to make, using the microwave to melt the white chocolate morsels, and it will be a regular holiday sweet treat for us.  What a pretty addition it will be to my Christmas food gifts this year!  (12/13/14 Update: Just saw where Ina Garten also adds some diced dried apricots to hers, too!)

After the holidays, I will go back to just snacking on my lovely pistachio nuts, sans all the extra calories, but I will certainly have fond memories of these tasty treats!

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National Cookie Day

As today is National Cookie Day, I wanted to share some of my own adventures in cookie baking over the past two years.  My own Christmas cookie adventures began in earnest when our long-time bakery shut its doors forever and left many of us in dire straits for decorated Christmas cookies.  This had been a tradition for me for a number of years, and I was not ready to give it up.  So, I embarked on making my own decorated cookies for the first time with some success the first year and even better success last year.

I have not worked on further honing my cookie skills since last Christmas, due to my weight loss effort.  It was a necessary sacrifice and one that I was more than willing to make this year.  But, it’s time to once again start baking cookies for gifts, and I am so ready to get going once again!  Last year, hubby and I embarked on a cookie decorating day where he helped me “blitz” the decorated cookies mostly in one day, and we had a lot of fun together.  As it turns out, he has a great artistic flare for decorating cookies, too.

I have linked to my cookie posts at the bottom of this post, as there are links to many of the recipes I used in those posts, in case you are also ready to embark on your own Christmas cookie adventures soon!

Christmas Cookies 4
Decorated Christmas Cookies
Christmas Cookies 3
Decorated Christmas Cookies
Christmas Cookies 2
Decorated Christmas Cookies
Christmas Cookies 1
Decorated Christmas Cookies
Christmas Snickerdoodle Cookies
Christmas Snickerdoodles
Tangy Lemon Glazed Cookies
Tangy Lemon Glazed Cookies – a new family favorite
Oatmeal Lace Cookies
Oatmeal Lace Cookies
Savory Breakfast Cookies
Savory Breakfast Cookies
Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies
Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies – Ghirardelli recipe
Stained Glass Cookies
Stained Glass Cookies
Ginger Crinkle Cookies
Ginger Crinkle Cookies
Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
Linzer Sandwich Cookies
Linzer Sandwich Cookies
Candy Cane Cookies
Candy Cane Cookies
Peppermint Almond Cookies
Peppermint “Snowballs” – made from Candy Cane Cookie recipe
Decorated Christmas Cookies
Decorated Christmas Cookies
My Christmas Cookie Trays for Gifts
My Christmas cookie gift trays – 2012

See my note below about the pretty cross cookies, please! 😉  Also, the reindeer cookies were made from my peanut butter cookie recipe.

Christmas Cookies 7
My Christmas cookie and candy gift trays – 2013
Christmas Cookies 5
My Christmas cookie and candy gift trays – 2013
Christmas Cookies 6
My Christmas cookie and candy gift trays – 2013

One note – I love baking the pretty decorated cross cookies (pictured in the 2012 trays).  A word of caution, though.  They tend to break easily when included in a tray of other cookies, it seems, so I wrap them individually now with a cardboard backing when giving them with the gift trays.  After going to all the effort to make these pretty cookies, I want the recipient to get them in one piece.  I allow one cross cookie per person, and I include a handwritten note that this is a “special” cookie for them and include the verse, John 3:16, in my note.  They can certainly freeze their special cookie to eat at Easter, if they prefer, as long as it is properly wrapped, but so far, I think everyone has eaten their cross cookies for Christmas.

My previous posts on Christmas Cookies:

Christmas Cookies
Christmas Cookies – 2013

Happy National Cookie Day!  I’m ready to start baking again!

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A Fabulous Thanksgiving

We enjoyed a great traditional lunch with family at our home on Thanksgiving Day.  While I did not get a picture of everything we had to eat, here are a few quick photos that I managed to take amid the process of getting everything served.  Sadly, I did not get a picture of the new brussels sprouts recipe that I made, and it was most definitely a hit with everyone, too.  It also had fresh cranberries, pecans and feta cheese in it, and it was such a pretty dish, as well as a tasty one.

Recipe for Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts
(To make it a bit more diet compliant for me, I omitted the barley and used sugar-free maple syrup.  I used feta cheese crumbles since I already had it on hand.  It came together in a skillet nicely right before we were ready to eat lunch, and this will likely be a regular holiday dish for us now.)

We also had mac and cheese and hot rolls, of course.  I’m glad that my family was just fine to skip any kind of green bean casserole this year.  It seems that we have all grown a bit tired of that particular dish, at least for now, and it’s just no fun to prepare a dish that really doesn’t even sound good.

Thanksgiving Turkey - Alton Brown Recipe
Thanksgiving Turkey – Alton Brown Recipe
Cornbread Dressing Ingredients
Cornbread Dressing Ingredients – I did not get a picture of it after it cooked, but it was so good!
Pioneer Woman Mashed Potatoes
Pioneer Woman Mashed Potatoes – yum!
Pea Salad - Marinated
Pea Salad – Marinated – used fall colors in the peppers
Salted Caramel Fudge
Salted Caramel Fudge – a new twist on my fudge recipe
Lemon Chess Pie
Lemon Chess Pie – “ta die fer” – extra lemon, of course!
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie – a must have pie at Thanksgiving

We took off in the RV once again this year after our big Thanksgiving lunch for a nice, long weekend away, carrying most of the leftovers from lunch with us.  After some brutal winter weather only a few days earlier, we had absolutely gorgeous weather for our quick trip, even though it was a little bit windy at times.  A little wind seldom stops us these days, though, and we had a great outing once again this Thanksgiving weekend, instead of opting to stay home and fight the crowds in town for Black Friday weekend shopping.  I am just so done with that now.  I also got to see a friend from high school while we were in the Abilene area that I have not seen since 1976, and that was quite a treat for me indeed.  She is as sweet as ever, too.

This was our first trip to Abilene State Park in the month of November, so it was interesting to compare this trip to past trips there in different months.  The park is actually located near the tiny community of Buffalo Gap but is still only fifteen minutes from the main retail area in Abilene.  I still have not written a post about this nice park yet and need to do so sometime.  We have now been in each of the seasons except summer, and I honestly do not think we will try to go in those very hot months either.  We are quite happy to visit there in the cooler months, even though we ran our air conditioners in the RV on two afternoons on this trip.  Almost every weekend is often booked at this park in the large trailer sites, and winter is definitely the least crowded time for this park.

I also completed the NaBloPoMo blogging challenge on Sunday, having posted every day in the month of November at my new site at Animal Wonder.  If you haven’t yet taken a peek there, I hope you will do so soon.  It is an ongoing project and one that I really enjoyed working on in November.  Many of the photos I shared over the past month are among my favorite bird photos, even though I still have many more favorites to share, too.  I’m excited to continue working on even more animal posts going forward, not just limited to birds that I focused on during the past month.

And speaking of birds, there is some big news right now in birding circles (picture at that site) that is based in my area.  A very rare bird, a Eurasian Common Crane, has recently been spotted among the many Sandhill Cranes at the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge.  After the news broke a few days ago, I followed their page on Facebook and have been following updates on the rare Eurasian Common Cranes that have been spotted there.  These rare birds have created quite a “circus” at the refuge, according to the people posting the Facebook updates, and people are traveling from as far away as California to see these birds.  So far, I think two Eurasian Cranes have been spotted.  I would love to drive over there soon to see if I could see them, but I’m not sure our crazy December schedule will permit me to do so.  We’ll see.  How I would love to personally take a photograph of this rare bird that is most typically not even seen on this continent!  Birding in our area may be better than normal this year, thanks to some nice fall rains that have left many playa lakes with some much-needed water.

Wikipedia – Eurasian Common Crane

E-Bird Common Crane Sightings (Range Map)

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