Yesterday, Spike and I made Gnoicchi.  I had never heard of it before.  I found a recipe with Gnoicchi and then googled it so I would know what it was.  Functionally, it is a home-made potato noodle.  The recipe was super easy and I had all of the ingredients.  So yesterday Spike and I made the Gnoicchi, which is a great activity if you have little people who want to help in the kitchen.

Here is the recipe:
Peel and boil two medium starchy potatoes, like russets.  When the potatoes are cooked but still slightly firm, drain the water, cool and mash them.  Don’t add any butter or milk like you would for mashed potatoes, just smoosh them.  Take out one cup of the potatoes.

Add two cups of flour and one egg.

Mix all ingredients until combined.  Pour out onto a floured surface and knead until it forms a ball.  Wrap dough in saran wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.

Divide the dough into fourths.  Roll each fourth into about 1/2 inch roll, like a snake.  Then cut about 1/2 inch pieces off of the snake, dip them in flour and roll off of the tines of a fork.

Then you boil them for four minutes.  You know they are done when they float to the top.

That’s it!  Super easy!

Here we are:

In my photos, you can see my dough balls wrapped in plastic, my rolled ‘snakes’, my cut snakes, and the tin we were putting them in.  Spike and I started about 11 and worked until 1.  Because we have so many people in our family, I made five batches.  It took us a long time!  Spike didn’t last through the entire process.

Because I knew it would take so long, we started early in the morning.  But then I piled all of my pasta into a pan thinking it would be fine until dinner.  It wasn’t.  Because the noodles were so starchy, they continued to absorb the flour.  By the time I wanted to use them for dinner, they were all stuck together in one giant dough heap like I hadn’t done any of the work!  It was super frustrating!

But I remembered reading in one of my research efforts, that I could just drop the dough into the boiling water without shaping it.  So when it was time to make dinner, that is what I did.  They weren’t beautiful, but they were still delicious!  The next time I make them, I will just do it right before dinner, or figure out a way to do them differently.

To make dinner, we sauteed garlic in hamburger—while the broccoli was steaming.  Then we added 1 and 1/2 cups of chicken broth to the browned hamburger and garlic.  Then we added about two and a half recipes of the gnoicchi and sprinkled on 1/2 Cup of Parmesan cheese.  Salt and Pepper to taste.

It was delicious!  My kids gobbled it up.  Some of them put their broccoli into it and some of them piled on more cheese and ate it plain.  The recipe was only for the broccoli, chicken broth and garlic.  It suggested shrimp, which we don’t like or eat.  And the picture of the gnoicchi from the web had marinara sauce–apparently a very versatile dish.  Happy eating!

Life has been super busy here.  I don’t know how else to describe it….and my head is kind of spinning with where it is all going.

Over the holidays, all the big boys came home…we had a ton of fun!

Here is where we moved all of the furniture out of our living room, brought the ping pong table in and sat everyone around it–17 people for dinner two nights in a row!  It was so much fun!  My sisters always complain that I am never in the photos, so I stuck my head into the second one. 🙂  Just for fun!

Scuff and I found a new store here in town called Party Planet!  They had paper party stuff for everything!!  We couldn’t stay in it very long because Scuff was having an allergic reaction to all the latex or plastic in there!  But we had a great five minutes and if I ever need party supplies, fast, and affordable, I know where I am going!

I forgot all of the fun stuff we did!  When we were setting the table for Christmas dinner, Spike decided he wanted all of his Christmas candy for dinner.  Here is his plate… was so funny that I just had to get a photo:

We missed having Tammy here!  That would have made it perfect!  But it was such an enjoyable time!  Emotions ran really high as the big boys showed up and then left again.  But I wouldn’t have traded it for anything!

Hopefully, I will take a few minutes this week to blog and tell you all that is happening.  Things are crazy!

Have a great day!

Christmas Quilts

So in case you didn’t know, I did end up making three quilts for Christmas.  The plan was four, but the fourth one proved to be significantly more difficult and I haven’t had time to finish it or work on it.  I am hoping to finish it off sooner or later, but for now, Scuff will just have to wait for it.  I showed you Slim’s quilt, in this post. 

But I also made one for Tammy.  Hers looks like this:

I didn’t get a photo of the back.  But it is just a white sheet with little yellow and blue flowers.

Spanky’s looks like this:

The Layout

work in progress

OK.. I just realized that I do not have a photo of the finished quilt.  I will get that and post it up soon.  But this gives you an idea.

The big boys have all been home for Christmas too!!  It was a surprise for their dad.  I will add some of those photos and share some of our Christmas joys in the next few days as things settle down and people go home.  Grandparents left Sunday.  Slim left yesterday.   And Scuff and Spanky leave on Friday.  It has been so much fun and super busy!!  But I will post about that later!!

I have a snowman fence decoration that I love and realize is about 20 years old!!  It hasn’t been up the last few years because one of the hinges broke and I had them in the attic where brown stuff dripped all over my white snowmen!  I was not amused!  So they have been waiting in the attic.  This year I decided that I wanted them down and I wanted them up and I wanted them fixed!  So Sport and I went to Michaels and the hardware store and got the things we needed to fix them up.  Here is Sport painting them:

We let Spike paint his own stuff, so he didn’t try to help us out too much.  Here is a photo of his art work, now adorning the refrigerator.

And while I let Speedy have my phone for a stake dance, lots of my seminary students got together for a selfie on my phone and then they made it the lock screen photo:

Super cute!!  Aren’t they awesome?
Here are a few of my favorite Christmas decorations:

I love Christmas!!

This year, I have been totally on top of Christmas!  I finished Slim’s and Tam’s presents right around Thanksgiving and actually mailed them two days before Thanksgiving!!  Yea for me!!

Well, Slim’s birthday is at the beginning of December and this year, because he turned 25 and is more of an adult, and because things are tight here and we help him out in other ways, I didn’t buy him a birthday present.  So he decided to open Christmas for his birthday because, well, it was there.  Yes, seriously.

So since his present is open, I can show you what it is and what I have been working on for the past three months that has kept me away from blogging.  Ready?  Here it is:

I made Slim a quilt!  I had to purchase the sashing material (in between the squares), the batting, and the sheet for the back, and the string to tie it, but other than that, the other materials I already had.  The sheet was a huge score!!

I went to pick up Speedy and Sun from the mall and while I was there I had the feeling I needed to go into Ross.  I couldn’t think of anything I needed, but felt prompted so I obeyed.  When I got in there I said, “I don’t know why I am in Ross or what I am looking for.”  ‘Just keep looking, you will figure it out.’


So I walked around the clearance, clothes for Spike, glasses, dishes, towels, nothing.  Then I found the sheets and thought, ‘Oh ya’, I probably should look at sheets for my quilt.’  Then I saw them!  An entire twin bed set!!  For $15.00!!!  SCORE!!!  I knew Slim would love them, and they matched!  So that is what I have been spending my time doing for Slim.

He does love it!  And he told me yesterday that his bedroom is all decked out in Star Wars now and he gets to see the movie release twice this weekend!  He is super excited.

Here at home, we have been preparing for the release of the movie also.  I had not seen Episodes 1, 2, and 3–the newer released ones.  So last week, we started with 1 and are working our way through the episodes.  Tonight or tomorrow is Episode 5.  My children have informed me that I am watching them in the wrong order.  I however, do not really care.  They say you watch them like this: 4, 5, 2, 3, 6 and then 7.  None of them like Episode 1 and they feel it is unnecessary and a waste of time.  I liked them though.

Anyway, now you know!

Many happy holiday wishes!!

A few days ago in seminary, we were studying the Ten Commandments when we came across this scripture:

 And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.

 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.
Then we asked the question, “What does visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation, mean?  Why would the Lord do that?”
Some one in the class said, ‘well, maybe it is because there are consequences and we need to know how serious they are’?  At which point, another student said, “I don’t think it is so much that the Lord punishes the following generations for the sins of their fathers, as much as it is that the fathers because of their sins, cannot teach their children the right ways to do things and so the children behave in ways (wrong ways) that their fathers did, thus having the same consequences for the same behaviors because their fathers did not teach them better and it takes about three or four generations for that to change.
copyright:  Karen Larsen photography
In our family science literature, it is often discussed that behaviors for good and for ill are handed down from generation to generation.  The fathers literally teach ‘how’ to behave to their children and those children teach it to their children down through the generations.  Think back to your own families, and look at that of your spouse also.  Think of some positive traits that you exhibit in your life that have obviously come from your parents.  Are you making a conscious effort to teach those things to your children?  What are some of your flaws?  Do they come from the way you were brought up?  Are you passing those things on to your children?
I will give you a few examples to help you see and start to think about your own situation.  In my family, on my dad’s side, my grandfather was an alcoholic.  My father, though he did not drink while I was growing up (I don’t know what his habits are now), has some very alcoholic-like behaviors.  For instance, sometimes we would get into big trouble for a behavior and the next day or so we would do the same thing and he would laugh.  So as children, we never knew when we were going to get in trouble for something and when we were going to get away with it.  That is a very alcoholic behavior because usually the difference in response is accounted for by the status of the alcoholic parent (sober or intoxicated).  Even though that wasn’t the case with my dad, his learned alcoholic behavior was that parenting didn’t need to be consistent–it could depend upon his mood, and it often did, much to the confusion of the children.
Now, my grandfather also had an alcoholic father.  Of my grandfather’s children, my uncle is an alcoholic, my aunt married an alcoholic and my father struggles with his consistency in parenting.  I have one brother who started with alcohol and is now a recovering heroine addict, and another brother who struggles with his alcohol consumption and keeping a job.  Alcoholism, wet or dry, has been perpetuated down through the generations in my family.
One of my students had shared in her family, how her aunt and grandfather don’t really get along.  They took a trip together and things got a little heated between them and one of them left the other one with all of his stuff and wouldn’t return to the vehicle.  Phone calls were made home, but no one else was able to come to where they were and help them to resolve their differences.  The suggestion from the family was to pray and then to try and work things out.  Neither the father, nor the daughter thought prayer was a very good solution to their predicament, so they wouldn’t even try it.  At 15, my student knew that prayer would help her in that situation.  But her grandfather, nor her aunt did.  How could either of them teach her to use prayer in a crisis?  They couldn’t because it wasn’t something they knew, understood, or believed.  Thankfully, her mother and her grandmother felt differently and those were the voices she usually listened to.
copyright:  Karen Larsen photography
My point is, that as parents, we cannot give to our children that which we do not have.  We cannot teach them things we do not know.  I learned early on that my parents didn’t know or understand how to apply the doctrinal principles that would help me to return to my Father in Heaven.  I was going to have to learn them from someone else.  I found people who I thought knew.  I asked them questions.  I tried the things they taught me.  As my testimony grew, I learned that I could find those answers in the scriptures and through the words of the prophets and eventually through personal revelation.  I yearned to know them for myself so that I could return to live with my Father in Heaven and I have continued to learn and apply them so I can adequately teach them to my children—and to teach them in such a way, that my children can teach them to others, specifically their children.  I want those after me to know what I know and apply it because I do not want any more of the generations of my family lost to the truths and doctrines of the gospel!  True, some of them may not want them.  At those points, we will respect their agency.  However, their choices will be informed choices!  They will not be because they didn’t know or because their parents didn’t know.  It will be a willful rebellion on their part.
But thankfully, God is no respecter of persons.  In Exodus 20, where the Lord is giving the Ten Commandments, right after he talks about the principle of visiting the iniquity of the father upon the heads of the children, the next verse says:
copyright:  Karen Larsen photography
 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
The Lord will give knowledge and understanding to any who ask and are willing to do His will.  He desires all to return unto Him.  Even, and especially if, our parents cannot direct us to the way we should follow, as we are obedient to what we know and seeking after more, the Lord will provide.  He wants to provide, but we must do the work.  And if you are like I am, you are willing to do that and put forth that effort that you will be of that much more service to your family and to those around you!!
Have a great weekend!!  I am so excited for the Holidays!!  Yea!!

Last Sunday…

Today was an interesting day in sacrament meeting.  Sun spoke.  She did a great job!  Our second speaker struggled to find a coherent line of reasoning.  It was super hard to follow.  And our third speaker  brought up some interesting ideas that sent my brain off on a major, but enlightening, tangent.  Wanna hear it?  I thought you might.

He spoke about Alma 46, specifically, Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty.  I know!! Awesome assignment, right?!!

He kept saying that he was wondering what these verses had for us today.

Then, he read these verses to us:

 11 And now it came to pass that when Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, had heard of these dissensions, he was angry with Amalickiah.

 12 And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.

 13 And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land—

Then he said how cool it was that after Moroni had fastened on all of his armor, he bowed to pray– and that, my friends, is where my brain took off.

I recognized immediately that just like Captain Moroni, our civilization is at war too.  In some places we are participating in physical wars, but more significantly, our civilization is participating in a war of ideologies and philosophies.  We are obviously continuing the war in heaven where Lucifer declared that he would be the chosen one and return all of us to the presence of our Father.  He only wanted a few things.  He wanted all of the glory and he wanted none of us to have our agency–righteousness or wickedness would not be our choice.  Those things would be decided for us.

Read Moses 4:1-4

 And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.

 But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.

 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;

 And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.
And, just like Captain Moroni who fastened on his physical armor, the Lord asks us to fasten on our spiritual armor.  Check out Doctrine and Covenants 27:15-18:
 15 Wherefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand.

 16 Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, which I have sent mine angels to commit unto you;

 17 Taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked;

 18 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of my Spirit, which I will pour out upon you, and my word which I reveal unto you, and be agreed as touching all things whatsoever ye ask of me, and be faithful until I come, and ye shall be caught up, that where I am ye shall be also. Amen

I have this one hanging in my family room

And in Paul’s comments to the Ephesians, Chapter 6:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

I really liked this image!

And Paul, and Captain Moroni have the same responses after girding on our armor, to pray.  Moroni prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren.  Paul says that we should pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.  We should pray also, for the blessings of liberty to rest upon us and upon all people of the earth, that they may have the blessings to worship how, where, and what they may, as our 11th article of Faith states:

 11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

In Paul’s comments, it is only by taking and putting on the WHOLE armor that we will be able to withstand in the evil dayThat day, my brothers and sisters, is today.  If we are not fastening on the entire armor of God–every day, and then praying mightily for our religion, our liberties and freedoms, and for our families, just like Captain Moroni, we may not be able to spiritually withstand the evil of our day and save ourselves and our families.  And what my dear friends is our Title of Liberty that we are fighting for across the globe?  Would it not be The Family: A Proclamation to the World?

Have we not all made covenants to support and sustain those leaders who brought us this document?  Is this not the very basis for some of the major discussions and discord happening right now in our nations and even within the Church itself?  When it came out, we all thought, ‘Well, of course, I agree with that.  Why exactly do we need to spell it out?’

And now we are seeing why our Prophets and Apostles felt the Divine Hand of Inspiration leading them to spell it out.

We are the warriors.  We are the same people of the church Captain Moroni awakened when their lives and liberties and families were very much temporally on the line.  He awoke them to their duties and responsibilities and they made an oath and a covenant that they would be loyal and true to the cause or suffer death because they would not unite with their brethren.

And Moroni said to them:

 18 And he said: Surely God shall not suffer that we, who are despised because we take upon us the name of Christ, shall be trodden down and destroyed, until we bring it upon us by our own transgressions.

 19 And when Moroni had said these words, he went forth among the people, waving the rent part of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing which he had written upon the rent part, and crying with a loud voice, saying:

 20 Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them.

 21 And it came to pass that when Moroni had proclaimed these words, behold, the people came running together with their armor girded about their loins, rending their garments in token, or as a covenant, that they would not forsake the Lord their God; or, in other words, if they should transgress the commandments of God, or fall into transgression, and be ashamed to take upon them the name of Christ, the Lord should rend them even as they had rent their garments.

 22 Now this was the covenant which they made, and they cast their garments at the feet of Moroni, saying: We covenant with our God, that we shall be destroyed, even as our brethren in the land northward, if we shall fall into transgression; yea, he may cast us at the feet of our enemies, even as we have cast our garments at thy feet to be trodden under foot, if we shall fall into transgression.
They covenanted to be true to God and be obedient to His commandments or to be physically trodden down by their enemies!  We have to be just as true to our God and His commandments or we will be spiritually trodden down by our enemies—across the world, some people are being trodden down physically because of their beliefs in Christ!!  We must awaken our resolve!!  We must fight the evil of our day by waving our Title of Liberty–The Family: A Proclamation to the World!  We must hold true to those values, teach them to our children and stand by our Prophets and Apostles, who teach us the way to follow after the Lord!
We must never forget who we are, what we are fighting for, and praying for God’s help in how we wage the battle, recognizing always that we are at war, fighting for our religion, our liberties, and our families.  And we must be willing to be true to the covenants we have made!!

That is where my brain went!
Have a great day!!

Not so funny when you are sick:

I really do not mean to be neglecting my blog.  With Christmas and sickness and craziness, and seminary, I have not been able to spend enough time here.  But hopefully after Christmas, I will have a little more time and be able to share some fun things happening in our family. 

But here is the funny story for this week. 

On Thursday I went grocery shopping, because that is what I do on Thursdays, usually.  I went late, because I was starting to get sick and slow down.  Instead of doing it right away, I didn’t get out until 12:30.  By the time we got home, we had just enough time to ditch the groceries, without putting them away, and then I ran off to pick up Smiley from school.  I told Sport and Shorty to put them away.

When I walked into the house, after picking up Smiley, Spike met me at the door.  He crouched down, put both hands up under his chin in a claw-like pose, and creepily said, I ate the frosting that you bought and I unwrapped Sport’s candy cane all the way! 

Great!  Ugh!

I went into the kitchen to find all of the perishables put away, but the rest of the groceries all over the kitchen floor.  I located the frosting container and true to his word, it was open and little finger prints all throughout the frosting.  1/3 of the container was gone.  Do you know how much corn is in frosting?  A ton!

This was literally the reality of my next few days:

Spike isn’t quite this bad, but it certainly feels like this!  I LOVE Matt’s portrayal of Kyle–so true of how my children who are allergic to corn behave when they have corn.

This video makes me laugh and laugh, but only when I am not currently dealing with these true to life problems–at least at my house. 

You are only in the service of God.”  King Benjamin

Sunday, Spike will give his primary talk on that subject.  As I have been pondering on the topic to help direct Spike in his preparations, I was trying to figure out where he acts in those doctrines.

Here is our story:
We have a lovely widow neighbor who lives across the street from us.  She is amazing and super sweet.  Her heart is good!  For whatever reasons, she adores Spike.  I think part of it is that she hears him yell and scream at us when we leave the house without a kiss and a hug.  He screams until we turn around and come back to give him one.  Then he tells us that we forgot the rules, “Never leave without a hug and a kiss from Spike!”  Anyway, our neighbor Susie loves Spike.

A few weeks ago, Susie brought us some dollar store plastic silverware to put into our flower garden to keep the cats from using it as a litter box.  She gave the silverware to Spike.  He thought it was his own, so he was extremely disappointed and angry when we used it the way Susie intended for us to.  I promised him that I would get him some more.  But I rarely go to the dollar store.

This week, Susie came over because she wanted some help making her cranberry relish for Thanksgiving.  I told her I would be happy to do it for her.  She makes this awesome and amazing fresh cranberry relish and has a special tool that hooks into the kitchen aid mixer, which I do not have.  So I usually borrow her attachment and make her recipe for our family.  But this year she asked if I would do hers for her.  No big deal.  I was going to make some anyway, I would just do hers also.

When she was over, Spike told her how disappointed he was that we had used the silverware she purchased for him to put into the flower garden.  And he asked her to get him more plastic dishes.  Susie readily agreed.

Later that day, she brought him two packages of silverware, a fun bowl, paper plates, paper bowls, and some napkins.  Spike was ecstatic!!  So much so, that not long after she left, he made her two thank you notes, without any prompting.  Remember Spike is four, so his note looked like this:

When it was about time, Susie asked me again, when I was coming over to make the relish, this time.  That is when I realized, Oh, she wants some company.  Super awesome!  I will come over and we will make it together.  I got myself organized and went over.  I spent two hours over there as we worked and she fed me lunch and cleaned out several of her cupboards to give things to me.  Then she told me some of her sorrows, how sad she has been this holiday, how much she misses her husband, how difficult it is with some of the things her daughter wants and is trying to change, and how much our periodic hugs and hellos across the street mean to her.  We have done nothing extraordinary—just living our lives and being personal with our neighbors.  But our ‘normal’ behavior, has been a source of light for Susie.

Now, this story would seem to be how much Susie helps us out, because she really does!  But I think it is important, as Spike shares his talk in primary, to realize that Spike really hasn’t done much more than be a four-year-old boy, who lives across the street.  But because he is unafraid and he talks to Susie, as a person, it brings Susie joy and happiness just to watch her loud little neighbor boy across the street!!

She loved his card so much, that she told me she was going to put it up on the wall.

We just need to recognize once in a while, that sometimes, just being ourselves brings light to others.  We don’t even need to go out of our way, even though sometimes we should, to share the light we have in our lives from the gospel of Jesus Christ!!

I really love our Susie neighbor!

Take a few moments today and thank those who bring that light to you, just by being themselves!

Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Like you do, we have a few favorite recipes that make Thanksgiving Thanksgiving around here.  The first is a corn bread stuffing.  I have loved my mother’s stuffing since I was a little girl.  I have never liked any others.  A few years ago, like 20, my mother came to Thanksgiving at our house.  I asked her to make her stuffing.  While she was doing it, I said, “Really Mom?  Aren’t you doing it wrong?”

“No, this is how I always do it.”

Little did I know that in my efforts to duplicate my mother’s stuffing, I changed the recipe and I like it better!  Shhhh…..don’t tell.  So here it is:

Corn bread stuffing:

Make corn bread the night before.  I have done it from scratch, or you can just use the Jiffy Corn Bread mixes you can get at the store.  (We use three boxes, or double the recipe from scratch.)

Corn bread (already doubled):  2 C corn meal, 2 C flour, 1 C sugar, 2 TBLS baking powder, 1 tsp salt, mix up dry ingredients.  Make a well. Add 4 eggs, 1 and 2/3 C milk (almond or soy), 3/4 C oil.  Mix all ingredients well.  Pour into a greased 11×14 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Let cool.

Saute 4 celery sticks, chopped and one onion, diced in 2 TBL oil.  Crumble corn bread into a bowl.  Put in sauteed veggies, 2 raw eggs, and 1 Cup of chicken bullion (flavored with a little extra bullion).  Mix into the corn bread and wet it to your liking.  Add more broth if necessary, or less if you like it drier.  Cook it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  (If you do not cover it, it will be drier and crunchier, or to keep moist, cover it with foil).

Serve with turkey gravy…delicious!  (If you are allergic to corn, like some at my house are, you can use cream of wheat for the corn meal.  I have done that.  It is alright and works, but I like the corn meal better, obviously.)

Grandma’s Salad:

1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
2 medium avocado, cut into squares, peeled and pitted
1 can of sliced olives
Italian dressing

Mix ingredients and toss dressing into the salad.  Drew’s grandmother makes hers with romaine lettuce and adds sunflower seeds.  (Drew doesn’t like that part so we don’t use it, and he insists on iceberg lettuce.)

add olives to this and get rid of the onions

Apple Pie:
(This is seriously the best apple pie I have ever had—and I don’t like apple pie….but I love this one!)

Crust:  1/2 C Brown sugar, 1/2 C oatmeal, 1/2 tsp salt, 3/4 C melted butter, 2 C all purpose flour.  Combine all ingredients and pull one cup of crust mixture out for the toppings.  Press the rest into the pie plate.

Pie filling:  4-8 or more peeled, sliced apples–granny smith works best, 1 C. water, 1 C. sugar, 3 TBLS corn starch (I use 6 TBL of flour because of our allergies), 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp vanilla, a few dashes of cinnamon.

Peel and core apples and arrange half of them on top of crust.  Combine water, and sugar.  Bring to a boil in a sauce pan.  Dissolve cornstarch in a small amount of water until smooth–add salt.  Pour into boiling mixture, stirring constantly as mixture will thicken quickly–about 10-20 seconds.  Remove from heat.  Add vanilla and cinnamon to your liking.  Pour over half of the apples. Add remaining apples and remaining sauce.  Work over a cookie sheet so as you lose ingredients they fall onto the cookie sheet.  Add reserved topping from the crust.  Bake 55 minutes at 350 degrees.

Recipe Courtesy of Apple Hill Farms, Northern CA

These are our must haves for Thanksgiving and what I will be spending my time doing while that glorious turkey is cooking!!

Have a beautiful day tomorrow and remember to give your Thanks to the great Creator of all the Earth and for the bounties we enjoy!!

Happy Turkey day!!