I am so very blessed to have many friends who are wonderful cooks. Judy Purcell is one of them. I know you will love her perspective and recipes as much as I do! I asked her to let us in on some thoughts and great recipes. You will enjoy-- be blessed!
I love to eat as much as I love to cook, so food-centric celebrations like Thanksgiving are a real treat. Browsing magazines and food blogs for the latest tips, or rewriting the menu to reward each guest at our table, is a favorite pastime. It makes my soul sing to share delicious food in the midst of conversation and laughter with family and friends. As much as I relish preparing the Thanksgiving table, it is recounting back to God the abundant blessings in my life which prepares my heart for thankful-giving. Not just gratitude for what I hold in my hand, but the joy of being able to share it with someone else.
Recently, I looked up the definition of thanksgiving. The word that jumped out was act—the act of giving thanks—which goes beyond expressing thankfulness merely with words. It implies action.
According to Merriam-Webster, thanksgiving is:
1: the act of giving thanks 2: a prayer expressing gratitude 3: a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness"
This resonates with me because I know that personally, I am more likely to give when I am thankful, and more likely to be thankful when I give.
Sharing our abundance is a tangible act of expressing gratitude for all we have. As Thanksgiving Day approaches, may our thankfulness show in our giving, which transcends a single day and reaches into every day thereafter.
Practical ways to make giving an act of thanks this Thanksgiving ...
Charity begins at home so as you host and prepare the turkey this year, consider making two. Two? Yes, one to cook for your table, and one the day *before* Thanksgiving so leftovers can be prepared in advance. As nice as it is to be a guest at Thanksgiving, it can be disappointing to not have the benefit of a turkey sandwich the next day. So before anyone even arrives, fill disposable containers with turkey and anything else you could make an extra batch of, so you can send some home with your guests. They will be delighted, leaving you free to debone the other turkey at your leisure. No need to stop there, send along the leftovers of their favorites, like pie, rolls, and potatoes too. An invitation to a neighbor, co-worker, or friend who would otherwise be alone meets a need far beyond a good meal. We once hosted a father and family while his wife was serving in the military overseas. It was fun to have young children at the table again and his relief not having to manage the holiday alone was apparent. Just about every table has room for one more. Local outreach organizations provide easy ways to give and serve. Though their need for volunteers and donations are year-round, they always appreciate the extra hands during the holidays. If you are not sure who is serving the needy in your city, simply type, "serving the needy in _______" (insert the name of your city) into a Google search and check out the list of options. Planning to shop the sales on Black Friday? The paper promises to be as bloated with ads as we are with turkey dinner. As you browse the aisles, consider grabbing a bargain for Operation Christmas Child or Toys for Tots. Go even further, invite your dinner guests to pitch-in and make it a group project.
I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusement, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our giving does not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say it is too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot because our commitment to giving excludes them." —C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity
It just wouldn’t be right to talk about Thanksgiving without sharing a favorite family recipe. May your holidays be filled with thankful giving!
Savory Sweet Potatoes by Judy at Savoring Today
- 3 large sweet potatoes -- unpeeled, scrubbed & cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil -- melted
- dried rosemary -- coarsely chopped or ground
- dried thyme
- dried oregano
- sea salt and pepper
- 8 ounces bacon -- cut into 1/4 inch strips (Coleman is a good nitrite-free brand)
- 6 ounces blue cheese -- crumbled
Preheat oven to 425°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with coconut oil until well coated, then sprinkle each herb, salt, and pepper over potatoes and toss until evenly coated--the amount will be a matter of preference. Arrange in a single layer on the lined baking sheet without crowding individual pieces so sweet potatoes brown evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes until sweet potatoes are golden brown. (Check potatoes midway through and stir to promote even browning.) Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and set aside until potatoes are done. Once the potatoes are done, remove from the oven and transfer to a baking dish so that cubes form a one inch layer in the bottom of the dish and are very close together. Sprinkle a layer of blue cheese over the potatoes and then a layer of crumbled bacon. Return to the oven for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve hot.
Judy is a writer and home cook with a passion for good food and healthy living. She believes great food goes beyond flavor—it fosters health and relationship, beginning with her own family. She shares their love of food through her blog, Savoring Today, which is dedicated to connecting family and friends with healthy, delicious recipes. You can connect with Judy at www.savoringtoday.com or on her Face Book page at www.facebook.com/SavoringToday