Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving 2015 - Reflections & Nana's Apple Sausage Stuffing

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Yes, today is American Thanksgiving.  Living in France means that we do not celebrate traditionally here as it's not a French holiday.  Today is just like any other Thursday - work day, school day - normal day.   However, if you have been a follower of my blog, we have created our own traditional way of celebrating in France.  I prepare a Thanksgiving meal on Saturday evening and invite friends and other families to join us.  Often, we have shared our table with French friends who have not had the pleasure of feasting and enjoying a Thanksgiving meal. Food is slightly different here, but I'm now able to find everything that we are use to and I'm able to serve a traditional meal with our favorite recipes. It's a learning experience for our friends but one that they have all really enjoyed.  This year is no different as we welcome 2 other families and a couple friends of my girls...I will be setting a table for 17.

As I take this moment to reflect, I am thankful for my girls and great friends here in Bordeaux. This past year has not always been easy and has definitely had it's moments of adjustment. However, I am grateful for a wonderful network of friends here - both expats and French.  I was just thinking this morning how much more fluent I have become in French - how much more comfortable I am in starting a conversation, and feeling confident.  Yes, I've lived here for four years now, but when you speak mostly English in your house and at your job, it takes longer to be more at ease.  I am truly grateful for French friends who have been patient with me and who have encouraged me to speak more.  I cherish these relationships from the bottom of my heart.

For my girls, I feel blessed that they continue to enjoy their life here in Bordeaux and at this point are naturally bilingual.  I'm grateful to have given them this gift of living abroad.  They have a more worldly  perspective and are coming to understand how different cultures see and understand the world differently.
After the events of a couple of weeks ago, they are also asking more questions in trying to understand world events and why things like this happen.  I'm happy for their curiosity and continue to educate them on making good decisions.

I'll keep this post short - but wanted to wish all my American friends and readers a very Happy Thanksgiving day - everyone is in our thoughts this special day and throughout this upcoming holiday season.

One final note - I am sharing my family's Turkey stuffing recipe below.  I had written the following post a couple of years ago, but thought it would be fun to share again for new readers.  Enjoy and even if your not American - in the spirit of the holiday take a moment, count your blessings and reflect on what you are grateful for in your life.  

Re post from November 2013
Our Thanksgiving Tables last year

It's almost Celebration Time!!

Thanksgiving is just around the bend. Here in France, it is not a holiday - it's just a regular Thursday - workday & school day.  But that doesn't stop me from celebrating one of my favorite American Holidays!!

Yummy farm Turkey and cranberry sauce
Obviously, it's a bit different here, my family is all back over in the States and I do miss that traditional time of getting together with my brothers and their families.  It was one of those times of year when all the cousins came together from afar and enjoyed a great weekend!  I have to say - it's these moments that living abroad gets a bit hard - we all get a bit homesick.

But new place, new traditions.  For the first time last year, I prepared a real Thanksgiving dinner and it was so fun to celebrate this holiday with our traditional favorites! It was also fun to introduce it to some French friends who had heard about this great feast but had never experienced it.  Again, this year, we will be sharing our Thanksgiving table with French friends and celebrating everything that we are grateful for!

I wanted to share my favorite family recipe for this holiday!  (Thank you mom!!).  This Stuffing recipe is a combination of 2 family recipes.  My mother combined her mother's stuffing recipe and her mother's in law's stuffing recipe to create this delicious dish.  I have always enjoyed it over the years and every year I look forward to having it at Thanksgiving!  It's been shared with many guests around our table - and it's always well liked!  I, of course,  will be passing it down to my girls. I have therefore named it, Nana's Apple-Sausage Stuffing  - for my daughters!   It can be made spicy or mild - depending on sausage and addition of hot pepper sauce.
The Famous stuffing before it went into the bird

1 pound sausage (for spicier version- 1/2 mild, 1/2 hot sausage)
1 pkg whole kernel cooked corn- or canned corn
6 apples (chopped, peeled)
10 cups dry bread crumbs (if you can't buy dry unseasoned bread crumbs, cut up some bread in cubes, bake it to dry-Use French bread)
1 1/4cups beef broth
2 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup sugar (to taste)
5 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
3/4 cup milk
Hot pepper sauce (optional-amount depending on taste)
Mix all together in a big pan, then put inside the turkey.  Extra stuffing can be place in a pan and baked separately.

For a 18 pound turkey, which should be enough for 11-12 people; you can bake it separately in casserole dish; maybe cover it so it doesn't crust on top.
All stuffed and ready to cook! - Extra cooks separately
Last year was the first year I made it here in France - luckily had most of the ingredients.  My mother sent me poultry seasoning - & I had to make my own bread crumbs.  (Side note, Use French baguette for bread crumbs, I thought it would be too hard once dried, but the softer bread disappeared with all the moist ingredients)  but other than that - DELICIOUS!! 

So here's to you - Mom - Thank you for creating such a special recipe and one that will be passed down for generations to come - I hope!!  

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