I had to report for Jury Duty this morning but was dismissed early. I could have gone into work, but decided to blow it off. (Shh! Don't tell the boss!) I had already prepared, workwise, to have the day off. I made sure my office was in order and that I was prepared for Monday. And besides, I don't like to walk into an office that is already humming. I like being the first one in.
Each morning, I arrive early, open the gate, unlock the doors, turn off the alarm, turn on the lights, adjust the thermostat, make the coffee. I put my lunch in the fridge, turn on my computer, check my email, and prepare for my work day. All while it is still and quiet. By the time my co-workers begin to arrive, I am well into the day.
Today, I decided to come home and give my blog some love! I miss my blog and my blog friends. I never dreamed my job would take so much of my energy. Three evenings, after work, I go to the gym. Every night I cook dinner so we can enjoy delicious and healthful meals each day. I take my lunch to work every day. All these things are very important to me.
After dinner, and after the kitchen is packed away for the night, I sit down in front of my computer, in my very comfortable office chair, with the intention of blogging . . . and promptly fall asleep.
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We had, for varying reasons, a very quiet Thanksgiving. I did not bake a turkey, but rather a ham. And I fashioned my menu much like a brunch. Among other things, I made a Cheese Grits Souffle, Angel Biscuits,
Tomato Gravy, and an old fashion Sweet Potato Pie.
I did not make my usual Southern family favorite dressing. Instead I made this recipe from the November, 2006 edition of Bon Appetit. I have made this recipe a few times before, usually for New Year's. It is very moist and flavorful and I think it goes especially well with ham.
Cornbread Dressing with Fresh and Dried Fruit
Buttery cornbread (recipe below)
1/2 cup butter
4 cups chopped onions
4 cups chopped, unpeeled apples
2 cups chopped celery with leaves
24 pitted prunes, diced
12 dried apricot halves, diced
1 Tbsp. sage
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 cup chicken broth
Cut the cornbread into 1-inch cubes. Spread onto a sheet pan and bake in a 250 degree oven, to dry out some, while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Melt butter, in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and onions and saute about 10 minutes, until beginning to soften. Scrape the vegetables into a large bowl. Add prunes, apricots, sage, salt, pepper, and thyme. Add the cornbread cubes and toss until evenly combined.
Pour mixture into a well buttered 13x9 inch baking dish; pour broth evenly over. Place into a preheated 375 degree oven. Bake until heated through and the top begins to form a crust, about 40 minutes.
1 1/3 cups coarse-ground yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
9 Tbsp. melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and blend together thoroughly, but don't over mix. Pour into a well buttered 9x5x3-inch loaf pan and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes then turn bread out onto a rack until completely cooled.
Delicious the next day topped with an egg.