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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Thanksgiving Is Just Days Away

By Sherrie Norris

We certainly have much to be thankful for as we reflect upon our blessings this year and a chance to celebrate our bounty with loved ones in the coming days.

Always falling on the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving was first celebrated in 1621.

History tells us that Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony appointed a day for feasting and for giving thanks for all that had been bestowed upon the colonists.

The first Thanksgiving Proclamation was issued by President George Washington in 1789. More and more states soon began to celebrate the holiday, and in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln set the last Thursday of November as the official Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving has continued as one of the true American holidays — a time for gatherings among families and friends, and, as we all know, a time for good food.

Today, most American cooks feel compelled to showcase their skills centered around the turkey. Accounts of the earliest recorded Thanksgivings include turkey, as well as roast pork, goose, deer, and seafood, as main entrees.

Sweet potatoes, homemade stuffing, gravy, Brussels sprouts, green beans, cranberries, pumpkin pie and similar dishes continue to receive honorable mention on the holiday menu in most homes.

I have discovered the easiest and most efficient way to prepare a turkey is to place one thawed bird into an appropriate sized purchased baking bag and follow directions. It might be cheating to some, but the results will ease any pangs of guilt. Your turkey will be moist and delicious, I promise.

There is no substitute for homemade dressing, or stuffing, as it is often referred to, but I do have a simple, delectable recipe that will make it look like you worked for hours.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!


Cranberry Waldorf Salad

1½ cups chopped cranberries

1 cup chopped red apple

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup seedless green grapes, halved

1/3 cup raisins

¼ cup chopped walnuts

2 Tbsp. sugar

¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

1 (8-oz.) container vanilla yogurt

Combine chopped cranberries, apple, celery, grapes, raisins, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and yogurt. Toss to coat. Cover and chill 2 hours.

Stir just before serving; garnish with “frosted” cranberries — those that have been dipped in water, rolled in sugar and set aside to dry.


Sweet Potato Balls

1 (40 oz.) can sweet potatoes, drained

¼ cup butter or margarine

Salt to taste

3 cups crushed cornflakes

¾ cup real maple syrup

10 large marshmallows

Drain sweet potatoes and put into large mixing bowl. Mash the potatoes with butter or margarine. Salt to taste. Hand pat mixture into 3-inch diameter balls. Roll in crushed cornflakes and put into 9 x 13-inch greased baking dish. Pour maple syrup evenly over balls. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. The last 15 minutes, put a marshmallow on each ball.


Just Like Granny’s Stuffing

4 cups crumbled bread (can be combination of cornbread, loaf bread and packaged stuffing mix)

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

About ½ cup butter or margarine

1 to 2 Tbs. rubbed dried sage (may need more, depending on personal preference)

2 eggs, beaten

About 2 cups chicken broth, or enough to moisten mixture well


Sauté onion and celery in butter; combine with breadcrumbs, sage and egg in a large bowl. Add enough broth to moisten mixture and hold together. Stuff turkey or bake separately in large pan for about 30-45 minutes.