FOOD FOR THOUGHT, by Minister Hugh Bradford

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. — Colossians 3:15

Thankfulness creates gratitude, which generates contentment that causes peace.

Soulful Cornbread Dressing, by Leslie J. Ansley

dress1I have no idea how Mom made her dressing. I know she started with Pepperidge Farm breadcrumbs and cubes, then she’d bake a pan of cornbread, crumble it and mix it in. There was meat from the turkey neck and she’d cook extra giblets. My job was sautéing the celery and onions. Broth and drippings were involved, not sure about eggs.

Somehow, though, I’ve managed to make pretty good dressing. I’ll add meat from turkey necks or chicken, but I save all the giblets for the gravy. (Confession: I don’t use the hearts. They’ve freaked me out all my life. One year I slipped all the hearts into the dog’s bowl, but got busted because the dog didn’t want them, either.)

I don’t use a recipe, but this one comes close to what I try to do, and it sounds delicious. Enjoy.



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

Other ingredients needed:

  • 2 lbs turkey necks
  • 1 lb chicken gizzards, or turkey giblets
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp ground sage
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp parsley flakes
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp dehydrated onions
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 2 medium sized sweet pepper, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups chicken
  • or turkey broth
  • ½ cup butter, melted


Start off with the Cornbread:

  1. In a large bowl, add in the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Mix or sift the ingredients together.
  2. Now add in 2 eggs, the vegetable oil, and the buttermilk. Whisk everything until well combined.
  3. Grease a 13 x 9 pan (or whatever you have) and pour the cornbread batter in the dish.
  4. Bake the cornbread on 400 F for 30- 35 minutes.
  5. Let the cornbread cool down.

The meat:

  1. Before anything, make sure you carefully clean the turkey necks and gizzards. Be sure to remove the membranes from the turkey necks.
  2. Season the Turkey necks with 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp onion powder, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp minced onion, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tbsp ground sage, ½ tsp ground black pepper, and 1 tsp salt. Season the gizzards/giblets the same way.
  3. Oil a bake dish and place the turkey necks on one side of the dish, and the gizzards on the other.
  4. Pour the chicken or turkey broth into the bake dish along with the turkey necks and gizzards.
  5. Cover the dish, and place it in the oven on 350 F, for 1 hour or until the meat is nice and tender.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Building the stuffing:

  1. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil ( or vegetable oil) into a medium sized pan. Turn the heat to medium, and add in the chopped onions and peppers. Cook the vegetables until they softened, then remove from the heat.
  2. In a large bowl, or dish crumble the cornbread. Add in the onions, and peppers, and fold in.
  3. Remove the turkey meat from the bones, and add it along with the cornbread and peppers. Now dice the gizzards/giblets, and add them along with the other ingredients. Fold in.
  4. Pour the broth, from the bake dish that you cooked the turkey necks and gizzards in, into the dressing mixture.
  5. Add in two large eggs, and stir in.
  6. Last but not least pour in ½ cup melted butter.
  7. Mix until everything is well combined, then place the dressing into a well greased dish.
  8. Smooth out the dressing, then cover it with foil.
  9. Bake the dressing in the oven on 350 F for about 40 to 45 minutes.
  10. Remove the dressing from of the oven, and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Go for the Gold, by Leslie J. Ansley

This year, I’m keeping Thanksgiving as simple as possible. No guests, just immediate family. I wasn’t even going to decorate, but then I came across these photos and fell in love with the idea of doing everything in gold.

It’s easy: A can of spray paint, for starters. I like Krylon’s metallic gold because it’s really bright and Christmas-y, but for an antique gold, brass or copper look, check out Rust-oleum’s line of metallic spray paints. One can should be plenty.

And it’s cheap: Pick up pine cones and interesting twigs – with or without berries or seed pods – from your yard or near a park. You can also spray paint real leaves. Dollar stores have fake leaves and, this time of year, stems with holly berries. Pick up a small pumpkin or a couple of gourds from the grocery store to complete your design.

Make sure everything is clean and dry before spray painting. I have a big tarp that I spread out on the garage floor before painting anything, but if it’s gone missing, I’ll spread out a couple of those dollar-store plastic tablecloths.

When you’re done, add a couple of candles or tealights.

“What I Love About the Holidays”

by Evangelist Bonita Womack

belk“Every year at Thanksgiving, we looked forward to getting together with my Mom and my siblings, along with nieces and nephews.  We normally made our way to Mom’s house on Wednesday evening, and we’d all gather in the kitchen and begin to cook and reminisce about old times.  The most important thing we did was spend time together.

“Each of us cooked our favorite dishes.  My Mom used to do the turkey and dressing and her famous cream cheese pound cake – she would actually sell her cakes because people wanted them so much – but as her health declined she would sit and give us orders and direction as we all filled the kitchen.  My sister Darlene perfected the pound cake and the dressing, and we would always fuss about who was going to clean the chicken because my Mom had us convinced that we had to spend a lot of time making sure it was free of any fat and stuff. J When we got finished cleaning the chicken, it always tasted different from the way it did when it was fried.

“The last thing we did before going to bed was put the stuffed turkey in the oven around 4 a.m.

“On Thanksgiving Day, we would all tell something we were thankful for before we would eat. After the meal we would rest, then reminisce some more while pulling out the card table to play Spades. We used to play for hours. That was before they started opening stores on Thanksgiving Day.

“One of the most memorable times I had with my sisters was when Laquisha talked me into going to stand in a line at Belk’s in the freezing cold, trying to get a $1,000 gift card. We kept taking turns going to the car to warm up. My sister Renee brought us blankets, coffee and chairs because it was so cold. We stood in line all night to win that $1,000 gift card, only to end up getting ones worth $5 each!

“But I would not change a thing, because I was spending time with my family and making memories. Now that my Mom is gone, we have to get together and make new memories.”

What do YOU love about the holidays?

Send us your thoughts in written or video form and we’ll share it right here. Email your story to Leslie Ansley. Please include a photo if you have one. If you have a short video to share, upload it to Leslie’s Dropbox via this link.  Pleasant Holidays continues through Sunday, December 25.