Often times at the tail-end of a very long day, I find myself struggling to keep my eyes open.
Perhaps you can relate?
It doesn't matter whether I'm watching a really good movie or watching a truly fascinating show on a topic that any other time would have my full attention, I just can't seem to stop my eyes from fluttering and then finally closing, and my head from bobbing and nodding and then suddenly jerking up in fake awake-ness.
And when things get to that point, I find that there's no use in torturing myself just to try to stay awake for another few moments, so off I go to bed where I can lay my head on my cozy pillow and allow myself to be lulled into a soft slumber.
Ah, how good it feels to finally quiet my body and mind at the end of a long, busy day, and freely close my eyes and slowly drift off into (hopefully) a good night's rest.
And the human soul is no different in its needs for peace and rest.
Just as one's appetite longs to take in soft bites of warm, comforting goodness such as is found in a hot-out-of-the-oven Golden Autumn Corn Dressing with sharp cheese and fragrant herbs, perfectly puffy and cozy, the soul longs to find a loving, caring and nurturing place to rest in order to renew and rejuvenate itself, in order to keep itself available and open to receiving all that happens in life.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for reflection and gratitude for all of the twinklings of light, love, and revelation that we have in our lives; and that reflection and conscious thought for what there is, is a form of prayer which is the softest and safest place for a human soul to rest itself.
You see, prayers are just the utterances—the cries, longings and joys—of the human soul; they are those inner-most understandings and desires, those ethereal, silent murmurings that connect us to our Creator and help us to find out about who we are and what we are made of.
And the soul has opportunity to rest itself in those soft prayers when we are brave enough to look inward and search our hearts out, quieting ourselves; it gathers strength and some comfort in them when love, kindness and nurture is what it craves most.
A soft place to rest our soul is a gift that we all have, but it's a gift that we sometimes need reminding that we have.
In our connection to our Creator we find the safest, most comfy-cozy place to rest our weary souls; we find a space to close out everything that surrounds us and that is loud, and find an opportunity to get real and get authentic.
And it's in that connection, in those prayers, that we get introduced to ourselves.
My hope is that we each take some precious time to not only nurture and feed our precious bodies and minds, but to feed and rest our wonderfully amazing and intuitive souls that they can then serve not only ourselves, but others around us.
And may we all find some softness, rejuvenation, rest and understanding in this season of gratitude that we call Thanksgiving.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Golden Autumn Corn Dressing with Crispy Prosciutto, White Cheddar & Gruyere, and Fresh Thyme
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 8-10
• 1 (5 - 6 ounce) package prosciutto, chopped into small pieces
• Canola oil
• 1 large white onion, finely diced
• Black pepper
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 (16 ounce) French bread loaf
• 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 8 ounces white corn (canned or frozen and thawed), dried well with paper towels
• 1 ¾ cups chicken stock
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 2 eggs, beaten
• ½ cups grated white cheddar/gruyere blend (if you can't find the combo, use one or the other)
• ¼ cup grated asiago cheese (I had that on hand, but you can substitute parmesan if you have that)
-Preheat the oven the 375°, and lightly mist a medium-large baking dish with cooking spray.
-Place a medium size non-stick pan over medium-high heat, and add a drizzle of oil into it; once the oil is hot, add in the chopped prosciutto, and crisp it, like bacon, for about 5 minutes or so, until brown and crispy; drain on paper towel, and set aside.
-Into that same pan, with the heat on medium-high, drizzle in about 2-3 tablespoons of the oil; add in the diced onion, and saute that until golden-brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes; then, add in the two cloves of pressed garlic, and saute for about 30 seconds more, just to release the aroma of the garlic; spoon mixture into a small bowl, and set aside.
-Into a large steel or glass bowl, cube or tear up the French loaf, into bite-size pieces.
-To this add most of the crispy prosciutto, save 1 tablespoon, which you will reserve to use as garnish; also add in the onion/garlic mixture, the parsley, 1 teaspoon of the fresh thyme leaves, the Italian seasoning, ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and the corn, and toss the ingredients together to lightly combine them.
-Next, drizzle in the chicken stock, the melted butter, and the beaten eggs, and also add in 1cup of the grated white cheddar/gruyere cheese and the grated asiago; using your hands, mix everything together very well, until completely moistened and well combined.
-Turn the dressing mixture out into your prepared baking dish, and press it down with your hands to make it even and flat.
-Sprinkle in the remaining ½ cup of grated white cheddar/gruyere cheese, and cover with foil; bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncover, and bake an additional 15 minutes until golden and puffy.
-Garnish with the 1 tablespoon of reserved prosciutto, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves.