Delicious holiday dishes like a savory herb stuffing are abundantly full of all sorts of scrumptious tidbits that can make an occasion more special and meaningful than imagined; and life, with its opportunity for abundant overflow, can be the same.
It is not necessarily the easiest thing in the world for me to step out into life with arms open and outstretched; to step out in faith, and expect for it to meet (or even exceed) my efforts and rain abundance down upon me.
This concept of living “as if” I'm already experiencing great abundance, be it in the physical or spiritual realm, requires a real relinquishment; because I'm someone who, more often than not, tends to turn more comfortably to what I can readily see around me as a reality, simply because it's the obvious, and it's there and happening.
But because of my relationship with my Creator, and the fact that I feel no doubt at all that there are amazing and miraculous things going on “behind the scenes” of life that are meant to help me to move forward, I've never been content and comfortable with getting my assurance from what only my eyes can behold.
Lately I've had a real longing to step out in faith and to see just what life could be like if I allowed myself to dream and think “big”, without any reservations, putting in all the effort that I possibly can from my end, and then watching those efforts be multiplied.
And having recently decided to take that step out and to open my arms wide, expecting that sweet rain of abundance to come down upon me, I can tell you that I've experienced first hand that those efforts are, indeed, multiplied, and quite generously.
Our Creator is there, ready and willing, to give more than one could ever hope for or imagine, and in ways that one could never imagine, if that quiet little decision is made on our part to practice that tough little doozy called “faith” and couple it with desire plus effort.
What a lovely little equation indeed!
And of course that doesn't mean that life opens up instantly; it does, however, begin to provide little clues that one is moving in the right direction, little “winks” that sustain and keep one going, and that can be exactly what is needed when the journey is ultimately a life-long one.
For me it's uncanny to be experiencing abundant overflow and Divine “help” right after a period of time when the decision was made to share more deeply what our Creator has given me to share, and to take the first steps of faith by trusting Him to provide the direction, guidance, and courage needed in pursuing the work of my life.
It doesn't mean that difficult times won't come, or that my experience will be free of opposition or adversity; frankly, I'll most likely experience more, on some level.
But it simply means that there is help available for me to take hold of, and that life rejoices in the opportunity to meet me where I am and to shower those gifts abundantly upon me that I need in just the right quantities and at just the right time so that I may be the most effective human I can be.
I'm grateful that I am required to take a step out into the unknown before any answers are revealed to me, because that, ultimately, is real freedom.
And I'm grateful for the abundant overflow that there is to be found in life, if I have the courage to go after and claim the dreams of my life.
And so in this season of gratitude and thanksgiving, I thought it would be fitting to offer up a savory little stuffing that is abundantly overflowing with delicious little tidbits, ones meant to be relished and enjoyed, like sweetly caramelized leeks and crisp, smoky bacon.
It is an offering that may require a little stepping out of the comfort zone to try, but will yield more nourishment and enjoyment than can be imagined!
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Savory Herb Stuffing with Smoky Bacon and Caramelized Leeks
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 8
• Avocado oil (or other variety)
• 8 slices of bacon (uncooked), chopped into small bits
• 2 leeks (white and pale green parts only), washed and quartered, and sliced thinly
• 3 ribs celery, diced finely
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 cup corn kernels (can be frozen and thawed)
• 1 (16 ounce) loaf soft, French bread
• 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh sage leaves
• 1 tablespoons chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• 2 cups warm chicken stock
• 6 tablespoons melted butter
• 2 eggs, whisked
• 1 ½ cups grated white cheddar, divided use
• ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
-Preheat your oven to 375°, and lightly mist a medium-large baking dish with cooking spray.
-Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 1-2 tablespoons of the oil; once hot, add in the chopped bacon and fry until crisp; then, add in the leeks and the celery, stir, and allow those to sauté together with the bacon for about 5-7 minutes, or until the leeks and celery begin to become golden-brown and slightly caramelized.
-Add in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic (about 30 seconds or so), add in the corn, and stir to combine; turn off heat, and spoon into a bowl to cool slightly.
-Into a large bowl, tear the French bread up into small, bite-size pieces; add to it the chopped sage, parsley, Italian seasoning, and thyme leaves; next, add in the sautéed vegetables with the bacon, along with the warm chicken stock, the melted butter, and the whisked eggs, plus the salt and black pepper, and using your hands (my favorite method!), or a spoon, mix everything together until well combined.
-Add in 1 cup of the grated cheddar, plus the parmesan, and mix that in.
-Spoon the stuffing mixture into your prepared baking dish, and sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of the grated cheddar over top; cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes; then, remove the foil, and bake another 15 minutes, until golden on top and lightly puffed.