Friday, November 1, 2013

My Famous Stuffing

Hello out there!
YAY, I managed to only go a month this time before posting again. I'm gonna do once a month for a while I think, and when I get into that habit, maybe I can start adding more posts. We are now entering the holiday season, and therefore I thought it was high time to share my #1 secret holiday recipe. So, I'm not one to brag, but my friends tell me that I make the best stuffing ever. I would never say that myself, except that my friends have said so. So I'm only saying what I've heard from my friends.(Emma, anyone?) Anyways. I took these pictures two Thanksgivings ago, and now am finally using them. I hope it works in the written form. I always just eyeball stuff, so it's hard for me to put the recipe down on paper. Ok, here we go.

Step 1: The base of your stuffing is apples, onions and Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing.
Coarsely chop 4 apples, 2 medium onions and buy yourself a bag of stuffing.

Step 2: chop several stocks of celery, though I don't always use celery in my stuffing. Those happen to be my grandmother's beautiful hands chopping my celery for me. I won't get to see her this Thanksgiving or Christmas, which will be the first time in several years. 

Step 3: Place onions apples and celery in a large skillet on medium/high heat with a little olive or grapeseed oil. Have another skillet prepared because once you add the stuffing, you may need to split it between two pans.

Step 4: Meanwhile, moisten half the bag of herb stuffing with some water. It will take about 2 cups or more to really get all of it wet.

Step 5: Go back and check on your pan!!! Quick! Oh ok, its doing great. When the onions start getting translucent, add the moist stuffing to the pan. The picture on the bottom is post-stuffing. At this point you may have to split it between two pans. Turn the heat down to medium. Continue to stir.

Step 6: Now comes the delicious part. Pour half a pint of REAL HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM over the top of the pan full of stuffing. Go ahead, just DO it! Mix it in to the stuffing, and turn the heat off.

Step 7: Sprinkle generously with salt, ground Thyme, Garlic powder, Dill, Poultry Seasoning, just whatever good herbs you have on hand. Then give it a little dash of nutmeg.

Make this your own! I decided to add a little dollop of fig preserves to mix things up a little

Step 8: After all those luscious herbs are mixed in and the house smells heavenly, pour the mixture into two medium sized casserole dishes. Press into the dish. Wow, i'm getting hungry for some right now! 

 Step 9: Now, the final touches! Take about 2 1/2 cups of water and put it in a small pot. Add 1 packed cup of brown sugar and 1 1/2 cups of pecans and bring to a boil. After boiling for about 5 minutes or so, add 2 big tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with a little water. Bring to a boil until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat.

 Step 10: FINAL STEP PEOPLE! Pour the caramelized pecans over the top of your stuffing. Admire it, smell it, sigh deeply with satisfaction. Now, place those casseroles into a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the best stuffing you'll ever eat, so my friends say.

My mother insisted that we take a picture with me holding the final product. Looking at this picture has just made me homesick. I will miss Christmas at home this year, but I must say that I am excited to have my family here in my new home. 

Well, I certainly hope it turns  out for you, and if not, shoot me an email or a comment with your questions and I'll try to help you out. I hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving, and I'll be back with some more holiday posts. Blessings! ~ Maria Goff. 

Best Stuffing Ever

4 apples coarsly chopped
2 medium onions diced
1/2-3/4 bag of Pepperidge farm herbed stuffing
1 cup of chopped celery(optional)
2-3 TBS of olive or grapeseed oil
1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream
Salt to taste
Garlic power, thyme, other herbs to taste
Dash of nutmeg
1 1/2 cups of pecan halves
2 1/2 cups of water
1 packed c of brown sugar
2 TBS corn starch


  1. Place apples, onions and celery in a large skillet with olive oil and sautee on medium-high heat until onions are translucent
  2. Moisten half the bag of stuffing with 2ish cups of water, and add to the skillet. Continue to cook while stirring the stuffing in. You may have to split between two skillets. 
  3. Pour half a pint of whipping cream over the top of the stuffing and heat  while stirring a few minutes longer. Add salt and herbs and remove from heat. 
  4. Pour into two casserole dishes and press into the dishes. 
  5. Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil, add pecan halves. Boil for 5 minutes.
  6. Mix cornstarch with a little water and add to pecans. Continue to boil until thickened. Pour over casseroles. 
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until hot through. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

We Made It!

September. The official first month of my favorite season, the bane of school children, and the month that everything changed.

When I say that everything changed, I don't mean that almost everything changed, or that it was a big change in my life, but no big deal, no I mean quite literally that absolutely everything in my life changed. I'm telling you, NOTHING about Texas is the same as North Carolina, especially the BBQ.

Now as I reach the one year mark, I wanted to take some time and reflect upon my first year of married life. 

First of all, I still miss home. In fact, I think I miss it more now than I did when I first moved here. I miss it more now, because looking back on the year I can see how uninvolved I am now in my parents lives, my brothers and my best friend's life. I miss it more now, because I can appreciate now what I had because I no longer have it. I think I will always miss home. I'm just a sentimental person, and our family is so close, it is hard to realize that their lives are no longer a part of mine. It's part of life though isn't it? I have to leave my family and cleave to my husband as we form our own home and our own family.

Our own family. That has been the biggest struggle of this year. My husband and I have hit the one year mark of our marriage, and the dreaded one year without conception mark. It is painful, even now, to think about it, and to write about it. Never did I think that I would ever face this predicament. God has seen us through. I have had some very sad days, and a very heavy heart, but still God is good. He has a reason for withholding conception, and we just have to trust Him completely.

I have learned many lessons this year, through this trial, but also just in general:

Lesson 1: 
 I have learned, this year, that trusting, hoping, and having faith does not necessarily mean happiness. I can trust, and have faith, and still be sad, still ache, still long and yearn. If I let those emotions turn into anger, bitterness, and cynicism, then my heart is sinful.

OH! How I want a child of my own! But OH, how much more I want God. Sometimes it's the most painful things in your life that drive you to Him.

Lesson 2:
Never have I seen how much I need Him more than I have this year. Never have I so often faced my weaknesses and my sins.
And the more clearly you can see the depths of your sin, the more clearly you will see the glory in the cross! 

Lesson 3:
I have learned this year just how selfish I can be, and just how ungrateful I can be. Gratefulness is and contentedness were hard lessons to learn. But not so hard when you see what wonderful blessings you have. Speaking of sister and her husband and their children.


Living down the street from Evangeline has been just a blessing and a gift. God knew I would need some family to get me through the loneliness of moving to a new town and marrying my complete opposite. He knew I would need children, almost like my own, to comfort me through the difficulties of infertility. He knows all my needs, and how graciously He has provided. I have enjoyed my sister and her children so very much, and it has been the perfect comfort for me through some hard times.

My quiet time has been so important. I am so thankful that we have had a solid routine this year and that together we were able to read through the entire Bible. I could not persevere through change, conflict, and waiting without God's word reminding me that He is good, He is faithful, He loves me, and He is ENOUGH.

My husband is the greatest blessing of all. He is patient, so so patient. He is kind and understanding. He is tender. He has been there to listen, to hold me, to scratch my back in the middle of the night and to correct my bad behavior and praise the good. He has challenged me, and he has not coddled me in my sin. He has had high expectations of me and has made me see Christ more clearly. 

If I have learned anything this year, it's that my husband is an ever present, tangible reminder of the gospel. The more I get to know him, the more I am assured that I not only married the right person, but was given a gift beyond all expectations, that I can never deserve. He may be quiet and understated, but he has more passion for the gospel than anyone I've ever known. And so I celebrate. I celebrate the day that this amazing man kissed me on the lips for the first time, and made me his own. How proud I am to be his. How glad I am to belong. How blessed I am to spend my life serving Bruce.

I leave you with one piece of advice to engaged or newlywed girls:
TAKE ALL THOSE SILLY EXPECTATIONS INGRAINED INTO YOUR PSYCHE BY ROMANTIC BOOKS AND MOVIES AND THROW THEM IN THE GARBAGE! He's not going to read you poetry by firelight or save your life in the rain, but he will take out the trash, and he will stay up at night and listen to you, and he will hold you while you cry, and he will dance with you even when everything in him loathes it. Being married is the best. Enjoy it!

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Waiting Game

Every woman, every person rather, has their little hopes and expectations. One woman waits for the perfect beau, the other for a black gown and mortar board cap. Some dream of adventures in foreign lands, still others of comforting the cries of orphans.

My dreams and expectations seem to change quite a bit from year to year, though there have been some that have stayed constant. At one time in my life I thought i'd be a famous  writer. Some time later, I thought I would be a missionary in the third world, caring for orphans most likely. I thought I might be a teacher and someday a wife. I longed to be a wife. The amount of time that I waited for this in my life seems like forever. I feel like I waited more than half my life for that day in September. I'm a wife now. I find myself living the dreams I once had of keeping house and taking care of a dear man. It was worth the wait, and now the waiting is done. Right?


There is another dream I have; one that I have carried with me as long as I carried my dream of wifehood. my dream of motherhood. I've been taking care of other peoples children since I was thirteen, and have loved every minute. Now I am married and my arms ache for one who resembles me and my love. I yearn for a wee one who belongs to me and comes from my own flesh.  I took it for granted that my own would just come along right away. I assumed that three our four months into marriage I'd find myself "with child." Not so. Here I am 8 months later, looking for every excuse I can find for why I'm still barren.
    "Bruce was on antibiotics for a while, that probably didn't help." "I wasn't really tracking very well the first    
    few months." "Well i'm a very small woman, maybe that has to do with it." "Some people just take this   

Suddenly as I find myself facing that time of the month again, I find that there are no more excuses. It seems painfully clear that God simply does not will us to have children right now. The question cowering in the back of my brain, trembling and to scared to even materialize itself is, will it EVER be His will?

 Bruce was not sick this month. It was a textbook month for us. So as the time draws near, many feelings flood my heart. I dread the results, and yet I can't hardly wait for them. I'm constantly looking at my belly in the mirror wondering if it looks different. I'm constantly analyzing my body and trying to decide if anything really feels different. One day I think maybe I'm a little nauseated, the next day I'm a little extra tired. Then I throw it all aside and bitterly exclaim that it won't matter because I'm probably not pregnant anyways. Then five minutes later I'm noting that my dreams have been more strange than usual. 

So I wait, I wait for my fertile time, then I wait for enough time to pass so I can take a test, then I agonize over when exactly to take a test, then I'm disappointed and the whole waiting cycle starts over again. I'm tired of waiting. I'm so weary of wondering and hoping and not knowing. Then a verse came to mind. 

"They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength, they will mount up on wings like eagles. They will run and not be weary, they will walk and not be faint." 

What's He talking about? I am WEARY! Then I noticed that it didn't say that those who wait on conception will renew their strength. It didn't say that those who wait on a husband will renew their strength. It said that those who wait ON THE LORD will renew their strength. It occurred to me that this whole life that God has given us is nothing but one big waiting game. But what are we waiting for really? If we are constantly waiting on the things we think will give us earthly satisfaction we will just continue to wear ourselves out. If we wait on JESUS though, He gives us strength. He sustains, and He satisfies, like nothing else will. 

So this month I think I will let that dreaded day come and go and whatever the results, I will remember who I'm really waiting on, and look to Him for strength and renewal to keep the faith and keep trucking on through the next month, and the next, and the next, and the next....