Thanksgiving and a chance to win a cookbook!

Cooking & Such by Sherry Gore

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Update: There were over two hundred wonderful participants in this “Win a copy of Taste of Pinecraft by Sherry Gore.” The winner is Sandra Stover! Congratulations, Sandra!


The screen door slams for what seems like the hundredth time as my children brush past the blooming yellow mums, dashing in and out, hopeful for a little taste of something tantalizing from my kitchen.

Later, tummies are stuffed with turkey and trimmings, and the children’s play has wound down to a slower pace. They’ve gathered on the braided-rug-covered floor, taking turns playing checkers, toy cars, and Dutch Blitz. The aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg mixed with creamy pumpkin filling wafts through the air as the oven timer signals the pie has baked to perfection.

Reflecting on Thanksgivings past in my home when my children were small fills me with a joy that warms my heart.

As the seasons of the year change, so do circumstances in our lives, especially as we grow older. Some changes are greeted with anticipation and are welcomed, like when our children fall in love and marry, or when a pink or blue blanket gets knitted in celebration for a little one on the way. Other changes are not so welcome and come unexpectedly, such as sickness or even the loss of a loved one.

My younger daughter married last year. This Thanksgiving she’ll be mashing potatoes and baking pie for her husband on their ranch out west. My older daughter lives at home but is critically ill. And my son? Now that he’s turned sixteen, his interest in Hot Wheels has been traded for the driver’s seat of a Jeep. He and I will be the only ones from our family eating Thanksgiving dinner together this year.

On Thursday, you’ll find me in my kitchen along with beloved friends. I’ve been poring over favorite recipes while planning the menu. Cherished recipes become more precious when they are prepared for and enjoyed with others.

We’re planning to grace the table with twelve place settings, but we know to make lots of extra food for any (always welcomed) last-minute guests. Anticipating laughter in the kitchen with my friends as we roll out pie crust and whip up a bowl of sweet potatoes laced with sugared pecans and a dollop of whipped butter puts a sparkle in my eyes. While the turkey and stuffing bake and cranberry Jell-O salad sets, games of bocce ball will be played in the backyard. If the weather turns, we’ll get cozy inside and pull out a box filled with checkers, Uno, Rook, and other family games.

Whether you’re looking forward to baby’s first family gathering, enduring your first year as an empty-nester, or facing the holidays without a spouse for the first time, embrace this time of your life. Our circumstances, whether they be grievous or delightful, are meant to draw us closer to God. And what a wonderful time to acknowledge Him in our lives, at the Thanksgiving dinner table. My prayer is for us all to feel His comforting presence as we pray, “Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name” (1 Chronicles 29:13).

For a chance to win an autographed copy of Taste of Pinecraft by Sherry Gore , please leave a comment below. This contest ends Thursday, December 1, 2011.

Only comments left on my website will be entered. If you’re reading this on Facebook or such, please hop over to

Thanks! (It’s just too hard to track down all the comments left in various places, and that means it’s too easy to miss some of the comments.)

Holiday Recipe from Cooking & Such: Adventures in Plain Living Magazine

Sugar-Glazed Pecans

2 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 pound pecan halves
1 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 250ᴼ. Grease one baking sheet.

In a mixing bowl, whip together the egg whites and vanilla until frothy. In a separate bowl (or use a gallon-size zip-lock bag), mix together sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add pecans to egg whites. Stir to coat nuts evenly. Remove the nuts and toss them in the sugar mixture until coated. Spread the nuts out on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool.

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Sherry Gore is a scribe for the national edition of The Budget newspaper, author of Taste of Pinecraft: Glimpses of Sarasota, Florida’s Amish Culture and Kitchens, and editor-in-chief of Cooking and Such: Adventures in Plain Living magazine. She makes her home in Sarasota, Florida, with her children and is a member of a Beachy Amish Mennonite church. Sherry is the nonresistant owner of a double-barrel shotgun and has an affinity for pie. She learned the hard way one spring day not to wear ChapStick while driving an open buggy behind a shedding horse.


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