CNS illustration; photo by Nancy Wiechec
CNS illustration; photo by Nancy Wiechec

When the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people gathered for what we now call the first Thanksgiving, they were celebrating plentiful game and fish and a bountiful harvest, giving thanks for all that had been given them.

Researchers tell us the people feasted for several days on wildfowl, venison, corn, shellfish and various tree nuts from the forest. Colonists also included a variety of vegetables they grew, including carrots, turnips, onions, garlic and pumpkins.

To honor that first celebration, I like to include on my Thanksgiving table food grown and raised locally – my grateful prayer to God for abundant gifts.

I developed this stuffing, or dressing, recipe with ingredients from my home state of Arizona.

You can adapt it to include ingredients from your local area. For instance, replacing the pecans with walnuts, chestnuts or almonds, or substituting the dates with raisins, dried apples or cranberries.

Other types of kale or greens can take the place of the Tuscan kale. And, this recipe also works well with cornbread as a substitute for the sourdough bread. Just keep to the same instructions and quantities, and you'll be serving up a homegrown, homemade special treat this Thanksgiving.

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