Countdown To ThanksgivingBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, November 13, 2006
Welcome to iberkshires.com Countdown To Thanksgiving, a daily feature launched Nov. 13. Each day until and including Thanksgiving Day [Nov. 23], iberkshires will highlight a Berkshire/Southern Vermont region individual and a specific review of the things that generate thanks. At the end of each interview will be a "family-style" Thanksgiving dinner recipe. Here's to the holiday that is very much America's own!
|Mackenzie Klein is included in her mom's circle of thanks.|
Stamford, Vt. - Colette Klein, 32, didn't hesitate when asked about the good in her life.
In January, she and her husband Harry Klein welcomed daughter Mackenzie Elizabeth to the family fold.
Children were already a huge component of her life; she spends time with eight-year-old stepdaughter Kaitlytnn Karo and assists Kaitlynn's mother Dawn Karo with weekly Brownie and Girl Scout troop meetings. She is an aunt to nephews Jacob and Matthew Bugbee and Hunter Klein.
Colette Klein: thankful even when sleep-deprived!
"I am thankful for my husband, who is a pretty good guy," Klein said. "And the girls are all that anyone could ask for. I'm thankful that Kaitlynn is such a big help and such a wonderful big sister to Mackenize."
Klein is a fourth-grade teacher at the Molly Stark Elementary School in Bennington, Vt..
"I am very thankful for my class," she said. "My students are great kids who really want to learn. Having such wonderful, interested students make me thankful that I am a teacher."
Klein included her two dogs, Justice and Chipper, and cats Tess and Misty in her circle of thanks.
"All the pets are so good with the baby," she said. "And they love Kaitlynn."
And while family life can be hectic and peppered with trials and tribulations - children's ear infections, fussy babies and sleepless nights, scraped knees, budget-busting emergencies and other bumps in the family road - Klein said she is very thankful that she and her husband are healthy and able to pursue a middle-class working family lifestyle.
Kaitlynn Karo, 8, is in the Klein family circle of thanks.
Klein is a scrapbook aficionado who enjoys assembling the books for friends and family members. This year, she added to Kaitlynn's series of scrapbooks, started a book for Mackenzie, and created a wedding scrapbook for her brother and his wife, who were married in March.
The pages of each book offer pictures-speak-louder-than-words proof of things deserving of appreciation, she said.
"So do you want to know if I am thankful when I'm tired, when the baby doesn't sleep, when I'm behind in my work?" she asked.
And then she smiled.
"Yup, I am."
"Justice" and "Chipper" are "top dogs" to the Klein family.
This recipe is almost fool-proof and may be adjusted to fit any size gathering. The ingredient measurements are not precise and may be adjusted to individual taste. This version serves about ten people.
Three to four tube-style packages of Jimmy Dean's pork or breakfast-style sausage [not links or patties]
1 and a half family-size bags Pepperidge Farms herb-seasoned stuffing mix or bread crumbs
Three medium sized apples, Macintosh work well
One large onion
Four or five stalks of celery
Wash apples and celery stalks. Peel apples and onion. Core apples and then cut apples and onions into bite-sized chunks. Cut celery into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
Prepare bread crumbs or dry stuffing mix as package directs. In a large, heavy-duty fry pan, cook sausage until thoroughly cooked through. Drain grease from sausage and add cooked sausage to prepared bread crumbs or stuffing mix. Mix well.
Add chunked apples, onion, and celery. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use. When ready to roast turkey, stuffing may be placed inside cleaned turkey cavity and cooked with the turkey. Excess amounts may be baked in the oven, for best baking results, place in oven with turkey in separate oven-safe dish 45 to 30 minutes before turkey is done. If the entire amount is to be cooked outside of the turkey, place in oven 45 minutes before serving.
Stuffing may also be cooked in a slow-cooker on high for about four hours or on low for about six hours. If stuffing appears dry, add small amounts of apple juice during cooking. Salt and pepper to taste may be added during preparation or after cooking.
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 802-823-9367.