The end of this Christmas season and the beginning of a brand new year launches me into excessive self-reflection, leaving me equal parts joyful, thankful and sad. Joyfulness for the grace that Christmas brings and the boundless possibilities a new year holds. Thankfulness for the most amazing husband, for loving relationships, for the opportunity to freely pursue my passions, for feeling safe, for health. And sadness for the grief I carry in my heart—both my own sorrow and the prayers I have for others.
I know I’m not alone in this schizophrenia of emotions, and many of you share this roller coaster with me. It seems to be another hallmark of the season—one moment humming while cheerfully covered in flour and butter and the next fighting away tears.
As I start this new year, I’m committing to acknowledging the sadness but focusing on the thankfulness and joy, to letting go of unrealistic expectations of what should or could be, rather than the blessing of what is. If you’re struggling to balance your emotions along with me, I hope you will do that too. Focus on the joy. Focus on living with abundant thankfulness.
A few years ago, when I was going through a difficult time in my life, I stayed at my Granny's house for a few weeks. We were talking about prayer one day, and I asked her, "How do you know when God answers your prayers?"
She thought for a moment and answered, "You have to be silent."
Granny's advice helped me, and so I'm passing on her wisdom. As we reflect on the beginning of a new year, I hope you carve out time for silence, to sit and listen for the answers to questions you hold in your heart, to be open to joy and thankfulness.
And now: the Sausage Ball recipe.
With one bite of a sausage ball, I’m back in Granny and Pappy’s living room on Christmas Eve, surrounded by aunts and uncles and cousins, sitting in a stiff red plaid dress listening to my Dad read the Christmas story while eyeing the presents under the tree, trying to pick the right one to open. So it seemed fitting to make these as part of the Southern-inspired menu for our Christmas Eve open house for friends and neighbors.
This recipe is a version of my Granny’s sausage balls, which is a terrible name for something that tastes so addictively good. They are basically meaty, cheesy, spicy sausage and cheese biscuits. I bake almost exclusively with whole wheat flour--both for the nutrition and the flavor--so I’ve used whole wheat flour in this recipe, but feel free to substitute all-purpose flour instead. And if you don’t like things spicy, reduce the amount of cayenne pepper. These have a kick.
Wishing you a happy, healthy, joyful, thankful beginning to the new year. xoxo
Makes about 45
Inspired by Granny’s sausage balls and slightly adapted from this recipe from Everyday Food.
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
8 ounces grated sharp Irish cheddar
1 pound bulk breakfast sausage
1/2 large yellow onion, grated on large holes of a box grater
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and baking powder. Add the cheddar cheese and toss it in the flour. Add the sausage, onion, and melted butter. With your hands, mix the ingredients together until they form a cohesive dough.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until balls are dark golden brown and cooked through, about 35 – 40 minutes. Serve warm.
You can keep these warm in a 200 degree oven until they are ready to serve.