Four Calling Birds

Welcome  We are down to our final four days in our series The Twelve Days of Christmas.  Maybe you’ve learned some interesting trivia along the way or maybe you’ve at least pondered the lyrics.  But here’s something I have noticed.  I have not heard this Christmas carol one single time this season.  I may have missed it at some point, or maybe it’s just not as popular as it once was.  Anyway, we’re going to turn the bird into a burger for today’s recipe, so I hope you stick around ’til the end, and remember to check in tomorrow for a Triple Tuesday! Note–I may receive a small compensation from affiliate links seen in this blog post.  For further information, please see my Terms and Disclosure page.

Food For Thought  Growing up, I always thought the “calling birds” meant they were singing, because that’s what birds do, right?  I discovered last week that this is an American mis-pronounciation and was actually supposed to be “four colly birds,” which is referring to a type of European black bird.  Well, if the information I found last week was true regarding the first seven days’ gifts meant to be eaten at a holiday feast, I wondered, did they eat black birds?  I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of black birds being eaten before, although there is an old saying “four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.”  So we end up back where we started from…are the birds given as feast gifts, given randomly, or are they religiously symbolic?  If the religious symbolism is true, then our four calling birds are referring to the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Black birds aren’t very exciting, though, are they?  They don’t hold the majesty of, say, a bald eagle.  They’re not well-known for their song, but more as a garden and yard pest.  They aren’t even as intriguing as a flamingo on its spindly pink leg or a penguin that possesses feathers, but does not fly.  Yet black birds have found their way into stories, songs, legends and rhymes for centuries.  They must hold meaning for someone.  I’d like to apply a personal lesson here.  We are not all destined to be a majestic eagle.  We do not all have the beautiful voice of a sweet song bird.  We do not all possess the exquisite beauty of a peacock.  Not all of us will be carried on through legends and stories, like the swans.  No, some of us, like the birds, are strictly utilitarian.  Chickens provide meat and/or eggs.  Birds provide great insect control and natural fertilizer, but that’s not very glamourous.  Buzzards and vultures are some of God’s homeliest creatures, yet they serve a very important purpose for the world.  I have recently contemplated how God creates all of us with unique features and talents, although not always prized or recognized, and not always in the most stylish package.  Some of us, and I’m really speaking to myself here, will have to settle for being a less fashionable creature.  I can really get myself down in a pity party if I let myself, thinking of all the things I could be, if only….but it’s time to accept who I am as God made me.  If I trust God and His plan and purpose, that means I also need to accept who I am and the talents He gave me.  I can carry out my intended purpose without being praised for beauty, intrigue, strength, or dazzle.  I know so many older adults that place bird feeders around their homes so they can watch all types of birds come up to feed.  They’re not watching birds of grandeur, but small birds like chickadees, finches, and thrushes, yet getting incredible joy from the experience.  So, no matter how small, or seemingly insignificant, each and every one of us can serve a purpose, carry out our intended plan, and even bring joy to others along the way.

Today’s Scriptures  I find it beneficial to read 1 Corinthians chapter 12 when I am struggling with the idea of not having talents or being “good enough” to contribute to the rest of the world.  I encourage you to read the entire chapter when you have a chance.  I am going to share verses 4 through 7 here.

Today’s Recipe  When I was growing up, turkey was reserved for holidays, typically.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter included turkey and ham feasts, and on rare occasion we would get sliced turkey from the deli for lunches.  Now, turkey options abound year around.  You can have a traditional turkey to roast, but you can also have a turkey breast, turkey tenderloin, turkey sausages and turkey burger.  In fact, I would say at our house we eat almost as much turkey as chicken now, and we likely eat more turkey than beef.  With turkey becoming more convenient and affordable, I come up with lots of ways to serve it to my family.  So today’s recipe is a simple Taco Ranch Turkey Burger.

Taco Ranch Turkey Burgers
An easy way to use convenient and affordable ground turkey.

Taco Ranch Turkey Burgers (serves 6)

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • 1 pkg ranch dressing mix
  • 6 slices pepper jack cheese
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • 1 pkg guacamole (I like Wholly Guacamole)
  • 6 slices red onion (if desired)

Mix ground turkey with seasoning mixes in large bowl.  Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and turn to medium heat.  When skillet is hot, shape meat into 6 1/4-lb patties and place in skillet.  Do not crowd pan, if necessary cook in batches.  Turn burgers after 4-5 minutes.  Cook an additional 4-5 minutes and top with cheese slices.  Serve on hamburger buns with guacamole and red onion, if desired.

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