Have you been shopping? (in your Yuletide attire even though this is Thanksgiving because you are so excited that once we get past this holiday, Christmas is just around the bend?)
Are you cooking?
Are you tasting?
Just a bit of this and a bit of that?
Have you used five pounds of butter in the preparation of four dishes?
Have you dove in to one of your two pumpkin pies that you made from scratch and scooped out just the top portion of vanilla bean ice cream to try before serving up on Thanksgiving because surely with eight people, four of whom are little people, you aren't going to consume two whole pies?
Have you mashed your potatoes, snapped your beans, peeled your yams, brined your turkey and soaked your cranberries?
You don't eat cranberries?
Or worse yet, you eat cranberries from a CAN?
Oh no! That won't do at all!
If you do nothing else this Thanksgiving, please promise me that you won't eat cranberries from a can. Ocean Spray won't even mind because they just so happen to sell fresh cranberries in a bag and it is so easy to make your own cranberry sauce and it tastes so much better, you will never go back to the can again. Except when you're in a real pinch. But when you are going all-out and making a full-on turkey dinner you can spare the 20 minutes it takes to make homemade cranberry sauce.
Yes! You can do it!!
I've been making my own cranberry sauce for at least the past 10 years. This has evolved over time - some years I add more fresh fruit and berries - some years less. I love this stuff so much, I can eat it straight from the bowl. It is by far my favorite dish at Thanksgiving.
Rivaled only by sweet potato pie.
(And warm rolls with butter and smothered in gravy.)
Here's the recipe that I whipped together today.
1 bag of cranberries
1 cup of orange juice (or, water)
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of fresh pineapple
A heavy dash of cinnamon
A dash (or two) of nutmeg
A dash of ground cloves
Orange zest (from a fresh orange)
~1/2 cup chopped pecans (usually I use walnuts but we didn't have any)
First you'll want to wash the cranberries - those big red, beautiful plump berries with super strong antioxidant phenols.
Then, you'll pour in a cup of water (or orange juice - both work very well although orange juice will certainly make the recipe more zingy) ...
And add a cup of sugar before bringing to a boil.
And if you have sugar that is stuck on the inside of your measuring cup, guess what works remarkably well to scoop it out cleanly?
Once this reaches a boil, add your cranberries and allow it to come to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Maybe 15. You'll know when the cranberries have all popped.
Remove from the heat and add some fresh pineapple (or canned.) I cut up a fresh pineapple today and used approximately 1 cup with the cranberries.
I have an adorable little helper with chubby cheeks that was more than happy to help me polish off the remaining pineapple. He is so sweet I swear I could eat him whole.
I like to add nuts to my cranberry sauce to give it texture. Typically, I'll use walnuts but since we didn't pick any up at the store today (which I really cannot believe because I was pretty sure we bought one of everything), I used pecans.
And then I will add a few dashes of nutmeg, ground cloves and cinnamon. I don't really have any exact measurements here - I typically will dash a bit, try a bit and dash more until I get a flavor that I really like. I grate approximately 1/4 tsp of fresh orange peel directly in to the fruity concoction, mix it all together and sprinkle the top with a few more nuts.
This is what it takes to fill my heart.
The cranberry sauce will continue to thicken as it cools, so don't be dismayed if it's runny.
Now, on the "other" heart front, I went running twice this week. Not far. Just to the mailbox located 100 feet away. But I SPRINTED. Because it was RAINING. And, I did push ups on three separate occasions because the children wanted to know why my arms were wiggly.
Now, I must scamper off to bed because tomorrow the whole family will be out the door at 6:30 AM to participate in Father Joe's annual Turkey Trot. Provided we don't sleep in and polish off the rest of a pumpkin pie for breakfast.
Banish the thought!!
*****How are you doing with your goals?
And probably, more importantly, what is your favorite Thanksgiving food?