Thursday, November 27, 2008

wednesday waddle in

Hey there. What's up?

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 stuffing.)

(And warm rolls with butter and smothered in gravy.)

Here's the recipe that I whipped together today.

You'll need:

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.

No, really.

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?


  1. I've been making my own cranberry sauce for a number of years, too. I never ate the jarred stuff, it always seemed wrong. Now, however, I adore the homemade kind. I usually use apple cider for the liquid, which is also quite tasty, though I've never done the pineapple, which also sounds good.

    Got up early, turkey's in the brine, kids are waking up...

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. I'll have to say mashed potatoes and Brussel sprouts. Yumm!!
    Happy Thanksgiving!!

  3. Thanks for sharing the recipe but my husband insists on cranberrys from a jar. He calls it "the real stuff" as opposed to the homemade kind. I guess it all depends on what you grew up with.

    I had a very good week with my goals. I worked out of the elliptical 4 times and I bought a cheap jogging stroller off of craigslist and took my youngest for 2 30 minute run/walks. I can tell by running that I wasn't getting as good a workout on the elliptical that I thought I was....but I guess that is what happens when you try to watch Lipstick Jungle while you work out. I'll be signing up for a 5K soon.

  4. still trying to walk more, still haven't gotten on our bike....but i ran this week, to the bustop with three kids so they wouldn't miss the bus...

  5. Well, Mark likes the cranberries from the can - you know the kind - the kind of cranberries that retain the shape of the can when it slides out into the serving dish. I have learned to like them, too. Tonight we will have cranberries similar to yours, courtesy of my mom, but I wil be packing a can to take with me so Mark can have "his" cranberries. I'm such a good wife! Thank God I ran 5 miles this week!

  6. So sorry...I just don't like cranberries with turkey. I know, I know, but I just can't make myself like it. But I think your recipe might have to be tried just because it could be the mindchanger for me...

    Happy Thanksgiving from a Canadian just having a normal day today!

  7. This will be my first Thanksgiving Day as a vegetarian. My mom offered to get me a tofurkey, but I have never been much of a meat eater so why would I want tofu that tastes just like turkey?? I am happy eating the side dishes. I made vegetarian stuffing (same stuffing just minus the broth) and will have the cranberry sauce (home made), salad, veggies, yams, pies...


    Tracy B

  8. I am sorry to disappoint, but my favorite part of Thanksgiving is the cranberries from the can!!! LOVE them and I have tried "real" cranberry sauce many times and I just don't like it. My goals are on hold as I just found out I am VERY unexpectedly pg with #4. Turns out you CAN get pg from plain old fashioned s-e-x. I guess you figured that out with Henry though!!!


  9. Favorite thanksgiving food....homemade dressing cakes. My grandmother made these and now that she's gone, I am making them. Very dry and crunchy dressing - yummy with gravy and turkey!

  10. Wow Kelly!! How exciting!!

    Congratulations on your unexpected baby #4. I can tell you that our unexpected baby #4 has been one of my life's greatest blessings and I have truly enjoyed every single moment with him.

    You have all my best wishes for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby!

  11. Only exercise this week was running around like a crazy woman to get everything done.

    Favorite food -- new baked corn recipe I found and pumpkin pie!

  12. I love the Orange Cranberry Relish from TJ's. I also love that you love sweet potato pie. Yum! I made 8 of them for my big meal. my other favorite is cornbread stuffing.

  13. Sweet Potatoes by far by far!

    And my weight loss has suddenly taken an about face! Being away from home, at the in-laws...well, I am a stress good, no good. And I haven't worked out in 5 days at no no! But Monday, I'm back on track...well until Christmas travels start...