Giving Thanks for Friends, Family, and Food

8 Oct

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve always told my mom that I have no interest in voluntarily sticking my arm up a turkey’s butt and that she would be in charge of turkey dinners for as long as she lives.  Yet for reasons unbeknownst to me, this year I was filled with the desire to stuff and cook a turkey for some of my dearest friends.

The centrepiece: a pseudo-cornucopia filled with gourds and apples

Wanting to avoid the last minute rush that often comes with a big dinner, I scoured the Internet for make-ahead recipes that would allow me to relax and enjoy my company.  I was pleased with how well they turned out and how calm I felt all day.  The most popular dish was the cheesy mashed potatoes, which were cooked the day before and re-heated in the crock pot while the turkey was in the oven.  Personally, my favourite component of the turkey dinner was the cranberry sauce (with the stuffing coming a very close second).  While I grew up eating the canned variety, I’ve learned that homemade cranberry sauce is marginally cheaper and tastes a whole lot better.  The best part: I’m able to control how much sugar is added.

I started with one bag of fresh cranberries, 1 cup of orange juice, 1/3 cup of sugar (opposed to the 1 cup that most recipes call for), and a pinch of cinnamon.  The resulting sauce was fairly tart so E insisted on a touch more sugar.  Since the cranberries had already cooked down, I added sweetness in the form of maple syrup to avoid leaving any sugar undissolved.  The final product had that hint of tartness characteristic of cranberry with the warm flavours of orange and cinnamon subtly shining through.

Easily eaten by the spoonful!

Even better than my cranberry sauce, stuffing, and mashed potatoes combined?  The homemade hubbard squash pie brought over by Jacalyn.  It was my first time having squash pie and it tasted identical to pumpkin pie.  The crust was perfectly flaky and the filling was much richer than you’d ever get with canned pumpkin (or squash).

Remnants of Jacalyn’s fabulous squash pie

Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey is merely a vehicle for Cranberry sauce


Cranberry Sauce with Orange and a hint of Cinnamon

1 package (12 oz/340 g) fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup sugar
Dash of cinnamon (approx 1/4 tsp)
2 tbsp pure maple syrup

Combine orange juice and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, add cranberries, cinnamon, and maple syrup and return to a boil.  Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cool completely at room temperature.  Refrigerate before serving.

Makes 2-1/4 cups.  Per 2 tbsp serving: 37 kcal, 9 g CHO, 1 g fibre.

5 Responses to “Giving Thanks for Friends, Family, and Food”

  1. Victoria October 8, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Happy Thanksgiving Lisa. Glad you were able to cook a turkey… there is really nothing to it. 🙂 As I was in Muskoka visiting my daughter (vegetarian), there was no turkey for me. I did however stop in at Johnson’s Cranberry Bog in Bala and picked up my favourite cranberry chutney… A M A Z I N G. 🙂

    • lisa October 8, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

      Cranberry chutney from Bala sounds delicious. I was tempted to try a more savoury chutney this year but in the end I just couldn’t stray from making a sauce!

  2. Michele October 8, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    I was lucky enough to enjoy Thanksgiving with the rest of your family! I will indeed try out your cranberry sauce (and BTW it did NOT come out of a can with your family yesterday) but I wondered .. could Jacalyn do a guest post? I’d love to try out the squash pie!

    Enjoying your posts as always Lisa. Thanks!

    • lisa October 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

      Coming soon… a squash pie post courtesy of Jacalyn! Glad to hear you had a nice Thanksgiving dinner with the Manniks. Thanks for reading!

  3. Sarah Leo October 11, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    I didn’t know you liked cranberry sauce so much! Sometime I should get my mom to share her cranberry sauce recipe with you. It sounds a lot like yours…but with a whole lot of Grand Marnier. 🙂

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