We all have the dishes we immediately think of Thanksgiving, family recipes, twists on the classics and new health-crazed recipes. Depending on the crowd Thanksgiving can vary drastically. Some people are die hard believers in the classics while others like to experiment. I find myself falling in the middle. I can’t seem to eat this meal without stuffing but am willing to mix up my stuffing recipes every year. The key pieces are to have a balance of sweet and savory side dishes to accompany the iconic bird … or squash … or tofurkey.
As a child I hated cranberry sauce. The way it retained the shape of the can and wiggled on the plate made me squirm in my chair. At some point between childhood and college I end up trying a homemade cranberry sauce and fell in love. I have fiddled with recipes over the years but now my go to is to use orange juice as a base and supplement with a bit of brown sugar. You can get more fancy by adding orange zest or go crazy with a hint of jalapeno (like my mom did one year …don’t forget to take out the seeds!).
I love the fact that wherever you go for this holiday there are distinct dishes that “make Thanksgiving” for that group of people. For my husband’s family it is Grandma’s rolls, Aunt Kim’s green beans, and Merissa’s pumpkin cheesecake. Where as at my family’s house we have never had cheesecake and don’t always have rolls. But I love each for different reasons and look forward to both meals and company.
We are going to have dinner with both sides; my new family is having dinner on Sunday and we are going up to visit my mom’s family on Thursday. For the first we were in charge of cranberry sauce and a vegetable side. I have been loving roasted root vegetables currently and Neil and I are both obsessed with roasted brussel sprouts. I started browsing the internet for inspiration and came across a fabulous recipe that used all my favorite fall vegetable, pecans, maple syrup and ginger. Needless to say it was a hit, there was barely anything in the pan. I had non-vegetable lovers asking for the recipe!
I am grateful to live a life surrounded by good food and amazing people. I am so thankful to have a loving family and to have married my best friend and partner in crime and in the kitchen this fall. It has been a great year. Cheers to another beautiful year!
- 1 12 oz. bag of cranberries
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 3 tbs. brown sugar or maple syrup
- 1 tbs orange zest
- Combine ingredients in a saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. You should hear some cranberries pop.
- Stir and mash the cranberries.
- When it begins to form a consistent jam like texture and the cranberries have been broken down, remove from heat and let cool.
Can be served warm or at room temp. Can also be kept in the fridge for future use … my favorite is cranberry smoothies topped with my pumpkin granola, recipe to come!