Sunday, November 24, 2013

In honor of Thanksgiving...

Are you ready for the big day or are you panicked because this big meal is only a few days away?  Personally, I hope you are looking forward to it!

So, I am sharing some of my favorite ideas to help you with your holiday meal. These are from 'meals past', but I still use the ideas, recipes and the like each time I host a big meal.  It is totally doable!

Make a plan:  

Hosting Thanksgiving takes more than food.  Please see this 'to do' list to help you cover your bases.  

Lay out everything ahead of time:

No kidding, make sure you have all the dishes and pieces that you will need. Set them up ahead of time to make sure you have everything and that everything fits.  See this post that shows you the steps we did when we fed over 45 in our home.  I learned a lot.

Cooking the 'Bird':

There is more than one way to cook a Turkey.

PS...It's crispy and tender.

He sets it up in the back yard and lowers the turkey down while he is atop the ladder.  By the way, he uses a good portion of my stored oil to do this.  So, if you are going to try this, stock up!

Making the Stuffing:

With so many concerns about cooking Stuffing in your turkey, why not try let your crock pot do all the work?  Learn more about this method here. 

What about the Rolls?

What about Cranberry Sauce?

  • This is so simple to do and inexpensive. You can make 12 half-pints of delicious Cranberry sauce for less than 50% of the national brand.  The added blessing is that you have some for long after Thanksgiving when you have a craving for this delicious condiment.  It also makes a unique neighbor gift!

We need a little Dessert!

  • When making pies, uses this recipe for the pie really lives up to its name of "Perfect Pie Crust"!
  • Fill you pie crust with Apple Pie Filling that you hopefully canned a few weeks ago. It is still not too late if you have access to apples.  Put them up on Monday or Tuesday so that you have this filling ready to go on Wednesday.  You can make your pies ahead of time as well.

 Please, please don't forget the Why!

Even among the strife of worldly cares, we have much to be thankful for.  President Thomas S Monson shares the following:
We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Someone has said that “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”

Let me express my sincere thank you to each of our readers.  We are grateful that you take time out of your busy day to visit with us.  We are hopeful that the information that we share positively impacts your lives for the better. 

I wish to tell you all that I know that my Heavenly Father lives, and loves us all.  He is all-knowing and all-caring. He knows each of us by name and desires to bless with all that he has as we strive to become closer to him.

May the Lord bless you all this Thanksgiving Season.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cranberry Sauce....getting ready for Thanksgiving!

Isn't it beautiful!  Cranberry Sauce...from scratch! (If you are wondering what is up with the jar on the far left...stay tuned and I will tell you:)

Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  I hate making this wonderful holiday into "Labor day", so I try to do things ahead of time.  This is why I made....and own Cranberry Sauce. tastes amazing!

After bringing the water, sugar, and Orange juice to a boil for 5 minutes, add your fresh cranberries.

Bring the combination to a medium boil for 10 minutes. After boiling, take off the heat and add the Vanilla.  I promise the Vanilla makes this sauce just amazing!

This is an optional step, but it is one I like to do.  Some people do not mind Cranberry Sauce with lumps and others like their sauce to be smooth.  I am of the latter group.   So, I am using my stick blender to smooth out the sauce.  This step only took a few minutes.

Put the delightful mixture into clean and sterilized jars.

Place the jars into the a hot water bath.  As I live over 5,000 feet, I processed  these jars for 20 minutes.

Look at how beautiful this sauce is.  I am not only ready for Thanksgiving, but I also have a start on my 'neighbor gifts'.  I also will have this yummy sauce to use anytime I want...and I like that option.  Just for your information, this recipe yields 12 half pint jars.

The Cost...

How much did this cost?  Here is the breakdown:

8 cups of Cranberries:  $3. 59
4 Cups of Sugar: $ 2.28
Water:  free
Vanilla:  $ .31

Total Investment:  $6.17 half-pint jars of Cranberry Sauce

As this blog serves a national and even international community, I will use a national price for the big brand name Cranberry Sauce which is $8.86 for 14 ounces which works out to be $.63/ounce.

This recipe generates about 128 ounces total for a cost per ounce of $.05.  This is over a 75% savings over purchasing it in a can.


Why would I can it?  It only takes under an hour, it's really delicious, and I like to have it in smaller containers so that I don't waste any when I open it.

Also, you may still be wondering why the jar on the left looks so funny?

It is because the lid was not sealing as quickly as the others, so I turned the jar upside down to help it seal.  It set up and will remain that way until the jar is opened.


Where did I get the recipe?

I found this recipe on Canning Granny, but found this particular recipe in the comments section.  Here is the's a good one!

Leslie's Cranberry Orange Sauce

8-9 cups cranberries
4 cups sugar
4 cups water
2 oranges
1 T. vanilla flavoring, optional

Preparation : Prepare 12 half pint jars, lids, and rings. Sterilize the jars and keep them in the hot water till its time for processing. Make sure to fill your water bath canner and get the water to a simmer.

Cooking: In a large stainless steel add water, sugar, zest and juice of 2 oranges and heat up over medium heat. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Add the cranberries and bring back to a boil. the cranberries will begin popping. If you like it whole cranberries and some sauce use a potato masher to smooth the cranberries. If you want it to be just sauce you can use an immersion blender. Cook stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla flavoring. Remove from heat.

Filling the jars: On a dishtowel place your hot jars and using your funnel in each jar using a ladle then fill the jars leaving ½” headspace. Remove air bubbles and refill to the proper headspace with the mixture if necessary. Taking a clean papertowel wet it with warm water and wipe the rims of the jars removing any food particles that would interfere with a good seal. Using your magic wand extract the lids from the hot water and place them on the now cleaned rims. Add your rings to the tops of each of the jars and turn to seal just "finger tight".
Processing: Make sure your rack is on the bottom of the canner and place the jars in the water bath making sure that the water covers each of the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add hot water to the canner if it doesn't measure up. Cover the pot and turn up the heat under the canner and wait for the water to start boiling. Once the water has come to a boil start your timer for 10 minutes. When complete turn off the heat and remove the cover and let the jars sit for another few minutes. Remove the jars and place them back on the dishtowel in a place that they will sit overnight to cool. Do not touch or move them till the next morning.

Sealing: Some time in the next hour your jars will be making a "pinging" or "popping" noise. That is the glass cooling and the reaction of the lids being sucked into the jar for proper sealing. Some recipes may take overnight to seal. Check your lids and reprocess any jars that did not seal.

Try it !!!!!!

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