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Crazy Good Cranberry Sauce

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IT IS NOT TOO LATE!! I promise you, there is enough time to make homemade cranberry sauce, and you really need to do it this year!

The other day, I was curled up on the couch with my cup of coffee watching Good Morning America, and I saw a segment about nutritional traps at the holidays. They showed a plate of jellied cranberry sauce, you know, the kind from the can with the ridges on it. I have to admit that I love this stuff. Not only do I eat it plain, but also in a warm dish mixed with baked apples…mmmm.

Well, to my horror, the expert then whipped out a tray of chocolate eclairs and proclaimed that my beloved canned cranberry sauce had as much sugar as the WHOLE TRAY OF ECLAIRS! Holy cow!! It was then and there that I decided I would make my own.

Once I finished my coffee, I headed right to the store to get some ingredients. This was my next mission, to make the best damn cranberry sauce, ever.

Well, the trip to the store was successful. In fact, my creative juices were so abundant, that I made three different varieties to ensure that I could make a sauce that was a worthy replacement of the traditional can. (In case you did not read my last post, my family is a bit possessive of their “traditions”, even if they come in the form of a gelatinous cylinder with decorative ridges in the center.)

Luckily, my efforts were not in vain. I had two good recipes and a third that was a bit of a puzzle. So, I did what any sane human being would do, I took all three varieties to work and made my colleagues taste test them in between parent teacher conferences. One was immediately ruled out for being just plain gross. This was actually a Pinterest find, not a creation of my own. The pictures were so pretty; I was sure the recipe would be just as great. No such luck. It could only be described as “earthy”. UCK! It tasted like I mixed it in a tree stump out back. Not a winner. But the other two were so AWESOME, I am including them below.

Now that the truth is out, and you know what I know about canned cranberry sauce, I am empowering you with the necessary plan to make your own, please. It is so freakin’ easy. If you can boil water, you can make this recipe. I promise!

You are welcome, happy Thanksgiving, eat well, & enjoy your family πŸ™‚

Grand Orange Cherry Cranberry Sauce

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Ingredients:

1 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries

3/4 cup of dried cherries

1/4 cup of water

1 cup of orange juice

2 Tbsp. of light brown sugar (you can add a little more if you like your sauce sweet)

2 Tbsp. of orange zest (1 orange worth)

1 Tbsp. of Grand Marnier Liqueur

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Preparation:

Mix all ingredients except for the Grand Marnier in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook until the cranberries split open and the liquid starts to thicken (about 10-15 minutes) Stir it often. Remove from the heat, and mix in the Grand Marnier, stirring well and smashing any whole cranberries with the back of your spoon. Transfer to a dish and cool before serving.

Simply Scrumptious Cranberry Sauce

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Ingredients:

1 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries

1 cup of cranberry juice

1/2 cup of palm sugar (use a little less if you prefer it to be more tart)

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Preparation:

Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook until the cranberries split open and the liquid starts to thicken (about 10-15 minutes) Stir it often. Remove from the heat, stir it well, smashing any whole cranberries with the back of your spoon. Transfer to a dish and cool before serving.

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Monday Morning Glory Oatmeal Casserole

The worst realization on a Sunday night is that you are not a stay-at-home mom, and that in a few short hours, you will be squeezing your very tired tootsies into unforgiving heels and stiff clothes. Pair that with the sound of the alarm clock and people who do not know how to merge onto the busy bypass, and you have the reasons why I long for retirement…

On a sleepy Monday morning, the next best thing to my principal calling to tell me that it would be completely appropriate to wear yoga pants and flip flops to work, is something yummy and warm to eat for breakfast. Enter my Monday Morning Glory Oatmeal Casserole.

I do not have one extra second in the morning. I have my routine down to a pretty smooth system, except for the 3-4 days a week that I cannot find my keys, so I need breakfast that is super quick. What I believe is the best thing about this recipe is that you make it Sunday night, and go to bed in the yummiest smelling house on the planet. Then, pack it in individual servings so that you can just pop it into the microwave before work and feed your body something much better than a meal bar and a cup of coffee.

The recipe is posted below. Please try it; be creative. If you do not like the ingredients that I used, switch them out for what you do like. Your body and mind will be happy that you did πŸ™‚

Ingredients:

1 cup of steel cut oats
2 Tbsp. flax seeds
3 1/2 cups of milk (any variety, but I prefer coconut or almond milk)
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup of chopped pecans
1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup of dried cherries
**you can change up the added nuts and berries to your liking

Preparation:

1. Grease an 8×8 baking dish
2. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
3. Pour into the baking dish and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees

** serve immediately or refrigerate for later.
*** when reheating, place in a microwave safe bowl, drizzle with milk or half and half, sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice and re-heat for 30 seconds. Enjoy with a nice warm cup of coffee or tea.

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