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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 🙂

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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Blood Orange Margaritas

1-IMG_2901Over the past year, I’ve developed a passion for blood oranges. I don’t know why, I just think they’re cool.  I’ve tried blood orange infused vodka, blood orange spiked lemonade, blood orange martinis, blood orange balsamic glaze, and yesterday, I struck gold with blood orange margaritas.

It was 4th of July, and my husband took all of the kids to the pool, so I could cook and prepare for an evening picnic.  I cooked, cleaned, and vacuumed the downstairs. The house was clean, empty, and quiet, so I decided that I deserved a cocktail. I chose to make myself a fresh margarita, so I pulled out my little juicer, a big glass, the tequila, and a handful limes, but when rummaging around in the fruit drawer, I found two lonely, forgotten blood oranges. Hmmmm… I wondered if they would work in my margarita.

Oh boy! Did they ever work! These margaritas were spectacular! Even my husband, who is not a fan of margaritas (a huge character flaw, I know, but I love him anyway…) thought they were tasty. They were so good that I debated having one for breakfast this morning. It’s kind of like orange juice, right?

No worries, my better judgment prevailed, and I opted for coffee, but you can bet, if I were on a tropical vacation, without my kids, I’d be having one of these suckers with my breakfast!  But for now, I’m not on vacation, and I have three kids who want to go back to the pool this afternoon, so my margarita indulgence will have to wait for socially appropriate, responsible-parent cocktail consuming hours (tonight, after the kids go to bed). As a consolation, to get them off my mind, and preserved in cyber eternity, I am sharing the recipe with you.

I promise I don’t have a drinking problem. They’re just that good! I implore you to try them.

 

Ingredients:

8-9 limes

2 blood oranges

½ Cup of tequila

2/3 cup of Grand Marnier

1 full batch of Simple Syrup

Crushed ice

 

Preparation:

  1. Juice the limes (about 1 cup of juice)1-IMG_2888
  2. Peel the blood oranges and puree them in a blender, then strain the puree in a fine sieve, pushing the pulp through with a rubber spatula.1-IMG_2884
  3. Mix lime juice, strained orange puree, tequila, Grand Marnier, and simple syrup.1-IMG_2894
  4. Pour into a glass over the crushed ice.
  5. Garnish with a slice of lime and a slice of blood orange.1-IMG_2878

** How to make simple syrup– In a small sauce pan, combine 1 cup of water & 1 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Allow it to cool.