Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving Preparations

I always enjoy hosting Thanksgiving dinner and inviting friends and extended family who have no other family around with whom they can celebrate the occasion.  We had just one couple this year, as many of our usual guests were out of town this year. 

Despite the smaller guest list, I still made all the usual goodies!  We had turkey breast cooked in the rotisserie, sliced smoked ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, homemade dinner rolls, homemade whole cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, fruit salad, and pumpkin trifle.  Our guests also brought a blackberry cobbler and ice cream!  In addition, I had 5 kinds of sparkling juices to choose from, and I made a crock pot of mulled apple cider.  Yum!  The smells were wonderful!

I love making things from scratch.  I have never made homemade whole cranberry sauce before, but I had a coupon for the cranberries and found them on sale, and then I spotted the recipe on the back.  It turned out to be less expensive than buying canned sauce, so I figured I’d give it a shot…the recipe looked super simple!  I’ll share the steps here:Cranberry 1

  • Start with a 12 oz. bag of whole fresh cranberries, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup water. 
  • Boil the sugar and water until dissolved. 
  • Then add the cranberries and return to a boil. 
  • Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.          Cranberry 2
  • Pour into a bowl or dish and cover to cool completely at room temperature. 
  • Once cooled, place in refrigerator until ready to serve. 

It was delicious!  If you like it jellied, just mash the cranberries before cooling.

RollsI always make dinner rolls from scratch.  They are a favorite of my own family and my regular guests.  One batch makes 16 rolls, but it’s getting so that I almost need to make two batches to keep everyone happy!  The recipe is fabulous, but I’ll post it another time.  I found it in the Betty Crocker Bread Machine Book.Mulled Cider Ingredients

I started making mulled cider last Christmas.  I fell in love with wassail cider when I started going to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens.  It was the best part of the trip!  I could drink it non-stop when I’m out in the cold!  It’s so festive, and I love the spicy flavors in it.  I began a hunt for a good recipe and found this one.  It’s so easy in the crockpot, and it’s perfect every time!  Knowing that my teenage son and I were going out for Black Friday shopping starting at 6 PM on Thanksgiving and that it was so awfully cold out, I decided to start a pot of the cider while I was cooking Thanksgiving dinner so it would be ready by the time we got ready to go out.  It was a perfect way to warm up on the way!

I love this time of year!  I actually put my Christmas tree up the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving, and I got our presents all wrapped and under the tree on the eve of Thanksgiving.  Awesome!  Now that I’m feeling fat and happy from all the good food we’ve had (which we’ve nearly finished off today), I’m ready to switch gears and get into the Christmas spirit!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, too!  Feel free to share your favorite Thanksgiving recipes in the comments.  I love trying new things!