Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Different Take on a Thanksgiving Mainstay

What happens when you combine...

Some Cranberries...

Some Sugar...
A Stick of Cinnamon and a Vanilla Bean?

You Get Sugared Cranberries

I first had these when I went to a delegate meeting the week of Thanksgiving.  I didn't try them at first because I thought they looked like frozen grapes - but strange grapes.  Then a lady walked up and said, "Oh these cranberries are delicious" and I said, "What?", and she said, "Sugared cranberries."  So I tried them and was very impressed.  Never thought I would enjoy a fresh cranberry.  So when I got home I looked up a few recipes, found one I liked, and what do you know - I impressed my friends.

Sugared Cranberries

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 bag of fresh cranberries
1 stick of cinnamon
1 vanilla bean
sugar for coating

Make sugar syrup with sugar and water, add cinnamon stick and vanilla bean as sugar is getting close to completely dissolving.  Once sugar completely dissolved remove from heat and stir in cranberries.  Weight down with plate to keep cranberries submerged and refrigerate overnight.  

In the morning drain cranberries (can keep sugar syrup to put in tea to sweeten)  and take small batches and toss in sugar to coat.  Allow to sit out and dry for a couple of hours.   Enjoy.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Necklaces and Taco Soup

As usual I spent the Thursday before Thanksgiving with my mom at a local fundraiser for a children's camp.  I helped ladies make a weathered garden post.  The posts came from my parent's back porch at the home where I grew up.


This year my Aunt Elsie and Uncle Marvin came, as well as my cousin Duane and his wife Becky, to enjoy the day at camp as well as spend time with mom and dad for the weekend.

As usual Thursday evening rolled around and I was expecting company for supper and had no idea what I was going to make and it was already 4 pm and I was busy making jewelry with my mom, Elsie, and Becky.  Elsie saved the day by suggesting I make taco soup.  I served it with homemade bread, applesauce, carrots, and brownies and ice cream for dessert.  There were no complaints.

Taco Soup
The fixings : corn chips, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, and cheese. 

All put together.
Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day, one day past the 2 week keep
in the fridge time period.   Don't worry, it still tasted fine.
Finished it off with Lowfat Fudgy Brownies, made with my special
mandarin orange olive oil I picked up when I was in California.

Ice Cream good till the last bite and then some.

Taco Soup
1 lb hamburger
1 onion chopped
1 can corn (I used frozen corn from my freezer)
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 pkg hidden valley ranch
1 pkg taco seasoning
(I also added a couple shakes of Penzy's chili 3000 spice, mostly because I only had a partial pkg of hidden valley ranch)

Brown the hamburger and onion until cooked, add rest of ingredients and simmer.  Serve with the following items.
Shredded cheese
Sour cream 
Tortilla chips

Lowfat Fudgy Orange Brownies
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
4 1/2 Tbsp mandarin orange olive oil
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Mix oil and cocoa together, stir until mixed, add sugars and stir until mixture looks like very dark brown sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Stir briskly until smooth.  Mix flour and baking powder in separate bowl and then add to sugar mixture.  Stir until combined and smooth.  Spread evenly into 8x8 baking dish lined with parchment paper.  Bake 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool on rack in pan.  Cut when cool.

Here are a couple pictures of the jewelry we made.