I’m Thankful For A Bored Kid And Versatile Cranberries

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Drunken Cranberry SauceHere in the United States, today is Thanksgiving so many of us are stuffing our faces with massive amounts of food while watching football and parades with big floaty things. Since The Kid and I are used to being in a man-free zone, we skip the football part and we usually aren’t interested in watching the parade.

We do have traditions that we carry on and have every year since becoming our very own family. We put up and decorate our Christmas tree while listening to a cheesy Christmas CD. We’ve managed to find dairy free gingerbread house kits for the last few years so we decorate a house that looks like no self-respecting gingerbread man would ever want to inhabit.

We rent movies and lay around watching them. One of us typically whines that they’re bored silly. (Hint: I don’t bore easily on a rare day of rest.) We also cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green beans, rolls, and dessert of some kind. I love our turkey-shaped plates.

Years ago I was given a cranberry sauce recipe by a co-worker. She said it was the best cranberry sauce ever and she was dead on in the description. It is simple to make and I’ve modified it a bit to lower the sugar in it. I also have never made it the same way twice. I keep the bag of cranberries and sugar the same, but everything else changes based on what I have on hand that year.

Read the notes after the recipe for more information on what I do. I’ve sampled this year’s version and I think this is the best one so far. I also think I say that every year. 😉 The cranberries are great in the normal way for Thanksgiving dinner, but are quite tasty topping vanilla ice cream or mixed with plain yogurt… or eaten directly from a spoon.

Drunken Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 bag of fresh cranberries (12 oz)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp juice, jelly, or other fruit flavored substance
  • 2 Tbsp liquor of choice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pour cranberries into a baking dish and dump sugar on top. Add 2 tablespoons of your fruit flavored substance of choice. You can use OJ concentrate, juice, jelly, etc in any flavor that you think blends with cranberries. Cover with the dish lid or tin foil and place dish on a cookie sheet. I don’t bother stirring – just dump, pour, plop, cover.

The cookie sheet is there in case the cranberries accidentally boil over. Bake at 325 degrees for an hour. Remove from oven and add in 2 tablespoons of liquor of choice. Again any flavor that you think blends with cranberries. You can also leave this step out for an alcohol free version. I’ve personally never skipped this step.

Fruit Flavored Substance – I used pretty much anything fruit flavored in past versions including frozen lemonade concentrate, OJ concentrate, POM juice, grape jelly, cran-blueberry juice, and strawberry preserves.

Liquor of Choice – Again just about anything goes that you can imagine including tried and true grand marnier, irish whiskey, franjelico, bourbon, chocolate vodka, and blueberry rum.

The combination I used this year was 2 tablespoons of blackberry just-fruit preserves and… wait for it… 2 tablespoons of cake flavored vodka. It was a toss up between the cake flavored vodka and whipped cream flavored. I’ll have to try the other at Christmas.

I hope your day is filled with fun, family, and traditions. If you would like the original cranberry recipe as given to me, please let me know. I’d be happy to send it along.

What are your Thanksgiving traditions? Does your day involve parades and football? What should my next cranberry combination be?

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