Sunday, November 7, 2010

T-Day is on its way...

T minus 18 days until it's here.

That's right, friends: The BIG day. The revered fourth Thursday of November. The food-loving holiday that allows us to put aside any modesty at the dinner table, and actually celebrates gluttony and excessive eating.

Bring on the stuffing and roll out the pumpkin pies. It's Thanksgiving season, and I'm ready to rock n' roll.

Although I'm sure most people like to rely on family recipes and long-standing traditions for Thanksgiving foods, I actually enjoy the challenge of experimenting with new and unique twists on Thanksgiving recipes. Over the next two weeks, I'll be posting some of my most recent T-Day favorites, in the event you want to switch things up at your own feast table this year.

First on the menu? Cranberry sauce. My dad often recalls, with great fondness, the can-shaped tube of cranberry sauce that my grandmother used to serve at Thanksgiving--the jelled substance was always plated on a large lettuce leaf and sliced as neatly as a frozen roll of cookie dough.

Despite the awesome retro-factor of my dad's cranberry sauce memories, I've opted out of my grandmother's "recipe," in favor of my mom's updated fruit n' nut-loaded version. Thank you, Hungry Spoon Mama!

I've used this crunchy, fiber-licious and flavorful recipe for the past few years--loaded with toasted walnuts, oranges, apples, and celery, it easily surpasses the "wow factor" of the jiggly red globs from days past.

I'm always looking for new ideas to change up my favorites though, so if you have any creative suggestions for cranberry sauce add-ins, please share below!

Fruit n' Nut Cranberry Sauce
(Recipe from the Hungry Spoon Mama)

I'm big on texture and a good solid crunch when it comes to food, and Thanksgiving recipes are no exception! This cranberry sauce packs a high crunch-factor, with nuts, celery, and apple. For a sweet treat the following week, stir some into a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

  • 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 can of mandarin oranges, rinsed and drained (or use cut segments from 2 oranges)
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 - 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • A little orange zest
  • Optional: diced fresh mango (this is a fantastic addition, but sometimes--like today--a girl just doesn't have a mango sitting around)
1) To prepare cranberries (as directed on the side of the Ocean Spray bag!): Bring water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (cranberries will start to split open). Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

2) Once cranberries have cooled, stir in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate before serving


  1. 18 days?! Oh, jeez. Better start loosening my belt buckle now... ;P

  2. I'm actually doing cranberry relish on my blog tomorrow evening. It's a bit of a different recipe though. I'd be willing to try yours too.

  3. Thinking about 18 days is scary. I need to figure out what dish I will prepare this year. Loving your fruit n nut sauce, looks great.

  4. I love cranberry sauce with a crunch and yours looks great, even without the mango. (Though sometimes nostalgia takes over and I crave the jiggly tube.) It's just not Thanksgiving dinner without the cranberries!

  5. I'm like you and love trying new recipes for T-Day! (ok, in general ;) Homemade cranberry sauce is amazing, but I have to admit that I prefer mine more on the plain side. Crazy, right? Pioneer Woman posted a recipe recently with pomegranate juice, but I wonder if pomegranate seeds would be another interesting idea for crunch?

  6. Cranberry sauce sounds delicious! My family always makes this cranberry relish that is incredible, and it has kind of taken the place of cranberry sauce recently.

  7. This sounds soooo good, can't wait to try it!

  8. I can't believe we only have eighteen days! I love Thanksgiving, and like you, I love experimenting. This cranberry sauce sounds great. I love the addition of nuts. Thanks for sharing sweet friend! I hope your week is full of joy.

  9. This sounds delicious!! I like that you've got citrus, cranberry AND nuts going on here <3 yumm.
    I can't wait for Thanksgiving, read: stuffing!! I love to experiment, too, but there are some things, like my mama's specialty stuffing, that I absolutely refuse to touch.

  10. our cranberry sauce is just cranberries, sugar, and citrus. it's more of a chunky relish. yum!

  11. Oh crap! I guess I better work on finding someone's dinner to crash!