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Lights, Camera, Christmas!

November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving didn’t really feel like Thanksgiving this year. Maybe that’s because it snowed upstate to the boy’s parents’ house. Maybe it’s because I didn’t spend it with my big extended family.

Or maybe it’s just because this fall didn’t feel much like fall. It was too warm or too cold for most of it. And while there were a few gorgeously clear and blustery days, all the leaves got blown off of the trees in a hurry, just like back home in Fargo. Fall is usually my favorite time of year, but it seemed like this year it was all taken up by work and school. Not enough time at home!

Well that’s going to change. The boy and I spent the whole day today clearing brush, trimming trees (literally trimming, not decorating) and bushes, and chopping up kindling. The boy also finished mortaring the inside of our fireplace (the mason forgot a spot) and we went out and bought LED lights as well as a fireplace screen and tools. And put them all up. It was a fun day.

A rather blurry and dark picture of our little Bramble House! We did icicle lights along the porch windows and little flicker candles in the windows, multi-colored large-bulb lights down the railing and along the front fence (not in the picture).

We still have massive cleaning to do – stuff that’s gotten neglected and things we need to do to prep for our holiday party we’re throwing. Here’s my planned menu:

  • crockpot creamed chicken and vegetables over cream biscuits
  • Vanessa’s dinner rolls
  • spiced pretzels
  • candied nuts
  • Ruffles potato chips and french onion dip (for the boy’s very picky eater boss)
  • veggies and ranch dip
  • pumpkin custard (basically crustless pumpkin pie)
  • apple pie (maybe, or apple sauce)
  • sugar plum tarts- no-roll pie crust, sweetened baked ricotta base, gingered bosc pears, red plums, and black grapes over the top and dusted with sugar
  • clementines or tangerines
  • peanuts in the shell
  • dried fruit chocolate bark (gotta have chocolate in there somewhere!)
  • hot cider or mulled “wine” (a.k.a. pomegranate cranberry juice with a bottle of glogg mix)
  • Cranberry Bog wine
  • sparkling hard cider
  • assorted white wines

We’ve invited nearly 30 people, so hopefully some of them will show up this time! We’ve still got to put up the tree, decorate it, and attempt to rearrange our tiny living room and front porch so that it could theoretically accommodate 20 or so people. Luckily, we have two couches and an easy chair. Unluckily, we only have seven other chairs. Lol. We’ll make it work.

Also, I wanted to share my cranberry sauce recipe. I’ve made it twice now and have learned a bit about how best to make it – and let me assure you, it is yummy! Not to mention easy. Here it is:

Cranberry Sauce

2 bags fresh, whole cranberries
1 navel orange or 2-3 tangerines
1 apple (optional)
1 pomegranate, peeled and seeded (this works best when the pomegranate is submerged in cold water)
1-2 cups sugar, brown or white
sprinkling of ground ginger

Rinse and pick over cranberries, removing any stems or bad ones. Segment the oranges by cutting the tops and tails off, then cutting the peel off (instead of tearing it off with your fingers). Chop segments roughly. Peel pomegranate and gently remove seeds (best done in a bowl of cold water – seeds will sink and pith will float). Set aside. If using apple, peel and seed and finely chop. Add all fruit except pomegranate seeds to pot. Add at least 1 cup of sugar to begin with. Cook over low heat until cranberries burst and apples and oranges pretty much disappear into the sauce. Add sprinkling of ginger. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. When desired thickness and sweetness are reached, let cool. Then mix in pomegranates. Refrigerate until used. Goes excellently with turkey. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.

I peeled the tangerines I used before I segmented them.

With the pomegranate seeds. In my pretty nesting milk glass bowls!

In the pot everything goes!

And now, I am off to eat some of the delicious rice pudding I made this evening and double-check the masonry work the boy did – at his request. 🙂 And then homework (ugh!) and bed! To dream of sugar plums dancing, snowfall, snowshoeing, and family and friends. And a trip back to Fargo in January! Life is good…

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