Saturday, November 30, 2013

November FotM: Cranberry Sauce - Four Ways

With ease, you can make Cranberry Sauce with a twist.  Below we will take you through the very easy process of making your own cranberry sauce.  After it is complete, simply add a few additional ingredients for an accent to any type of meal.

Here we will cover what we added to create the following types of Cranberry Sauce...

  • Original
  • Orange
  • Pecan
  • Pepper

recipe is from

yield about 
2 1/4 cups

3/4 cup sugar
1 bag (12 ounces) cranberries
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup water

Bring all ingredients to boil in heavy medium saucepan, stirring often.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until most of cranberries burst, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Transfer sauce to medium bowl.  Cool, cover, and refrigerate cranberry sauce. 

Basic Cranberry Sauce can be prepared up to 1 week ahead of time.  Keep refrigerated.   Note: Cranberry Sauce freezes well (Approximately 3 months).  Be sure to make extra to pull out later and you can even add these additional ingredients at this time to change things up.

Note: Try on ice will be pleasantly surprised.

Peel and segment one or two oranges and stir into cranberry sauce.

Roughly chop 1/2 cup of pecans and stir into cranberry sauce.

Stir 1/2 cup of pepper jelly into cranberry sauce, add a couple of pinches of chopped fresh rosemary and thyme if desired.  Note: If you have extra pepper jelly (we used jalapeno) spread it on top of cream cheese for a quick dip for crackers.

Mmmm turkey with cranberry sauce...

Be creative and comment below with your own variations.

Friday, November 22, 2013

November FotM recipe: Cranberry-Pineapple-Strawberry Jam

We learned a very important lesson while canning this jam:
Every time you break a jar...  an elf dies (explodes).


...uhh, we'll explain more after Christmas.

Would you just look at that color?

We used our basic jam recipe:
9 cups fruit (in this case about 1/2 cranberries, 1/4 pineapple and 1/4 strawberries)
6 cups sugar
4 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon (or lime) juice (we used a combination of both) pretty!...

Combine all of the ingredients and cook until thick and jam begins to "sheet" and has thickened to your liking (test by dropping a small amount onto a cold plate and allowing it to cool for a few seconds) stirring frequently (ever few minute or it will burn on the bottom) and scraping foam as needed.  Ladle jam into sterilized canning jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Makes about 3 pints.

...we tripled the recipe and split it between us...

...don't forget to set some aside for yourself!

Oh...  and most importantly...  ENJOY!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November FotM recipe: Turkey burgers and sweet potato fries with cranberry ketchup

This was dinner on Friday.

It was amazing.

5 1/2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cups chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cups water
1 1/2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

Combine cranberries, onions, garlic and water in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently for 6 to 10 minutes, until cranberries pop and become soft.

Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade, working in batches, and purée until smooth.

Return mixture to saucepan. Add brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, cloves, salt, black pepper, allspice and cayenne. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture is almost the consistency of commercial ketchup, about 30 minutes.
Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

Ladle hot ketchup into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and re-measure headspace. If needed, add more ketchup to meet recommended headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.

Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Turkey burgers
1 lb ground turkey
⅓ cup onions, finely diced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ heaping Tablespoon parsley
½ teaspoon oregano
1  teaspoon chili powder
⅛ tsp ground chipotle powder
½ teaspoon seasoning salt, plus more if desired
5-6 dashes black pepper
1 egg
1-2 slices wheat toast
½ -1 Tablespoon olive oil, for frying

Combine all ingredients. Shape into patties (or meatballs, yum!) and fry (or grill) until cooked through.

Sweet Potato Oven Fries
1 or 2 sweet potatoes
a drizzle of olive oil
salt (to taste)
pepper (optional)
(we used seasoned salt in place of S&P this time…  they were good!)

Preheat oven to 425° F

Wash, peel and slice potatoes into ½” thick sticks.  Gently toss in a little oil, salt and pepper (if using).  Evenly coat a baking sheet with olive oil and spread potatoes in a single, even layer.  Bake about 15-20 minutes, or until fork tender and crispy on the outside, turning halfway through baking.

Our kitchen setup while blogging.

Any questions or thoughts?  Let us know and leave a comment!

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Monday, November 4, 2013

November's food of the month: Cranberries

Now that we're well into autumn and through the first of the BIG holidays... and just about pumpkined out... it's time to move on to another flavor of the season: Cranberry! YUM.

With a complex, tart flavor cranberries are very versatile: delicious dried on their own, spread across a roast or starring in a dessert, it's no wonder that people love cranberries so much.

While the idea of growing your own cranberries sounds wonderful…  it isn’t very likely that you’d be able to.  Cranberries thrive in very specific conditions, needing acid peat soil, a growing season from April through November and lots of fresh water (really, they need marshland).  This is one case where we’re going to recommend that  you don’t attempt this without extensive research and go ahead and buy them when they’re at their peak…  which happens to be right about now.

If you are interested in learning to grow your own cranberries, this website is a good place to start your research:  How Cranberries Grow: "Cranberries 101" - An Introduction

Fresh cranberries can be stored in their original plastic bag, or in an airtight container, in the fridge for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to one year (do not thaw them before using, simply rinse and go ahead and use them as usual).

Cranberries can be preserved in a number of ways.  As we stated above, they can be frozen for quite a long time, but dehydrating or canning gives them an even longer shelf life.

Dried fruit can keep for up to five years if stored in an airtight container (vacuum sealing is even better) and kept at temperatures at or below 70° F, but will last indefinitely when stored in the freezer.  Check out these instructions for dried cranberries.

Canned cranberries can be kept safely for 1-2 years.  The domed lid on a canning jar, the color  and the smell of the contents are your most sure signs of freshness.  But, when in doubt, throw it out.  We will be sharing a cranberry canning recipe or two this month.

There are so many, many uses for cranberries and there are tons of cranberry recipes available online.  Throughout November, we’ll test a few and let you know what we think of them.  If there’s something you’d like us to try this month, let us know and we’ll do our best to try it out for you.

Any questions or thoughts?  Let us know and leave a comment!

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Guest Post From Sarah of Classy Media (and unveiling our new logo!)

Hello, I am Sarah Solomon, graphic and web designer from Classy Media. When I was a child, I used to enjoy spending afternoons with my Grammy crafting away. Now I spend my days creating beautiful designs as my career and I love it!

Most of my days are spent designing and developing websites and branding for small businesses. As a small business owner myself, I understand that not all companies are able to afford professional design or a full marketing department. I created Classy Media in order to help those businesses present themselves professionally without breaking the bank.

I recently had the pleasure of working with Create! Don’t Consume! on a custom logo for their blog and Facebook page. I enjoyed creating something unique that incorporates different aspects of their philosophy. The canning jars, yarn and needles, and recycle logo I created in Adobe Illustrator. I love working with the Adobe Creative Suite to develop and fine tune my design projects because it provides the tools necessary to create professional projects as well the flexibility to change elements easily.

Please check out our portfolio of projects and blog at: and feel free to drop me a line at with any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you!
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We'd like to send a big THANK YOU to Sarah Solomon of Classy Media for her using her time and talent to design our new logo!  We love it!