Cranberry Clementine Sauce

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I’m an introvert.

I’m told that I don’t seem that way online, but it’s the truth. Just cause I’m super open and friendly with you guys doesn’t mean that translates into real life. It doesn’t. I’m actually kinda uncomfortable around strangers and my default reaction is to fall completely silent. You know one of those girls you saw inn public once that you think are ‘stuck up’ because they don’t talk to anyone and have a mean ‘resting face’? Yeah, I’ve probably been that girl you saw once or twice somewhere.

I can’t help it. And frankly, I don’t want to. 9 times out of 10, I’d rather be the person that no one ever hears from because they don’t talk rather than the person that you hear from ALL THE TIME because they just don’t know how to stop talking.

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However, starting tomorrow, all of that is going to change. I’m gonna become the super outgoing girl that always seems to have something to say and kinda sorta maybe doesn’t know how to shut up. At least online. And for the next 12 days.

Know why?

Because tomorrow will mark the start of the 12 Days of Christmas on Cooking is My Sport.

What’s the 12 Days of Christmas, you ask? It’s the series I started last year where I share 12 Christmas-themed recipes of sweet, sugary goodies to commemorate this holiday season. I’m doing it again this year, and have been working my behind off in the kitchen to try and make sure I’ll be on time for each post.

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It’s not an exaggeration, guys. I said “12 Days of Christmas”, and 12 days is what y’all are gonna get. 12 straight days of me, my rambling posts and a crap-load of high sugar cookies, cake, candy and other Christmas treats. Think you can handle it? Cause I’m not so sure.

Actually, I’m not even sure if I can handle it myself. Most of you are bloggers, so you can appreciate how…challenging it’s gonna be to bake, photograph, edit and write up posts for 12 sets of goodies. I’ve already said a prayer and knocked on wood. Hopefully I’ll be successful.

Anyway, this series basically means that for the next 12 days (by blogging standards) I’m gonna be the annoying person that never stops talking, because my goal will be to put a post a day until Christmas Eve.

Hopefully the content of  the posts will make up for me constantly popping up on your blog reader….I kinda think they will.

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Oh, that’s right. You’ve been looking at cranberry sauce for the past several paragraphs. Isn’t it pretty? It’s also friggin delicious. I first made it for our Thanksgiving dinner this year and my grandma announced that it was good enough to eat all by itself on a spoon. I concur.

In fact, I concurred so much, that I went ahead and made a second batch of it soon after (which is what you’re looking at in the pictures). That second batch gave me an idea for the first post in the 12 Days of Christmas series….

Which you guys will have to wait until tomorrow for.

For now, let’s  just sit tight and focus on the cranberry sauce itself. It’s sweet, tart and ‘citrus-y’ all at once. The addition of cinnamon and star anise cuts through both the sweetness and tartness by giving it an earthy, licorrice-y after-taste. The consistency of the sauce is also key here- it’s gotta stay on the spoon all by itself so that you can almost chew it. Anything else just isn’t acceptable.

Right now this is my favorite cranberry sauce- especially when it’s versatile enough to transform into a completely new, delicious recipe.

But like I said: that’ll have to wait til tomorrow.

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Cranberry Clementine Sauce

Recipe Courtesy of Anne Burrell

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Ingredients

  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 6 clementines, peeled and sectioned
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

 Directions

1. In a small saucepan combine fresh cranberries, clementines, orange and cranberry juices, sugar, cinnamon stick, and star anise.

2. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Add the dried cranberries and simmer for 10 to 15 more minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

Blackberry Jam

Blackberry Jam1Tagged

Scandalous‘ Day 4

Gladiators! ONE.MORE.DAY.

We are one (just ONE) short day away from the long wait being over and FINALLY being able to get back to our favorite show. I don’t know about you guys, but I can hardly wait until tomorrow night. I know we all have our own ways to #CopewithoutPope, but there’s just nothing like the real thing.

The Olivia-Fitz relationship is undoubtedly one of the most popular aspects of the show, and for me, it is a sort of guilty pleasure. One one hand, I’m in love with Olivia and Fitz as a couple because #1, Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn have MAD chemistry with each other on camera. I have no idea how the two of them can manage to show so much emotion and raw passion within both their dialogue and even in their gazes. They’re both phenomenal actors in that respect. #2, I love the “I just can’t quit you” attitude that they have towards each other. I tend to be cynical about love/relationships/romance in real life, but watching the Olivia-Fitz relationship on Scandal frequently yanks at my more sappy side. The only thing more romantic about a man and woman who are crazy about each other is a man and a woman who are crazy about each other but can’t be together.

And last but certainly not least, #3…He.bought.her.a.HOUSE!

On the other hand, their relationship is something that my moral center just hates. Regardless of how Fitz and Olivia feel about each other, the facts remain: he’s the President  of the United States, and he’s married with 3 kids. Not only that, Mellie has sacrificed WAY too much for Fitz for him to continue to disrespect her in the way that he does with Olivia. Whether he knows the full extent of her sacrifice or not is irrelevant. She’s his wife, and he swore a vow to her. Until that changes, his affair with Olivia is wrong.

So in TV Land, I’m #TeamOlivia all the way. But in real life? I’ve gotta be #TeamMellie.

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The inspiration for this recipe should be obvious to us all. Who can forget the scene between Fitz and Olivia from the episode “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” where they begin to fantasize about what would happen if the stars would align and they would suddenly be able to have their Happily Ever After together:

Fitz: Somewhere, in another life, another reality, we are married and we have four kids, and we live in Vermont, and I’m the mayor–
Olivia: And I make jam.
Fitz: And you make jam. 

Sigh. I just caaaaaaan’t with them *wipes eyes with tissue*

This jam was the first recipe that I knew I wanted to make for the entire Scandal series before I even started. It’s not only ridiculously easy, it’s absolutely delicious as well. I decided to use blackberries because that’s the berry that my family likes best, but feel free to substitute strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or even a mix of all for this recipe. They all will work just fine.

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{Olivia’s Vermont} Blackberry Jam

Recipe Adapted from Ina Garten

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 1/2 pints fresh (or frozen) blackberries

Directions

1. Combine the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Add the blackberries and continue to cook over very low heat for 20 minutes, until the blackberries release some of their juices and the mixture boils slowly. Cook until a small amount of the juice gels on a very cold plate.

3. Pour carefully into 2 pint canning jars and either seal or keep refrigerated.

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Cranberry Sauce {Thanksgiving Recap}

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It’s the last day of our Thanksgiving Recap and I have a small confession to make: before this year I’ve never even had any kind of cranberry sauce before. We’ve always had it at our Thanksgiving Dinner in the past, it’s just that we had usually got the stuff that came in a can- you know, those gelatinous disc things? Well, those are the reason that I was never felt particularly motivated to try cranberry sauce. Whenever it came my way, I immediately passed it right on down the table without so much as taking even a little bit.

Now guys, beware. I’m about to go on a mini-rant. Maybe you’re a fan of canned cranberry sauce. Maybe your family is like mine and always serve it at Thanksgiving. That’s fine. I don’t want to step on your toes. You’re free to disagree with me. This is just my humble opinion talking here. Then again, since you’re reading my blog, that means you’re entitled to it.

To me, canned cranberry sauce looks just disgusting. Really. I don’t understand how anyone can be motivated to eat that stuff. I mean, it’s called a SAUCE. How can something with the consistency of jello, be called a sauce? Guys,when you take it out of the can, it stands up all.on.its.own! How does that not make you want to hurl? Not only that, have you ever looked at the ingredients in that stuff? High fructose corn syrup is right there at the top of the list, along with who knows what else. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who screen nutrition labels like a hawk. I don’t call foods out as ‘bad’ or ‘good’. I just don’t believe in that. But if I’m gonna eat something that does have HFC in it, I want it to at least LOOK appetizing to me. If cranberry sauce looks like anything to me, I say it looks like some kind of wacky science experiment from Bill Nye the Science Guy, but definitely not something I’m supposed to want to put in my mouth. Blegh.

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Okay. Rant over. I’m cool now. Moving right along. For many years, I shunned cranberry sauce completely, but last and this year were somewhat different. I saw a lot of recipes on other blogs and in magazines featuring sandwiches made from Thanksgiving leftovers with turkey, dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce. I thought that they looked pretty good, and really wanted to try one…there was just the matter of that friggin canned cranberry sauce.

I was NOT going to use it. Nope. Wasn’t gonna happen.

However, there still remained the option of making my own…

Well, I never can turn down a challenge, so I went recipe a-hunting. One of the most popular ones for cranberry sauce that I found came from Ree Drummond, aka, The Pioneer Woman. It sounded pretty easy as well as tasty so I went ahead and saved it. Bright and early on Thanksgiving morning, when everyone else was still fast asleep and I was preparing to roast the turkeys, I also threw this together on the stove top.

Holy schnapps, guys. It was a really, really, REALLY tasty!

It only took a lick off my fingertip for me to find out that I actually LOVE homemade cranberry sauce! The maple syrup gives the sauce  an autumn, harvest-y flavor, while the citrus from the orange was a further enhancement to the tartness of the cranberries. It also made my kitchen smell really good. And best of all, the sauce is actually a SAUCE- meaning it doesn’t stand up on it’s own. It was a perfect sweet-element to complement the savory-ness of the turkey, gravy, and dressing. The combination of all those flavors may sound weird, but trust me: they WORK. I’m thrilled that I went ahead and made this. It was so worth it.

Moral of the story: canned cranberry sauce sucks. Homemade cranberry sauce is awesome. It must be a (pre)Christmas miracle… or something.

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Cranberry Sauce

Recipe Courtesy of The Pioneer Woman

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

*One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
*1 cup cranberry juice
*1 cup pure maple syrup
*3 tablespoons orange juice
*1 tablespoon grated orange rind

Directions

1. Wash the bag of cranberries under cool water, and then throw them into a medium saucepan. Pour in the cranberry juice and maple syrup.

2. Add the orange juice and orange rind (you could also do lemon rind and lemon juice – anything citrusy). Stir together and turn the heat on high until it reaches a boil and the berries begin to pop.

3. Turn down the heat to medium-low and continue cooking over the lower heat until the juice is thick, about 10 minutes.

4. Turn off the heat. Allow to cool, and then chill in the fridge until Thanksgiving dinner is ready. It should have a nice jelly-like consistency.

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