Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Christmas is only six weeks away, can you believe it?
|Kona~World's Best Dog...not negotiable!|
I took my dog for a walk this morning and reveled in the clean crisp air, gingerly scented with decomposing leaves and pin needles. I don't know what it is about that earthy aroma that makes me so happy. Like a whispering woodland fairy, it always reminds me to start planning for the holidays; no time to waste.
I always like to make sugared cranberries in preparation for the holidays. They are extremely simple, and impressive at any Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years table! Sugared cranberries are like nature-made Sour Patch Kids, sweet and tart. Plus they are so pretty; just think of all the wonderful ways to use them:
Place them in a candy dish to be gobbled up by the handful!
Use as a fancy garnish for holiday pies, cakes...even savory dishes.
Fill martini or champagne glasses with them to decorate your holiday table.
Place them in little tins or gift bags for small edible gifts!
One more bonus~ the leftover vanilla-orange simple syrup absorbs the essence of cranberry, so save it for irresistible holiday cocktails!
My next post will discuss more about planning for your Thanksgiving meal, but in the meantime, make sure to check out you local event calender so you don't miss any of the festivities this time of year. November and December provide such great family fun! Here are some of my favorite Asheville events:
The National Gingerbread House Competition held at the Grove Park Inn. November 15th - January 2nd
LA Zoom Turkey Tour, Thanksgiving week only!
Biltmore Village Annual Dickens Fest, December 3-5th. (Go Friday night!)
Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, midnight on December 11th. Steve Miller Band will be there this year! *smile*
The Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker, December 21st only!
The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving. ~H.U. Westermayer
Vanilla-Orange Sugared Cranberries
3 ¾ cups sugar, divided
1 ¾ cups water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. orange extract or grand mariner
1- 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries (about 3 cups)
Combine 2 ½ cups of sugar, water, vanilla, and orange extract in a sauce pan. Heat over medium until the sugar has completely dissolved—but not boiling.
Pour in the cranberries and stir. The hot syrup will loosen the skin, saturate the berries and adhere to the berries over time.
Cover the cranberries with a small plate to keep them mostly submerged. Then cover the pan and place it in the refrigerator over night.
Place the remaining 1 ¼ cup of sugar in a rimmed dish. Strain the cranberries and place them in the sugar. Shake until they are completely coated.
Carefully transfer them to a baking sheet to dry—about an hour.
Once the sugar coating is hard, place them in an air-tight container and keep in a cool spot for up to a week!
*Don’t forget to refrigerate your Cranberry Infused Vanilla-Orange Syrup for cocktail time!