Ever wonder why Cranberries are a tradition at Thanksgiving? Yeah, me too. After a quick Google search, I learned that Cranberries were used in Native American foods long before the first Pilgrims arrived, even incorporating myths about this tiny fruit into their religious traditions. The most interesting and relevant fact I found on the Cranberry was that the Native Americans used it for medicinal purposes, primarily to ward off indigestion. That seems like a perfectly logical reason why this fruit goes hand-in-hand with Thanksgiving! Although the Natives most likely had a fresh, “au naturel” approach to the Cranberry, I’m going to serve up a modern version for your Thanksgiving day pleasure.
This recipe comes from my mother-in-law, who I love and adore (and not just for this recipe!). I don’t know how far back this recipe goes in our family history, but at least back to the invention of Jell-O! It is a wonderfully easy & delicious recipe that will be an instant hit with your friends & family at Thanksgiving.
Mom’s Cranberry Salad
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 ½ cups water
1 cup sugar
1 6-oz or 2 3-oz package(s) cherry Jell-O
1 diced Red Delicious apple
1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
½ – ¾ cup chopped pecans
Combine the cranberries, water, sugar and Jell-O in a sauce pot and cook for 15 minutes (Cranberries will begin to snap open and make a popping sound as the water boils). Stir often and adjust heat so mixture does not bubble over. Once cooked, remove from heat & cool completely.
Once cooled, transfer to a bowl. Add diced apple, crushed pineapple (including the juice) and pecans. My family prefers more pecans in our salad, but you can adjust to your desired amount. I’ve been known to add up to a cup of pecans to this recipe, but I love pecans! Seal top of bowl with plastic wrap or foil and put in refrigerator and let set overnight.
Here is a printable version of mom’s Best Cranberry Salad recipe. I love this recipe so much, I freeze an entire bag of fresh Cranberries after the holidays so I can make this salad any time of year. They freeze well and this salad is a treat come mid-summer when it’s scorching hot outside.
Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours – enjoy!
Life’s better with a German Shepherd at the end of your leash – you can quote me on that.
Tara is 4 1/2 months old now and has proven to be a wonderful addition to our family. Having never owned a GSD before, I am amazed each and every day by her intelligence. I am also amazed by her popularity! I take her for a 2 mile walk every day and people stop in their tracks (and cars!) to ask me about this gorgeous girl. I don’t know what the mystique is with German Shepherds, but everyone seems in awe when they see her, and we feel the same way.
I love to cook and bake, but as a working mom, I don’t have a lot of time (or energy) to make elaborate dinners every night of the week. The simpler the recipe the better as far as I’m concerned – but it has to taste great, too. With that being said, I want to share one of my all time favorite “easy” recipes: Tortilla Soup.
Easy Tortilla Soup
3-4 chicken breasts
9 cups chicken broth
2 cans (14.5 oz each) seasoned diced tomatoes (see notes)
3 tablespoons Cumin
2 cans (4 oz each) green chilies
Shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever type suits your taste)
Tortilla chips, crushed
Mix everything for the soup in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. After chicken is fully cooked, take out of soup and cube or shred (discard bone if bone-in chicken breasts were used). Put prepared chicken back into soup. Turn down heat and simmer 30 minutes.
Fill bowl(s) with soup and top with crushed tortilla chips, diced avocados and shredded cheese. Serve & enjoy!
Click here for a printable version of the recipe, and here are my notes on making this soup:
- I love spicy food, so I use Hot diced green chilies in my soup.
- I prefer the Hunt’s brand of diced tomatoes and use the Diced Roasted Garlic Tomatoes. This is an area where you can vary the recipe to suit your taste. My mother-in-law likes to use Italian-style tomatoes in her soup, which gives it a sweeter taste.
- We buy bags of chicken tenders at Sam’s Club every other week and I like using these for my recipe. I add 8-10 tenders. They cook quickly and are super easy to cut/shred.
- I’m a big fan of Cumin – my husband’s not. I have found that 3 tablespoons is the right balance for us. If you’re not sure how much is right for you, make sure the chicken is fully cooked and then add the Cumin teaspoon by teaspoon to the soup, tasting after each addition.
- I’m also a big fan of avocados, and I think they “make” the soup once added.
- A thicker tortilla chip holds up better in the soup, and I prefer Mission Tortilla Strips.
- Add whatever you think sounds good! My mother-in-law likes to add corn, and even potatoes on occasion.
If you come up with a version of this soup you think is awesome, email me the recipe! I’d love to hear how it turned out for you & yours. Enjoy!
I recently sent an email to the City and County of Denver’s 311 service complaining about a crosswalk near my home. Although this location has two over sized stop signs, drivers rarely stop. The last straw for me was when The Boss and I were crossing within the crosswalk and a driver didn’t stop and drove around us…AROUND US! (The Boss learned a few new words that day, as said driver got stuck in traffic about eight feet away and I got to scream at this a-hole for a minute) The next day, I wrote to 311 and requested they do something. And guess what? They did.
When I finished writing my initial email and hit “Send”, I was sure it was going out into the void, never to be responded to, let alone read. I was so wrong. Within an hour, I received an email telling me a case number had been assigned to my complaint and then, a few days later, another one telling me my case had been sent to the appropriate department. Within a week, a Senior Engineering Associate with Denver Public Works emailed me telling me they were going to install a “stop bar” at the location. Then, this morning, low and behold, there were workers at the location painting the stop bar (see below) – all within three weeks of my initial complaint. How’s that for service?
Where did October go?! I’m sad to say it’s over, but want to share how we spent the last night of October – Halloween. The Boss told me weeks ago that he wanted to be a streetlight for Halloween…he’s slightly obsessed with them and even had a streetlight birthday cake. My husband and mother-in-law (an engineer & interior designer, respectively) designed and constructed the costume. And, it literally stopped traffic. We had people pulling over in their cars all night asking how we put it together, working lights and all. The Boss was adorable, got lots of attention, and came home with enough candy to last through Christmas. I’m sad to see October end, but seeing The Boss on Halloween, in a costume he dreamed up himself, made the end of my favorite month more bearable. Hope you and yours had a very happy Halloween as well – and here’s to the upcoming Holiday season!