Fresh Cranberry Salad

For a Thanksgiving meal to be complete, cranberries are just as important as the turkey, in my opinion.  Aunt Ruby’s Fresh Cranberry Salad is one of my all-time favorites.  It was on the holiday table at most of our Bolton family Thanksgiving dinners when I was growing up.  
 
When I was old enough to be interested in the recipe, I pretty much had to take an oath that I would never share the recipe.  As it turns out my aunt had given it to my mother in confidence, and my mother made me promise, just as she once had, never to share it.  
 
Time has gone by, and my aunt passed several years ago.  I think I’m safe in sharing it now.  In fact, I think it would make her smile to know that I was sharing it with my readers now.  Preparing this recipe and many others passed down through the years is just one way to keep their memories close.
Our holiday dinner table seems to be missing a few more every year.  I miss each of them terribly, but the memories I have of our wonderful times together warms my heart year-round.  Give thanks for those you love most of all, and I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving!
Fresh Cranberry Salad
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 c. boiling water
  • 2 (3-oz.) boxes strawberry Jello
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • zest of 2 lg. oranges
  • 2 lg. oranges
  • 1 (20-oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
  • 2 c. cranberries, ground in food processor or blender
  • 1 crisp, red apples, finely chopped
  • 1 c. pecans, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl pour boiling water over Jello and sugar, mix to dissolve.
  2. Zest oranges and add to Jello mixture.
  3. Place the oranges horizontally on the cutting board. Slice off both ends of the oranges. Stand the orange up on one of the cut ends. Cut the orange peel and pith off around the entire orange, from top to bottom, so the fruit is exposed. Hold the orange over a bowl to collect juice. Place your knife in between the segments of the oranges and cut each section away from the membranes, so no pith or membrane remains on the pieces of fruit. Squeeze all juice from remaining orange. Chop orange pieces finely and add to Jello mixture.
  4. Stir in pineapple, ground cranberries, apple, and pecans. Mix well and refrigerate.
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Aunt Sara’s Cranberry Bread with Cranberry Butter

 

cranberry bread with cranberry butter 2

 

Cranberries are finally available! I have been looking forward to this for months now. Cranberries are a seasonal treat that I enjoy.  I try to freeze a few bags when they are in season, but apparently, I forgot to do that last year.

I always say that my best recipes were passed to me by friends and family!   This family gem is no different.  Cranberry Bread with Cranberry Butter is one of my favorites. It’s delicious warm out of the oven, but my favorite way to have it myself is lightly toasted and served warm with this flavorful butter.

With many planning for Christmas already, this bread makes a thoughtful and lovely gift.  It’s also wonderful to take to parties and gatherings during the holiday season.

Aunt Sara's Cranberry Bread with Cranberry Butter
 
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Ingredients
  • Bread:
  • ¾ c. orange juice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. chopped fresh cranberries
  • ½ c. chopped pecans or walnuts
  • Butter:
  • 1 c. fresh cranberries
  • 1 c. sugar
  • ½ c. butter
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
Instructions
  1. For the bread: Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease and flour a 4 x 8-inch loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together orange juice, egg, and oil. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until moist. Fold in the cranberries and nuts. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Serve with Cranberry Butter.
  3. For the butter: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the sugar and cranberries until chopped well. Add butter and lemon juice and pulse just enough to mix well.

 

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Broccoli Casserole

Broccoli Casserole

Holidays are the times that I feel most nostalgic.  At Thanksgiving that means I like to see certain dishes on the table.  Turkey, of course, with dressing and cranberries in some form, sweet potato casserole, and always a broccoli casserole!  Until recently it was about the only time of the year that I made casseroles.

As a young cook I always made a broccoli casserole to take to family dinners.  Broccoli casseroles and Five Cup Salads were my specialities back then.

Many broccoli casseroles call for frozen broccoli.  I prefer fresh broccoli.  Don’t cook the broccoli to mushy, but cook it slightly past tender crisp.  I always tend to be heavy handed on the cheese, and the end result is delicious!

 

Broccoli Casserole
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 lb. fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 small onion, finely minced
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
  • ¼ c. butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325℉. Spray baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Chop broccoli into large bite-size pieces. Steam broccoli to just past tender-crisp, set aside.
  3. Combine the mayonnaise, onion, mushroom soup, and eggs until blended. Stir in the broccoli and cheese and pour into prepared baking dish.
  4. Mix crushed crackers with melted butter. Sprinkle over the casserole.
  5. Bake at 325℉ for 30 minutes or until brown.

 

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Greek Quinoa Layered Jar Salad

Greek Quinoa Layered Jar Salad

For someone that hates to be late to anything It seems I am always last to jump on the bandwagon when trying new ingredients in the kitchen. For the first time ever I have tried Quinoa!  I tried it in this layered Mason jar salad and now I am a huge fan!

Quinoa, pronounced (keen-wah), is considered to be a whole grain but it actually is not. It’s a seed and it’s gluten-free, cholesterol-free, high in protein, and provides 9 essential amino acids. It is thought to help stave off a number of diseases, reduces the frequency of migraines and reduces the risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks.

I love to keep these layered jar salads in the fridge for quick and easy lunches or those dinners when you have no time to cook. They generally start with the dressing in the bottom of the jar, followed by the hardier ingredients, keeping the lettuce near the top of the jar to keep the salad crisp. This salad will last 3 to 4 days stored in the refrigerator.

 

Greek Quinoa Layered Jar Salad
 
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Ingredients
  • 4 quart Mason jars, with lids
  • 1 c. Quinoa
  • 2 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chopped dill
  • ¼ c. diced red onion
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ hothouse cucumber, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ c kalamata olives, seeds removed and cut in half
  • 5 oz. feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
Instructions
  1. Combine rinsed Quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes or until Quinoa has absorbed all of the broth.
  2. Turn off the heat and place a lid on the pot. Let Quinoa steam for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Stir in chopped dill and red onion. Let cool.
  3. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, pepper, and Dijon until mixed well. Divide evenly between the 4 quart jars. Layer the veggies in the jar starting with the tomatoes, the bell pepper and cucumber.
  4. Divide the Quinoa among the jars, spooning it in. Top with feta and olives. At this point you can press down the ingredients slightly in the jar.
  5. Top off each salad with a handful of chopped lettuce. Store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Pour the contents into a bowl when you are ready to eat!

 

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Earthquake Cake

Earthquake Cake

Several months ago, while visiting my mom, I attended Wednesday night church with her. One of her good friends, Inell, had taken an Earthquake cake and was kind enough to share the recipe with me. However, months later when I wanted to make the cake I could not find it.  This has happened to me more than once! In all honesty, it’s probably in the bottom of a purse somewhere, but for now, I took to the web.

This Earthquake Cake is super moist, extremely easy and crazy delicious! Inell’s cake and the one I made used a chocolate cake mix, however, while searching the web I found several variations including red velvet and pumpkin. I love the coconut, but it is totally optional and works well without it.

Earthquake Cake
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 (15.25-oz.) box Chocolate cake mix (I used German chocolate)
  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ c. butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • ½ c. flaked coconut
  • 1 c. chopped pecans, lightly toasted
  • 1½ c. chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semi-sweet)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Sprinkle pecans in the bottom of the dish, set aside.
  3. Prepare the cake mix as directed on the package. Pour the batter evenly over the pecans, do not stir.
  4. Using a hand mixer, mix the cream cheese and butter until mixed well. Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until creamy. Fold in coconut.
  5. Drop coconut mixture by spoonfuls randomly over the batter. Using a butter knife, lightly swirl through the batter.
  6. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the cake.
  7. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake come out clean.
  8. Cool to room temperature then serve.

 

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