Hello, hello! Is everyone ready for the holidays? I hope so. Anyway, I’ve spent the last couple of days trying to come up with a topic for this week’s post and I keep coming up blank. Since I’m doing a book review on Christmas instead of taking a break, I figured I would take this week off. So, here are some festive photos of my chair that Dad decorated and a couple from the MDA Holiday Party in lieu of an actual post!
Hello, hello! So, my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is this week! It’s currently Monday and the house smells like cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes. And the aromas will just keep getting better as the week goes on. So, in celebration of the season, I thought I would share a couple of recipes with you! Namely, the cranberry sauce and sweet potato casserole Dad makes. I know it’s a little late given that Thanksgiving will be tomorrow by the time this posts, but you can always try them next year or for Christmas.
First up is Cranberry Orange Relish with Bourbon. It’s a recipe Dad found in the Dallas Morning News a couple of years ago. He decided to try this one since the chutney recipe he used before had apples, which I’m mildly allergic to, so I couldn’t eat much of it. He’s tweaked it a little since then by adding walnuts, but here’s the recipe!
CRANBERRY ORANGE RELISH WITH BOURBON
1 cup bourbon (Dad uses Jack Daniels) 1 orange, zested and supremed (see chef’s note) 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries 1 cup sugar 1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed or from concentrate
In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine bourbon and orange zest. Bring to a boil and simmer, until reduced to a syrup, about 10 minutes.
Add cranberries, orange segments, sugar, and orange juice. Stir until sugar is dissolved and cranberries pop. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Cover and refrigerate. Makes 8 servings.
To supreme orange: Using a sharp knife, cut remaining skin and pith off of the zested orange. Working over a clean mixing bowl and using a sharp knife, cut out each segment of orange between the membranes.
PER SERVING: Calories 1,620 (None from fat) Trace fat (No sat) No cholesterol No sodium Fiber 4 g. Carbohydrates 276 g. Protein 3 g. Sugar 239 g.
Another recent addition to our Thanksgiving line up is Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Streusel Topping. Dad found this one last year in the Dallas Morning News. It’s fairly similar to the recipe he had been using, but it has an orange-y flavor that makes it better. Even I like it, and I’m not a big sweet potato fan. I know he’s tweaked it, but this is the recipe!
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE WITH PECAN STREUSEL TOPPING
Ingredients: 5 pounds sweet potatoes, roasted until soft (instructions follow; or substitute two 40-ounce cans sweet potatoes, drained) 4 eggs 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 cup heavy cream 1/4 teaspoon allspice Grated zest from half an orange 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into cubes 1 1/2 cups brown sugar 3/4 cup flour 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Directions: Heat oven to 350 F. Butter the inside of a 9×13-inch baking pan.
Scrape flesh from sweet potato into a mixing bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor (work in batches if using a processor). Mash or puree until smooth. Add eggs and combine thoroughly.
Add granulated sugar, cream, allspice, and orange zest and mix thoroughly into mashed sweet potatoes. Transfer sweet potato mixture to prepared pan.
To make the pecan streusel topping:
In the bowl of a food processor, place butter, brown sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, pecans, and vanilla and pulse until mixture is crumbly and looks like small pebbles.
Sprinkle sweet potatoes evenly with streusel topping — it should completely cover sweet potatoes. Bake for 45 minutes.
Makes 15 servings.
To roast sweet potatoes:
Heat oven to 450 F. Place whole sweet potatoes on the oven rack and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until tender.
Adapted from Justin and Diane Fourton, Pecan Lodge
PER SERVING: Calories 525 Fat 24 g. (11 g. sat) Cholesterol 92 mg. Sodium 271 mg. Fiber 6 g. Carbohydrates 73 g. Protein 7 g.
What are some recipes you or your loved ones make for the holiday? Do you tend to stick to the same menu or try to mix it up each year? Feel free to share here or on my social media pages. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Hello, hello! Thanksgiving is over (though leftovers still remain), so it’s officially time to get into the holiday spirit. In fact, just this past Monday, my minion (he knows who he is) posted on Facebook that people were talking to him and smiling at his job (apparently this is unusual behavior). Our exchange went something like this:
Me: “It’s called the holiday spirit. You’re in for about a month of it.” Him: “Ack! Does it wash off???” Me: “No. And it’s highly contagious.“
Later that evening, he and his family were supposed to join Dad and I for SMU’s Celebration of Lights. The minion ended up having to work, so we kidnapped his kids and girlfriend and took them anyway. ^__^
The Celebration of Lights was one of very few events I actually enjoyed attending as a student (and still enjoy as an alumna). It takes place on the front steps of Dallas Hall. People gather in the quad and sing along to Christmas carols. President Turner reads the Christmas story (which I still think Linus does better). And they light up the tree for the first time. It’s just a really nice way to start off the season. The free cocoa and cookies are a bonus.
The performances all change a little each year. Students and student groups volunteer to sing different carols, so things rotate as people graduate and new people enroll. Some are better than others, but SMU has a decent music program, so everyone is (usually) pretty good.
However, I suppose my favorite part of the celebration is the fact that something always goes wrong. Little things. One year, the microphones kept cutting off. This year, they were supposed to the flip the lights on after the first verse of Silent Night (like usual), but apparently the switch flipper wasn’t paying attention or they had technical difficulties, because the lights didn’t come on until the song was almost over. Not to mention the fact that they always run just a couple of minutes late (it wouldn’t be SMU if things started on time).
Don’t get me wrong, all of that was entirely serious. I go to this thing knowing that there will be something worth laughing about each year. That’s why I enjoy it. That sounds kind of mean now that I think about it, but it’s true. The hiccups make it exciting, even though I’m sure all of the people who are “back stage,” so to speak, are freaking out about this stuff.
All in all, it’s a nice way to open the holiday season. Plus, the kids seem to have a good time. It’s open to the community, so if you’re in the Dallas area next year, consider checking it out (or drive by some time between now and January 3rd while you’re out oohing and ahhing at all the lights to get a look).
I hope the holiday cheer finds you soon, if it hasn’t already! See you next week.