Just a Beautiful Day – Recipe: Cranberry Sauce

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We have had some beautiful days lately.  And, beautiful days equal happy children.

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They love the freedom of swinging,

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jumping in the trampoline,

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and just being kids.

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And, I love watching it all.

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I love soaking it all up and counting my blessings.  Seeing them just be kids, just enjoying the moment, and just enjoying a beautiful day is such a peaceful feeling.

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I am sure that I am more sentimental right now, as the holidays approach, as we give thanks and remember the reason for the seasons.  It is always good, especially during these busy days, to just stop and take it all in, to truly appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.  To me, that pure, innocent, perfect beauty is in my children.  And, while I might notice it some days more than others.  It is there every single day.  And, for that, I am extremely thankful.

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While I was preparing our early Thanksgiving meal, since I was not rushing around preparing for a crowd, I was able to truly enjoy all of the colors, the smells, and the flavors of everything.  One of the things that really caught my eye (and later my taste-buds) was this beautiful homemade cranberry sauce.  It is one of the things, just like an ordinary day, that is likely over-looked on a crowded Thanksgiving table.  But, it should not be.  Even if it is just a show-stopper for one day, it does deserve its recognition for adding to the entire meal – with the turkey and dressing…and later, as leftovers, in some amazingly delicious sandwiches, too.

Recipe: Cranberry Sauce

Recipe: Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

12 ounce bag of cranberries

3/4 cups orange juice

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Add the cranberries and orange juice to a sauce pan, and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle in the sugar, red pepper flakes, and kosher salt.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool.
  5. Serve warm, cold, or at room-temperature with turkey and dressing.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/11/15/just-a-beautiful-day-recipe-cranberry-sauce/

Enjoy!

I shared this recipe at From Mess Hall to Bistro.

Making Memories – Recipe: Twice Baked Potatoes

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Meals often take me back in time – whether it is to my childhood, dating Sean, living in a tiny dorm room with my sister, or making special meals for my own children.  These twice baked potatoes bring back memories of two different things – my childhood and dating Sean.

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My mom would make these when we were growing up.  She is a fantastic cook, who also has the talent of making food look beautiful, as well.  Instead of just putting the potatoes in a dish to bake, she would scoop them out of the potato skin, and put them back in.  I had never attempted it until yesterday.  And, you know what?  Those details make quite an impression.  I believe that Ethan and Gabriel ate the potatoes better than they have ever eaten them.  Sometimes even food needs to look a little special in order to garner the greatest attention.

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The dating Sean memory stems from a little restaurant that we would sometimes visit.  They made these twice baked potatoes, wonderful soup, and salad.  So, when we ate them yesterday, I could not help but smile at Sean, as I told the littles about the restaurant in College Station where Momma and Papa sometimes went on dates.  They smiled their cute little smiles of wonder as I shared the story, looking at us in a different light for a moment, as the people who had this whole other life before we then created this wonderful, amazing life with them.

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That is one of the things that I love most about food and family meals.  It is just another little step in the making and sharing of great memories.

Twice Baked Potatoes

Twice Baked Potatoes

Ingredients

4 baking potatoes, rinsed

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 cup sour cream

2 cups cheddar or Colby Jack cheese

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/4 cup chopped green onions

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Place the potatoes in foil, and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Remove from oven and allow to slightly cool.
  4. Reduce the oven heat to 350.
  5. Cut the potatoes in half, and gently scoop out the potato, preserving the skin.
  6. Mix the potatoes with butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper.
  7. Spoon the potatoes back into the potatoes skins. You will only use 6 of the 8 skins because you will add slightly more potato mixture back in than what you originally removed.
  8. Sprinkle with cheese, bacon, and green onions.
  9. Place on a baking pan, and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and serve.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/10/24/making-memories-recipe-twice-baked-potatoes/

Enjoy!

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by OXO.

I have shared this recipe at A Southern Fairytale, Make Ahead Meals, Delightfully Dowling, and Mrs. Happy Homemaker.