One of our family's most anticipated time of year is autumn. We are thrilled by the ushering in of crisp cool air, of reading together soul filling books by the crackling fireplace and remembering the many blessings God has given us throughout the past year. One favorite part of the fall festivities was the planning and preparations for our Thanksgiving celebration.
Often because we have moved a lot, we found ourselves alone around Thanksgiving. Beginning with our years overseas as missionaries, we began to ask all sorts of people over to our home on Thanksgiving. I know that even this year, Joel and Joy are celebrating at least 3 different thanksgivings with friends in Scotland.
But I am now quite sure that trying to do everything perfectly by myself creates stress for everyone around me. So even though my sweet ones prefer my cooking, (Isn't that how it often is?) I knew that I would be more pleasant to live with if I delegated a lot of the work to others. It is not worth wrecking a special day if the mama is a martyr and punishes everyone for all the work she is doing. I decided to have a good attitude about the work I would be doing for my family and to delegate some of it so that I would not be under the weight of too many ideals. (And you know there are grocery stores and restaurants if your season requires catering some of the food. Mary verses Martha, you know.)
I learned to start early. I would make corn bread a week or two before the day and freeze it so that my stuffing would be easier to make. Pies and bread are made on Tuesday and Wednesday. Children's crafts the week before, those cute turkeys that decorate the table. I realized very quickly that in order for me to continue to find the joy in something I love doing, creating life and memories, I needed to delegate some of the work and ask others to help bear the load. Who cares who does the turkey if it saves relationships and I think everyone loves to add their own touch to the meal.
I could! And I would! I began to ask friends or family members to bring dishes I knew they were successful at making or specific dishes I had planned in my menu, along with the family favorite recipe we had agreed was tried and true, making it a "must have". This really blessed them and everyone became a vital contributor to the memory, not just me.
This year, Clay and I will be going to one of our dear friends house for Thanksgiving. My friend is one of the best cooks I know. Brandee passed on this recipe to me and I held on to is this one, as I love to make it, it's easy. I saw her kids loved it, and it can be used throughout the year. While Brandee was still in college, she worked as an aide for a kindergarten teacher named Connie Fritch and every year she made this recipe with her students for their Thanksgiving Feast. She just so happens to be the same lady who started the Honey Baked Ham stores, so as you can imagine, it was a fabulous recipe then and still is every year, when I make it as a family tradition.
Sometimes the boys in my family prefer the plain cranberry jelly right out of the can "like Mimi used to do," so we have all sorts of varieties of cranberries on our table. Here's Brandee's recipe.
2 pkgs. fresh cranberries(rinsed and picked through)
2 Cups Orange Juice
2 Sticks cinnamon
2 Orange (cut in wedges)
2 Apples chopped
2 Pears chopped
1 1/2 Cups Honey
1 Cup Sugar (Optional)
***Enjoy this relish throughout the year on turkey sandwiches or in other yummy recipes by freezing small batches.
Add cranberries to large/extra large pot.
Add O.J. to pot and boil medium high heat.
Boil cranberries in O.J. until popping stops.
Add other ingredients.
Cook until thickened.
Turn off heat and add honey or sugar. May need additional sweetener to taste.
Before chilling, remove orange wedges. I usually keep the cinnamon in until just before serving. Voila! How easy was that! Enjoy! This is amazing on a turkey sandwich or used with a pork roast.