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Sunday, November 29, 2015

FOOD FOR THOUGHT...CRANBERRY SALAD

I love have always loved the phrase, "food for thought."  I recently thought how nice it would be to offer food with thought, so over the holiday season (maybe longer if it goes well) I will be posting a family recipe with most of my posts and reflecting on the ones that bring back happy memories in honor of my mother and the wonderful holiday traditions she created in the kitchen.

The recipe that first comes to mind when I think of helping in the kitchen for the holidays is my mother's cranberry salad, made from fresh (Ocean Spray) whole cranberries.  I now live in an area that grows cranberries for Ocean Spray...such wonderful irony.

Ingredients:

1 - 16 oz. can crushed pineapple
1 lb. marshmallows (cut into pieces and let stand overnight in ziploc bag)
1 lb. whole cranberries
2 cups sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 Crushed walnuts (or your choice of nuts)

Grind cranberries (we used to grind ours with an old turn-handle meat grinder but you can also use a food processor, etc.). Place in a bowl, pour sugar over the cranberries, cover, put in refrigerator and let stand overnight.
Next morning...Whip the whipping cream and fold into cranberries along with the nuts.  Pour mixture into a large, oblong pan (I use my glass baking dish), cover with saran wrap and then with foil.  Put into freezer over night.  To serve, cut into squares and serve on a lettuce bed on a small plate.

This was always a favorite recipe of the kids as it tasted more like dessert than salad.  The fun for us was when mom would grind the cranberries with the old turn-handle meat grinder, which was secured to a cutting board that was attached to the counter.  The cranberries would make a loud popping sound as you turned the handle and you had to make sure to place your hand over the top as you put each load in to grind so they would not jump out of the top.  We had to remember to place a huge tray on the floor to catch all the cranberry juice that would drain off of the cutting board as we ground them up, but then we got to drink the cranberry juice...oh yeah.

I loved this tradition with my mother.  It always made it feel like Christmas for me. I love that you can choose to keep the traditions you knew growing up or change them to suit you as you grow in your adult life and have kids of your own. Some of the most precious traditions I have now are the ones I created for my son and I as he grew. You can even choose to do something new each year and have no traditions.

When you look back on holidays past, what are your favorite memories of your family traditions?  Remember to just keep the fond memories of holidays past when you are living your holiday present (no pun intended...lol).  Depression can set in more so this time of year, but there are many things you can do to fight it off, beginning with fond memories of family traditions.



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