Tuesday - 12/01/09 on December 1, 2009 6:50 pm
Wow, Thanksgiving week sure went by in a hurry. We were on vacation up in Arkansas for the annual family feast and reunion. I did well on my eating. Didn't lose but didn't gain either. I pre-planned and converted all but the dressing recipe to healthier versions. Candied yams and desserts were sugar free of course. I substituted Splenda and Splenda Brown wherever sugar was called for. I secretly laughed watching my eldest son plow thru his beloved cheesecake made with Neufatchel and Splenda. He was totally unaware of the changes. To my surprise when I did tell him of the switch, he didn't remark that he thought there was something 'strange'. I had expected some type of negative feedback but he didn't and said it tasted as good as any I'd ever made. Is this a sign he is growing up? Dare I hope? LOL. Geez, I should have been making these baked cheesecakes this way all these years. I had a sliver of it myself. Yum - very creamy and thick and rich. Can't say that my pumpkin pie passed with similar flying colors though. They were a tad runny and did not set as firm as I'd have liked. Will have to experiment on that one some more. I think I may reduce the amount of FF Pet Milk next time. Despite that, it did taste like pumpkin pie ought to. Oh, and my first experience ever at making fresh cranberry sauce turned out great. Very simple to make too. Again, learning lots of new cooking tricks and branching out because of this surgery. I may even turn out to be a real cook one day. We have lots of diabetics in our family so the cranberry sauce was appreciated. My Aunt took home the leftovers she liked it so much. Again very simple to make and what a gorgeous, bright red color! I made a big batch for our gathering and will halve it next time for us at Christmas as we will be a group of only 5. I used 2 bags of fresh cranberries, 1- 6oz. jar of Smucker's SF orange marmalade, Splenda, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Rinse the berries, add 2 cups water to pan and heat on medium-low until berries begin to pop. I just mashed them as they softened, added the marmalade and stirred to incorporate the two and then the Splenda and spices. If you don't want to use marmalade I'm sure dried or fresh orange zest would be great too. When it had cooled, I poured it into clear jars and used a gravy ladle for serving.
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In case anyone reading this thinks all I did on my holiday week was cook and eat, know that I did exercise too. There is always something to be done as the old family home is closed up most of the year. Something always needs repair, yard work, bush-hogging, etc. Hello? It's Fall. Can you say the leaves were 3 ft. deep on a 5-acre front yard? Sheesh! Oh, the riding mower was broke down too. It was rakes and tarps for us my friends. But not all was drudgery. We have 20 acres there that we will retire to one day. Each time we go 'home', we walk across hilly and slightly rough terrain to get to our ppty from my sibling's adjoining 20 acres. In anticipation of retirement one day, and a view of the pond in Springtime from the porch-to-be, I talked dear hubby into helping me plant 100 daffodil and narcissus bulbs. Yellows, whites and even pink ones. One of the few things you can plant with little fear of them being eaten by deer or other forest critters. Plus, they will naturalize and spread over time for a (hopefully) great Spring display. Dogwoods are native and we have quite a few on our land that we will transplant to more strategic spots to coordinate with the pink dogwoods I've ordered. Alas, the pink dogwoods did not arrive in time for our trip. Now we have to make another trip up when they do. Bareroot twigs must go in the ground now for best chance of survival. Hopefully they will get here soon as we are already having freezes up there. Hubby not going to be a happy camper if he has to put a pick to the ground to dig a hole. LOL