Fancy Cranberry Sauce

Fancy Cranberry Sauce



The days are clipping by so fast; it’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is in only two weeks.  The difficult-to-manage four-year-old turns five next week, which is just unbelievable to me. So, I’ve survived the “first five years” SIX TIMES OVER.  That’s a lot of tying shoes, a lot of boo-boo kissing and a lot of folding tiny clothes.  A lot of diapers and potty training and cleaning up accidents.  A lot of little hands reaching up to tug at my clothes, and arms outstretched asking “hold me”.  A lot of standing over a tiny person – the water running, rubbing two little squirmy, soapy hands in-between my grown-up hands, then pat…pat…pat..dry.

Today the difficult-to-manage four-year-old, Baby Daughter and I went out for our “morning out”.  He picked out some decorations for his birthday party, and a pack of jets for his birthday cake.  This will be the third year in-a-row he’s asked for an “aircraft cake”.  It’s very simple to assemble:  I make a two-tiered cake, frost it all blue, pipe some big fluffy clouds out of white icing and stick some toy airplanes on it.  He loves it.

In addition to our little shopping trip, DTM-FYO (difficult-to-manage four-year-old), Baby Daughter and I, had scones and coffee/hot cocoa.  It was a rather civilized exchange that did not end in any massive spillage, scalding, choking, or falling-off-chairs.  It was quite remarkable.

DTM-FYO didn’t kick anyone in the shins while we were out, which is good.  He did call a few people “stupid”, though.  But still, he is improving, so I call our “morning out” a success.

I know, I know.  I won’t go and get overconfident or anything.

DSC_9703Today is the 240th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.  A big holiday for us.  We’ll go to the Marine Corps Birthday Ball this weekend, and again next week.  The Birthday Ball is a very big deal in our world.  So much meaning.  So much ceremony.  I love it more and more each year.  It never gets old.

The Marine Corps Birthday Ball officially kicks off the holiday season in our home.  So I suppose it’s fitting that I post my first Thanksgiving/Christmas recipe today.  The bright jewel tones of the photos here remind me of the Marine Corps Birthday ball.  I feel kinda sorry for the other branches of the service who celebrate their birthdays in the summer or early fall.  There’s something special about this time of year.  It’s the excitement of Christmas approaching, the decadence of the colors, the symbolism and meaning everywhere….



This cranberry sauce is the first of two Thanksgiving recipes I’m going to post this year.   This was one of the first recipes I ever officially wrote, and this was back when I thought if you wanted to put a “mark of class” on any dish, all you had to do was find a way to add some alcohol.

“Challenge accepted!”, I said to myself.  I then proceeded to write an entire Thanksgiving menu that you positively should not light a match anywhere near.
DSC_9702You’ll need 12oz of bag of fresh cranberries.  Pick out all the squishy ones and get rid of them.  If there are A LOT of squishy cranberries in your bag, you’ll need to buy two bags, get rid of the squishy cranberries, then collect all the good ones.  There were a lot of squishy cranberries in the bags I bought, because they were imported from the United States.  Here in Okinawa, almost all the food we buy at the commissary (military grocery store) was flown over on big cargo jets.  I try to buy local produce most of the time, but little comforts like fresh New England cranberries are certainly nice to have around Thanksgiving.
DSC_9739Zest the rind of one whole orange.  Tumble the cranberries and the toss zest into a medium-sized sauce pan.
DSC_9760Juice that very same orange.  Add the juice to the cranberries and zest.


Add 1/3 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup maple syrup and 4 tablespoons Grand Marnier orange-flavored liqueur to the cranberries.
DSC_9782Stir to combine.  Simmer over medium-high heat for about five minutes.  Stir often.  As the cranberries “pop”, and as the mixture thickens, turn the heat down to low and stir constantly (to prevent the sauce from sticking to the pan).  Let it simmer on low for about five minutes.
This smells so amazing while it’s cooking.  I want a Grand Marnier and Cranberry scented candle.  Oh, divine.   DSC_9837You can make this up to ten days in advance.  Just refrigerate in a glass jar with the lid screwed tight.
DSC_9852This is probably the easiest thing on your Thanksgiving menu to make.

DSC_9864If you’re going to a Thanksgiving gathering and you’ve been tasked to bring a dish, volunteer to make this one!  It’s so easy, and requires a miniscule time commitment.  Plus, you’ll have all that Grand Marnier left over…for you.

Besides, show up with something this fancy, and you’ll definitely be the classy one of the bunch.  🙂

Just be sure to say “Grand Marnier” properly:  Grahn Marn-yay.  Grahn Marn-yay.  “Grahn” rhymes with Han (as in Han Solo), “Marn” rhymes with yarn, and “yay” as in “Yay for Thanksgiving!”, or “Yay for The Marine Corps!”, or “Yay for Han Solo!”.

I’ll be back on Thursday with my French-Style Thanksgiving Turkey recipe.  Yes, more cooking with alcohol Shannon.  My five big kids will be home from school tomorrow for Veterans’ Day so I won’t be posting anything.  My husband will be home from work, too.  We usually like to puppy-pile on him and just hug him, because we are so grateful that he’s still with us every Veterans day spend the day as a family on Veterans’ day.

Please say a prayer for Veterans.

Have a good day, wherever you are.


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