THANKSGIVING: Family recipes for Cranberry Relish and Pumpkin PIe

"Thanksgiving" by Doris Lee (1935) -

FORT WORTH, Texas November 23, 2014 — This coming week many people will hit the road to visit family and loved ones for the Thanksgiving holiday. Then others, like me, will gather with relatives who live close by and celebrate together.

And I do plan to celebrate, even on my weight loss journey. I will not make diet versions of my favorite Thanksgiving foods. One of the goals of my transformation is to eat like an average person. I’m confident in myself and know I won’t overdo it this food-rich holiday season. It’s what I do now anyway.

Besides, my stomach only holds so much. If it gets overloaded my misery will be worse than someone who overeats with a normal sized stomach. No thank you. I love this time of year, being with loved ones, breaking bread together and making and sharing memories. It’s schmaltzy but it’s true. And it wouldn’t be that way if I was in agony.

Exercise is also a mainstay in my life now and I plan to make full use of it. Extra workouts can and will be part of my new holiday tradition.

Old traditions are dear to us too, especially at Thanksgiving. Many of them are age-old recipes handed down from generation to generation. I would like to share two traditional Thanksgiving recipes served at my family’s table every year.

The first is from my wonderful mother-in-law Hazel. We were buddies and she taught me a lot about Southern cooking.

One of the dishes my husband grew up with is Cranberry Relish. There are many different recipes for this dish and I’m sure it’s served places besides the south.

But this is the recipe she loved so much. It’s also the only way I’ll eat cranberries. Normally I won’t let them across my lips. This gelatin-salad is welcome at my table any time of the year.

Cranberry Relish

1 package (3oz.) raspberry jello
1 cup miniature marshmallows (10 large)
½ cup granulated sugar
8 oz. can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pecans (I toast mine in oven first then cool)
1 cup boiling water
1 package (12oz.) whole cranberries

Wash and sort cranberries. Chop with food processor or hand chopper until no whole berries remain (I like them chunky.) Dissolve raspberry jello in boiling water stirring for at least two minutes. Add sugar, pineapple w/juice, and orange juice. Stir.

Fold in cranberries, pecans and marshmallows. I put this in a pretty bowl and serve from it. You can also put into a gelatin mold. Either way, cover and refrigerate. Unmold gelatin mold just before serving. Cranberry Relish is best when made at least a day ahead.

Next is the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had, and that’s saying a lot. It’s the pie my mother Carol made every year. I’m not sure where she got the recipe, but knowing her it came out of a newspaper back in the 1950’s.

There were lots of wonderful meals at my house from those newspapers.

Pumpkin Pie

1 ¾ cup cooked pumpkin (or 15oz. can)
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (regular – not evaporated or sweetened condensed)
2 eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar (I use light brown)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Make crust for one-crust pie (or use the readymade uncooked refrigerated or frozen pie crust – follow directions.) Mix all ingredients together. Pour into pie shell.

I use a 9” deep dish glass pie pan.

Bake in pre-heated oven @425 degrees for 45-55 minutes. If the crust starts to get too brown cover loosely with foil. Pie is ready when toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Pumpkin pie is best when made at least a day ahead too. It gives all the flavors a chance to blend together. Store in refrigerator. Top with homemade whipped cream and enjoy!

Try these recipes and let me know how they turned out.

May each and every one of my readers have a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving Day.


Read more of Claire’s work at Feed the Mind, Nourish the Soul in the Communities Digital News and Greater Fort Worth Writers.

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