Cranberry Sauce

While my children are huge fans of that gelatinous mess that comes out of a can and looks nothing like cranberries – other than the color, of course, I prefer my cranberries fresh and cooked by me.  Because I am all about getting the cooking done as far in advance as I can of the holiday – I like to socialize with my guests and watch football and get in a good run, too – I did my cranberry sauce yesterday.

I promise it will go in a nice serving dish once the big day arrives.

Cranberry Sauce

1 bag (12 ounces) whole, fresh cranberries

2 teaspoons lemon zest

Juice of one lemon

1 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

1 packet Stevia

1 teaspoon ground ginger or freshly ground ginger root (half that if fresh)

Bring water and sugar and Stevia to a boil in a medium pot.  Add rinsed cranberries.  Allow to reach a boil again, then turn down to a simmer.  Do not cover.  Add lemon zest and juice.   Simmer for approximately 15 minutes.  Remove to a bowl and allow to cool completely before refrigerating.

As always, I attempted to make this recipe a bit more healthy as I made it.  The original recipe I found called for a cup of sugar.  I used 1/3 cup and Stevia.  I love orange instead of lemon with my cranberry also but I had lemon on hand so that is what I made this year.  To top it all off, I was drinking a Bigelow tea called Ginger Snappish which is ginger tea with lemon so I added a bit of that to the water once the sugar had dissolved.


Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Make ahead mashed potatoes are a staple on my holiday tables.  My children love potatoes and this recipe means I do not have to be making the potatoes the day of the big event.  I will admit I sometimes have issues getting them in the oven for reheating in time but this year, that will not be a problem.  I did post this recipe about two years ago but have tweaked it a bit so here you all go again.

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes


5 pounds good baking potatoes, peeled and chopped to small pieces

1 – 8 ounce package 1/3 fat cream cheese (neufchatel)

8 ounces plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup skim milk

1 stick margarine

1 onion, peeled and quartered

salt to taste




Place potatoes in a large pot of lightly salted water.  Place quarter onion in water also. Bring to a boil, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.

Drain, and mash.

In a large bowl, mix mashed potatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, milk, , and pepper. Transfer to a large casserole dish.   Can refrigerate up to five days in advance.  If refrigerating, let cool before covering and placing in refrigerator.


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Cover, and bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven.


I, after mashing by hand, use a hand held mixer to blend in all the creamy items.


Victorian Ornament

Victorian Ornament

I have to say that this was out of my comfort zone. Victorian is not my style. I don’t work in that era often and very seldom like what I do when it comes to that. This ornament is an exception.

The challenge was to create something using a vintage holiday image of your choice, embossing, paper clip or staples, one found item and one item of your choice. Above is my creation.

Special thanks go to Russell and Stan at as the image is theirs. I embossed the entire face of the ornament (and the back and edges afterwards) with Incan Gold from Sara’s Expressions. I, then secured the image to the embossing and placed an unwound paperclip around the face of the girl. Then, I found a butterfly that had come in a flower arrangement for my birthday in Sept and used that.

Can’t wait until the January Just for Fun Challenge!