It was not only interesting but inspiring to see how people embraced new ways of trick-or-treat this Halloween, from treat tables to candy chutes to scavenger hunts. Some of the solutions were fun enough that they may carry over into a post-pandemic world!

What if we can carry that fun and experimentation into our winter holidays? While it's reasonable to miss what we cannot have this year, what can we create to make new traditions? Note: I do not recommend pushing a full dinner down a pvc chute. 

Our theme for November is possibilities – can we use our creativity and passion to imagine new ways of celebrating? And how can we borrow great ideas from one another?

When I'm not working on church things, I'm often in my kitchen cooking and baking. Yes, I follow a recipe some of the time, but I've always been open to substitutions. The pandemic reality of “Oh, this recipe calls for three things I don't have, and our next shopping day isn't until next week…” has made substitution a requirement!

I put this recipe in our November packet to families, and am including it here for anyone who's up for an experiment. I'd love to hear what options you choose, and what else you do to make the dish your own.

POSSIBILITIES CRANBERRY SAUCE/RELISH                                       

Many families have cranberry sauce or relish on the winter feast table, whether it’s the wriggly tube from a can or a passed-down recipe. Here’s a basic recipe,with choices to make that will create a dish all your own.

  • 4 cups (12 oz package) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar OR 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water OR 3/4 cup water + 1/4 cup orange juice
  • POSSIBLE ADDITIONS: 1 cinnamon stick, 1 T. freshly grated/diced ginger, 1 or 2 chipotles in adobo (chopped)

Bring the sugar and water (or water and orange juice) to boil in a pot. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat down to medium-low and put in any of the Additions you want, then you can EITHER add all the cranberries right away, or leave back some of them (for a crunchier, tarter final dish). Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes until the cranberries have burst. If you reserved some of the cranberries, you can chop them and add them to the mixture at this time.

Remove sauce from the heat and let cool. Remove cinnamon stick if you used it.  Refrigerate until meal time.

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