October 29, 2009

Spinning up Halloween Past...and Thanksgiving Feast Part 4 - Cranberry Sauce with Ruby Port and Cinnamon

This week's Spin Cycle is Halloween!  I'm taking trip down memory lane with Princess Nagger's Halloween moments...won't you join me?

First Halloween:
Second Halloween:
Third Halloween:
Yes, I did indeed use the exact same costume 3 years in a row...I figured why not since she didn't seem to mind, and since she's always been petite it fit her better each year - well, except the last year...that might have been pushing it just a smidge since it was a size 12-24 months.

Fourth Halloween:
Fifth Halloween:

Here we are two days away from Halloween and Princess Nagger finally made a decision on her costume last night. Originally she was going to go as the Tooth Fairy and wear her purple tutu, add some wings, a tiara and a wand, but she changed her mind.  Several times.  When she saw me going through these pictures, she excitedly pointed at the costume she had worn for her fourth Halloween - the Forest Fairy costume. 

I spent some time digging through boxes and finally located it - she tried it on last night, and it fits perfectly!  Even better than when she wore it the first time, so we're good to go.   What a relief!  I'll post pictures next week so you can see.

Meanwhile, Jan from Jan's Sushi Bar  was a wild woman last week posting a plethora of recipes to entertain the masses and spin circles around the Spin Cycle.  She encouraged me to post my Thanksgiving Feast recipes, so this week I'm doing just that.  For those that are just tuning in, this is the list of recipes I prepare for Thanksgiving:

Champagne Turkey
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Slow Cooker Apple Stuffing/Dressing
Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes
Cranberry Sauce with Port and Cinnamon
Pumpkin Cognac Crème Brûlée
Apple Cranberry Pie

I'm posting them as a daily series this week in case anything on that list catches your eye or tempts your taste buds.

Some people really love that canned cranberry sauce.  I've never been a fan.  At all.  I guess it's something about the way it looks when it slides out of the can, the ribbed impressions from the can prominently present.  Does not look appetizing to me.  Hubby and Princess Nagger love that stuff.  So there's always a can of that at Thanksgiving, too.

Some of our dinner guests that have always preferred to eat that scary-looking gel hesitantly try the fresh cranberry sauce I make each year, and are astounded at how good fresh cranberry sauce really can be.  It's really simple to make, too.  Check it out:

Cranberry Sauce with Ruby Port and Cinnamon


 1-1/2 cups
 ruby Port
 3/4 cup
 1/2 stick
 allspice berries
 black peppercorns
 2-inch-by-1/2-inch strip of orange peel
 (12 ounce) package cranberries, washed

 pinch of salt


In a medium saucepan, combine the Port and sugar and pinch of salt. Tie the cloves, cinnamon stick, allspice and black peppercorns in a small piece of cheesecloth (or, if you don't have cheesecloth you can tie them in a coffee filter with twine - it worked in a pinch for me one year). Add the spice bundle to the saucepan along with the orange peel. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the wine is reduced to 1 cup, about 4 minutes.

Add the cranberries to the wine. Return to a simmer over medium-high heat then lower the heat and simmer until the cranberries pop, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. This is where I pour it into the decorative serving bowl I'll be using on Thanksgiving.  Let cool to warm, then remove the spice bundle and orange peel. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Do Ahead: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving. 

Cranberry Sauce Tip:

Cranberry sauces (and in fact all relishes) taste immeasurably better with just a pinch of salt added. Even though seldom included in recipes for cranberry sauce, a little salt very subtly brightens and lifts the flavor.

Tune in tomorrow for the Pumpkin Cognac Crème Brûlée.  You're not going to want to miss that one!

To get in the Halloween spirit, head on over to Sprite's Keeper - there are some great Halloween tales and memories to check out!  

34 Random Sassy Comments:

Martha in PA said...

Great photos. I did a trip down memory lane for Tara too for my ATWT post!

Not sure if I will tackle the cranberry sauce.... maybe, I am one of those that likes the cranberry sauce from the can! I like to cut both ends off the can and slide the whole piece out! Silly I know!

Unknown Mami said...

The lady bug costume is so cute. I'd still be putting her in it now.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

She owns each and every one of those costumes. Loved them all, but the Froeest Fairy was my favorite.

Mahalo for the recipes. Yum. I think I am gainging weight just reading on the interent tonight.

adventuresinjuggling said...

i think the princess forest fairy will rock it this halloween.
that cranberry sauce recipe sounds so delicious. yes, i will have to give it a try.
thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

honeypiehorse said...

Cute! The cran sauce sounds yummy. I sometimes add a dash of horseradish. This page loads really slowly...just fyi.

otin said...

Neat to see the time warp photos all together like that!

Do you make anything that does not involve wine??? LOL!

Hit 40 said...

You make real cranberries!!! Very nice. When is dinner? LOL Is the dinner usually at your house? The last few years we have tried to stay home for Thanksgiving. The roads can just be crazy to leave town.

Tammy Howard said...

I'm with her! The Forest Fairy is ca-yoot!

Brian Miller said...

very cool to see halloween through the ages...i really like the pirate gig!

Jennifer Juniper said...

I think all kids, boys or girls, were pirates at one time :) Pirates of the Caribbean made sure of that!

That Cranberry Sauce looks really good!

Justine said...

OmG, the same costume 3 years in a row? Heeheehee! At least it was cute though. My favorite is her pirate costume. Way cool.

Justine :o )

Bren said...

I love that she wore the same costume three years in a row! I think it got cuter each year!

U R U! said...

Are you kidding ...with what the costumes cost these days I make sure we use and reuse the costumes. I am going to get my $40 out of the costume even if I have to put it on while baking Thanksgiving dinner! HA! Talk about "stuffing a turkey!"


Loved the "pirate Arrgh..photo...too cute"

Anne said...

I like the cranberry sauce in a can, but I enjoy making cranberry sauce too (there is something really satisfying with how good it comes out and how easy it is).

The photos were great! Congrats on recycling costumes. I love to do that and usually do it with at least one costume every year.

Sherri @ Luv a Bargain said...

Oh look at her! Yea for using costumes more than once. I have only bought one Halloween costume for my daughter ( her 1st). She has always wanted to be a princess so every year we just use one of her dress-up dresses. Perfect!

buffalodick said...

My wife like cranberry sauce, and I don't say this often.. I think I'll be making your version!

Candie Bracci said...

great post!Your daughter is so cute on all pictures!Pirate is quite awesome!

Amy said...

Cute way to use a costume. I saw the bottle of win you made Yaya.

Portland Rose said...

I just came over from Yaya's site and just wanted to let you know that your wine labels are amazing!!

Have a great day!

Andrea said...

I LOVE the year-to-year Halloween photos! I can't wait to see her this Halloween - that's great she can wear a previous costume, I'm hoping that for Logan since his costume this year is for ages 2-4 and he's 18 months!

Sprite's Keeper said...

Aw, the fairy one is my favorite too!
And now I want cranberries!
You made me smile and hungry at the same time!
You're linked!

!!The Obnoxious SAHM!! said...

Great post - you cool chick. ;)


Just Breathe said...

Love the Ladybug costume, how funny that she fit in it so long.
Really like the Pirate one!

Jan said...

The Lady Pirate is my favorite, but the Lady Bug made me go "Awwwww!"

That cranberry sauce sounds GOOD. Really. Really. GOOD. And you think I should write a cookbook??

Grand Pooba said...

That was a fun stroll through PN halloween past! Especially the first 3 years, I was having a major case of deja vu! lol

The Head Eagle said...

I love the repeats! Seriously...it's a good idea!

joanofalltrades said...

Love the costumes! BTW: You are the winner of my O Bracelet. Congrats! Post will be up tomorrow.

blueviolet said...

Every single costume she wore was adorable! That was fun seeing all the photos!

I absolutely adore whole berry cranberry sauce!!!!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

Very cute! I love the Ladybug costume, my 8 year old girl is a ladybug this year. And way to go on recycling! My stepson's costume from last year still fits and he loves it soo...he's a ninja again!

Wicked Step Mom said...

I am so jealous of the costume reusing... I think I am going to pout for the rest of the day. :(

P.S. Glad she figured out what she is wearing!!

Firefly@www.firefly-shop.org said...

She is adorable every time :)

Mrs4444 said...

Kyle was a ninja for about four years--It was awesome :) She sure is adorable...

Jenners said...

I love all the mileage you got out of the ladybug costume. And she is soooo cute in all of them. can't wait to see what this year's one is!

Casey said...

That ladybug gets me every time, PN is ADORABLE!