Holiday Brainwash: My Repeatedly Forgotten Recipes

Yep, every year I forget how to make the same two recipes: cranberry sauce and roasted chestnuts.

I know. The holidays are over. It’s January for cooks-sake. BUT I am going to document these puppies before I misplace them AGAIN. I’m not kidding. For the past three November’s, Thanksgiving shows up and I find myself asking, where’s that cranberry sauce recipe my family loves? This year, I couldn’t find it at all and had to try another one (which wasn’t a bad thing really). December arrives and I’ve suddenly got fresh chestnuts rolling around the grocery card– and once again, I can’t figure out how to roast them in the oven…sigh. I suffer from holiday brainwash.

No more my food friends– I will be bookmarking this page for next year.


My Go-To Apple Cranberry Sauce Recipe:

1 12 ounce bag of cranberries

2 large Honey Crisp Apples, diced

1/4 cup of water

¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice

¾ cup of granulated white sugar

1/2 teaspoon of ginger

½ teaspoon of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Stir, and simmer until cranberries burst and apples soften. Continue to simmer until sauce thickens. From initial boil to thickening takes around 10-20 minutes. As I remember, you have to keep an eye on it and make sure the sugar doesn’t burn. Let it cool and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve it!


I couldn’t find my usual recipe in time for the holidays this year, so I tried a new one, a Pear-Ginger Chutney. I think I liked it even better!

Pear-Ginger Chutney Recipe

1 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries

1 cup of granulated white sugar

2 ripe pears, peeled and diced.

1/4 cup of diced crystalized ginger

1 minced jalapeno (minus the seeds)

1 tsp of freshly grated ginger

1/4 tsp of salt

Combine cranberries and sugar in a medium saucepan. Coat the cranberries in the sugar, then set saucepan over medium heat. Stir and cook until cranberries start to burst and sugar dissolves. It took about 8 minutes. Stir in the pears, crystalized ginger, salt, and jalapeno. Stir and cook until pears are softened. It took about 8-10 minutes. Let it cool, then refrigerate until you’re ready to serve it!


Perfect Oven Roasted Chestnuts

That’s right– this recipe is perfect. Or almost. Trust me. After as much trial and error I’ve had, let me just give you this recipe and you can go about your chestnut oven roasting business.

This works on any quantity of chestnuts– that’s up to you. I always add a few extra just incase a few of the nuts refuse to peel.

1) Preheat oven to 375

2) Fill a bowl (big enough to hold all the chestnuts you’re going to roast) with water.

3) Grab a casserole dish with a lid (something you can put in the oven).

4) Pick out the chestnuts you want roast.

5) There will be a rounded and flat side to the chestnut. Find the flat side. Using a paring knife, cut a small X through the shell of the chestnut. This will keep the chestnuts from exploding in your oven (yeah).

6) Drop each scored chestnut into the bowl of water.

7) Let them all soak in the water for 3 minutes. This will help the nuts steam in the oven.

8) Place the scored and soaked chestnuts in the casserole dish with the lid. Put the lid on- don’t forget it!

9) Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

10) When time’s up, take the lid off and let the chestnuts cool for 5 minutes in their casserole dish. You still want them to be warm to touch. If they completely cool, there’s no way in heck to peel them.

11) Use the same small knife, and possibly a hand held nut cracker to help you peel the shell and the “furry” skin off the soft chestnut meat. Be careful with that nutcracker the chestnut could mush on you, so only use it on stubborn chestnuts.

12) Set the nuts aside until you are ready to saute or eat them. I always saute mine in some olive oil, a dash or two of freshly ground pepper and garlic salt and 1 teaspoon of fresh chopped rosemary.

Fresh unpeeled chestnuts must stay refrigerated and last for a week or two, just depending on how fresh they were to begin with. I love to put pan sautéed chestnuts on top of my winter salad.


Well, there they are, the holiday recipes I forget every year. Problem solved– I hope.


Now those are some pumpkin pie pancakes…

2014_10_30-Pumpkin Pancakes-5

Alas. They are not my pumpkin pie pancakes. My lovelies photographed like this…

photo (1)

Though not as pancake glamorous as the previous photo, they were pretty good. If you’re anti-pumpkin spice– stop reading this now. However, if you can’t wait for the autumn breeze to blow in tastes of cinnamon, ginger, clove, and of course, the famous gourd– then read on my spicy friends.

I love fall just for the pumpkininess of it all. Butternut squash is good too, but come on, let’s be honest, it’s a back-up to all other autumn flavors. Pumpkin Spice Rules. I’ll admit that perhaps this year things did get a little out of hand. When a whole page of the grocery store ad is dedicated to pumpkin-spiced-you-name-it-products, I do start to question my devotion.

BUT– then I make something like these pumpkin pie pancakes. Suddenly, I forget about the Pumpkin spiced Oreos and fall in love all over again with the cozy smells of autumn drifting up from my plate.

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes Recipe:

I adapted the kitchn recipe, due to my preferred pancake consistency (which is cakey and a tad bit dense).

What you need: Makes 10 pancakes, or more if you keep them small!

2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1  teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups milk, preferably whole
1 cup canned pumpkin puree  (not pumpkin pie puree)
2 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Canola oil (or butter– yeah, you know who you are), for cooking

The How-To:

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, and spices in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.

In another bowl, or large measuring cup, combine buttermilk, pumpkin puree, egg yolks, and vanilla.

Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients. Don’t over stir. There should still be visible clumps of flour. Over-stirring is the killer for all pancake mixes.

Fold in the egg whites. They won’t combine all the way. You’ll still see a glossy shine on the top of the mixture, and that’s okay.

Let the batter to rest for about 10 minutes. This will make your batter fluffier. I learned this trick making cornbread. While you wait, wash the dishes and get the syrup ready!

Preheat a large cast iron skillet or griddle on medium-high heat

Add 1 tablespoon of canola or a tablespoon of butter.

To test the heat of your skillet, dab on a teeny-tiny pancake. When the batter starts to bubble, then your skillet is ready!

Add 1/4 cup portions of batter to the skillet.

Lower the heat to medium and cook until the batter starts to bubble.

When this happens, flip the pancakes and let them cook for 2-3 more minutes.

Set those pancakes aside (a plastic container with a lid will keep them warm), then re-grease your skillet. I do this between each batch. You might need to lower and then increase your heat if the skillet gets too hot.

Keep pumpkin pie pancaking away until you run out of batter!





I run a little side pie business during Thanksgiving, so the month of November slips away very quickly. As usual, it’s almost Christmas and I just realized I never posted my Thanksgiving photos…

Here’s my veggie plate.


Our family felt the need to use every Crockpot in the house this year…I’m still not sure why? I think we had almost every decade represented.












Dessert- pumpkin buttermilk, pecan, and Grandma wanted Banana Cream pie, so of course she got it.




And there was the annual 2 gal talent show, which Lynley probably already blogged about. It was the best pie I experienced all Thanksgiving and my first pie in the face ever. Thanks for being such a great sis, sis.


The Stephanie and Lynley Thanksgiving Talent Show 2011- The Kingston Trio Better Watch Out!

Three years ago Lynley and I decided our family Thanksgiving needed a little spicing up. The fun had gotten lost somewhere…so we decided to add a pre-dessert talent show to the feast.

The first year– we tap danced (we took around 4 lessons to prepare for our number).

Thanksgiving 2009

The second year– we dueled.

And this year– we ukulele-ed.

Can’t wait until next turkey day!