Cranberries brighten the holiday dinner table.

Cranberries brighten the holiday dinner table.

Well, here we are, Christmas Eve 2012. I have a purring cat on my lap, a little snack on my side table, and all the fixings for tomorrow night’s turkey dinner ready to go.

Yes, I’m using simple make ahead techniques to ensure I spend most of Christmas day relaxing with family rather than feverishly cooking the feast.

Wet and dry ingredients for waffles are separately mixed, ready for breakfast – so we eat something decent before the gorging on chocolate begins.

Stuffing is in a casserole dish, ready for the oven (safest to cook it outside the bird). Carrots, celery and onions are coarsely chopped for the roasting pan to add flavour to the gravy. More carrots, potatoes and broccoli are all chopped and ready to cook as sides.

This sauce has made me a fan of the cran.

This sauce has made me a fan of the cran.

The turkey is thawing in cold water, and I’m also thawing a little jar of cranberry sauce leftover from Thanksgiving.

I’d never tried making it from scratch before. I’ve never been a fan of the cran so I always just dutifully bought the canned stuff and half the time, forget to put it out.

Something possessed me to try making my own for Thanksgiving this year and boy, am I glad I did. The recipe was so easy, a monkey could do it. It tasted great and made the house smell amazing.

It’s a Cooking Light recipe, like so many of my favourites. There were seven of us for Thanksgiving dinner and since none of us piled on the sauce, there’s enough left for five of us around the Christmas dinner table.

Festive cranberries.

Festive cranberries.

From my kitchen to yours, have a very merry Christmas and an adventurous 2013 filled with good food and laughter.

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