I mentioned last week how much I love Thanksgiving. I know it has come and gone now, but it is still on my mind. We had a wonderful celebration at my Dad’s house on Thanksgiving with a giant turkey and all the trimmings. With so many bad things happening in the world, it is a blessing to be able to spend quality time with family and friends in a safe and warm place.
Thanksgiving and the holiday season is certainly a time to reflect on what we are grateful for. I am grateful for so many things, but most importantly my dear friends and family.
Thanksgiving is also a little hard for me now. I lost my Momma to cancer just a few days before Thanksgiving in 2013. I know that for many who have lost loved ones, the holiday season can be difficult. The year my Momma died I was so grateful to be surrounded by family and dear friends.
My sorority sisters made a big difference in how I handled that first Thanksgiving without Momma. Momma’s funeral was just a few day before Thanksgiving when I know people are busy, but so many of my sisters came to the funeral and came back home to spend some time with me after the service.
My home was filled with so much love, as well as good food that many friends and neighbors brought to us. It was a hard day, but I know how much my Momma would have loved seeing everyone and that made it easier.
My little sister in the sorority, Amanda, flew all the way from San Antonio, Texas to be with me after Momma’s funeral and she stayed with me for Thanksgiving as well. She told me she didn’t want me to go to the trouble of cooking, but it actually helped to have something to keep me busy. Her being there that first Thanksgiving without Momma was such a precious gift.
This year my husband and I cooked Thanksgiving at Dad’s house and we were joined by my great Uncle Ken and our good friend David. My Uncle Clip and neighbor Zehra also stopped in to visit with us. Everyone enjoyed the food and couldn’t pick a favorite thing. They said it was all good. As usual, we had enough food to feed a small army. We enjoyed turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, which I burned the first time around and had to redo, Waldorf salad, green pea salad, macaroni and cheese, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake.
David said the cranberry sauce was the best he had ever eaten. It is, of course, my Momma’s recipe. Years ago when Momma worked at Jostens they put together a cookbook. Our good friend Patty’s sweet potato casserole recipe and my Momma’s cranberry sauce recipe are in this book and I use it every year to make these two Thanksgiving specialties.
I know Thanksgiving has come and gone, but cranberry sauce is a dish to serve throughout the holiday season so I’ll share Mamma’s recipe with you in case you’d like to try it.
Mamma’s Cranberry Sauce
• 20 oz can crushed pineapple
• 1 large package strawberry jello
• 2 16 oz cans whole cranberry sauce
• 2 cups finely minced celery
• 1 cup crushed pecans
• 1/4 cup lemon juice
• pinch of salt
Heat pineapple just to boiling and add jello packet. Stir until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Refrigerate until set. I typically make this night before I plan to serve it. Also, I use one of those electric choppers to do the celery so I can get it really finely chopped. Note: the original recipe called for a 15 1/2 oz can of crushed pineapple and 1/4 cup of water. I can only find 20 oz cans now so I eliminate the water so it will set better. If you find 15 oz cans, add 1/4 cup water to mixture.