Black Friday and Red Berries

After a busy day of preparing food, eating food, visiting with friends and family, putting food away and cleaning the kitchen on Thanksgiving; the last thing I want to do is make plans to get up early the next morning to wait in line at 5:00 in very cold temperatures, just to get into a department store and fight the crowds to buy mass-produced stuff made in China. 

Uh-uh, nope, no way, I ain't going to do it. I don't care if I can buy three toasters for $1.00 before 6:30 am, and the store is serving complimentary doughnuts and weak luke-warm coffee, I ain't going to get in line, let alone walk into those stores during that Friday. I will wait for a week or two and still find some values on items I really want, and save some dollars somewhere else. Besides, my motto is to let the small shop owner sleep in and open his/her regular hours on Black Friday and let's support them instead. 

Now that you know how I feel about Black Friday, onto the Red Berries: Here's another "recipe," like my The Infallible Brownie Mix, where I make no bones that I have "cheated." 

Picture this: you forgot to buy a bag of fresh cranberries. At first you decided just to scrap it, and then found out that Cousin Betty is joining you for Thanksgiving, and you remembered how much she loves cranberries - - and the fact that Betty is a vegetarian. You must give her something to eat. 

Don't be "bogged" down (get it, cranberry bogs ...) with making cranberry sauce at the last minute. Instead of rinsing fresh cranberries, cooking fresh cranberries over heat, adding sugar to the fresh cranberries, waiting for the fresh cranberries to pop, and for the sugar to melt - - or if you forgot to make cranberry relish at the last moment... 

Remember that can of cranberry sauce you have in the back of the cupboard? The expiration date says it expires November 26, 2016; so you still have a few good days before it "expires" (this is me rolling my eyes). Open it up! Open up a can or two of whole berry cranberry sauce (not the jellied sauce that poops out the shape of the can ...), add a few squeezes of orange juice and a few scrapes of orange zest to "freshen" it up. If you like nuts, sprinkle in some chopped pecans or walnuts. 

And wait - - there's more - - if there is an apple or a pear around, grate a half an apple or pear and add to the cranberries. Add a bit of ginger if you are using pear. 

Hey, get really crazy and creative by adding a tablespoon of a finely chopped fresh jalapeno pepper and a squeeze of lime juice. Any and all will freshen it up, so it won't taste so "canned." 

Now here comes the best part - - add a couple of teaspoons or more of Grand Marnier (orange-flavored brandy liqueur) or Calvados (apple brandy) - one or the other brandy - not both. You can leave the brandy uncooked, or warm the cranberry sauce with the brandy in it to cook out the alcohol. But no matter what you mix in the sauce, and if you really do not want anybody to suspect that you didn't make your cranberry sauce from scratch, just add more Grand Marnier and nobody will know the difference - - let alone care... 

Stay tuned for my blog this Friday to find out what I will be doing, while the rest of you are standing out in the cold waiting to be the first in line to buy a George Forman Toasted Tuna Sandwich Maker. It has to do with a large espresso, movies, and pajamas.  


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