Posted by: Rachel | November 18, 2012

all over but the…

Safely back from New York, breath caught, and tomorrow I’m off again. My cousins got power back (oh lights! oh hot water!!) the day after I left and called to say I could come back. Next year, I think… wow what a ride that was!

Tomorrow I load up my version of a sleigh and head over the river and through the woods so to speak. So around here its pretty much all over but the hauling!

cronberry display at my local grocery

thanks, Ken!!

I got a beautiful bag of fresh cranberries in my Austin to Boston swap box. My new friend Ken did great by me! Oh sure, I can get them here, but they come from up there anyway and what a treat it was to find them in the box!

I used them to make a big batch of my Aunt Jane’s chutney, which I have frozen. I’m hoping that since the TSA seems to allow “frozen stuff” I’ll be able to get it through security with out any issues.

And I baked a loaf of cranberry nut bread. For this I start with “the recipe on the bag”, but if you know me you know I can’t leave well enough alone; I upped it a bit this year with the addition of some chopped candied orange peel and some chopped crystallized ginger. It smelled pretty divine… but I didn’t dare cut a slice so we’ll see on Thursday!

It is also in the freezer, but I think as long as I don’t drop it on my foot or anything it should be just fine! Mmmm…

This morning, though, I must say I was thinking about that Donovan song that says “first there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is…”

clean cooking stuff in dish drainer

… then there is

The lyrics are open to many interpretations but as I surveyed the third mountain this week of clean air-dried cooking and baking “stuff” in my dish drainer (oh I’m happy enough to wash ’em I just don’t see the point in drying ’em!), well… see?

In any event, safe holidays to all from now right on through New Year’s, safe travels, good friends, and happy times!

And, in case you’re interested, here’s how I made that cranberry nut bread. I used the bag of fresh cranberries for the chutney, but I like to use dried cranberries in my bread anyway. I reconstitute them in orange juice and they are slightly chewy and delicious, a nice foil to the walnuts. Mmmmm:

“Back of the Bag” Cranberry Bread (twisted my way)

finished bread on cooling rack

rack it up! mmm…

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups dried cranberries
3/4 cup orange juice (or 1/2 C OJ and 1/4 C brandy)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup each chopped candied orange peel and chopped crystallized ginger

One hour ahead, put the dried cranberries in a small pan. Cover with the 3/4 cup orange juice and barely warm over very low heat. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for one hour. After one hour, drain but reserve the orange juice. It should be nearly 3/4 cup, top up if necessary.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, melted butter and beaten egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries, nuts, and other goodies. Spread the batter evenly in loaf pan.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely. Wrap and store overnight, or freeze and hope for the best.

That’s pretty much it! Not as heavy as a fruitcake but a bit more substantial that the original recipe I think with lots of interesting “bits” in it. Mmmm… I can eat this any time of year!

What are you making (family tradition or not!) for your holidays? I’m always on the look-out for new ideas! Share, please!! Mmmmmm…..



  1. I’m sure this creation will be every bit as good, if not better, as the gluten free brownies you served the writers group. I may even try to adapt it to GF. Thank you for the inspiration and happy travels to you as well.

  2. Love the addition of the candied orange peel. Sounds great.

  3. I love the way you play with the recipes – sounds great!

  4. I can never leave a recipe alone either. Your added ingredients sound great and I’m sure the bread will be delicious. Fruit cake is my favorite dessert that I usually make for the holidays.

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