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Noticing November : Cranberries

November is the month of yellowing leaves fast falling over yards.
November is the month that all of the jack-o-lanterns start to droop and their cut out teeth curl up.
November means decidedly shorter days, time changes, and not-so-bright sunshine.
November is that in-between month.
It hovers between that brilliant jewel of October where Autumn blossoms full and the holiday spirit and incoming of Winter.
It comes in softly after Halloween festivities and closes out the Fall season with Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is my favorite.
I've always loved it.
I remember how hallowed that time was for me as a child and teenager.  It seemed like such a wonderful pause to reflect and be thankful and hold people close and still be outside.
I like it better than Christmas.
I think because it's not covered up in consumerism and glitz.  It's like a humble holiday.  At least until Black Friday hits.
The month that precedes up to November finds people posting things they are grateful for, thankful for.  I've seen theses lists.  Practiced them, and way past November.
But in this month I want to write once a week about something I am thankful for in the month of November.  Something specific to this season.
Something that is a part of November. silly as this sounds the first on my list is a cluster of scarlet jewel toned berries.
Do you like them?
I do...
Every October when I notice them sitting in bags in the produce section I smile.  It means Thanksgiving is coming.
I like buying bags and popping one in my mouth just because they are so fresh and tart.
I like making homemade cranberry sauce. Not canned.
I like the sparkling cranberry punch and even the cranberry flavored sodas.  My friend Kristen and I used to find Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash holiday soda and be sure to drink at least one bottle together.  Buying extra bottles to enjoy at other times in the year.
I love sweetened dried cranberries tossed into salads with pecans, spinach and drizzled with honey.
One of my favorite salads has cranberries, warmed brie cheese, and walnuts tucked into field greens.
Here is a healthy salad that includes cranberries as it's main ingredient and tastes wonderful.

Dannette May's Crunch Apple, Cranberry, & Walnut Salad  

I love the sharp, vivid color of cranberry that is splashed all over the landscape in fall and in the colors we wear. The cranberry stained bushes that fringe the yard at my parents'.  A burst of color at the end of the fall.
I like to wear the color.  Especially a cranberry threaded sweater with jeans and boots.  I'm a blonde who used to never wear red until I decided to be brave and break up with that rule and wear a completely red prom dress in high school *probably not the best pick.
Nevertheless I like to wear reds and especially cranberry. However,  I think it looks best when paired with rich dark chocolate brunette hair.  I think of my sister and my friend Elizabeth who have deep chocolate hair that would create a dramatic color contrast to cranberry.

Cranberries remind me of my first Christmas with my husband.
Our Christmas tree was a bit shabby as we were given lots of ornaments and we purchased one matching box of various glass cranberry colored bulbs.
In the hodge podge box of random passed on Christmas ornaments I found clusters of faux cranberries.  That year our tree was filled with handmade pin ornaments from my in-laws and cranberries peeking out of every empty corner of woodsy pine needles.  I remember that was one of my favorite Christmases.
I still really prefer Christmas decorations that include cranberries.  I've always wanted a cranberry wreathe.  Maybe this year.

Cranberries remind me of my old neighbor Mason.  One Christmas a few years ago before he passed he had his friend bring our family a tray of bakery cookies and some scarves and gloves for my then little girls.
I remember scanning the tray and seeing so many thick, soft Christmas cookies.
The last to go were the cranberry orange cookies.  Perhaps we were skeptical.  Well they were some of the best cookies I've ever eaten.  I have no clue at what bakery they were purchased, but those cranberry orange flavored cookies are still in my mind.  Never tasted anything like them since.

Lastly, my husband and I are on a smoothie or juicing adventure together.  For several weeks we have been drinking our salads twice or three times a day.  It works for us and I actually am starting to crave it.  Last week I popped some cranberries into our red drink of beets, apples, strawberries, and spinach.  I loved the tart punch they added.  My husband? Not so much.  I guess that will just be my addition.
Cranberries are great nutritionally speaking.  We have all heard that they aide in helping prevent urinary tract infections.  They also help in stroke prevention and aide in blood cholesterol levels.

Do you like cranberries?
What is your favorite cranberry recipe?
What is something you notice in November?

Cranberry sauce:
(This is the only item my husband's grandmother has me bring to Thanksgiving/ Christmas dinner).  I guess she likes it like me.
It's very simple. Kind of like cranberry stove top jam.
I just empty a bag of fresh washed cranberries into a saucepan.  A generous splash of orange juice.  Or maybe three.  I don't have an estimate on how big my splashes are.  That's just how I cook. ;)
I add sugar to taste.  At least 1/2 a cup.  Zest of one orange and all of it's juice.  Let all of this cook down as you would jam, bubbling and gloriously red.  Taste and adjust to sweetness level.
Or use an actual professional recipe that is sure to please such as this recipe...


  1. Somer, I love the color of cranberries, too. And seeing them in decor. And eating them in baked goods. And, I like to make homemade cranberry sauce too. I just wish my family enjoyed it more. :)

    Fun post!!

  2. Somer,
    I LOVE this ode to cranberries - -because I love them too! (Again, I am convinced we are kindreds!) Every single year I'm drawn to cranberry wreaths and I have to stop myself because I have so many -- I just adore the way the colorful berries contrast against the grapevines and if they're painted white -- all the better!

    In my opinion, every dish is enhanced by adding cranberries! I scour recipes to for cranberry muffins, breads and scones and I adore trying them out. I love that you and your husband are on a juicing adventure and it's too bad he didn't share your passion for the cranberries in your smoothie!

    And one more thing -- cranberry highlights are my favorite color to add to my hair! :) Loved reading this, my fellow cranberry-crazed sister! xoxox


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