The holiday season is here. The cleaning and clearing have been done. The boxes are out of the attic, and I've been playing melodies from my collection of Hallmark CDs.
In other words, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
The most difficult (but fun) task is decorating the tree. We have many old ornaments, some of which carry memories of when our children were in school. Then, there are the ornaments I made with the Family and Community Leaders of Beaufort crafters. These pine cone decorations are egg-shaped and covered with ribbon. They carry a special meaning for me. Olga Allen and I enrolled in a class to learn how to make them, then we returned and taught the craft to members of the group. The group went to the Biltmore House in Asheville, N.C., and, oh, how we laughed when we saw how much these ornaments were going for there. Then, there are the ornaments from our travels: a hat-shaped decoration resembling the mountains of Lesotho; the dog sleds of Alaska; and bells, Santas and angels from just about everywhere.
Last but not least, there are the "church mice choir" decorations, the collection of ornaments made by the women of The Parish of St. Helena, which I have paired with my songbooks.
My Christmas list is also in the making. Shopping is so much fun, especially when I run into friends.
Yes, the season is here.
HOT SPICED CRANBERRY DELIGHT
Makes: 6 cups
3 cups boiling water
1/2 cup lemon-flavored iced tea mix
3 cups cranberry juice cocktail
Combine water, tea mix and cranberry juice; heat thoroughly. Serve hot in mugs or cups with a lemon slice decorated with cloves. Stir with a cinnamon stick.
CRANBERRY CREAM PIE
Makes: 9-inch pie
1 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 (3-ounce) package orange-flavored gelatin
1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1 baked 9-inch pastry shell or graham cracker crust
Combine cranberry sauce and brown sugar in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add gelatin, stirring until dissolved; cool. Fold in whipped cream and nuts. Pour into pastry shell; chill several hours or until set. Garnish with additional whipped cream.
CRANBERRY FRUIT SALAD
Makes: 15 servings
1 (8 1/4-ounce) can pineapple tidbits
2 (3-ounce) packages black raspberry-flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 cup cold water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Dash of salt
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 unpeeled orange, seeded
3/4 cup sugar
1 (11-ounce) can mandarin orange sections, drained
Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add cold water, reserved pineapple juice, lemon juice and salt. Chill until partially set. Put cranberries and orange through a food chopper or food mill. Add sugar, pineapple and mandarin oranges to cranberry mixture; stir into gelatin. Pour into a 6-cup ring mold. Chill until firm.
Source: "Southern Living: The Dinner & Supper Cookbook" (1977)