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Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Hello everyone!  Can you believe it is already November?  Seems like just yesterday we were  anticipating the beautiful autumn leaves and now they are gone.  Some people think November is a bleak month, but I love it.  Now is the time to really study the trees.  Isn't their construction amazing?   And have you ever noticed how many different shades of gray there are?  From the steely storm clouds  to the pretty lavender tinted evening shadows, there's so much to observe.  It reminds me of this quote:

If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.
 ~Vincent Van Gogh ~

November is also the month of my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.  At Sweet Briar Cottage, Thanksgiving is truly a harvest meal  as much of the food that graces our table will have come from our own dear garden.  We do indeed have much to be thankful for and the bounty of our garden is just one of the many blessings.  I wish I could share our meal with you, but since I'm sure you will be spending that day with your family, I'll share some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes throughout this month instead.  Today I am making cranberry chutney.  It freezes well, so I can get a jump on the preparations. A nice activity for today as I'm kind of stuck in the house while  the plumbers are here installing the new boiler.  Hurray!  So turn on some Nat King Cole (what a voice!) and simmer away. Here's the recipe:

Cranberry Chutney

4 C. fresh cranberries
2 C. sugar
1 C, apples, chopped, unpeeled
1/2 C. golden raisins
1 tbsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 C. orange juice
1/2 C. chopped walnuts

Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer until the cranberries start to pop and mixture becomes fairly thick.  Cool.  Pour into glass jars and refrigerate or freeze until Thanksgiving.

This smells so wonderful!  I  would make it even if I didn't like cranberries just to scent the cottage.  Did you know that I tried to grow cranberries once?  It was quite a failure, but I haven't given up on them. Who knows?  Maybe one year it will be our own berries gracing the table!


  1. Hi Jane, thank you so much for the chutney recipe, I really appreciate it! It sounds exactly like what my aunt Emma Jean used to make. She didn't pass the recipe on and I have experimented with trying to recreate it in the years past but with no success, but I think yours comes as close as I have ever seen. I am definitely going to try this one! I never tried it with the ginger or the Tbsp of vinegar and I think those might just be the missing ingredients. I love cranberries. My aunt used to also make a wonderful mince meat pie this time of year. No one in the family now likes mince meat but I could just sit and eat it with a spoon! :) I don't, but I could! I hope you have a nice evening ahead Jane! Rest well. Delisa :)

  2. Dear Jane,

    We're loving November, too, now that our funk is gone. :) The chutney looks really good; cranberries are so good for you, too! I think it's wonderful that Thanksgiving is still un-commercialized, don't you?



  3. Unfortunately Jane, this year I'll be away for this blessed holiday...but like you, November is one of my favorite months :)


  4. I hope this recipe is close to the one you are looking for, Delisa! It's my son, Scott's favorite dish at our Thanksgiving meal.

    Glad to hear your funk is gone Marqueta! Thanksgiving is still the simplest of holidays. I just love it! What could be better than to have gather your family together to count your blessings and share a meal? Plus I love to bake and cook and it gives me a rare opportunity to do it on a grand scale.

    I know Maria. I wish I lived close to you so that I could share my meal with you. I'm praying that you will have something very special to be thankful for this year. Kiss your daughter for me!

  5. hello jane,
    i love november, too! but i love also december.
    the recipe sounds good.thanks for sharing!
    have a nice evening,
    love regina

  6. This recipe sounds easy so I may add this to our Thanksgiving Table. Just the aroma and the color would be great but I'll bet it tastes good, too.

    ps - How long do packaged dried cranberries last in the refrig. There are always economy sized packages of these on sale at this time of the year for breads etc but I don't know how long they would stay usable once opened.

  7. I love December too Regina. October, November and January are my favorite months. Maybe because they are the months we as a family are able to gather.

    Hi Sandy! Dried cranberries will keep indefinitely if kept under the right conditions (cool and dry). About the only thing that can go wrong with them is that they will lose their flavor and nutritional value over time or get moldy if they get wet, which you ought to be able to see. They definitely will last at least six months in the fridge inside a zip-loc bag.

  8. I love November as well, it is a nice month, and filled with cooking and various holiday preparations. Your cranberry chutney sounds great, I have never made or had a cranberry chutney, and hope to give this recipe a try, I love simmering recipes that make the house smell wonderful!

    I once tried growing cranberries as well, on our old property, near the lingonberries, gooseberries and blueberries. The little cranberry bushes did fine, but never produced a berry. I would love to attempt cranberries again, I love experimenting with different plants in the garden.

  9. How neat is it that you tried to grow cranberries too, April! I think mine suffered from neglect. Think I'll study up on them this winter and maybe try again in the spring. The chutney is so good on turkey. We always make turkey sandwiches with a smear of it for a picnic lunch that I pack for the travelers to eat on the way home. That along with a thermos of hot cocoa and a few Christmas cookies has become part of our traditions. Oh! And I always wrap the sandwiches in wax paper. That's important!

  10. Yesterday was our old oak full of leaves. And this morning we saw only a bare tree - All leaves lay on the ground. Ah, yes ... trees have a nice structure and finally we see every twig. November is a beautiful month because my birthday is on 18th :)

  11. Jedidja, hopefully I'll remember to wish you a happy birthday on your actual birthday, but I'm afraid I am not terribly organized. So if I don't remember, here's hoping that you have the very nicest day, my dear friend!