More Thanksgiving talk

Until the last decade or so, I didn’t know how awful I was for liking canned cranberry sauce. Then social media let me know, of course. I just think it’s so pretty how it comes out of the can with rings around it—that way you know exactly where to slice it! That was one of my favorite things growing up when it came to Thanksgiving. I didn’t gain an appreciation for dressing/stuffing until I was an adult, I used to hate mashed potatoes and now, while I’ll eat them, still not something I absolutely love, and turkey is dry and I didn’t care for gravy either. With some cranberry sauce and my grandmother’s macaroni salad, preferably with shells, I was all set.

But this year, I think I’ll do a homemade cranberry sauce. A few weeks ago, Amazon suggested this jell dessert aka vegan Jello.

I hated Jello growing up and still don’t like it – there’s a very specific taste that gelatin desserts have I don’t like. So I didn’t even get this for me, I got it thinking my son might like it. I tried some, though, and I actually think it’s good. I’ve tried doing things with agar-agar and the texture isn’t great. But this has a really nice texture, very similar to Jello. Woohoo! Remembering that my mother-in-law has been doing a cranberry sauce recipe with Jello the last few years, I figure why not do one this year? So I think I’ll do this one, which has walnuts, but I have a huge 2lb. bag of pecans so I’ll do that instead, apples, oranges and celery. A little mid-century, I think, to have celery in Jello. I love it!

And while on the topic of Thanksgiving foods, I’ve heard that pumpkin is in short supply. This might explain why when I was at the co-op a couple of weeks ago, the only canned pumpkin product was pumpkin pie mix, which I didn’t even notice I bought until I got home. I’ve never cooked with the mix before, and wouldn’t you know the recipe I want to use specifically says NOT PUMPKIN PIE MIX. Ha! Well, I’m going to make it work. I think I can sub two cans of the mix and just leave out the sugar and maple syrup and spices. I’ll let you all know how that goes, but I trust myself. Not a big deal, but then I unknowingly also got two huge bottles of pumpkin pie spice online from Sam’s Club. I didn’t notice “minimum 2” and now I won’t need any with the premade mix. So I guess I’ll be having pumpkin spice coffee for the rest of the year . . . I do recall some hacks that use pumpkin pie spice, like using it in gingerbread cookies (Thanks, Sandra Lee!), instead of cinnamon rolls, I can use the pumpkin pie spice, and it even works in moussaka.

5 thoughts on “More Thanksgiving talk

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  1. Hope your pumpkin pie comes out great. Was “PINK FLUFF” ever a thing at your Thanksgiving dinners when you were a kid? We used to have jello mixtures of some kind, but it was usually more of a fruit salad with jello, not a “fluff,” per se. I actually had never heard about “pink fluff,” wasn’t even exposed to the term, until I went to visit my childhood friend in Maine (she’s from the Kansas City area like me …. perhaps she learned it from her husband?).

    On the other hand, I noticed my oldest sister (who never lived with me at the same time because she moved out at age 16, and I was born about 3 months later) brought some kind of pink possibly cranberry mixture to a family event a few years back. However, it seems her mixture was made with cool whip instead of cottage cheese, so I don’t think it was a true “pink fluff.” And she didn’t call it that.

    I remember something that was more like a “Green Fluff” when we were kids, but we didn’t call it that, and I really know what it was made of! Probably cool whip, cool whip was really big at our house when we were kids. I once read something saying that cool whip used to be accidentally vegan, also! That’s too bad it’s not accidentally vegan now, as it’s super cheap and personally, I love how it tastes. I know tru-whip and other brands for a vegan version of “Cool Whip” exist, and that’s great, but it’s a bummer that they aren’t similar in price.

    1. According to Southern Living, “pink fluff” is Southern. I don’t know what part of the South, as I’ve never had the stuff, maybe more deep South instead of Appalachian. As far as I can tell, we have our distinct cuisine in the Appalachian South. I don’t think we do too much stuff with Jello. My grandmother would put fruit in Jello and that’s as far as she went. Now my dad found some recipe in the 90s that involved pretzels, cream cheese, Cool Whip, strawberries, and Jello, but I never was into it. There was a graham cracker crust pie you can make with Jello and Cool Whip that’s easy and about the only thing I ever enjoyed with Jello. I don’t think there’s an easy way to veganize it as the Jello needs to be cold but not gelled yet so the whipped topping doesn’t melt. As soon as any kind of vegan counterpart cools down for even five minutes, way before actually being cold, it sets.

  2. P.S. As a kid growing up, the only kind of cranberry I knew was the kind that comes in a can, as you described! Never thought of using the lines from can as cutting lines! Cool idea. But you know what, as an adult, I actually do like the homemade cranberry sauce more. It’s fun putting the cranberries in a pot and watching them burst and becoming bubbly. I’ve used the Fly Lady cranberry orange sauce before …. easy and good.

    I believe there’s a fancier recipe I used one time that featured orange ZEST and spices, it was amazing, but I can’t remember where I found the recipe now.

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