It has been a crazy, exhausting, fun and inventive week around here. Massive amounts of family time, staying in our jammies until noon, going through a huge ice storm and celebrating Christmas. Yup. It was ca-razy.
It all started last Sunday when we went through a nasty and dangerous ice storm which included a massive power outage. People in our neck of the woods were lucky and only lost power for 8 hours. The Bookworm family handled it well. My kids amazingly didn't go into shock when their hand-held devices wore out their batteries. We stayed warm with our gas fireplace and played card games. Brad and Boy 1 even cooked some Alphagetti and grilled cheese on our camp stove on the front porch (they got a few people pointing and laughing at them but our bellies were full). Having our menfolk involved in Scouting has its benefits since we had our emergency kit at the ready!
Unfortunately, the good people in Toronto (and other areas) lost power for almost a week!! Not a very lovely Christmas, I suppose so I'll be thankful for the little inconvenience we went through.
I hope that you, my wonderful blog readers, had a fabulous and relaxing holiday with family and friends. Christmas around here came and went fairly peacefully. We had our usual large family gathering which we usually have at the cottage (the only home big enough to house all 18 of us overnight) but after the major ice storm it was too dangerous to drive on our cottage road with branches continually falling so we opted to keep it safe and stay in town.
The venue wasn't the only thing to change this year. A couple of days before Christmas my Dad sent out an email asking for each of his daughters to only bring one dish due to the overwhelming amounts of leftovers we usually accrue. I'm sorry, Dad. Say wha?!?! For me I was to only make two loaves of bread. That's it. To some, they'd be happy with only having to make one thing. For me? I have to admit that I had the wind knocked out of my sails a bit.
See, for me one of my favourite parts about Christmas is baking with my kids. I adore it and it's something that I eagerly look forward to each year. It's creative, relaxing and yummy.
Christmas is also the Super Bowl for bakers.
I realize my Dad was coming from a very responsible frame of mind but I sent a family wide email and said that I just couldn't abide by the new rules -- leftovers be darned. I had to bake. It was Christmas and I show my love through food so I was gonna bring Tupperwares full o' my love. And I did.
And so Missy Moo and I baked 5 dozen frosted sugar cookies (only a handful were leftover by the way) and I also brought this appetizer. If you're a lover of cranberry sauce you'll love this appetizer. Melted cheesy goodness, tart and tangy, oh so easy ... and a hit!
Now I can eagerly look forward to the World Series of appetizers .... New Years Eve!!!
2 cups frozen cranberries
zest of 1 large orange (approximately 2 tbsp - divided)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup white sugar
2 pinches dried cloves
1 pinch cinnamon
large wheel of brie (approx. 14oz)
Combine cranberries, half of the orange zest, sugar and orange juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until cranberries begin to burst. Add cloves and cinnamon. Mix well.
Keep cranberry mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator to use later or use immediately.
Preheat oven to 375F. Place brie into a baking dish and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and pour cranberry orange mixture over the brie. Sprinkle with remaining orange zest. Return brie to oven and heat for an additional 10 minutes or until brie is soft inside.
Serve immediately with French bread slices or crackers.
Tip: I stockpile bags of fresh cranberries in my freezer for recipes just like this. I adore the mighty cran!