Five Things That Bring Me Peace at Thanksgiving Plus My Sweet & Sour Cranberries

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Thanksgiving is generally my favorite holiday. There’s no need to worry about presents–that’s a worry best reserved for Christmas. The only worry is which clothes will make my body feel good when I load up on my cousin’s delicious Butternut Squash Souffle.

I’m not with my family this year. At the very last moment, I flew south to help my husband’s family with some stuff. I’m glad to be here because there’s plenty to do but, you bet, I’ll miss cooking up my favorite dishes and enjoying time with my family. I may ask them for a Thanksgiving-do-over come January!

I’m not hosting but I am feeling the anxiety of the time. There’s the anxiety you feel when you have a big meal to prep for a bunch and then there’s the anxiety you feel when you’re away from home and away from your holiday routine. It’s all okay though because I’m finding ways to stay relaxed. In case you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all, here are five things that are bringing me peace right this very second.

Four Sigmatic Mushroom Hot Cacao Mix: This is not an ad; I just love the stuff. I drink a small cup of this once or twice a day back home and carry several packets with me when I travel. The reishi mushrooms help to regulate my sleep and stay calm. The taste is less like hot cocoa and more like a barely sweetened chocolate tea. Instead of coffee, I have chocolate first thing in the morning and chocolate first thing in the morning is fun and relaxing.

My (new) Yoga Mat: Without my daily dose of yoga, my back aches and my brain busts with overwhelm. When I landed in my sunny destination, I grabbed a very inexpensive yoga mat from my local big box store. Even 20 minutes of cat-cows and extended puppy pose will ease my body and give me enough time to center myself. When I’m mindful and centered, I make better decisions and am less likely to overreact to, well, anything!

Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom: Last week, during a particularly stressful day, I stumbled upon this book at a local yoga studio. I had popped in just to smell the incense burning and explore the gift shop, but the book called to me. It’s providing much needed peace just before bed or in the midst of travel. Iyengar talks yoga but also shares stories of his life and development into a lifelong practitioner, and inspires me to keep it up.

Thirty-Second Breaks: When my to-do list is 30 tasks long and new ones keep finding their way to the list, sometimes I need a break. My preferred way to take a time-out is to simply walk away for at least 30 seconds. I might use that time to water my plants or ice my orchids; I may repeat “I am okay” to myself multiple times. Gosh, I may even go make a cup of mushroom hot cacao. Whatever I do, I take that break to remind myself that nothing is as important as my sanity and whatever is causing the overwhelm shall, indeed, pass.

Lily Hill CBD Oil: Instead of gulping down aspirin at the first sign of a headache or body pain, I now turn to a few drops of this Vermont-based CBD oil. It’s organically grown in Eden Vermont and made with organic extra virgin olive oil. Since it works best ingested or placed directly on the skin (rather than baking into food), I like to mix a few drops into lavender body lotion to sooth a sore back or place a few drops under my tongue. Within 20 minutes, my discomfort is eased and in a way natural way.

If you’d find the most comfort and peace in your kitchen right now, I feel you. I’ve included an adaptation of my Sweet & Sour Cranberries from my first cookbook down below. This recipe uses maple sugar vs. white sugar–and they’re still very sweet and tart. Enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday!

Sweet & Sour Cranberries

These gems make for an unexpected holiday gift. They’re excellent as is or added onto a cheese plate near some sharp white cheddar. Their delight only transcends when spread into a sandwich or dabbed onto some roast pork. And the sweet, tart liquid that results can be served at the bottom of a flute — topped with Champagne, of course — at any holiday party. Float a few cranberries in the glass, for sure.

Makes: 6 cups

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 3/4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 3/4 cups maple sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon allspice berries (or ground allspice)
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon juniper berries (optional)

Directions:

  1. Wash the cranberries and pick over them for any stems or bad berries. If you are using frozen cranberries, just open the bag(s) and use them directly from the freezer; add a few minutes to the cooking time.
  2. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and begin to bring to a boil. When the liquid begins to boil, add the cinnamon sticks. If using ground allspice (instead of allspice berries), add that now, too.
  3. Place the allspice berries, whole cloves, black peppercorns, and juniper berries (if using) in a spice bag (if using) or tie them up in a length of cheesecloth (if using). (Alternatively, you can just add them directly to the pot, but wrapping in cheesecloth makes for a cleaner gift.) Add the spice bag to the pot.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling vigorously, add the cranberries. Stir to make sure each cranberry is well-coated and cook 5 to 7 minutes, until the cranberries begin to pop and the mixture has returned to a rolling boil.
  5. After most of the cranberries have popped, remove the saucepan from the heat. Pull out the spice bag, but leave the cinnamon sticks in because they’re so darn pretty.
  6. Ladle the cranberries into sterilized glass jars through a regular-mouth funnel, distributing them into each jar evenly and topping with only as much liquid as needed. (Save the remaining liquid for your cocktail bar or other use). Let the jars cool to room temperature, and then store in the fridge up to 1 month.

Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista–shop girl, writer, author, and creative business coach. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is working to open her first permanent Eat Boutique–a food-retail concept space with a new way to the very best food–as well as coaching women in food to reach life and business goals. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: 100 Recipes to Encourage a Healthy Relationship with Food, Nourish Your Beautiful Body, and Celebrate Real Wellness for Life, will be published by Roost Books on February 5, 2019. 

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