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Homemade Cranberry Sauce- Day 6: Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce is probably the easiest recipe to make on your Thanksgiving menu, so don’t be tempted to purchase the canned version!  It’s Day 6 of Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving and the perfect time to make Toni’s Perfect Cranberry Sauce- watch the video below for a cooking demonstration of this simple recipe.

Homemade cranberry sauce can be made and stored well in advance without having to freeze because you’re essentially making a sugared jelly out of the fresh cranberries.  This recipe for cranberry sauce has never let me down which is why I call it “perfect”.

Cranberry sauce recipe

Toni’s Perfect Cranberry Sauce


Toni’s Perfect Cranberry Sauce


This sauce recipe will serve between 6-8 people, so double or triple the recipe if you’re cooking for more people.

  1.  3 cups cranberries (1 12oz. bag)
  2.  1 cup orange juice
  3.  1 cup agave nectar or 1 cup sugar
  4.  Cinnamon sticks- 2


  1.  Combine all ingredients in saucepan; cook over medium heat stirring constantly
  2.  Be amazed at how beautiful the cranberries look when they soften and begin to pop
  3.  Once cranberries are completely softened and have popped (about 10-12 minutes), remove from heat, cool
  4. Remove cinnamon sticks before serving or stick them up in the sauce for decoration


cranberrysauce 650x433 Tonis Perfect Cranberry Sauce

If you haven’t signed up for Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving yet, to get daily videos, tips and recipes, sign up below:

Black Friday

Don’t forget about our Black Friday special for The Organized Cook Weekly Meal Plan System.  The biggest discount-ever- for this monthly subscription that brings you the most recent meal plans straight to your inbox each week is 70% off for one day onlyOrder now.


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Dishing about Dishes- Day 3: Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving

Cooking Thanksgiving For A Large Group

Create a stress-less Thanksgiving Day this year with Toni’s 12 Days of Thankgiving.

Thanksgiving Planning by Toni Spilsbury The Organized Cook

win customized Thanksgiving party printables by Bella Grey Designs

It’s Day 3 and we’re dishing about…. well, dishes.

Today is the day I decide which dishes are best to use for my “make-ahead” recipes like Toni’s Perfect Cranberry Sauce and Mushroom Shallot Sauce for our steamed green beans, and which serving dishes I will be using for each recipe.

So which food storage containers are best to use?  Personally, I like the glass storage that can go from the freezer/refrigerator straight into the oven like Pyrex Food Storage Containers or Versaglass by Ziploc.

Pyrex Bake, Serve And Store Sets on sale $29.86 regular $34.99

By storing food in these airtight containers, reheating is a cinch.


What’s In A Dish

I’ve been caught too many times on Thanksgiving Day rummaging through my cupboards at the last minute looking for a serving dish.

It took me a few years to realize that if I pull my serving dishes out ahead of time and label them so I know which recipes go where, Thanksgiving Dinner is a lot stressful.  It also gives me the opportunity to do a quick wash on the Fall serving bowls and platters that may have collected some dust over the past year.

So, if you can find the space- whether it’s a hardly-used formal dining room table, folding table or anywhere your dishes can be safely out of the way, it’s worth the time to get them ready.

Typically I use a sticky note or piece of paper, and one year I used my label maker.  But this year I’m lucky enough to have had Bella Grey Designs create recipe tent cards for my entire Thanksgiving menu.

If you can spare the space and set up serving dishes in exactly the same order you would like them to go on Thanksgiving Day, that’s even better.

Thanksgiving Grocery Shopping

If you haven’t done the grocery shopping yet for your Thanksgiving Dinner, don’t forget to check out our last minute grocery shopping tips!

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Thanksgiving Dinner Traditions

The Tradition

Most everyone has Thanksgiving Day traditions.  For over a decade our family tradition is for me to cook for our entire family.  Our home celebrates Thanksgiving Day with anywhere from 20 to 35 people and I do all of the cooking.

Why?  For starters I love it.  And the fact I’ve made planning and organizing for this holiday into an almost exact science helps too.  But it took many years before I finally got it right.

In fact, this morning I flipped through an old file folder housing a hodgepodge of plans, notes and recipes from Thanksgiving Days past, dating as far back as 1999.

My plans were always loosely the same: invitation lists and notes, kids activity ideas, menus, recipes, grocery shopping lists and suggestions scribbled on sticky notes for the following year.

Only a few years ago did I decide it was time to ditch the paper file folder and make it digital.



What I’ve Learned 

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from cooking Thanksgiving Dinner For A Large Group is that I needed to figure a way to enjoy the day and spend more time with my family and less time running around like a turkey with my head chopped off.

It took a few years for me to realize that I missed relaxing and having any meaningful conversation with relatives that I may only get to see once or twice a year.  I also realized that I really didn’t get to spend time with my kids on Thanksgiving Day because I never left the kitchen.  I read somewhere the average American consumes nearly 5,000 calories on Thanksgiving Day.  Personally, I was lucky to get in 500 calories over the course of the day because I was too busy to eat.  By the time I got dinner on the table, I sat down for perhaps 5 minutes before jumping up to get coffee on and desserts prepped.

I figured out it was time to put some of my organizing skills to practice: Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner For A Large Group: What I’ve Learned.


Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving

Toni’s 12-day guide breaks up the overwhelming job of preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner into small daily tasks, allowing busy moms to spend the holiday enjoying family and friends instead of slaving away at the stove.  With daily tips, recipes and videos, Toni will help make this holiday less stressful.  Sign up now for Toni’s weekly newsletters to receive “Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving”.  Sign up here.

Toni12Days250 Tonis 12 Days of Thanksgiving

Plan. Organize. Enjoy.

Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving goes something like this: do one or two small tasks every day for 12 days before Thanksgiving.  The result- stress-free holiday with lots of time to do what matters most to you by spending time with friends and family.

And now I’m sharing my plan with you.  If you’re not signed up to receive our free weekly newsletter through our rss feed, sign up now and stay tuned to receive your daily plan beginning November 11th.  This year I’m including menus, recipes, printables, activity ideas, grocery shopping lists, giveaways, videos, coupons and decorating tips each day for 12 days.

Here’s what’s on the menu this year.

Sparkling-Spiced Cranberry Punch with Cranberry Ice Ring

Cranberry Punch
Sparkling Spiced Cranberry Punch with Cranberry Ice Ring


Glazed Cranberry Apple Rolls

Pear Walnut Gorgonzola Arugula Salad

Herb Roasted Turkey

Baked Cranberry Chestnut Stuffing

Toni’s Perfect Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce recipe
Toni’s Perfect Cranberry Sauce

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Pan Turkey Gravy

Not-So-Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole recipe
Not-So-Sweet Potato Casserole


Steamed Green Beans with Mushroom White-Wine Shallot Sauce (wine optional)

Thanksgiving Green Bean Recipe by Toni Spilsbury The Organized Cook
Steamed Green Beans with Mushroom White Wine Shallot Sauce

Sauteed Spinach with Cranberries and Pine Nuts

Join me this Thanksgiving and spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your family.  Happy Holidays!


Thanksgiving Dinner Cooking For A Large Group

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Denver ABC Weekend Show

Toni dishes about her “Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving” with weekend morning show host Dayle Cedars on Denver 7News.

Toni Spilsbury The Organized Cook on Denver News7


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