Lettuce Eat Local: It’s cran-berry easy to feel thankful this Thanksgiving


Amanda Miller
Lettuce Eat Local


Let’s get right to it: Her name is Kiah Rose, and she was born on Monday, November 13 at 3:47pm. Our daughter! 

You probably weren’t waiting with quite the same level of anticipation as we were, and maybe you came to a local foods column intending to actually read about local food, but sometimes baby girls trump all other topics. Like in this case, when it’s my baby girl. 

I’m sitting in the same spot I often do to write my article, with chocolate in my mouth and both coffee and water at my side, like I always do; Benson is taking his afternoon nap and Brian is out choring, like they always are when I sit down to type. Everything is the same — and also everything is different, because now that tiny human is sleeping and baby-snuffling on the couch beside me instead of kicking around inside me. She couldn’t have been closer to me just a week ago, but I didn’t know anything about her, not even that she was a she. Now that she’s out, all my organs can find their way back to the right places, and Kiah can keep finding her way even deeper into my heart.

I was writing for a different newspaper when Benson was born, so I’ll just say that his birth was a very traumatic one, compounded by his immediate transfer to NICU at a different hospital where we stayed for a week. He came home with none of the potential brain damage, so everything got much better after that, and even now I am overwhelmed with gratitude for our healthy, smart, ornery little boy. But it was not an idyllic birthing experience. 

Kiah’s was still hard, as all childbirth is, but hard isn’t always bad; I had been praying for a redemptive childbirth, and God was so gracious to us. We went in to the birthing center in the morning and came home just in time to put Benson to bed — along with his new baby sister! All in a day’s work?? 

Since then, I have just been soaking up these newborn snuggles like it’s my job (it is). Or I should say, we all have: my mom came in from Ohio the next day, and family has been dropping in for doses of Kiah as they can. Benson only lasts holding her for approximately three seconds at a time, but he has to check on her and touch her soft head all day long. Anytime he leaves the room and comes back, he immediately asks, “Where did that baby go?” 

And although it’s not my strong suit, I’m also trying to soak up this first week or two of giving my body rest. Again, with Benson, I didn’t really get a recovery period, since we went straight to the NICU to be with him. You do what you have to do — but fortunately, there isn’t much I have to do this time. Feed the baby, hold the baby, play with brother, repeat. My mom has been super helpful with all the things, and I’m helping more as I continue to feel better, but this is the laziest week I’ve had in a long time/ever. I’ve done dishes once or twice, cooked a few things, and picked up toys, but between Mom and Brian, I haven’t even changed a diaper yet….

It feels very appropriate to have all of this to write about the week of Thanksgiving. Some years it’s been harder to have a spirit of gratitude in the midst of circumstances; in fact, five years ago right at Thanksgiving Brian “started dying again,” not my favorite memory. This year, things are drastically different, with my husband, two children, family, and community all around me. I’m even thankful for the fact that it’s very easy to give thanks and feel thankful for the little things and big things. 

Like for my new baby Kiah who is such a little thing and also such a big thing. 



Zesty Cranberry Sauce

This is the perfect Thanksgiving recipe for someone without much time or energy, whether a new mom or just a “regular” person with all the holiday prep to do! Literally dump stuff in a pot and five minutes later, voila! This cranberry sauce does not hold the shape of a can, but it does wake up a heavy turkey dinner with bright zesty zing and color — depending on what you like, I suppose those could be pros or cons, but they are pros in my book. I’m not the kind of person that needs or expects cranberry sauce, but this might become an easy staple this time of year, just as much for breakfast with yogurt and dessert with ice cream as anything. 

Prep tips: the lemon and orange are beautiful here, but you know the drill: whatever citrus you have will work, so try with limes, mandarins, grapefruit, etc!

1 [12 oz] bag fresh cranberries, washed

1 small lemon, zested and juiced

¼-½ cup honey

1 orange, cut in slices

Pour cranberries into the pot of a multicooker, and stir in lemon and ¼ cup honey. Arrange orange slices on top. Seal lid, pressure-cook on high for 2 minutes, and release pressure. Stir, breaking up the oranges a little, and add more honey to taste. Serve hot or let cool to warm. 



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