One of the things I love about Thanksgiving is how my whole family gathers together at my house for several days of fun and spending time with each other. It’s not about giving or receiving gifts like Christmas. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what we already have. This year my mom is coming from California, my husband’s brother and sister are coming from Las Vegas, and my two daughters, who live here in Utah, will be joining us as well. One member of the family will be absent. My son is on a two-year mission in Italy, and he will be greatly missed at our Thanksgiving table this year.
One of the things that my family likes to do during the holidays is to play games. If you like games, too, I have a couple that I can recommend. My family’s all-time favorite game is probably Qwirkle. I got it for the kids for Christmas a few years ago after seeing the high ratings it has on Amazon (5 stars). It’s an easy game to learn, so kids enjoy it, but it also involves a little strategy to maximize your points, so it’s not boring for adults. The pieces are wooden blocks with six shapes and six colors, and you play them in lines so that each line on the grid is all one color or all one shape. The game has won several awards, and you can check it out here at amazon.com: Qwirkle Game
The other game that I want to tell you about is called Blokus, and it is my own personal favorite. It involves more strategy than Qwirkle. Each person starts with 21 different shaped pieces and the players take turns placing them on the board. The trick is that each piece you play has to touch the corner of one of your other pieces, so it requires some planning ahead. As the game gets closer to the end, there are fewer places where your pieces will fit, and as soon as you can no longer play, you are out. The winner is the person with the fewest pieces left at the end of the game. It’s another award-winning game that is both educational and fun. You can check it out here: Blokus Game
Okay, so now let’s get to the recipe. I happen to have a favorite beverage at Christmas time. It’s called Yuletide Punch, and to me, it’s just not Christmas without it. I’ve been making it for years, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I decided I needed to have a special beverage for Thanksgiving, too. That’s when I came up with this recipe for Thanksgiving Punch. It’s made with apple juice, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, orange juice, and ginger ale. I prefer to use the fresh-pressed apple juice or cider that is kept in the refrigerated section of the store.
This punch needs to be started the night before you serve it. You will just need to cook the apple juice, cinnamon sticks, and cloves for about 5 minutes, and then refrigerate it until serving time. Just before serving, you’ll add the orange juice and ginger ale. Easy as pie! Happy Thanksgiving!
A Winner Dinners Original Recipe
Note: This punch needs to be started the night before you plan to serve it.
8 cups (1/2 gallon) refrigerated fresh pressed apple juice or apple cider
8 cups (64 ounces) ginger ale, chilled
4 cinnamon sticks
20 whole cloves
1 cup orange juice
Place the apple juice, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about five minutes. Refrigerate overnight. The ginger ale should also be placed in the refrigerator.
Just before serving, strain the apple juice to remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Add the ginger ale and the orange juice and stir well.