I checked out about 50 books about Thanksgiving this year to make sure that we had a few quality books to read to guide us through learning about this holiday. Most of them were not up to par, but I knew right away that we would love “Cranberry Thanksgiving.” I was right because my 4 year old was captivated by the slightly sinister, yet silly story.
Someone is out to get Grandma’s famous cranberry bread recipe and the would-be thief isn’t who she thinks it is. It’s a great lesson in not judging a book by its cover and embracing the spirit of Thanksgiving by sharing what you have with others who are less fortunate.
As I was Pinterest-ing for cranberry themed activities to go along with the book, I realized that “Cranberry Thanksgiving” is on the Five in a Row book list which means Pinterest and the blogosphere are full of great ideas!
We kept things simple with a few fun activities to go along with the “Cranberry Thanksgiving” theme:
- We used our Melissa & Doug USA map puzzle to learn about New England. I’ll admit that I had no clue which states make up New England. I love that homeschooling gives us the opportunity to learn together!
- We did a science experiment to see if cranberries would sink or float and ended with our own cranberry bog sensory bin.
- We made bird feeders by putting cranberries and popcorn on toothpicks and sticking them in halved oranges smeared with peanut butter and honey.
- We talked about silhouettes and how they’re made because there’s a page in the book looking in on the Thanksgiving table where the characters are all silhouettes. We made our own silhouettes using instructions I found on Delightful Learning.
And of course, the one thing we absolutely had to do was make Grandma’s famous cranberry bread! The secret recipe is printed at the end of the book, but since we are gluten free due to Gabriella’s food allergies, I wanted to come up with a different recipe that was gluten free and used less sugar, but still captured the essence of the one from the book. Our version turned out delicious! It was moist, sweet and sightly tart from the cranberries.
- 1 stick butter, at room temperature
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 2½ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Better Batter)
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces fresh cranberries, halved
- ⅓ cup milk
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- ¼ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.
- Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, beat butter on medium-high until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and the maple syrup, and beat until mixed well.
- In a separate, combine the flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Place the cranberry halves in a separate, small bowl, and add a tablespoon of the dry ingredients to the cranberries and toss to coat. Set the cranberries aside.
- Add the dry ingredients, milk, orange juice, orange zest and sour cream to the mixing bowl with the butter mixture, alternating wet and dry ingredients and mixing after each addition. Once the batter is mixed well, it will be thick, but smooth. Add the cranberries and mix gently into the batter until evenly distributed throughout.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top. It will fill or nearly fill the pan. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about one hour. Once cooled, slice thickly and serve.
I’d love to hear if you try out the cranberry bread! Do you have another favorite Thanksgiving book good for preschoolers? Share with me on our Facebook page!