Best Recipe to Bring to Family Holiday Gatherings

by Barrett

Whipping up a batch of cranberry sauce from scratch is a quick and easy way to contribute to the holiday meal. But if you really want to make a bigger impact and don’t have the cooking chops, you might want to turn to your tech skills and use my recipe for success…

Whipping up a batch of cranberry sauce from scratch is a quick and easy way to contribute to the holiday meal. But if you really want to make a bigger impact and don’t have the cooking chops, you might want to turn to your tech skills and use my recipe for success…

I started to sweat… It was our turn to host Thanksgiving dinner this year. We set the table for fifteen. My wife cooked up a perfect twenty-pound turkey. Family members and in-laws brought incredible side dishes. And what was my contribution…?

Let me simply say I’m not a gourmet chef.
Others in my extended family are far more accomplished in this arena.
(Although I can whip up a fine stack of banana pancakes… Which, of course, did me no good here.)

I’ve also previously created some mean chocolate bread pudding for the desert table, but I wasn’t on desert duty this year.

Suffice it to say, I checked the box by making some decent cranberry sauce from scratch…

It’s actually super simple…

  • 24 oz of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • A little orange zest

Cook it up, keep stirring and about a half an hour later… you’re done!
(Here’s the official recipe at

More than Good Food
It was a decent effort… though hardly a culinary stretch by any means.
I didn’t embarrass myself, and I received a dozen polite compliments.

But that wasn’t it for me.
It simply couldn’t be…

I had to contribute something more significant to this family gathering.
I had great intent… just not the skills in the kitchen.

Because at the end of the day, it’s not really about the meal, right? It’s about getting family together. It’s about remembering the good times… and giving thanks.

Bring Your Tech Smarts to the Holiday Meal
So the feast began to break up after all of the yummy deserts had been consumed. All of the young cousins had long departed the dining room, and my six year old was leading the children on some noisy adventure in the family room.

Then, the adults wandered in…

I was a few steps behind the pack, and when I got there, I witnessed them all hovered around my old 42” plasma Panasonic HDTV.
My family members were all smiling and reminiscing about what they saw…

A Trip Down Memory Lane
My HDTV displayed a magical, morphing photomontage, courtesy of my Apple TV’s screensaver. The series of 125 photos represented all of the kids over the past seven years at different family activities and events.

This digital display of recent family history was my true contribution to this gathering.

I brought the gift of remembering good times…

‘Cause let’s face it. Life is messy.
Thanksgivings are rarely perfect.
(Growing up, mine certainly had major flaws.)

Life just isn’t a holiday card.

But on the other hand, there are still plenty of amazing moments.
You’ve just got to remember them. Isn’t that part of what giving thanks is about?

And if someone could simply gather up all of those memories and serve them up… wouldn’t that be nice?

Well, that’s exactly what I did.
I served up some great family memories.

This is my pièce de résistance for large family meals.
And what’s my recipe…?

iCloud Photo Sharing on your Apple TV
If you often worry about what you’re going to do with all of those photos you’ve been collecting, (and sometimes not having the time to share) this can be your moment of reckoning…

It’s actually not at all difficult to pull off. The major ingredient is taking all of those photos over the years and keeping them organized in a program like Aperture 6.

Then, you simply export your group of photos into a new iCloud shared photo album that your Apple TV can access.

Here’s how you complete your visual feast using Apple’s connected ecosystem…

  • Go to your Apple TV and click on ‘Settings.’
  • Click on ‘General.’
  • Click on ‘Screensaver.’
  • Click on ‘Type’.
  • Click on ‘My Photos.’
  • Click on your new iCloud shared photo album.
  • Click on ‘Set as Screensaver.’
  • Your Apple TV will ask you to confirm. Click ‘Yes.’
  • Then, step back a few times to the main menu screen on your Apple TV.
  • Press the Menu button again. That will activate the screensaver program, and your photos will start to scroll up the screen in random order.


A few other notes…

  • You don’t have to use full-res photos.
    (The pics look great at a fraction of the size.)
  • Your Apple TV will also activate its screensaver automatically after a few minutes of non-use
    (depending on what delay length you’ve set in your screensaver settings).
  • You can also enjoy your shared photo album on your other Apple devices
    (though not as a photomontage).

Problem Solved
As you may know, I fret a lot about how to manage and share my growing mountain of family pictures.

A good solution is to regularly funnel them through digital photo frames.
(Currently, I’m a fan of using Nixplay digital frames, although I’ve had some connectivity issues with them in the past.)

So why not expand on this plan and simply use your HDTV as a giant multi-image photo frame?
(Just use a connected 4th generation Apple TV to perform the trick.)

I think it’s a great way to fuel all of those good feelings when family and friends get together for the holidays.

It’s a recipe that can’t be beat!