Showing posts with label cranberries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cranberries. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pumpkin Granola

On Thanksgiving morning, we get up and go to Pie Breakfast.  I eat my fill of Wendy's chicken pot pie and I'm in heaven.  Knowing I had a wonderful breakfast to look forward to, I thought I would make a healthy breakfast for my co-workers.  A little way to say I was thankful for working with them and, hey, cut me some slack I know I'm annoying but I'm new around here (and it is only going to get worse!)Well, maybe not the second part, just the thankful part.

What better way to start a day of feasting than with something good and good for you.  I made pumpkin granola.  I love granola.  I usually have a container of homemade granola in my cupboard. I like lots of nuts and dried fruit in mine, but I saw a recipe for pumpkin granola on Pinterest and I thought it would be the perfect Thanksgiving snack.  If you search pumpkin granola on Pinterest, you will come up with about 9, 453 different ways to make pumpkin granola.  Here is my version, it is a combination of about 6 of them.  I love pumpkin pie spice so I added a lot.  Add what makes you happy.  This is so good with milk, on oatmeal, with yogurt, on top of pumpkin muffins, or just by the handful.
The raw ingredients

Toasty goodness: after a turn in the oven

Add the dried fruit and coconut after it cools

Ready for treats at work.

Make this, eat a bowlful and be thankful for all your blessings.  We have way too many to count.

Pumpkin Granola
thanks to the pinners on Pinterest

4 1/2 cups thick cut old fashioned oats
2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies Cereal
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup reduce sugar craisins
1/2 cut dried apricots, diced
1/2 cut dried plums, diced

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lightly spray large baking sheet with cooking spray, or butter pan lightly.

In a large bowl, mix together oats, rice krispy cereal, pumpkin seeds and nuts.

In a smaller bowl mix together salt, sugar, pumpkin puree, apple sauce, maple syrup, and vanilla.

Pour wet ingredients over the oat mixture and mix well.  Spread onto prepared baking sheet.  Bake 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  Let cool.  Add coconut, craisins, dried apricots, and dried plums, stirring well.  Store in airtight container.  Makes about 9 cups.

1 year ago: Warm Cabbage Slaw with Bacon
2 years ago: Carrot Cake and New Silver Cups
Our two new furry house members...we are working on house training and the shirts help.

November  27, 2013   Daylight  5 hrs, 0 min, 58 secs,   Temp. H /L °F

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cranberry Liqueur

Two quarts of cranberry liqueur ready to cure for 3 weeks.

I had a hard day.
I had to go to the dentist and have a filling replaced.  That filling was 40 years old, I was attached and I think the dentist has it out for me because I asked her if she was 12 the first time I met her.  Needless to say, it didn't go well, I cried, sweated bullets, had to have my husband leave work and come sit with me.  How embarrassing.

Then, Riley, my little dachshund, is not house broken so he has to wear a shirt so he won't 'go' in the house.  Tonight after dinner, and after he had been outside TWICE, he pooped in his shirt!  I had to get the damn poopy shirt off over his head, get him outside, get the mess cleaned up and then get his butt washed when he came in.  Sometimes I wonder if I like that dog at all.
Riley in his clean shirt...after the poop incident.

So, I don't feel well (actually I just don't feel my cheek, tongue or top of my mouth), and I had poop duty.  So I didn't feel much like baking.  I just wanted a drink.  Which reminded me that I wanted to make some cranberry liqueur.  So I did.

After our house fire 12 years ago, our neighbor took us in for a couple of days until we got our apartments (yes it took two apartments because we had 5 kids at home at the time).  One of the things our dear neighbor did was hand us a glass of her homemade cranberry liqueur each evening so we could relax after another hard day of dealing with all your worldly possessions going up in smoke.  It was a little glass of heaven each evening before bed.

I wanted to make some this year to have on hand for the holidays.  It is so good on its own, but it is also very good mixed with champagne, in a Cosmo, or mixed with vodka and some sprite.  I am using some of my wild Alaskan cranberries, but you can use the cranberries you buy at the store.  It is a beautiful color and a sweet-tart flavor.  It also makes nice gifts if you can bear to part with any.

It almost makes up for cleaning up a poopy dog and crying in the dentist's office
Weighing my cranberries.

Cooking cranberries, water, and sugar.

Dividing the cranberry mixture between two quart jars.
Cranberry Liqueur

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries
  • 4 cups vodka 
  1. Combine sugar, cranberries and water in a medium saucepan; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves and cranberry skins pop, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and cool completely.  Add vodka.
  2. Pour the vodka mixture into clean jars; secure with lids. I divide the cranberry/sugar mixture into two quart canning jars, then add two cups of vodka into each jar.  Let stand 3 weeks in a cool, dark place, shaking every other day.
  3. Strain the cranberry mixture through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl, and discard solids. Carefully pour liqueur into clean bottles or jars.  
  4. Note: Liqueur can be stored refrigerated or at room temperature for up to a year. Like it is going to last that long.
October 22, 2014   Daylight 8 hrs, 55 min, 9 sec.     Temp. H 34/ L 23°F

Friday, October 11, 2013

Autumn Fruit Tart

Several weeks ago, I was complaining to my friend Traci that I had "attitude" and I was having a hard time turning that around.  I needed something to change, so I changed jobs.

"I really am a positive person.  I don't like feeling like this, but I just can't get myself turned around." I complained to her over dinner.

Well, Traci is smart (she doesn't have a corner office for no reason) and she gave me the most thoughtful, potentially life changing gift a person could think of.  She gave me A Year of Gratitude.  In this box is Thank You cards - one for each week of the year, a journal to write down who you sent the card to and your thoughts and some pointers on how to write a meaningful thank you card.  It helps you focus on the good, not ruminate on the negative (and boy do I need that).

So, every Sunday morning, as I drink my coffee, I will write one thank-you to someone.  I have all week to think about it, figure out who I will thank, and I will mail the card on Monday morning.  It will be hand written and sent through snail mail, a small surprise for someone who deserves it.  Sitting here thinking about it makes me realize that my list of people to thank is already so long one year might not do it.  This might be a life-long habit that Traci just started.  I am committed to live a life of gratitude, not attitude.  And I'm going to start with Traci.  I'm glad she smacked me in the attitude and got me back on the right track.

Thank you, friend.

Autumn Fruit Tart
adapted from Harvest Baking

1 1/4 cups crushed vanilla wafer cookies
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp. brandy, or apple juice
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
1 medium apple, peeled, chopped (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Combine all crust ingredients in small bowl; mix well.  Press onto bottom and up sides of greased 9" tart pan with removable bottom.  Bake 8 minutes.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, eggs, flour, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, brandy and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon in medium bow., mix well.  Stir in hazelnuts, apricots, cranberries, and apple.  Spoon mixture into crust.  Bake for 40-50 minutes or until deep golden brown.  Cook 15 minutes.  Remove side of pan.

Combine all topping ingredients in a small bow.  Beat at high speed until stiff peaks form.  Serve with tart.

October 9, 2013   Daylight 10 hrs. 22 mins. 15 sec.  Temp.  H 35/ L 27°F

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cranberry Shortbread

It is frosty and cold in the mornings, the sky has been clear, then cloudy, then clear again, the birds are all gone and I have been berry picking.  Cranberry season is just about over and I have enough for some cranberry liqueur (recipe later) and these shortbread cookies.
Alaska cranberries are smaller and tarter than commercial cranberries.  They are perfect for these shortbread cookies.  You could use store bought cranberries, you would want to chop them up a bit though.  I have also used blueberries to top these shortbread bars, they are equally delicious.
Cranberries cleaned and ready for the freezer.

I love these bars on a cookie plate, especially at christmas.  The sweet, tender shortbread and the tart berries on top are always a favorite.
Cranberry Shortbread Bars
Bun on the Run Cookbook

1 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 c. fresh cranberries, chopped if commercial cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Butter a 9X13 inch pan.

Cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar thoroughly.  Add egg and vanilla, mixing well.  Add flour and salt, mixing until just combined.  Stir in walnuts.

Press dough into prepared pan.  Spread cranberries over top evenly, lightly pressing into dough.  Bake for 25-20 minutes until shortbread is lightly golden.  Cool and cut into bars.

October 2, 2013   Daylight 11 hrs. 8 min. 52 sec.   Temp. H 46/ L 30°F

Monday, December 31, 2012

Cranberry Orange Cheesecake Pears

I can't believe this week has flown by.  I didn't mean to take the week off, but the curly haired boy and his chick were here, we had Christmas Eve open house and Christmas at our place, went to the hot springs, and took the chick dog sledding (pictures of the hot springs and dog sledding to follow this week).

The curly haired boy  photo bombing the pear!
Saturday was a busy day with dog sledding.  We came home tired and hungry.  I made this pulled pork for sandwiches, we played some cards and had these poached pears for dessert.  This is going to be a new favorite dessert (I know, and no chocolate, what is with that?)

The funny thing about the pears is that I received a box of pears from Harry and David, with a notice of the fruit of the month club.  The problem was there was no name attached to the from part of the box.
So either someone is going to be upset that I never sent them a thank you card, or I accidentally ordered them myself when I ordered the Christmas gift for my grandma!  I'll have to check my credit card to find out.
In the mean time, we have this lovely box of pears we are enjoying.  These poached pears are delicious, a light dessert for a cold evening.  I just noticed the date on this recipe.  I can't believe I waited four years to try it.  Don't you wait that long.

Cranberry-Orange Cheesecake Pears
adapted from Clean Eating, Fall 2008

Poached Pears
4 pears, Bosc are good for this, I used Royal Riviera
2 cinnamon sticks
2 cups cranberry juice
2 cups orange juice
1 vanilla bean, split length-wise

Cheesecake Stuffing
8 oz. light cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. dired ground ginger
1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries or cherries
1/2 cup unsalted, sliced almonds, toasted


Peel and half pears.  Using a small spoon or a melon baller, scoop out and discard cores.  Place pears in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan.  Add cinnamon sticks and juices.  Scrape out seeds from vanilla bean and stir in, add scraped bean to pan.

Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer, turing pears occasionally.  Poach for 20-25 minutes or until pears are tender.  Remove pears from pan and set aside to cool.  Boil juice until reduced to about 1/2 cup, stirring often.  Remove vanilla bean and cinnamon sticks.

In a bowl, stir cream cheese with vanilla extract and ginger until smooth, fold in cherries and nuts.

To serve, evenly divide cream cheese mixture between pear halves.  Spoon reduced juice syrup over pears and cream cheese, serve.

Makes 8 servings
This is the curly haired boy and his chick the first night they came home.
December 31, 2012   Daylight 3 hours, 59 minutes, 12 seconds    Temp. H 13/L 8 °F

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cabbage Salad

This is a big bowl of happiness.  Cabbage salad with sunflower seeds and dried cranberries.  I love it, I especially love the fact that I grew the cabbage and carrots.  The dressing is a light vinaigrette made creamy with a little non-fat yogurt.

I made this for dinner after a long day in the garden, pulling spent plants, harvesting veggies, and pulling the never ending chickweed.  It was crunchy, sweet, tart and oh, so good.  We'll be eating this a lot for the next couple of weeks.

Cabbage Salad

1/4 head green cabbage, shredded
1/4 head purple cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, shredded
2 Tbsp. sugar or honey
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup non-fat greek yogurt
handful of sunflower seeds
handful of dried, sweetened cranberries or cherries

Mix green cabbage, purple cabbage and carrots together.  Set aside.

Mix sugar or hone with vinegar, stir until sugar is dissolved, add oil and whisk.  Add yogurt and whisk until smooth.  Pour over cabbage and carrots, mix well and let sit for about 30 minutes.  Add cranberries and sunflower, mix.  Keeps several days covered in the refrigerator.


August 13, 2012     Daylight  16 hours, 42 minutes, 48 second     Current Temp: 62ºF

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cranberry Salad and Cold Weather

Fairbanks is breaking all kinds of cold weather records this month.  Lucky us!  Good thing we have the beginning of the holiday season to keep our minds busy and our spirits bright.  One of the things I really look forward to is my mother Ruth's cranberry salad.  She always made it for Thanksgiving.  I make it all year, or most of the year.  I make it over and over in November and December for the holidays.  I make it in January for my birthday and then in February because it is so pretty for Valentine's day.  By then, I'm a little tired of it because I'm the only one in my house that will eat cranberries, I'll make it one more time in July and then I forget about it until next Thanksgiving.

The basic recipe comes from The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer.  Not the updated version of the book, but the 1931 original version.  It is a tart, crunchy salad that puts that canned cranberry stuff to shame.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, but don't expect me to share mine.

Cranberry Salad
1 20oz. can crushed pineapple, drained and juice reserved
1 Tbsp. (or envelope) plain gelatin
3 Tbsp. water
2 cups cranberries
1/2 cup sugar (less or more to taste)
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Drain pineapple, reserving the juice.  Bloom gelatin in 3 Tbsp. water.  Cook cranberries in reserved pineapple juice  with water added (if needed) to equal 1 cup.  Cook until the skins pop.  Add sugar and cook for 5 more minutes, mixture will become syrupy.  Remove from heat and add salt and gelatin.  Stir until gelatin is completely melted and mixed.  Let cranberry mixture cool about 20 minutes.  Add celery, walnuts and drained pineapple.  Refrigerate.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

November 23, 2011     Daylight 5 hours, 29 minutes, 54 seconds     Current Temp.  2 ºF