Tag Archives: cranberries

Cranberry Banana Oat Muffins

If you’ve been following my posts, then you know that I love baking muffins, especially with banana.  Truthfully, I take a weekly, if not twice weekly, trip to my local fruit stand to buy a bunch of bananas in hopes that there will be leftover for baking on the weekend!  I love to bake with super ripe bananas…and I mean the black, even slightly mushy ones.  Those produce the most amazing naturally sweet flavor in baking any banana baked good and worked perfectly for these muffins.

Another ingredient that I enjoy baking with is cranberries.  Not only are these tiny gems packed with nutrition, but they provide a burst of flavor to any dish you put them in, especially in baking.  In this case, I used dried cranberries which already have some sugar added to them.  By nature, cranberries are low in sugar and high in acid so they are usually sweetened with added sugars for palatability. Since I did not add any sugar to this recipe, I’ve included the cranberries as dried for that sweet/tart flavor that is just incredible in these banana muffins!

My kids and husband loved these muffins.  Let’s just say I baked one dozen yesterday and have only 2 left!  Those 2 will make the perfect snack for Austin and I during our trip to the playground this morning.

*Oh and here is a tip to making these gluten-free!  Simply replace the whole wheat flour with all-purpose gluten-free flour!

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup quick or rolled oats

1/4 cup finely ground flaxseed

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

3 large banana (or 4 small), very ripe and mashed well

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line a muffin tin with liners and lightly spray with cooking spray.  
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and egg white, then add the oil, vanilla extract and applesauce.
  5. Add the mashed banana, and combine thoroughly.
  6. Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined. 
  7. Fold in the dried cranberries.
  8. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash and Cranberries

When was the last time you made risotto?  If you’re anything like how I was a few years ago, before making my first risotto dish, you may be totally intimidated.  Well I’m here to encourage you to give it a try! Risotto is not only extremely versatile and delicious, but it’s incredibly easy to prepare.  You may have heard that you need to stand by the risotto and constantly stir-well not exactly.  As you add in the broth or water, give it a stir and allow the liquid to get absorbed before adding the next cup and so on, until you use up all of the liquid.

Customize risotto to include your favorite variety of veggies and/or dried fruits and seasonings!  However, you must try my flavor combo here.  This butternut squash and cranberry risotto dish is hands down my absolute favorite.  It’s creamy, fragrant, satisfying, comforting and super tasty! My mouth is watering as I type just thinking about how amazing this dish was.  The bright and fresh colors of butternut squash and dried cranberries make this a perfect fall dish and holiday side dish.  Totally vegetarian! Give this a try and see just how incredibly easy it is to prepare risotto.  I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

5 1/2-6 cups low sodium vegetable brother

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 small onion, chopped

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the squash on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and toss it with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
  3. Roast for 25-30 minutes, tossing once, until fork tender. Set aside.
  4. In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onion on medium-low heat 8-10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not browned.
  5. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter and onion mixture.
  6. Add 1 cup of broth.  Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5-7 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring every few minutes.
  7. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry and liquid is no longer visible, then add more broth.
  8. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, which should take about 30 minutes total.
  9. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes, Parmesan cheese, dried cranberries.
  10. Mix well and serve.
  11. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

Cream of Wheat & Lentils with Dried Cranberries and Almonds

When I went to #FNCE, I stopped by the @lentils booth and tried one of my favorite dishes there! Cream of Wheat with Lentils.  So I honestly haven’t eaten Cream of Wheat for ages.  Eating it at FNCE really reminded me of being a kid and enjoying this for breakfast.  Yes, lentils combined with Cream of Wheat is an unlikely pairing but when you mix in a touch of agave, dried cranberries, cinnamon and vanilla, the flavors are incredible! Not to mention you get a boost of fiber and protein from the lentils!

So I re-created this dish at home and used agave instead of maple syrup.  You can also use pumpkin seeds instead of sliced almonds! The variety of toppings are endless but you really must try this!  After making this combo, I’ll be experimenting more with lentils, especially in dishes for my kids.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

1 tablespoon agave sweetener, divided (or maple syrup)

2 cups of unsweetened coconut, soy or almond milk

1/4 cup Cream of Wheat

1/4 cup split red lentils

1/2 apple, finely chopped

1 cup of water

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the lentils and water.
  2. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, in a small bowl combine the apple, almonds and 1 teaspoon of the agave. Set aside.
  4. Pour milk into a medium saucepan, bring to a light boil and whisk in cream of wheat.
  5. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the cranberries, vanilla, cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of agave.  Whisk to combine.
  6. Once lentils are cooked and soft, pour into a mesh strainer and use a whisk or spoon to extract any excess liquid from the lentils.
  7. Pour lentils into the cream of wheat mixture and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  8. Portion out mixture into individual bowls and top with the apple and almond mixture.  Serve warm.

 

 

 

 

Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Toasted Almonds

By now, you’ve probably tasted quinoa, but did you know that quinoa has the perfect balance of all nine essential amino acids for human health? With gorgeous red and green colors in this dish scream holiday! I’m totally experimenting with more quinoa salad recipes so stay tuned!  This dish can be eaten warm or cold.

Ingredients

Salad

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well

2 cups water

1 cup butternut squash, cubed

½ cup baby spinach, chopped

¼ cup slivered almonds

1/3 cup dried cranberries

 

Dressing

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon oregano

salt and black pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Place butternut squash on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for about 30-40 minutes or until fork tender.
  • While squash is roasting, get started on the quinoa. Rinse quinoa thoroughly under cold water in a fine mesh strainer
  • In a saucepan, bring 2 cups water and quinoa to a boil and then cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
  • Remove the pot from heat, cover, and let the quinoa steam for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  • In the meantime, heat a skillet over medium heat and sauté almonds for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Remove and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, almonds, cranberries, spinach and butternut squash
  • In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, vinegar, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle dressing over quinoa and toss to combine.