Cranberry Sauce

As a kid, my parents served canned, jelled cranberry sauce every year for Thanksgiving. I liked the flavor of it, but the jelly part always seemed a little odd. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized you can make cranberry sauce, and it’s really easy. After cutting way down on my sugar intake, though, the standard recipe pairing a 12-oz bag of cranberries with a cup of sugar seemed a little too sweet. This year, I created this sweet-tart version for our holiday feast.

cranberry_sauceCranberry Sauce

3 cups whole cranberries (340 g)
1 qt orange juice

  1. Add cranberries and orange juice to a 2 qt pan and place over high heat
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for until thickened (about 60 min)

Yield 2 c cranberry sauce

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

Unsweetened Apple Butter

A good friend has invited us over several times in the last month to help her harvest apples from the tree in her yard. Each visit, she sent us home with at least 10 lbs of apples. We all love apples, but after a couple of weeks my kids got a little tired of plain apples–even organic, fresh-from-the-tree fruit! I’m not a huge fan of applesauce, but I thought I’d try my hand at apple butter. I found an online tutorial at The Art of Homemaking, but it is sadly lacking in specifics, like how many apples, how much water, and exactly how long “many, many hours” might be. So, I started playing around on my own and found a recipe that works so well, my kids go at it with a spoon. My husband says it’s “tart” and an old friend to whom I’d gifted a jar described it as “almost savory,” but I just call it “delicious.”

unsweetened apple butterUnsweetened Apple Butter

3½ qt apples, cored and chopped (1.7 kg)
1 c water
1 T cinnamon
1 t nutmeg

  1. Cook over low heat in a covered pot, stirring occasionally until apples have begun to break down (approx. 30-45 min)
  2. Uncover and continue simmering on low, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick enough to stick to the spoon when turned upside down (approx. 1-2 hrs)
  3. Press through a sieve to remove skins
  4. Can for storage or keep in refrigerator

Yield: 3¼ c apple butter

Notes:

  • The apples weigh about 5 lbs whole
  • If you prefer your apple butter a bit sweeter, you can substitute apple juice for the water

I’ve enjoyed this on muffins and added to a ham wrap. To what would you most like to add a little apple flavor?

My Favorite Banana Bread

Growing up, I thought my mother’s banana bread was the best. Even after I was a grown up, I used (and loved) her recipe. As I recall, it called for equal parts mashed bananas and white sugar. Yikes! After I started a low-carb, grain-free diet, one of the first things I tried to recreate was banana bread. My first several attempts were not terribly successful, but I kept at it until I was happy with my almond-based recipe. Then I started baking for my father, who isn’t able to eat nuts. Back to the cutting board I went, determined to perfect a coconut-flour banana bread. And I think I finally have!

banana_breadMy Favorite Banana Bread

¾ c coconut flour (85 g)
1 t cinnamon
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
7 large eggs
⅓ c coconut oil, melted
3 T water
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 t vanilla extract
1 c mashed ripe banana (227 g)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Generously grease a 9×5 loaf pan, or line with parchment
  3. Whisk together coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl
  4. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until frothy and uniform in color
  5. Stir in oil, water, vinegar, and vanilla
  6. Beat egg mixture into flour mixture until smooth
  7. Add mashed banana and mix until thoroughly combined
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan
  9. Bake for 45-50 min until golden brown and springy in the center

Yield 1 loaf of bread

NOTES

  • If you won’t be using the entire loaf in one day, be sure to seal it in an airtight container to keep it from getting dry. If you have forgotten and are left with dry slices, this bread makes a fantastic base for French toast!
  • This recipe also makes great muffins.Simply divide the batter evenly among 12 standard muffin cups (about ¼ c per muffin) and bake for 20-25 min.

How do you like to eat your banana bread?

Strawberry Jam

Technically, this is a “strawberry spread” rather than a jam, as there is no added sugar. But we call it jam anyway. I first tried making a jelly-like substance after reading about recreating a PB&J burger at home on Clothes Make the Girl. It had never occurred to me that I could make PB&J without adding tons of sugar. From the first batch, my kids and I were hooked. Now when I make it, I have to hide the portion we don’t use right away in the back of the fridge or else I find small people hanging out in the kitchen eating it with a spoon!

strawberry_jamStrawberry Jam

2⅓ c fresh or frozen strawberries (340 g)
¼ c water

  1. Put berries and water in a small saucepan over low heat
  2. Stir occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated and berries have broken down, about 45 min
  3. (optional) Blend until smooth

Yield: ¾ c jam

We like to use this jam for peanut butter sandwiches and to make strawberry cake. What do you like to do with your jam?