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)
2 c 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?


Basic Coleslaw

Coleslaw is one of the ubiquitous sides dishes of summer. I can hardly imagine a holiday barbecue without it. Once I’d figured out how to make my own mayonnaise, this was one of the first dishes I needed to make! This version is more savory and less sweet than most, but the crowd here seems to think it’s just about perfect.

basic_coleslawBasic Coleslaw

1½ c mayonnaise (click here for my recipe)
6 T white wine vinegar (see notes)
1½ t salt
¾ t ground white pepper (see notes)
1 head cabbage, shredded (2.75 lbs/1.25 kg)
1 c grated carrots (110 g)

  1. Stir together mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper until smooth
  2. Add cabbage and carrots, stirring until well coated
  3. For best results, cover and refrigerate overnight; stir before serving

Yield about 4 lbs (see notes)


  • Other types of vinegar may be used as well. I prefer white wine because it is grain free and doesn’t have the fruitiness of apple cider vinegar.
  • Using white pepper is totally for aesthetic reasons. Ground black pepper works just fine, but leaves little black specks.
  • To make a smaller amount, or if pressed for time, substitute one 14-16 oz package of coleslaw mix for the cabbage and add ½ c mayonnaise, 2 T vinegar, ½ t salt, and ¼ t pepper.

What is your favorite summer food?

Avocado Oil Mayonnaise

When I started avoiding nightshades, I quickly discovered paprika in the most unexpected of places, like mayonnaise and mustard. While a few brands of mayo don’t contain paprika, limiting soy left me hard pressed to find a jar of mayonnaise at the store I could eat. I had heard of Primal Kitchen Mayo, made with avocado oil, but I couldn’t find it in my budget to spend $10 plus shipping for a cup and a half of mayonnaise! Now, avocado oil itself isn’t cheap, but it does cost only about half that to make at home, and as an added bonus, you can teach your kids about emulsions.

avocado_oil_mayonnaiseAvocado Oil Mayonnaise

1 egg yolk
2 t lemon juice
1 t cold water
¼ t salt
¼ t honey (optional, see notes)
⅞ c avocado oil

  1. Using an electric mixer or immersion blender (see notes), whip together egg yolk, lemon juice, water, salt, and honey, if using
  2. With beaters running, add oil in a thin stream, no wider than a pencil lead
  3. Use or refrigerate immediately

Yield 1 cup mayonnaise


  • This recipe is sugar-free with the optional honey omitted.
  • I’ve had the most consistent results using either the regular blade or the whisk attachment for my immersion blender (both work equally well). I’ve also used a standard handheld mixer with either the whisk attachment or the regular beaters. The handheld mixer does not seem to get the mayonnaise quite as thick and creamy as the immersion blender. I have not had good luck using a standard blender.

What do you consider the best use for mayonnaise?

Midnight Chocolate Frosting

I suggested banana cake for breakfast the other morning, intending to make My Favorite Banana Bread in a round pan and call it “cake.” My daughter promptly informed me that what makes it cake is the frosting! I had to agree that cakes are truly cakier with frosting. So I let her whip up a batch of this wonderful fudgy frosting (that I’d put together to cover my Chocolate Birthday Cake) and the kids were very happy with their breakfast!

chocolate_cakeMidnight Chocolate Frosting

1 c coconut oil, melted
⅔ cocoa powder (53 g)
2 T honey (42 g)
1 T vanilla extract

  1. Stir together all ingredients
  2. Chill until set, but not hard (20-30 min in the fridge)
  3. Beat with electric mixer until fluffy

Yield about 2 c frosting (just right to frost one layer or 12 cupcakes)

This is a truly dark, bittersweet chocolate flavor. If you’re looking for something a bit sweeter, I have found it works well with 3 T honey. If you want something even sweeter, I recommend Elana’s Paleo Chocolate Frosting recipe which uses melted chocolate chunks.

Variation: This also makes a great chocolate peppermint frosting. Simply replace the vanilla with 1 t peppermint extract.

What’s your favorite way to eat chocolate frosting?

Chia Pudding

Once upon a time, my very favorite pudding was tapioca. I could finish an entire tub in one sitting. Recently, I’ve learned that even a little tapioca can cause me digestive trouble, so the amount in even one reasonable serving of pudding is enough to really bother me (not to mention what the excess sugar and dairy milk would do to my system). Although chia seed pudding is not new to me, I recently found a classic recipe from Elana Amsterdam using chia as a substitute for tapioca. I knew I had to try out this idea for myself.

chia_puddingChia Pudding

1 13.5-oz can coconut milk, blended smooth
3 T chia seeds (32 g)
2 t honey
2 t vanilla extract
⅛ t salt

  1. Stir together
  2. Refrigerate for 24 hours, shaking or stirring every few hours to redistribute seeds evenly
Yield 2 c pudding
What have you made (or wanted to make) with ch-ch-ch-chia seeds?

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


  • 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?

Banana Crepes

I created this dish one morning at the end of the pay period when we were out of a number of staples. I didn’t have any flours or milks on hand, so pancakes and custard were out. I wasn’t in the mood for another breakfast of plain eggs, and I probably wouldn’t have been able to convince the children to eat them anyway. Instead I mixed up a little of this and that and discovered this surprisingly versatile little recipe.

banana-crepesBanana Crepes

5 large eggs
1 c mashed banana (227 g)
⅓ c coconut oil
½ t salt

  1. Puree together all ingredients until smooth
  2. Spoon 2 T batter onto ungreased griddle over med-low heat and spread out to a 6-in circle
  3. Cook until edges are well browned (about 1½ min)
  4. Flip carefully, spreading crepe flat if it crumples
  5. Cook an additional 30-60 sec

Yield: 18 crepes

Note: An experienced crepe maker could probably make 6-7 10-in crepes with this recipe, but I can’t get them to flip without tearing. If you are successful in making the larger size, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!