Here we are again with one of my favorite winter holiday culinary ingredients — cranberries. Homemade cranberry relish is just right to tame the edges of a rich, holiday meal. But, we can do so many more things with cranberries than make a relish. So, I’m baking a bright, festive “Cranberry & Satsuma Tart with Rich Cookie Crust” this Christmas. If you are looking for an easy, yet elegant dessert to finish a holiday meal or want a change from pumpkin pie, this is it. The tart is simple to make; using only a few household ingredients. It is hard to mess up this tart. The rich, shortbread-style cookie crust balances tart cranberries which have a taste of satsuma zest (satsuma is a type of orange) added in. Plus, I made a variaton of the crust using Teff flour — an ancient Ethopina grain, so that tart is gluten-free. I will enjoy several versions of this tart from now until Christmas!Continue reading
Wow, I’ve just made the best and easiest batch of granola possible. It is crunchy and aromatic. And I used my newest kitchen “gadget,” an air fryer, which I purchased around the holiday season. The air fryer was intended as a Christmas present for a relative. But when the relative stated that she already had an air fryer, I decided to keep this Christmas present for myself. Do you ever do that? Although other friends say that they “love” cooking with air fryers, I really haven’t figured out a way to make good use of my air fryer. Today I decided to give this little appliance another try and am pleased to report that I made a very successful batch of granola.Continue reading
A “Moscow Mule” is a great tasting cocktail although it has nothing to do with Moscow or with mules. Traditionally, the mixed drink is made with vodka, ginger beer, a squirt of lime juice and it is served in a copper mug. Last summer, a friend introduced us to these cocktails. She even took the extra effort to make her own ginger beer and purchase copper mugs for serving the drink. Of course, I had to look up the history of these drinks and mix up one myself. I learned that there are plenty of ginger beer brands for sale in retail stores so you don’t need to make your own beer “from scratch.” And there are many variations to this cocktail. This year, I’m making a “Holiday Moscow Mule” with ginger beer, cranberry juice, Louisiana vodka and rosemary for garnish.Continue reading
Here’s a colorful and absolutely delicious chutney for the holiday season. This “Spicy Christmas Chutney” is hard to stop eating once you open a jar of this pungent and hot concoction. The recipe is a sweet and sour chutney which combines Louisiana satsumas, cranberries and apples with a blend of spices for a powerful mix. I ran across the recipe inspiration on a Scottish internet site — didn’t know that the Scottish cooked with satsumas or made chutneys with this much punch — but it is a great recipe for me because it is a way to use my backyard satsumas. And the recipe is mighty spicy, too, including cloves, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne pepper. Yeah, we’re talking Louisiana, now.Continue reading
It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving dinner without Roast Turkey and all the fixin’s. Cranberry Relish turns a rather bland piece of turkey into something really tasty — and if you have never tried a bite of turkey with cranberry relish on the same fork — you really should. Several years ago, my brother-in-law brought a very unique version of “Cranberry Relish” to our family’s traditional Thanksgiving meal. You either really liked the dish which includes a “secret ingredient” or thought that these cranberries should never be served again.Continue reading
Let’s start out the New Year on a healthy note by including nutritious foods in meals. Oatmeal is a breakfast cereal which is packed with nutritional benefits. Most importantly it is high in soluble fiber — beta-glucan — which lowers cholesterol and helps control blood sugars. Why not “revve up” this simple food to make it more tasty — and to add nutrition. My recipe for old-fashioned rolled oats adds satsuma juice, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries as well as a Louisiana Steene’s cane syrup and a pinch of cinnamon. This turns oatmeal into a satisfying breakfast meal.
Oatmeal – Good for You
There are plenty of reasons to eat oatmeal. Oatmeal is a “heart healthy” food which is often described as “good for you.” The fiber in oatmeal is the type which lowers cholesterol and maintains blood sugar control. And oatmeal has many other health benefits. It is high in minerals including manganese, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc and also in B-Complex vitamins – B1 and B5 – and folate as well as Vitamin E. Oats contain some unique components such as the class of antioxidants called avenanthramides which may help with blood pressure control and provide some anti-inflammation benefits. After reviewing all these nutritional benefits, I’m convinced to eat this food more often.
Gluten-Free, well sometimes
Rolled oats are gluten free, too. However, food mills which process multiple types of grains may have problems with cross-contamination between oats and wheat or other gluten-containing grains. For this reason, oats are often listed as a grain to be avoided on a gluten-free diet. Look for brands which have tested their oatmeal products for levels of gluten and certify negligible amounts of gluten.
Revved Up Rolled Oatmeal Recipe
I find that oatmeal is relatively bland-tasting. However, there are plenty of ways to “revve up” this breakfast cereal. Our local newspaper, The Advocate, recently included an article of ideas for dressing up oatmeal in a recipe for “Overnight Oats.” They suggested interesting flavor additions such as “Pumpkin Spice Oats,” “Pecan Pie Oats” and “Satsuma Cider Oats.” I tried a few variations of my own.
To make this recipe, I used the juice and zest of a satsuma from my backyard tree. (You could also use a small orange to substitute for the satsuma.)
Combine skim milk, the satsuma zest and juice to the old-fashioned rolled oats. Add a pinch of salt (optional) and a Tbsp of Steen’s Cane Syrup (a Louisiana produce) or brown sugar. Add extras for flavor and nutrition such as dried cranberries, roasted sunflower seeds, walnuts and a pinch of cinnamon.
The key to this recipe is to let the oatmeal combination set on the kitchen counter for about half an hour. (The Advocate article suggests letting the oatmeal set overnight — or even several days.) I found that half an hour was plenty of time to let the “oatmeal “rest”.
There are lots of ingredients that you could add to make the oatmeal more interesting. Use your imagination. This a healthy way way to start the day and the New Year!. Enjoy!
Revved Up Rolled Oats with Satsumas and Cranberries
- 1 satsuma (or small orange)
- 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oatmeal*
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1 Tbsp Steen’s Cane Syrup or light brown sugar
- dash salt
- dash cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp dried cranberries (or raisins)
- 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds (or chopped walnuts or pecans)
- Plain non-fat, plain yogurt (optional)
Method and Steps:
- Zest the rind of the satsuma and juice the pulp. Strain to remove seeds from pulp.
- Add the old-fashioned oatmeal, skim milk, Steen’s Cane Syrup, salt, cinnamon, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and the satsuma juice and zest to a microwavable bowl.
- Let set 30 minutes.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and microwave 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove and stir.
- Serve with a dollop of non-fat, plain yogurt.
Miniature Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Cakes make an easy and delicious dessert and a great gift for the holidays. Who doesn’t like to receive a home-baked present? This lemony cake with cranberries is tart yet sweet and moist. Fresh cranberries give a holiday flair with a flavor “pop.” I used some of the Meyer lemons from my backyard tree to make these cakes and baked them in mini-loaf pans. Make sure you read all the way to the bottom of the post where I share a couple of photos of my elusive backyard cardinal bird pair. Continue reading
I look forward to the holiday season — it is a good excuse to indulge a little by baking cookies and other scrumptious desserts. I especially like to try new recipes — last year I stumbled upon Starbuck’s Cranberry Bliss Bars. Here’s my own version of the recipe — using an old-fashioned oatmeal blondie brownie recipe along with dried cranberries, orange zest, white chocolate chips and a cream cheese icing. Yum. This festive dessert is pretty good!Continue reading
Cranberries add a festive and refreshing touch to holiday meals. The tart flavor of cranberry sauce helps tone down the rich flavors of a large holiday turkey meal. Doesn’t cut the calories of the meal you just ate, but it does cleanse the palate. Last weekend company was visiting — they helped with the cooking. My niece and I created wonderful fresh fruit compote with cranberries and foods on my kitchen counter. We served the dish at almost all meals and discovered it was a satisfying substitute for high-calorie desserts. Guess we found a way to save on calories, after all.
This week I’m on a road trip from Louisiana to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. It’s 1002 miles; a long drive. A home cooked meal is always welcome when we’re on these driving trips. Often we’ll stop at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. This restaurant chain is scattered along the interstates throughout the Eastern states; we discovered that they serve family-type menu foods. This time we stopped to eat at one somewhere in Alabama and I tried a new menu item: Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad Continue reading