Fresh Cranberry Sauce

I never liked cranberry sauce until I tried the real deal– from fresh cranberries. The canned stuff just isn’t worth eating, in my humble opinion!

This cranberry sauce is delicious– the perfect balance of sweet and tart, with no sugar added. It is the recipe I make to accompany our Thanksgiving dinner every year. What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving recipes? I’d love to hear in the comment section!

Apricot Cranberry Sauce

1/2 lb. fresh cranberries
3/4 cup no sugar added/all fruit apricot jam (this is NOT Splenda sweetened jam, it is fruit juice sweetened–  I do not recommend artificial sweeteners as they are known to be dangerous to your health)
2 Tablespoons honey
2 oranges slices, halved
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (can toast on cookie sheet for 8 minutes in 350° oven)

Place all ingredients except walnuts in a medium saucepan. Press orange slices with the back of a spoon to release juices and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Let cool, then remove orange slices and cinnamon sticks. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with walnuts.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

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Photo credit: Cranberries

 

Pasta With Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Asparagus and Ricotta Salata

We love this fresh pasta dish! We are so lucky to have such wonderful neighbors who live behind us— our kids are all the same ages and are the best of friends. They had us over for dinner one night and made this dish for us. Ever since then it’s been on my regular dinner rotation. It is quick, easy and light; I love the fresh ingredients.

You’ll need:

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed or finely chopped

2 pint size containers of grape tomatoes, take about a third of them and cut in half

1  8-ounce container of mushrooms, gently rubbed clean and sliced

1 bunch of asparagus— remove and discard tough portion on bottoms and slice remaining stalks into 1½-2 inch long pieces (plus a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt)

1 lb. box of penne pasta

1 block of Ricotta Salata cheese (this is different from the soft Ricotta that comes in a plastic container).

1 ½ cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (the Italian in me feels the need to stress that good Parmesan is very important! No Kraft here ladies!)

Salt and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste.

Directions:

All at once:

  • Bring salted water to a boil. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain (but do not {ever} rinse the noodles in cold water… take it from a true Italian!)
  • Preheat the oven to 400°. Place asparagus on a cookie sheet (I line mine with parchment paper for easy clean-up). Drizzle asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast in oven for 10 minutes. (As a side note, this makes a very easy and delicious side dish that we make often.)
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic (and red pepper flakes if you want) and stir and saute for a minute. Turn heat down if needed so that garlic doesn’t burn. Add all tomatoes and the sliced mushrooms and stir. Salt to taste (I add somewhere around 3/4 tsp). Continue to cook over medium/medium-high heat, stirring often, until the whole tomatoes are about to pop and mushrooms are done.
While this is all cooking, chop Ricotta into small bite size pieces and put into a large serving bowl. As the asparagus and noodles finish cooking, add them to the bowl. Top with tomato/mushroom sauce and throw in the Parmigiano. Stir it all up well until all of the Parmigiano melts and everything is mixed together. Top with chopped fresh basil if you like it. Serve it up while it is hot. This makes enough for our family (2 adults/2 ½ kids) for two nights… or it will serve two families if you have a salad or fresh fruit on the side.

 

 

 

 

 

One of our Favorites: Pancakes (no buttermilk needed)

Pancakes have long been a favorite around here.

 

This recipe, from

Peter Rabbit’s Natural Foods Cookbook

by Arnold Dobrin, is our favorite.

 

 

    I have modified it a little to accommodate the Farmer. But they love it, even when I sneak in the whole wheat flour! This sweet book was given to me as a wedding present from a very dear caregiver and friend. It holds a special place in this house and I have made a number of the recipes for friends and family. They are simple and basic but easy to spice up and alter accordingly. Anyone who has a love for Beatrix Potter will love this sitting on their counter. Enjoy, from our Sunday to yours…

 

 

Samuel Whiskers’ Roly-Poly Pancakes (with my modifications)

Ingredients:

1 cup unbleached white flour

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg (Little B’s favorite part)

1 egg

1 cup milk

2 TBS olive oil

Directions:

Put the white flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg into a mixing bowl and stir them lightly with a fork until they are throughly mixed.

Add the egg, milk, and oil to the dry mixture. Beat with a wire whisk until it’s smooth and creamy. ( I generally don’t have too many lumps like some recipes call for.)

Meanwhile heat the griddle. When it’s hot… (throw a bit of water on it and see if it sizzles! I don’t grease our griddle but do what you would normally do.)

Pour the batter on the griddle, leaving space between each pancake so they don’t run together. Unless your family is the type who like the colossal pancake with broken bits on it from a failed flip! To each his own I say!

When the pancakes are bubbly on top, I use my spatula and take a little peek to see if they are nice and golden. If I have been multitasking they might end up being the “dark” golden that is always a little disappointing when you’re the one waiting for a new one! But if you’re the good mom, relishing the moment and waiting for the FLIP,  they should be golden!

Flip to cook just a minute more. We aren’t much for the crunchy pancakes so I try not to let them sit on the griddle too long after the flip… again to each his own.

We love to serve ours with real maple syrup. We do live in Canada for goodness sake! (No Aunt Jemima taste buds here!)

On special occasion I’ll surprise them with whipped cream, it’s little B’s favorite. My kids like to dip their pancakes; works for me— no cutting, leaving me more time for my coffee!

I can generally feed 1 Farmer, 2 girls and a growing toddler with one batch.

Mom sticks to oatmeal! Hope you enjoy! Let me know how you all liked them.

Original recipe as follows:

3/4 cup unbleached flour

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup corn meal

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 egg

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or dab of butter, shortening, or margarine

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