Tag Archives: cranberries

On the side please

17 May

There’s something for everyone in this easy side dish.

Time for dinner: chicken. With rice. And a side.

Ugh. What to make “on the side” this time?

There’s green beans, asparagus, green beans, asparagus, corn, green beans…..

Okay our sides are not *quite* that routine, but almost. Throw in some cauliflower or broccoli on that list and that makes up our usual list of “on the side” veggies to go on our plates at dinnertime. Not everyone likes corn, not everyone likes peas or spinach so we only rarely have those, but they’re on the list every once in a while too.


I get tired of the same old thing.

On occasion though, I throw this one into the mix: carrrots/apples/craisins sauteed with honey, brown sugar, and butter. Sometimes I even put a squirt of maple syrup in there. Why not?

Now you know why it’s only on occasion. It’s a veggie and look: it’s dessert! Sort of.

It’s not something you can have every night obviously, and even if it didn’t have all those yummy ingredients in with the fruits and veggies, even this would get boring after a while too.

The thing I like about this one (other than the brown sugar and butter and honey) is that some people LOVE the carrots, and others LOVE the apples and craisins. There’s a lot of “I’ll eat your craisins” and “Can I have your apples?” going on at the table when I serve this on the side.

Although this is not a recipe, per se, it is a recommendation for a side dish which I’m passing along to you today. Give it a try and see how your family likes it!

My occasional side dish shown here with rice pilaf and marinated pork tenderloin.

After school snack: Homemade Granola Bars x2

16 Feb

This was the first time that I thought to use a pizza stone for them, and I wish I'd done it sooner. Made it much easier to cut them.

A few years back I came across a recipe in the newspaper for “Becky’s Homemade Granola Bars.” Through the years I’ve made them a variety of ways. My kids always love them for an after school snack, and the last time I made them Elizabeth came home and saw them and said, “Oh Mommy I was thinking about these ALL day at school, and I didn’t even know you were going to make them today!” Score one for Mom…

This recipe is one you can make a variety of ways, using whatever you have in the house really. I’ve done craisins, raisins, chocolate, and even snuck in carrots once or twice with the raisins. I actually loved those, nice and sweet.

Here's what happens when I don't take the photo quick enough...an empty plate!!

One time when I made them,  I didn’t have half the stuff on the list so I made up my own, using her original as a basis for it. They came out great, best I’d ever made. I don’t always do them the same way, either. I almost always double her original recipe to make lots.

So below are the two recipes, mine first, and then Becky’s below that. Two for the price of one.

Jen’s Chocolate Craisin Granola Bars
2 cups Oatmeal (Quick Oats)
1/3 cup Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 package Craisins
2/3 cup chocolate chip (I use semi sweet)

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 cup honey


Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Mix first five ingredients in a large bowl together.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix butter, honey and brown sugar, stir.

Pour hot ingredients from saucepan over the dry ingredients in large bowl. (This will melt the chocolate chips.) Stir until completely mixed.

Pour out onto a cookie sheet and flatten out until even all the way across the pan in both directions. There may not be enough mixture to spread right to the edge of the pan but it’ll get pretty close.

Bake 20-22 minutes, check at 20 minutes. You’ll kind of be able to see the edges crisp up. With them being chocolate colored, it’s hard, but you can still tell. Cool completely in pan and cut or break into bars.


A nice big bowl is needed to mix all the ingredients together.

Becky’s Granola Bark (my notes in parenthesis.)
1 cup oats
1 cup sliced almonds (I’ve used pureed almonds, 1/3 cup.)
1/2 cup coconut flakes (I never used them I don’t like coconut)
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey

other mix-ins could could include pumpkin puree, carrot puree, raisins. (As I mentioned above, I particularly like the raisin and carrot combo, makes it sweet.)


Heat oven to 325 degrees.

In a bowl mix together dry ingredients. Set aside.

In small saucepan combine butter, honey and brown sugar.

Pour over oat mixture and stir to combine.

Spread on cookie sheet and bake 20 minutes.

Let cool completely in pan and cut or break into pieces.

Overnight French Toast-Holiday Morning version

5 Feb

Holiday Morning French Toast...it must have been a holiday somewhere.

So you all know by now I love french toast. I especially like the convenience (as well as all the brown sugar) of an over night french toast. A while back I posted my cousin Kim’s version, which we’ve made for years, and today I’m posting her mom’s version, my Aunt Fran. I’ve had this recipe so long, it’s dog-eared, and yet I’ve never made it myself. I’ve only ever had it when she’s made it. But, it’s got all my favorites in it: brown sugar, cinnamon, apples and craisins, so I have been wanting to make it myself for quite some time now.

Friday night was that time, but by the time we got home and got everyone to bed and I got started it was late, 10pm. Note to self: Don’t try a new recipe late at night. I made several mistakes in my night time prep, which I’ve noted below. And, we ended up sort of combining the ending steps of Kim’s recipe with Fran’s, which I’ve also noted below.

Either way, Saturday morning it was great to wake up to an already almost finished breakfast. We just had to throw it in the oven and we were good to go.

Everyone gave it a thumbs up, always a good sign.

Here’s the recipe including my mistakes and adjustments at the end.


1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter melted

3 tsp cinnamon DIVIDED into 2 tsp and 1 tsp. (FYI:  I totally missed that and didn’t divide mine. Still fine, but you’re supposed to use it separately.)

3 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and thin sliced. (Note: Peel them either before you melt your butter or while you’re melting it if you’re a fast peeler. I didn’t do that.  Also, I used Macintosh apples because that’s what I had.)

1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins. I used craisins.

1 loaf Italian or French Bread (I used a loaf of Texas French Toast bread.)

6 large eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1 TBL vanilla


Combine brown sugar, butter and ONE TSP Cinnamon in a 13×9 dish. (This was my first mistake, I didn’t read well and put in all 3 tsp. cinnamon.)

Here is my version of apples and craisins "tossed" in the butter and brown sugar. Slice early for better tossing!

Add apples and craisins. Toss to coat well. (This was my second mistake. My butter and cinnamon had hardened back up again before I got done slicing my apples so it wasn’t really tossing, more like, spreading. Sort of.)

Spread apple mix evenly over bottom of baking dish. Arrange bread on top.

Mix eggs, milk, vanilla and remaining TWO TSP Cinnamon until well blended. (This brings us to mistakes three and four. Did I mention yet how tired I was when I made this??  Mistake three was the cinnamon again, I hadn’t done a little last time, I’d done all, so this step, I opted to omit the cinnamon. Then I misread the vanilla as a teaspoon not a tablespoon. I’m getting new glasses, seriously, next week.)

Pour mixture over bread soaking bread completely. Cover and refrigerate 4-24 hrs.

Bake covered with foil in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake five minutes.

**Here is where we combined the two recipes. We squirted maple syrup over the top of this one, even though it doesn’t call for it, baked it for a few more minutes, and then broiled it for about 5 minutes to crisp it up.

Remove from oven, let stand five minutes.

Serve warm. Whipped cream optional.

Resolutions and Recipes: Basic Pancakes

22 Jan
Basic Pancakes

It's good to have a variety of different syrups on hand for pancakes. We often have maple, blueberry, strawberry or boysenberry.

Last weekend I posted my recipe for Hot Blueberry Compote, and I showed it over homemade waffles. However, it’s also delicious over pancakes. We always make our pancakes from scratch and the recipe is super easy. You can put anything in them or on top of them and we vary them with toppings and fillings such as: blueberries, strawberries, bananas, chocolate chips (of course) and craisins. My absolute favorite combination is a “pancake sandwich” of two banana pancakes stacked with a chocolate chip pancake in between them. Butter, syrup…mmmmm…..

Here is our recipe for Basic Pancakes, which uses very basic ingredients that you probably already have on hand. As usual it’s the recipe I grew up with. We keep it taped into the front cover of our recipe tin so that all we have to do is lift the cover, and there it is (Don’s idea.)



2 eggs

2 cups Buttermilk (2 TBL white vinegar and enough milk to make 2 c.)

1/4 c. canola oil (or vegetable oil)

2 cups flour

2 TBL sugar or honey

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt


Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Pour onto hot frying pan or griddle.  Add desired fillings and/or toppings.

Pumpkin Palooza BONUS: Triple Recipe for Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

18 Nov

Last week I posted a recipe for Pumpkin Cranberry Bread. It’s a recipe from my mom and I make it every year. Last year I think I doubled it and this year I tripled it. It made five regular sized loaf pans and the Pampered Chef mini loaf pan, which is four mini loaves. It was SO easy to triple the recipe and I literally used just one dry measuring cup (the one cup measure) and one wet measuring cup, with a couple of measuring spoons and one big spatula/scraper, so despite yielding so many breads, the cleanup was minimal. I took a ton of photos, so I thought I’d share the triple recipe with you and show you photos of the process as well. Recipe first, photos at the end…


*I used a lobster pot type of stock pot (we registered for it when we got married, but we never do make lobster!) to do my mixing and one large Pampered Chef scraper. I don’t think my Kitchen Aid stand up Mixer could fit the amount of ingredients in the bowl, nor could it have mixed them.


3 cans Libby Pumpkin (equals six cups of pumpkin, each can is 15 ounces)

6 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups water

12 eggs

1 1/2 cups canola oil

12 cups flour

12 tsp or 4TBL baking powder

3 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp grd. ginger

3/4 tsp grd. cloves

3 packages cranberries

The directions remain the same, but I’m pasting them here anyway. A couple of tips: I mixed all the wet ingredients in the pan together first to make sure the eggs were well-mixed. Then I mixed again after I put in six cups of flour, then added the last six and mixed again. Then I added in my spices…mixed again, and the cranberries…mixed again and then portioned it all out. Super easy.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease loaf pan(s). You can either use two large loaf pans or 3 mini loaf pans.

Beat together pumpkin, sugar, water, eggs and oil.

Sift in remaining ingredients except cranberries. Mix just until smooth.

Gently fold in cranberries.

Pour into loaf pan(s) and spread evenly.

Bake in the center of oven for 60 – 70 minutes for large loaves, less time (40-50 minutes for smaller loaves) or until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Do not overbake or bread will be dry.

Cool in pan on a rack for 10 – 15 minutes. Turn bread(s) out onto rack and finish cooling.

Bread may be made in advance, covered and chilled for up to four days.(When I make two loaves for us I often save one to eat and keep one to freeze to eat at a later date.)


Pumpkin is in the pan, ready to go.

All ingredients are mixed, except the cranberries.

Three bags is a lot of cranberries!

I did NOT lick that. Well, that one swipe up the side, I licked that, but the rest...

Ready for the oven.