Tag Archives: cranberries

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

I know Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I hope yours was nice… but I hope you aren’t sick of pumpkin yet, because these cookies are fabulous and I just had to share them, Christmas season or not!! I’m normally not an oatmeal cookie kinda girl–give me a chocolate chip or peanut butter cookie any day, but oatmeal? Meh. Aren’t they usually the weird leftover cookies abandoned at pitchins and other events? I think it’s usually cause they contain gross raisins and are slightly salty. Raisins are only good on their own, not in baked goods. But I digress. I shouldn’t use ‘gross’ anywhere near this post, because these Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies are anything but!!Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies | The Pajama ChefDespite my apathy towards classic oatmeal cookies, when I saw this recipe last month, I was intrigued. Pumpkin? Chocolate chips? Dried cranberries? All in one cookie, that wasn’t a soft cakey cookie?? Umm, how could I say no? Especially when they bore a slight resemblance to my favorite camp breakfast? Count me in! Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies | The Pajama ChefThese Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies are seriously a dream come true. Each cookie contains the perfect flavors of fall that I l-o-v-e [in case you were unaware]: pumpkin, spice, chocolate, and cranberries… all in a guilt free breakfast-resembling package. I mean, am I right??

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies | The Pajama Chef

They are hearty, chewy, and incredibly easy to make–they just take half an hour and you probably have all the ingredients available at home anyways. I know I do, practically all the time. You best believe that these will be popping up in my kitchen year-round from now on. They are that good!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies | The Pajama ChefThe fact that there’s no oil or butter in them is only a bonus… because I’m certain that eating 5 of them at once sort of negates the health benefits. But we can pretend, right?

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies [adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction and Love From the Oven]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla. In a larger bowl, stir together flour, oats, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Fold wet ingredients into the dry until just moistened–dough will be thick, but not un-stirrable. Stir in chocolate chips and cranberries.

Drop by spoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets, slightly flattening because dough does not spread much while baking. Bake for 13-14 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheet for about 3 minutes, then remove promptly to cooling rack to cool completely.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies.

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Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola

I’ve never been to New York City, but I know that when I do someday, Alice’s Tea Cup will be my first foodie stop. My mom owns about a zillion cookbooks, and one that I always love to browse when I’m home was created by the owners of the NYC area chain of tea shops. It’s aptly named Alice’s Tea Cup and it is full of recipes for fun teatime sweets, breakfast treats, and even good info about the proper way to brew tea. I’ve made a scone recipe from the cookbook that was just so-so [probably because I didn't make the buttery glaze to go on top], but I wanted to give the cookbook another chance. I am so glad I did, because Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola is simply magnificent.This phenomenal granola combines three types of nuts [almonds, pecans, walnuts] plus sesame seeds and coconut, as well as two types of dried fruit to make a nutty-sweet comination that is absolutely essentail in a good granola. It is a bit more museli-like than a traditional chunky granola, but that doesn’t detract from it’s crunch. But the real added bonus to this granola comes from its spices: the usual suspects of cinnamon and nutmeg… and vanilla tea! I’ve never used tea as a spice before, so I was a little unsure what it would be like, but it’s absolutely wonderful. The tea adds some delicate sophistication to the crunchy hippie treat [ha, ha].

Overall, this is a granola recipe that is perfect as is… but could definitely be improvised based on the contents of the cupboard. We enjoyed it served over yogurt or with milk, but as with any other granola recipe… the possibilities are endless. I can’t wait to make it to NYC to try the original version, but for now, I’m glad I can enjoy it at home when the mood strikes.

What’s your favorite granola fixings? Have you ever been to Alice’s Tea Cup in NYC? Wanna take me? :)

Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola [from Alice's Tea Cup]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 heaping teaspoons vanilla tea leaves [I used a vanilla-cinnamon tea, and just cut open one tea bag]
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray a large jelly roll pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except honey and butter. Mix together thoroughly, then stir in honey and butter.

Spread the mixture on prepared baking sheet, and pack down with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping at the halfway mark. Remove granola from oven when it is golden brown. It will harden as it cools.

Break granola into chunks and store in an airtight container. Serve with milk or yogurt.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: about 7 cups.

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Sunrise Muffins

So, I know I only mentioned this once in passing, but January was my cookbook month. That is, I made a vow to not cook or bake from online sources during the month of January. Of course I posted recipes from online sources, but that’s only because they were things I had made previously and was just getting around to sharing. As a result, I got to know some of my cookbooks a bit better and also got to meet some new faces, thanks to my local library.

That sounded really cheesy. Sorry. I’m in library school, but I don’t have to sound like a PBS kids show, now do I?

Anyway.

A cookbook that caught my eye at the library one day was Allison Fishman‘s You Can Trust a Skinny Cook. I’m on my second renewal of this fantastic cookbook, and have tried several recipes so far. Everything has been great! But what I really love is that Allison’s food philosophy is so apparent throughout her book. This isn’t a diet cookbook like you might think from the title; it’s a balance cookbook. Allison is all about serving tasty, healthy, natural foods that aren’t “weird” or hard to find, but that are tasty to the point of “mmmm.” Works for me! I won’t get into more about Allison’s philosophy cause you should really check her cookbook out for yourself, especially if you’re an Ellie Krieger fan, but I did want to share one of my new favorite muffin recipes.

Sunrise Muffins. I wanted to make this recipe first thing after flipping through her cookbook, thanks to the uniqueness of the method: you put an entire orange, peel, pith, and fleshy-orange-goodness-all into a food processor or blender and churn away. This process lends not only amazing flavor to your breakfast, snack, dessert, or anytime creations, but natural food coloring as well! All the better, I think, since bright, colorful things make me happy.

And you all want me to be happy, right?

So try these muffins. I know I tell you to try everything, but this time… I really mean it. Best new recipe of 2012 in my book, right here. Enjoy!

Sunrise Muffins [from You Can Trust a Skinny Cook by Allison Fishman]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 navel orange, scrubbed and dried, cut into eights
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar [original calls for 3/4 cup, but 1/2 cup is plenty]
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners*. Add orange slices, orange juice, egg, and oil to a food processor [or blender], and pulse until smooth. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, then pour in orange mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in cranberries, then spoon into muffin cups. Fill each about 3/4 of the way full, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Time: 35 minutes [10 minutes active].

Yield: *12 standard size muffins or 48 mini muffins [bake for 17-20 minutes].

Notes: I’ve also made these with 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips instead of the cranberries. Yes, that is a size difference but they were plenty chocolately for me.

Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

When I have a choice between bringing something sweet or something savory to a party, nine times out of ten I will choose sweet. Not that I necessarily like desserts that much more than appetizers, but to me, they are just easier. [I mean, unless I'm making cheesy quesadillas or microwave nachos at home...yeah...] However, after making this appetizer for our church’s yearly vision night, I might have to rethink that stance.

Baked goods require tons of mixing, measuring, and pouring. Lots of dishes are involved and you have to follow the rules, or else what seemed amazing on paper will turn out like a rock. Or mush. Or some combination thereof. But these… these Cranberry Feta Pinwheels are fuss-free and amazing. They should be made ahead so that their flavors have a chance to meld, and so their sweet, tangy, creamy, and salty nature can shine through.

I can’t wait to try these again… perhaps with some arugula, ham, or brown sugar pecans mixed in? They were fabulous and festive… without all the work of desserts. What more could you ask for?

Cranberry Feta Pinwheels [from Food.com]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 8-10 tortillas

Directions:

In a bowl combine cranberries, feta, and green onions. Add a little black pepper to taste. Then spread cream cheese on tortillas and spoon on cranberry mixture, approximately 1/4-1/3 of a cup per tortilla. Roll up tightly, place in a baking dish, and repeat until finished. Cover baking dish and refrigerate for an hour before cutting into 5-6 slices before serving.

Time: 1 hour 15 minutes [15 minutes active].

Yield: 50-60 pieces.

Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce

Cranberries don’t have to be just served just on Thanksgiving and Christmas. They make a tasty addition to your table throughout the winter too. This post-holiday period is a great time to stock up on cranberries to freeze, and some grocery stores even carry them in the freezer section year-round.

Recently, I had some leftover cranberries to use up, so I decided to improvise on my own Crock Pot Chunky Applesauce recipe. Ben and I love the normal version, and make it quite often, so I thought the addition of cranberries would be a welcome alternative to the norm. And it was! Like my normal version, Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce is an easy chop-it, mix-it, and forget-about-it recipe that looks and tastes gourmet–with minimal effort. The tartness and bite of the cranberries paired perfectly with the sweet, chewy apples and also provided some naturally festive food coloring. Pretty food is always better, in my opinion, so whether you need a simple yet fancy side or a use for excess cranberries, give Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce a shot today!

Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce [adapted from my own Crock Pot Chunky Applesauce]
printable version

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces cranberries [fresh or frozen], rinsed
  • 12 cups apples, roughly peeled and chopped [I used Gala and McIntosh]
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

Directions:

Place all ingredients in crock pot and stir well to combine. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Don’t yield to the temptation to open the lid at all… it adds to the cooking time by releasing the heat. At the end of cooking, use a potato masher to crush apples and cranberries to desired texture, stir thoroughly and enjoy!

Note:

Feel free to add extra brown sugar at the end if it isn’t sweet enough for you.

Time: 8 hours and 15 minutes [15 minutes active].

Yield: about 12 cups.