Fruit, Recipes, Sides

Apple Cranberry Relish Salad

A fun, flavorful, refreshing salad combining seasonal favorites: cranberries, apples, and jello! Mmm! 

Apple Cranberry Relish Salad... A fun, flavorful, refreshing salad combining seasonal favorites: cranberries, apples, and jello! Mmm!

Happy New Year! 2016–woo! It’s fitting that my first recipe of the new year is a festive dish like this. My mom made this salad for our early family Christmas dinner and we devoured it… so naturally, I had to make it for Ben and I to enjoy at home… and for you too! 🙂 I highly suggest making it before the holiday season ends because it’s just so good it can’t wait til next year.

Apple Cranberry Relish Salad... A fun, flavorful, refreshing salad combining seasonal favorites: cranberries, apples, and jello! Mmm!

Dishes like this aren’t fancy by any means, but they are one of my favorite parts of a good holiday meal. There’s something so refreshing about the sweetness, simplicity [no cooking required!], and tartness of a side dish like this combining fruit and jello in one marvelous dish! Growing up, we always had some sort of jello dish for every big occasion, but cranberries usually weren’t part of that. But this time… they are. It’s like cranberry relish + jello in one!

Apple Cranberry Relish Salad... A fun, flavorful, refreshing salad combining seasonal favorites: cranberries, apples, and jello! Mmm!


one year ago: Chewy Ginger Cookies
two years ago: Sweet Potato Chorizo Chile Mac
three years ago: Chicken Tinga Tacos
four years ago: Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce
five years ago: Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Apple Cranberry Relish Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Print

from Taste of Home Magazine, by Edna Means of Iola, Kansas


  • 1 small package strawberry gelatin [3 ounces]
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 package fresh/frozen cranberries, chopped [I used a food processor]
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and chopped [I used a Granny Smith apple and didn’t peel]
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar


In a medium bowl, whisk together strawberry gelatin, boiling water, and orange juice concentrate. When gelatin is dissolved and orange juice is melted, fold in cranberries, apple, and sugar. Stir to combine, then cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight to set.

Fruit, Recipes, Sides

Cranberry Pear Sauce #bookclubcookbookCC

My favorite Thanksgiving side dish… cranberry sauce jazzed up with pears, vanilla, and a secret ingredient that’s totally appropriate when you think about it. And, there’s a Harry Potter connection too! Crazy. 🙂 Read on to find out more!

Jazz up your cranberry sauce with pear, vanilla, & a secret [yet totally appropriate] ingredient! YUM!

Most Thanksgiving dishes I can take or leave. Turkey, meh. I’ll eat it if it’s there, but if not, no big loss [my husband is crying in the corner right about now]. Mashed potatoes? Alright, but these are better. Stuffing, YUM. Green bean casserole, BLECH. Sweet potatoes, yes, if you hold the marshmallows. Rolls, only if they’re homemade. So, basically we’re at about two of six for my list of Thanksgiving classic necessities. I know every family has their own “necessity” and mine certainly does too–Mixed Vegetables Mornay is one of my faves. But for me? My ultimate fave is cranberry sauce! There are so many ways I like it… as long as it isn’t jellied in a log from a can. 🙂

So, it was to my pleasant surprise when I was brainstorming recipe ideas for this month’s edition of The Book Club Cookbook project that I remembered via reading/flipping through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that Harry’s Christmas feast at Hogwarts included all the traditional holiday fixings–turkey, potatoes, rolls… and cranberry sauce! Erin from The Spiffy Cookie is this month’s host and she selected the first Harry Potter as this month’s book selection. She made Treacle Tart [YUM] but I decided to go for another kind of sweetness, one that will be perfect on your Thanksgiving table! 🙂 Or Christmas table, just like Harry’s.

Jazz up your cranberry sauce with pear, vanilla, & a secret [yet totally appropriate] ingredient! YUM!

In the past, I’ve enjoyed my mom’s traditional cranberry orange relish. For a long time, that’s the only way I could imagine it. But then I branched out and have made a cranberry-mint relish, a cranberry pineapple sauce, and even a gingered cranberry-apple sauce. Over the years, there have probably been some other iterations that just haven’t made it to the blog [gasp!]. Sorry, guys. I just keep dreaming up new variations every year, and this year was no different. Since I was making this for a Harry Potter event I knew I wanted to make this something special. I got into reading the Harry Potter books late, but then read them all in one summer… maybe even six weeks. It was crazy, but so fun. Someday I want to re-read them, or even listen to the audiobooks [I’ve heard they’re really good!]. But for now, I’ll just enjoy this cranberry sauce. 🙂

Jazz up your cranberry sauce with pear, vanilla, & a secret [yet totally appropriate] ingredient! YUM!

Lately pears have been super cheap at the grocery store [don’t you love it when they practically give away produce?], and I had the idea to add pears to my cranberry sauce when a bunch of them all ripened on the counter on the same day. Since pears are so delightfully sweet, they’re a great pairing [ha – sorry, I had to] with the beautiful, albeit tart, cranberries. You can just cook them down on the stove together with some sugar and water and watch the delicious transformation happen before your eyes! That’s the magic of making homemade cranberry sauce instead of relish–all those popping berries are just so fun to see. Or is that just me? 🙂 But wait! This time, there’s a little extra bit of magic because in addition to the cranberries, pear, and sugar, I added PUMPKIN PIE SPICE to spice up this cranberry sauce! Yup, that’s my secret ingredient. Told you it’s seasonally appropriate! 🙂 And appropriate for a Harry Potter-themed cranberry sauce… since Harry spices up life wherever he goes. Ha ha!

Jazz up your cranberry sauce with pear, vanilla, & a secret [yet totally appropriate] ingredient! YUM!

Pumpkin pie spice has all sorts of goodness like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and lemon peel and by adding just a little bit of your [hopefully homemade] blend, your cranberry pear sauce is fruity and scented with warm spices for an unforgettable taste. After everything has cooked down, I added some vanilla extract to mellow things out and that just made it absolutely perfect. 🙂 Good thing cranberries freeze so well–you’ll want to pick up a few extra bags this week so you can make this cranberry sauce whenever you please… even in the middle of summer. 🙂 I know I’ll still be thinking about it then. Ha! Enjoy! And Happy Thanksgiving! Be sure to scroll down to enter the giveaway to win a copy of The Book Club Cookbook–it is so great! What a fun book choice. Thanks for hosting, Erin!

one year ago: Apple Fritters
two years ago: Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast
three years ago: Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
four years ago: KC’s Dilled Carrots
five years ago: CranApple Stuffing

Cranberry Pear Sauce

  • Servings: 6
  • Print


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2-1 cup sugar, depending on preferred level of sweetness
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 Bartlett pear, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
  • dash of vanilla extract


In a medium saucepan, bring water and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil. When boiling, stir in cranberries and reduce heat to medium-low. Let cook for about 10 minutes, until cranberries begin to burst. Then fold in pear and pumpkin pie spice.

Remove from heat and stir to combine, breaking up some of the whole cranberries with a wooden spoon. Cover and let rest for about 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla, then taste [be careful, it’s hot!] and add more sugar if desired. Cool at room temperature, then refrigerate for up to one week.

This month Erin at The Spiffy Cookie, this month’s host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!
One of our lucky readers – US and Canada only! – can enter to win a copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from November 1st till November 30th at 4 o’clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.
*Disclosure: Erin received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.
Fruit, Recipes, Sides

Cranberry Mint Relish + What To Do With All That Mint

A refreshing take on a traditional cranberry relish!

Cranberry Mint Relish + Ideas for Preserving Fresh Mint |

My favorite part of any holiday meal is the cranberry sauce. I’m picky about it though–it can’t be canned, and it can’t have nuts. I used to be a purist and only liked the traditional cranberry orange relish. But these gingered cranberry-apricot sauce and cranberry-pineapple sauce have opened up the doors for some experimentation. So this weekend, when I had a bag of cranberries in one hand and a ginormously huge mint plant in the other that had to be used up before the weather goes whacko this week, I thought, what the heck, and threw some mint in the mix. And you know what? It was pretty awesome. Adding mint to traditional cranberry relish seems pretty novel [but I’m sure others have done it] and it lends a little pop to this sweet-tart side dish. You should totally try it this fall! And it only takes a few minutes to make so you’ve got nothing to lose. 🙂

Cranberry Mint Relish + Ideas for Preserving Fresh Mint | thepajamachef.comAs for all the rest of that mint plant… quite a bit went into that jar of mint sugar on the left and those jars of mint extract on the right. There are tons of tutorials online for both delicacies, but I just layered fresh mint with sugar in one jar and have been shaking it once a day since Sunday. In about a week it’s supposed to be ready to enjoy. I can’t wait! And to make the mint extract I added vodka [eeeekkkkk] to mint that had been gently mashed in a mason jar. There’s a technical term for “mashed” but it’s escaping me at the moment. 🙂 Easy easy! My husband looked at me like I was crazy when I told him I needed some cheap alcohol for cooking. Hahaha. COOKING not drinking, haha don’t worry. That’s how you do things in homemade-everything-land. We’ll see how they turn out. I’ll have to give you guys an update, k? In the meantime, this cranberry mint relish is FAB so don’t wait til Thanksgiving to enjoy. I can’t wait to taste it on turkey!

one year ago: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Sauce
two years ago: Carnitas
three years ago: Best Pancakes Ever
four years ago: Pumpkin French Toast Sandwich

Cranberry Mint Relish

  • Servings: 6
  • Print


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries, washed and dried
  • 1 orange, scrubbed clean and cut into eighths
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sugar


Place cranberries, orange, mint, and 1/4 cup sugar in food processor. Pulse until processed to desired consistency. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to set flavors.

Fruit, Sides

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


  • 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


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!


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.

Fruit, Recipes, Sides

Cranberry-Pineapple Sauce

So, for a long time, I thought there was only one kind of acceptable cranberry sauce. And let me give you a hint: the stuff in the can is most definitely not it. See, I like it sweet and tart… like a cranberry, ya know, not all gelatinous, uber sweet, and shaped-like-a-can. However, over the past few years, I’ve tried some other varieties besides the traditional cranberry relish… and guess what? Some of them are pretty fabulous. I still like the original, but trying new things is fun.

cranberry pineapple sauce

My latest try combines sweet pineapple and tart cranberries and is nothing short of fabulous. It was on our Thanksgiving table, and I wanted to share it before Christmas so it can be on your table in a mere six days!! It was delicious atop turkey and with the traditional holiday spread, but it was the leftovers that really made this Cranberry-Pineapple Sauce stand out. I enjoyed it stirred into vanilla yogurt and as a dipping sauce for apples, and I hope you’ll try it too!

Cranberry-Pineapple Sauce [from Skinnytaste]
printable version


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 20 ounce can crushed pineapple in pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar


Drain liquid from pineapple into a measuring cup. Add water so that there is a a total of 1 cup of liquid. Pour liquid into a saucepan, stir in sugar, and bring to a boil.

Next, rinse cranberries and place in a food processor and pulse several times until roughly chopped. Stir into sugar mixture, then cook over medium heat until thick, approximately 10 minutes. Then fold in pineapples and cook for another minute. Cool then store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Time: 20 minutes.

Yield: 4 cups.