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Apron Strings: Cranberry Christmas Crumble Bars: Gluten and Dairy Free

by Guest in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

One of my favorite desserts of all time is raspberry squares, the bar cookie that is almost like a Linzer torte with the extra deliciousness of a streusel-like topping. Nowadays, I’m always looking for ways to covert classics into gluten-free forms for my sensitive daughter and self – even better if I can pull off dairy free as well.

With the holiday season approaching, I thought I would try using cranberries in place of the raspberry jam in this beloved bar. Combining cranberries with orange marmalade and a touch of crystallized ginger was the winning combination – and Bob’s Red Mill blanched almond flour was the key component (making them grain-free as well, for those who have other grain intolerances). Adding some pecans for the streusel topping, makes this packed with protein as well.

Whether you have sensitivities or not, this will be a major crowd-pleaser at the cookie exchange. Spread some cranberry Christmas cheer!

Cranberry Christmas Crumble Bars: Gluten and Dairy Free

  • 3 cups Bob’s Red Mill Blanched Almond Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil, softened
  • 1 Egg
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract, divided
  • 3/4 cup Orange Marmalade
  • 3/4 cup Dried Cranberries, divided
  • 1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 cup chopped Pecans
  • 1/4 cup Crystallized Ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Stir almond flour, salt, baking powder and sugar together, and transfer to the work bowl of a food processor. Whisk together coconut oil, egg, and 1 tablespoon of the vanilla, then add to dry ingredients. Pulse ingredients together in the food processor until well-combined and dough resembles coarse sand. Set aside 1 cup of the dough and press the rest of it firmly and evenly into an 9×9 baking dish (lightly coated with coconut oil)*. Bake for 12 minutes.

While the bottom layer is baking, combine the marmalade, 1/2 cup of the dried cranberries, and the remaining vanilla in a high speed blender (or the same food processor). Combine reserved dough in a mixing bowl with brown sugar, pecans, ginger, and remaining 1/4 cup cranberries with a fork to make the streusel topping.

When the bottom layer is done, gently spread the cranberry-marmalade mixture over it (an offset spatula is most helpful here), then sprinkle streusel evenly over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool completely and then sift the powdered sugar over the top. Cut into bars and serve!

We are a birth mother and daughter, Donna and Anne, respectively, who reunited 27 years after Anne’s adoption. Among the many things we reconnected through was our shared love of food and cooking. After Donna published her first cookbook, we teamed up on “101 Things to Do With Tofu” and had such a great time we knew we’d have to do more joint food projects.

Donna brings many years of cooking experience to Apron Strings, including expertise in Southwestern cooking, while Anne offers more   allergen-friendly posts and other healthy fare (with some decadent exceptions, of course). We also like to share stories from our family as we go from time to time, Together we hope to inspire you AND learn from you as we go! You can contact us at ourapronstrings[at]gmail[dot]com.

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Daisy At Home: Gluten Free Holiday Bars

by Guest in Featured Articles, Recipes

These tasty treats make a great dessert for a party or a perfect gift for a gluten free friend. Thanks to Sarah of Daisy At Home for these lovely bars. Of her blog, Sarah writes, “Daisy At Home is a blog about life and cooking in Southern California. I love to use fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients while experimenting in my kitchen.”

Gluten-Free Holiday Bars
makes 16 bars

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, butter and salt and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  3. With the food processor running, add 1 tablespoon of the water at a time until the mixture forms a dough and holds together.
  4. Press the dough into a greased 8×8 baking dish and bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and set.
  5. Spread the fruit preserves onto the crust and sprinkle with the nuts and cranberries.
  6. Return dish to the oven and bake an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Cool slightly and cut into bars.

*Make sure to purchase nuts that are not processed in a facility that also processes gluten products.

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Going Free: Gluten and Dairy Free Eggnog Logs

by Guest in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

Each family has their own traditions and in my family eggnog logs was a cookie that was made each Christmas. In the past I have stuck to other people’s recipes when it comes to making cookies but I have started converting recipes on my own. This recipe is one that I am very happy with and when I shared a plate of them with a group at church they loved them. It wasn’t until the plate was almost clean that another group member who knows I am gluten free asked if they were. The group could not believe the cookies were gluten and dairy free!

Eggnog Logs

What you need for the cookie:

What you need for the frosting:

  • ¼ cup Dairy Free Butter Substitute, softened
  • 3 cups Powder Sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Rum Extract
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Cream, off the top of canned coconut milk
  • Ground Nutmeg

Directions:

In a bowl cream the butter substitute and sugar together. Add the nutmeg, egg, vanilla and rum extract and mix until thoroughly combined. Sift the flours together and add to the egg mixture. Beat until flour is fully combined in the dough. Cover the dough and chill for at least one hour. Roll dough into ½ in round by 3 inches long logs and place onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until they are lightly brown. They will stay almost white looking and you will question if they are done but they are. Remove the cookies and let cool on wire racks.

To make the frosting, cream the butter substitute until it is light and fluffy. Add in 2 cups of powder sugar and extracts and mix well. Beat in the coconut cream and remaining cup of powder sugar until light and fluffy. Frost cookies and run a fork down the frosting to create the look of a log in the frosting. Sprinkle with ground nutmeg to finish the look of a log. Store in an air tight container.

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Rebecca is the single mother to two wonderful boys and author of Going Free: Helping you move to a gluten and dairy free life! She and her two boys live a gluten, dairy and food coloring free life. Rebecca is always looking for easier ways to do things. When she first learned that we had to eliminate these foods, she did some research and cleaned out the cabinets and we hasn’t looked back. Sure there are days that she misses the convince of eating foods full of gluten but knows that in the long run they are all healthier for it. Find more articles and recipes from her at Going Free.

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saltedbrownies

Cooking on the Weekends: Salted, Spiced Caramel Brownies – Gluten Free

by Guest in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

In October, we celebrated our soup mixes, for November, we got healthy with our Thanksgiving menu, for December, we’re throwing out the worry and the stress and focusing on delicious holiday treats. We’ve asked some of our favorite food bloggers to share their holiday recipes with you. They’re not going to save you those extra calories or keep you from slaving in the kitchen, but they will delight your taste buds and give you some new ideas for your next holiday gathering. Enjoy!

These gluten free treats are rich, smooth, and warmly spiced.  And they will the perfect, delicious chocolate addition to a holiday dessert spread!

With an eight-year-old son with Celiac Disease, and a husband who stands in solidarity with him, I have two gluten free eaters in the house.

Doing so much gluten free cooking over the past few years, I’ve experimented with many different gluten free flours.  In these gluten-free brownies I welcome the combination Coconut Flour and Brown Rice Flour with big, open arms!  It works excellently, and not only will they stand up to any other brownie, but I’m pretty sure they’ll surpass them with their decadence!

A treat they are!

For the Caramel:

  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Light Corn Syrup
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter
  • 1/3 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cardamom

For the Brownie Batter:

Adjust rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat oven to 375°F and line a 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan with foil.   Butter the foil with soft or melted butter.

For the Caramel:

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the water, sugar and corn syrup.  Cook this mixture over medium heat, until the color is dark amber.  This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Do not ever stir this mixture!

Once you’ve achieved the dark color, reduce the heat to low and carefully whisk in the butter and cream.  Stand back!  When you add these ingredients, the mixture will likely hiss and bubble up. Continue to whisk until it’s smooth. Then add the salt, cinnamon and cardamom.  Stir to blend, remove from the heat, and let this cool.

For the Brownie Batter:

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heavy saucepan over very low heat.  Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs with the vanilla, espresso, and sugar at high speed for about 10 minutes. On low speed, gradually add the cooled chocolate mixture and beat only until mixed. Then add both flours and the xanthan gum, and again beat only until mixed.

Assembly:

Scrape the brownie batter into the prepared pan.  Then drizzle the caramel over the entire surface.  Use a wooden skewer or the tip of a knife, to “stir” the caramel into the batter — to ensure it sinks in.  You should have a pretty, swirly design on top.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp of the salt.

Bake in the preheated 375 degree F oven for about 30 minutes.  Then cover the pan loosely with foil for at least another 30 minutes.  When the brownies are done they should have a thin, crisp crust on top, but if you insert a toothpick into the middle, it should come out a bit wet.  Perfect!

Remove the brownies from the oven and let them cool for at least a few hours, and ideally overnight before cutting.  Sprinkle a bit more salt on top before serving.

A chef and food writer, Valentina K. Wein spends her weekends in her “kitchen retreat,” where she creates delicious, unique and comforting food. Her blog is named, appropriately enough: Cooking on the Weekends.

 

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Pepper Lynn: Hearty Wild and Brown Rice Soup with Autumn Vegetables

by Guest in Featured Articles, Recipes

Thanksgiving hasn’t gone very well for me these past couple of years. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the gathering of family and friends, and the sweet and savory aromas that waft through the house for hours in anticipation of the big meal are the ultimate comfort. But what’s been happening is that I’ve been getting ill. The arduous preparations combined with the heavy, butter-laden fare have taken their toll on my body, and now twice in a row I’ve been laid up in bed when I should have been celebrating. This year, I’ve resolved to take a different path, one that involves less stress, more nutrition, and – I’m hoping – much more fun.

Never a huge fan of turkey, I’ve composed a soup that could be served as a main dish alternative or as an accompaniment to the traditional meal. It’s hearty and satisfying without being heavy, and while it does need a bit of time to simmer, the preparation is not overly involved. It can also be made a day or two in advance and reheated just prior to serving.

The flavors here are comforting and complementary. The sweetness of the butternut squash is echoed by the chicken apple sausage, and the kale imparts a subtle bitterness. Sautéed aromatics and herbs give it depth, while the wild and brown rice blend provides added nutrition. Thyme is a favorite of mine, but feel free to change things up if you wish; rosemary and sage would also work well in this dish.

Hearty Wild and Brown Rice Soup with Autumn Vegetables

Makes 9 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 cup finely diced Onion
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 14 ounces Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage, casings removed and sausage cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 2 ½ quarts (10 cups) Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 1-½ cups Bob’s Red Mill Wild and Brown Rice Blend
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1-½ tsp dried Thyme
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 3 cups medium diced Butternut Squash
  • 3 cups thinly sliced Lacinato (dinosaur) Kale
  • Plain Greek Yogurt, for serving

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat, then add the onion, garlic, and chicken sausage pieces. Sauté until the sausage is brown and the onions are tender about 8-9 minutes, stirring only occasionally. Increase the heat if needed to achieve color on the meat but also be mindful of the garlic, which can burn easily at high temperatures.
  2. Next, add the chicken stock, rice, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the butternut squash, simmering for an additional 10 minutes. Finally, add the kale and simmer for 10 more minutes until the rice, squash, and kale are tender.
  3. Taste the soup and add additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Pepper Lynn is a blog focused on loving people well through nourishing food. Emphasizing freshness and simplicity, it’s my joy to share what I’m cooking up as I encourage readers to learn, grow, and be adventurous in the kitchen

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Scaling Back: Millet Pilaf with Roasted Butternut Squash, Mushrooms and Pomegranate

by Guest in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Meatless Mondays, Recipes

This colorful, healthy side dish comes from Tina of Scaling Back. This is gluten free and vegan/vegetarian friendly. Scaling Back focuses on mindful living while eating well. With beautiful recipes and stunning photography, we adore Scaling Back and think you will too!

The holidays bring along with it lots of opportunity to indulge but it’s nice to have options for lighter fare to keep things in check.  Rich earthy mushrooms, sweet butternut squash and tart pomegranates pair deliciously with the nutty flavor of millet.  Millet is gluten-free so it’s a great alternative if you are cooking for someone that is gluten intolerant.  Serve this for a healthy modern take on your usual stuffing, it might just start a new family tradition.

 

 

 

Millet pilaf with roasted butternut squash, mushrooms and pomegranate

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Millet
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 medium Butternut Squash
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh Sage
  • 1 pound Cremini Mushrooms, sliced (any mixture of mushrooms would work)
  • 1 cup Pomegranate Seeds
  • 1/3  cup roasted Pistachios
  • 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian Parsley

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 375°F.  Place squash on a baking sheet, sprinkle with the  sage and toss with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast, stirring once or twice until tender 15-20 minutes.

On a separate baking sheet, toss the mushrooms with 2 teaspoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread the mushrooms in a single layer and roast for 10 minutes.

To prepare the millet bring 1 quart of water to a boil.  Season the water generously with salt as you would for cooking pasta.  Add the millet and cook for 13 minutes.  Drain the millet into a fine sieve and then place the sieve back over the pot and let steam for an additional 10 minutes until fluffy and dry.

Place the millet in a large bowl and add the squash, mushrooms, parsley and pomegranate, drizzle the balsamic and remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the top and toss gently to combine.  Sprinkle the pistachios over the top and serve.

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Kernels and Seeds: Cranberry Bean Brushcetta with Goat Cheese and Crispy Shallots

by Guest in Featured Articles, Recipes

A fun, festive appetizer for Thanksgiving or your next holiday gathering. This dish is simple to prepare once you have the beans cooked. To save time, cook the beans ahead the day before. Freeze cooked cranberry beans in appropriate portions and keep the other ingredients on hand for a quick appetizer for impromptu gatherings.

Cranberry Bean Brushcetta with Goat Cheese and Crispy Shallots
serves 12-14 as an appetizer

  • 8 oz dried Bob’s Red Mill Cranberry Beans (about 1 ⅓ cups)
  • 1 loaf French Bread or other open crumbed crusty white bread
  • 6 oz plain Chevre
  • 4-5 large Shallots
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 good sized sprigs Rosemary plus 2-3 Tbsp chopped for garnish
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • fresh cracked Black Pepper to taste

Soak and cook the beans as directed on the package, adding a pinch of salt and the rosemary
sprigs to the cooking pot. Once the beans are very tender, drain them–removing the rosemary-
-and set aside. Salt well, or to taste. (Quick tip: if you forget to soak the beans overnight or
don’t have time, bring them to a boil in the soaking water, let sit for an hour or more, drain, then
proceed as directed.)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Slice the shallots into thin rounds (no more than ⅛” thick) and separate the layers from each
other by gently rubbing the slices between your fingers, forming indiviual rings. In a small skillet
over high heat, pour just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, and heat until a shallot
dropped in starts to sizzle immediately. Toss the shallots into the pan and stir to coat evenly in
the oil. Leave the heat on medium-high, and toss the shallots frequently until most of them are
turning a nice golden brown and starting to crisp up. Remove the shallots to a paper towel lined
plate and set aside. Reserve the oil.

Slice the bread into ¼” rounds (if using a style of loaf other than a baguette cut each slice in half
as well). You want enough slices for each person to have at least one, plus extras. Using the
remaining shallot oil, lightly dab each slice with a pastry brush. Place each slice on an unlined
baking sheet and toast in the oven just until lightly golden brown. Don’t over toast them or they’ll
become too hard after the second toast.

Onto each slice of toast, pile up about 1 ½ to 2 Tbsp of beans. Top with a few crumbles of the
goat cheese. Put back into the oven for a few minutes until the cheese has started to soften and
melt. Take the slices out and onto each one sprinkle a pinch each of fried shallots and chopped
rosemary. Sprinkle everything with a pinch of sea salt and a pinch of fresh ground black pepper
and serve, either warm or at room temp.

Venessa Goldberg is a trained pastry chef turned blogger, feeding her small family from their fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants urban farm. She’s also a mobile food entrepreneur, working to bring fresh and sustainable food into every community. Along with a background in more classical arts, she brings all these aspects to the table well spiced. Find more recipes from Vanessa at Kernels and Seeds.

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Spices Bites: White Cheddar Herb Blue Cornmeal Biscuits

by Guest in Featured Articles, Recipes

 

These scrumptious and festive biscuits from Farihah of Spices Bites are just the thing to mix up your Thanksgiving table. If you don’t have blue cornmeal handy, a medium grind yellow cornmeal will work just fine. A love of food, pure and simple, is the motivation behind Spice’s Bites. Whether it’s through sharing recipes, restaurant reviews, travel re-caps, or random musings, Spice’s Bites is how blogger Farihah Ali (aka Spiceaholic) shares the different and delicious ways that food impacts her life. Farihah lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband (aka Mr. Spice) and Chloe, their crazy cat.

White Cheddar Herb Blue Cornmeal Biscuits

Substituting olive oil for butter and Greek yogurt in place of milk puts a healthy spin on these biscuits, which feature Bob’s Red Mill Blue Cornmeal.  Finely shredded white cheddar and fresh sage and rosemary pump up the flavor to make these biscuits the perfect Thanksgiving side dish.

Makes 8 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup White Flour
  • 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Blue Cornmeal
  • 1-1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 oz White Cheddar, finely shredded
  • 1 tsp fresh Sage, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fresh Rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1- 5.3-oz container Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil

Preparation

1.  Preheat oven to 425°F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or baking mat.

2.  Using a fork, combine flour, blue cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

3.  Add shredded cheese and herbs, making sure to incorporate into the flour mixture.

4.  Take the container of Greek yogurt and carefully add the olive oil directly into it. Carefully stir to combine the oil and yogurt, then add to the flour mixture.  Mix together until you have a sticky dough.  At this point you may need to use your hands to combine everything together.

5.  Using your hands, divide dough into fourths.  Now divide each fourth into half, so you end up with 8 portions of dough.  You can either drop the dough as is onto the baking sheet or gently form a “biscuit” shape and then place on baking sheet.

6.  Bake biscuits for 11-13 minutes.  You should be able to smell the herbs.  Then try not to burn your fingers and mouth eating a biscuit fresh from the oven.

7.  Enjoy!

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kamutberryrisotto

Better Bitter Blonde: Kamut® Berry & Butternut Squash Risotto

by Guest in Featured Articles, Recipes

 A delicious alternative to traditional risotto perfectly fall themed for the cool nights of October and November. This dish would make a wonderful addition to your Thanksgiving menu. Make it with vegetable stock as a main dish for your vegetarian guests or serve it alongside crusty bread and a green salad for a warm meal on a cold fall evening. Risottos are a little time-consuming, but so worth it! Be sure to soak the Kamut® berries overnight to cut down on cooking time. If you’re aiming to make this for Thanksgiving this year and can’t find Kamut® berries, try wheat berries instead. 

Kamut® Berry & Butternut Squash Risotto

Serves 4

Active Time: 60-75 minutes

Total Time: 9 hours (includes overnight soaking)

  • 1 Butternut Squash (1½-2 lbs.), halved lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 5 tsp Olive Oil, divided
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ tsp ground Black Pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Kamut® Berries, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 3 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
  • 5 tsp Unsalted Butter, divided
  • ¾ cup finely diced Yellow Onion (about ½ large onion)
  • 1-½ tsp minced Garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • ½ cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Tbsp fresh Sage Leaves, finely sliced
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Special Equipment: microwave, food processor

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Using a fork, pierce the skin of half of the squash several times and place cut side down on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 8-10 minutes or until squash is softened. When cool enough to handle, scoop out squash flesh and reserve. Peel the other half of the butternut squash and cut into ½” cubes. Place cubes on a baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper to coat. Bake until caramelized, about 15 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place soaked Kamut® berries in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the berries have cracked and start to release some of their starch – about 20-25 pulses. Set aside.

In a medium saucepot, bring reserved butternut squash and stock up to a simmer. Whisk to combine (there will still be chunks). Place a second medium saucepot over medium heat. Melt 2 teaspoons butter with 2 teaspoons olive oil. When butter is foamy, add diced onions and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Stir in the cracked Kamut® berries to toast them, and then pour in the wine.

Once the wine has been mostly absorbed, add the stock and squash mixture 1 cup at a time. Let simmer, stirring occasionally until mostly absorbed. Repeat until all the stock has been used and the Kamut berries are plump and no longer crunchy, about 40 – 50 minutes. Risotto should not be soupy. If it is, continue to cook over medium heat so that the Kamut berries absorb more of the stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir in the reserved butternut squash cubes and sage leaves and cook until heated through. Remove from the heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter and grated Parmesan. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve immediately.

Christianne Winthrop’s culinary career began in early 2009, when she left her job in commercial real estate to focus on food. Since then, she has launched her own boutique catering company, specializing in modern American cuisine with a healthy twist, and teaches in-home cooking classes to “kitchen chickens.”

When Christianne isn’t teaching or catering, she is a freelance food writer with credits in The Los Angeles Times and BrainWorld magazine. She is also a regular contributor to SeriousEats.com and CBS Local’s “Best of LA” website. Christianne blogs at Better Bitter Blonde where you can find her thoughts and recipes.

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Bakery Bingo: Apple and Cranberry Streusel Pie

by Guest in Featured Articles, Recipes

I love Thanksgiving. It is by far my favorite holiday. It is a full day spent cooking in the kitchen, eating lots of delicious food and enjoying time with friends and family.

But one thing is tough about Thanksgiving – how do you cram all of those calories into your body and not feel too guilty?

For starters, my motto is that if you are going to exercise only one day a year, Thanksgiving should be that day!  So typically I start off with a nice run in the chilly fall air with friends at the annual Turkey Trot.  It is a lot of fun, plus it usually raises money (or canned food) for those less fortunate.   It seems most cities have one, so check out what is available in your area!

Secondly, there are so many ways to make most Thanksgiving dishes a little more healthy and a little less calorie-rich.

Now don’t get freaked out. Thanksgiving is still Thanksgiving. Everything still has to taste great. I mean, what fun would it be if your cornbread stuffing was healthy but tasted like cardboard?

Well, don’t fear because this Apple and Cranberry Streusel Pie is both healthy AND delicious.

The most calorific part of a typical Thanksgiving dessert is the butter pie crust, so this pie substitutes in an oatmeal crust. Made with wonderful products from Bob’s Red Mill, this crust is full of whole grains and nutrient-rich oats. The granola-like flavor and texture stands up nicely against apple filling and is complemented beautifully by the brown sugar streusel topping. The crispy apple and cranberry sauce filling uses only a limited amount of sugar, relying mostly on the natural sweetness of fruit.

Served warm and topped with some light whipped cream, this dessert will surely be a winner and no one will ever know they were eating healthy on a day like Thanksgiving!

Apple and Cranberry Streusel Pie with Oatmeal Crust

Recipe adapted from the Sono Baking Company Cookbook

Hands-on time: 55 minutes; Total time: 2.5 hours

Time-saving tips: Make the cranberry sauce first, since it has to cool and thicken in the freezer; or prepare the day before and keep in the refrigerator. While the cranberry sauce is cooling, prepare the crust. Once you have the crust baking, start peeling and cutting the apples. The orange juice will help prevent the apples from browning if you have them ready before everything else.

Cranberry Sauce:

  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • ½ cup Water
  • Juice from ½ Orange
  • 6 ounces frozen or fresh Cranberries
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Zest of ½ Orange
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, water and orange juice to a boil.
  2. Add cranberries, salt, zest and cinnamon stick. Simmer over medium heat until cranberries break down (about 10 minutes).
  3. Remove cinnamon stick and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for an hour (or in the refrigerator overnight if you plan ahead) so it can cool and thicken.

Oatmeal Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine oats, sugar, flour, almonds and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together oil and water. Add to oat mixture and combine until holds together.
  4. Press into 9” pie tin and bake for 8-10 minutes or until light brown.

Streusel Topping:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Add the butter using a pastry knife or fingers to blend into the flour mixture.

Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the apples, orange juice, maple syrup, flour and cranberry sauce.
  3. Pour mixture into prepared pie shell.
  4. Sprinkle streusel topping over the top.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and juices start to bubble.

Serve warm or at room temperature with fresh whipped cream.

 

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