DIY Canned Cranberry Sauce

Because you don’t need high fructose corn syrup to make a quintessential Thanksgiving statement!

Last week I was checking out at Paper Source when an adorable Thanksgiving card caught my eye. It had a water color of canned cranberry sauce, plated wholly with its glorious ridges.

I don’t know about you, but canned cranberry sauce sends a pulse of nostalgia through my veins. I actually like the fact that it’s shaped like a tin can. A bowl of goo just doesn’t honor my childhood memories the same way. But how do you feed the sentiment without feeding yourself high fructose corn syrup?

Don’t worry, I got you! And I promise it’s almost as easy as popping open a can of Ocean Spray. (Who, by the way, is gliding by on their first-ever parade float as I write this during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade!)

Fun fact: Did you know Americans consume roughly 800 million pounds of cranberries per year? Holy moly! Not sure how many pounds get squeezed down into a 32 oz jar of juice, but here you go:

Paleo Booster Bites

On average there are maybe 2 hours in a whole week where my kitchen is totally spotless. And by spotless I mean there are dirty dishes hiding away in the dishwasher and approximately 60% of the counter space is visible. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, no?

Being that I’m in that 2-hr sweet spot as we speak, the thought of going full bore on the Christmas baking makes my jaw clench. Can I please just get one more day before the endless cook-eat-wash-repeat cycle starts again?

At the same time the holiday events are starting to populate our social calendar and the opportunities to send white clouds of dust spewing from the Kitchen Aid are becoming few and far between.

So here’s my solution for easing into the Christmas baking – a no-bake cookie that utilizes a single appliance! It’s literally a drop and roll with a few pulses of the food processor in between.

So whether you’re looking for an easy “gateway cookie” to get you primed for the season, or you need a healthy reward for getting your New Years gym resolution started early, or you’re a breastfeeding mom with low energy and little time – I’ve got you covered!

Easy Allergen-Friendly Rice Cake Snack

In one of my not-so-illustrious moments as a mom, I swung a parenting deal with my preschooler that I’ll probably still be honoring when he’s 17. The just-be-quiet-and-cooperate-and-stop-grabbing-everything-and-I’ll-let-you-pick-out-one-thing at the grocery store deal.

Foolishly, it didn’t occur to me at the time that I was setting the bar. It was a moment of pure desperation to get dinner made and lunches packed. Plus I assured myself this was the incentive I needed to get the meal-planning done on Sundays and whip through the store solo on Monday morning. The only problem is summer came…and Christmas vacation…and two weeks of snow cancellations… Before I knew it my grocery store co-pilot had earned his stripes. And lots of snacks.

Not that he was in the habit of picking out anything absurd. Yet.

Then it happened. We needed something from Whole Foods. When you’re a gluten-free, dairy-free family Whole Foods is par for the course. You seek out the 365 tags and otherwise keep your head down. To this day I’m still not sure why we went down the snack aisle. I think we were looking for Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips. But that’s where he spotted them – a 6-pack of chocolate covered rice cakes – for $4.99. Six rice cakes. For five dollars. Folks, that’s 26 bananas at Trader Joe’s!

But a deal’s a deal, right? And Allergy Moms… those tiny heart strings that pull when your child asks, “Are these gluten-free?” What are you going to do, lie? No, you tell the truth and say, “Yes, and dairy-free and nut-free, so you can even take them to school.”

deLIGHTful homemade marshmallows with marshmallow root

Some foods simply have seasonal appeal. Take the pumpkin spiced latte for instance. Come September #psl is as ubiquitous as yellow school buses and leather boots. If you deconstruct these cravings you may find a range of reasons that are as simple as it’s in season and as complex as every year on Christmas Eve we would go to my grandma’s…. (insert long story).

Whether the reason is ancestral, physiological or pure sentiment you can try denying this little craving monster. But who’s to say that won’t backfire, giving him the ammunition to turn up louder and more aggressive the next time? Why not reinvent your kitchen’s greatest hits album instead? Sure it takes a little time and ingenuity, but luckily the blogosphere has streamlined much of the trial and error process.

As it relates to seasonal changes and cravings I do want to talk about Ayurvedic practices at some point. It’s truly fascinating, but arguably in a different echelon from what I want to discuss today. Today I want to keep it light… and fluffy… and SPONGEY!

Any guesses on what seasonal treat I’m talking about? The popularity of this food(-like substance) can probably be blamed on the Girl Scouts (as if the cookies weren’t enough…). It’s a versatile treat, and was originally derived from a root with properties known to combat sore throats.