A New Cranberry Classic

by Sara on November 14, 2010

Hello!

As I type this, I'm partaking in the pumpkin trend that has hit blogworld.

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That would be a bowl of pumpkin pudding.

Ever since I spotted Jello's version a few weeks ago, I've been craving some for myself.

Pumpspice

But instead of curbing my craving by scooting my booty down to the grocery store to buy the mix, I did some mixing without leaving the house.

In the Magic Bullet went:

  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin 
  • 1/4 Cool Whip
  • cinnamon
  • sweetener
  • splash of milk

I whirled it for about 30 seconds and voila! Talk about instant.

And yep, you read it right: I used COOL WHIP.

A few months ago, I proclaimed that I was so over Cool Whip because I'd found a healthy alternative in TruWhip. But the truth is, nothing compares to Cool Whip, in my opinion. TruWhip has an ""off" taste that I haven't been able to embrace. Cool Whip's fluffy, creamy consistency makes it irreplaceable. And the trans fats? Well, I'm taking the hit. I figure that 90% of the foods I eat are healthy, so if this is my guilty indulgence of choice, I'm not going to worry. :-)

Besides pumpkin, other foods I've noticed trending right now include pomegranates and squash ( particularly butternut and kabocha–my favorite.)

But there's one food that I think deserves more attention than it gets this time of year: Cranberries.

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I used to hate cranberries, and felt that their strong, sour taste ruined any food they touched. However, this year, for the first time, I'm LOVING them. They're delicious thrown into salads, especially when paired with blue, brie, goat or feta cheese. They also add a nice kick to quinoa. Try it!

And let's not forget cranberries' nutritional profile. Various studies show that:

  • Cranberries may have the ability to prevent and treat urinary tract infections. Their juice contains an antibacterial agent and certain other compounds, which together may reduce the ability of E. coli bacteria to stick to the walls of urinary tract.
  • Cranberries may be  beneficial against the formation of kidney stones.
  • The antioxidant content of cranberries is five times that of broccoli. In addition, a comparison with 19 other common fruits proved that the berry has the maximum amount of antioxidant. This has been found to be important in the treatment of cancer and also helps lower cholesterol levels, to some extent.
  • Cranberries may lower harmful cholesterol (LDL) and raises good cholesterol (HDL) in the body. Researchers attribute this property of cranberries to the presence of high level of polyphenols, a type of potent antioxidant, in the fruit.
  • The antioxidants present in cranberry improve the function of the blood vessels, which may reduce the risk of heart diseases and heart attack.
  • A handful of dried cranberries everyday may protect you from breast cancer. Laboratory studies have shown that cranberry consumption may stop the growth of human breast cancer cells.

Source: The Cranberry Insititute

Still not convinced enough to give cranberries a try?
How about this:
  • Cranberries taste pretty darn good in cookies!

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a recipe for Cranberry-Oatmeal Bars. I've never baked cranberry-containing cookies, so I was a bit skeptical.

But it was love at first bite.

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IMG_1251 Cranberry-Oatmeal Bars 

Adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 4.5  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1  cup  quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 6  tablespoons  butter, melted
  • 3  tablespoons  orange juice
  • Cooking spray

Filling:

  • 1 1/3  cups  dried cranberries (about 6 ounces)
  • 3/4  cup  sour cream
  • 1/2  cup  granulated sugar
  • 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1/2  teaspoon  grated orange rind
  • 1  large egg white, lightly beaten

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. To prepare crust, weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through cinnamon) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle butter and juice over flour mixture, stirring until moistened (mixture will be crumbly). Reserve 1/2 cup oat mixture. Press remaining oat mixture into the bottom of an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3. To prepare filling, combine cranberries, sour cream, granulated sugar, and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well. Spread cranberry mixture over prepared crust; sprinkle reserved oat mixture evenly over filling. Bake at 325° for 40 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Nutrition: CALORIES 135; FAT 4.6g; PROTEIN 1.7g; CARB 21.5g

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You will not be able to tell that these cookies are light! Promise!

There are a few cookie recipes I always make around the holidays–the Christmas classics–that never dissappoint. I'll be sharing them with you over the next month, but consider Cranberry-Oatmeal Bars the first…they're that good! Plus, the red cranberries add a pop of color that make them extra festive.

A few other foods I've been enjoying include:

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Ice cream is my favorite food. Egg Nog ice cream is my favorite ice cream. Now you can imagine how excited I was when I spotted Edy's Limited Edition Egg Nog Ice Cream  in the grocery store a few days ago. I'm already working through my second 1/2 gallon. :-)

 

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These are perfectly portioned 1-ounce goat cheese medallions from Trader Joes! You can throw one in your lunch and then eat it with crackers or toss it on top of a salad (try it with cranberries!). It's also excellent folded into an omelet.

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I rarely talk about fitness, so I want to share what I've been doing at the gym lately. Over the past two months I've been working with a trainer who has helped me incorporate 3-4 days of strength training into my routine. I've cut back cardio to 2-3 days/week, and have had wonderful results.

Not only have I gained 5 pounds of muscle, but I feel amazing–STRONG and more energetic than ever!

If you're skeptical about cutting back on your cardio, please TRUST that it will not make you bulky! You'll look toned and HEALTHY. Promise.

I'm going to be sharing my routine with you soon, so stay tuned for that post!

Sending hugs your way!

What's your favorite holiday cookie?

I love Mexican wedding cake cookies and snickerdoodles!

 

 

  • http://www.imanokie.com Lisa @ I’m an Okie

    You’ve just given me a lot of great reasons to eat those craisons! yum!

  • http://www.imanokie.com Lisa @ I’m an Okie

    Oh–and I agree COMPLETELY on strength training!

  • Sally

    I cannot wait for you to make the Cranberry-Oatmeal bars for me! Glad you’re enjoying craisins. I like them in salads too…but I keep forgetting to buy them…your post is a good reminder!

  • http://lizzyj1305.wordpress.com/ Lizzy

    hey girlie!
    I am loving all the recipes you just posted! pumpkin is da bomb, even if it’s being “over-played” on the blogsphere…I love you pudding idea!
    I hope you had a great weekend!
    xoxo!

  • Julie

    My favorite holiday cookie is peanut butter blossoms! So simple, but so yummy!
    Your cranberry oatmeal bars look amazing! I just bookmarked the recipe. :)

  • http://movesnmunchies.wordpress.com/ Carrie (Moves ‘N Munchies)

    ,mm that pumpkin pudding looks delish! i love cranberries too! they’re like raisins with a punch!

  • http://movesnmunchies.wordpress.com/ Carrie (Moves ‘N Munchies)

    ,mm that pumpkin pudding looks delish! i love cranberries too! they’re like raisins with a punch!

  • http://www.biochemista.com BIOCHEMISTA

    Hey chica! Nice seeing you today :)
    You should make the pumpkin dessert and cookies for our dinnah party..wink wink

  • http://lifeisbetterthanfiction.blogspot.com Meg

    Hey girlie!
    Good job on gaining that muscle! I used to hate weight training too until Jeremy got me into it. Now I love it almost more than cardio!
    I LOVE dried cranberries so I can’t wait to try these oat bars. I’ve been waiting to finish up the two (!) cartons of ice cream in my freezer before getting myself a tub of the holiday peppermint ice cream!
    My favorite holiday cookie is one my mom makes. I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s like a sugar cookie with a candied cherry in the middle. :)

  • http://thecappuccinofiles.blogspot.com/ Nicola

    That pumpkin pudding looks awesome! I should try it some time.

  • http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life)

    Omigosh, I haven’t seen those goat cheese medallions yet, but I love that idea!! Gotta remember to look for those

  • http://foodfunfabulous.blogspot.com Christina @ Food.Fun.Fabulous

    I haven’t seen that pumpkin pudding but it sounds awesome! There are so many yummy eats on your post today!

  • http://www.hungrymeetshealthy.com christina

    those bars look incredible. i have been seeing a lot of the pudding online too! sounds delicious. CONGRATS on the muscle gain – that is so awesome! :)

  • http://www.snackingsquirrel.com kelsey@snackingsquirrel.com

    those are so gorgeous!! they look like the perfect addition to brunch too, served with tea! mmm kinda makes me wanna put one with goat cheese after this post haha.
    actually since u used ocean spray cranberries, the recipe would be nice and sweet with a nice tartness vs. bitter! very yummy <3

  • http://ktbwood.wordpress.com katie

    AMEN AMEN AMEN to the muscle growth/cardio thing!! and girl it takes LOTS of food to keep your muscle as well, so dont forget that! you have to eat just as much bc your body plateaus! Glad to see you are pushing towards health! thats awesome!

  • http://burpandslurp.com sophia

    I’m not a fan of strength-training…it bores me to death. I’m really more of a cardio girl, but I suppose I should get some strength-training done too. What are the benefits besides a firm butt and well-defined arms?

  • Sara

    Sophia, I feel SO much stronger! I don’t fatigue as quickly, and can actually run a mile much faster than I used to (the extra muscle weight does not slow you down but gives you more power). I highly recommend trying it!

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