As each new year rolls around, we inevitably look to our lives, ask ourselves what improvements are necessary and take up that time honored “New Year’s Resolution” once more.
Rather than choose a temporary resolution (sure to be undone by the time Valentine’s day rolls around) that involves removing foods from my diet- I am choosing to add healthier foods to it. The hope is that making room for better nutrition frees me from unhealthier choices. Nice theory- we’ll see if it works. Well at least the idea of “measure yourself by what you do not what you don’t do” appeals to me. 🙂
So little things like adding more fiber and phytochemicals is a good thing. With that in mind I bought a couple of bags of fresh cranberries, sorted through to remove any squidgy ones, washed and dried them well and then divided them into small portions of 1/2 cup to put in the freezer. These can be taken out and added to a smoothie or to some steel cut oatmeal for a bit of tart contrast in flavour and a boost to the morning meal.
The Wikipedia article on cranberries says: “Cranberries are a source of polyphenol antioxidants, phytochemicals under active research for possible benefits to the cardiovascular system, immune system and as anti-cancer agents.” They also have 46 calories and 4.6 grams of dietary fiber per 100 grams. Little red gems of nutritional goodness.
I also made some homemade granola using my Mom’s fresh orange cranberry sauce from our holiday meals. Granola with little fat and sugar added- great stuff! The recipe is very flexible- add what you like – leave out what you don’t – sound familiar? 🙂
Kitchen Sink Cranberry Granola
- 1 cup cranberry sauce – preferably low sugar or cook 2 cups ground cranberries in enough orange juice to cover
- 1 cup natural no sugar applesauce
- 2 Tablespoons Agave Syrup or honey in a pinch
- 2 Tablespoons raw cashew or almond nut butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
- 8-10 cups rolled oats (not instant)
- 1-2 cups natural almonds with skins
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup flax seed, slightly ground to break hulls
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup dried pitted tart cherries
- pinch of salt (optional)
Mix the cranberry sauce, applesauce, agave syrup, nut butter, cinnamon and extract together (plus pinch of salt if using) in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, mix the oats, nuts, seeds and fruit together. Combine the “liquid” into the mixture in the larger bowl and mix well. (Your hands works best for this) It will be quite wet. Squeeze bits together with your hands to form small clumps, spread on one or two large rimmed baking sheets depending on what size you have and will fit in your oven. Bake at 250F for an hour or so, turning occasionally until dried through. Cool and store in an airtight container. Makes about 4 quarts. Lovely for breakfast or as a snack.