VVP: Cranberry Maple Compote

It’s that time again, bring on the VVP!
Who’s coming to the table:  The bright and beautiful cranberry.

Through the years, cranberry sauce has gotten a pretty bad wrap.  Give thanks to the trusty can o’ cran that plops out a gelatinous cylinder of cranberry goo with a nice, big “schluup.”  Great entertainment, but just not appetizing.

A couple years ago I discovered this little recipe.  No, big recipe.  It is chock full of goodness!  Made with fresh cranberries, pecans, fresh and dried fruit and the fabulous fall flavors cinnamon and nutmeg.  One taste and I was in love.

The only problem with the recipe is the large amount of sugar, especially being on an alkaline vegan diet.  So this year the cranberry compote recipe has gotten a facelift.  Welcome maple.

Cranberry Maple Compote

12 oz fresh cranberries
1 orange, peeled and pureed in the blender
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 pear, peeled and diced
1 c water
1 c chopped dried fruit (mix it up and have fun!  we love dried pineapple, cherry, cranberry if you’re sticking with the theme, I think a little crystallized ginger could be good for an added kick)
1 c chopped pecans
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
maple syrup, to taste (I used 1/4 cup but my sweetness sensor is pretty low these days.  You could add anywhere from 1/4-3/4 c maple)

Bring water to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and add all other ingredients.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cook until the cranberries burst.  Remove from heat and let cool.

I made a double batch this time around, measured it into 1 1/2 c portions, and stored it in the freezer.  Great to pull out for the holidays.

Some other ways to use your super delish cranberry sauce:

Eat it with a spoon!
Make a parfait with your favorite plain yogurt and granola
Layer on top of crackers and vegan cream cheese for finger foods
PB+Cranberry Sandwich?  Potential…
I’m thinking a ginger graham cracker crust with vanilla bean vegan ice cream topped with cranberry sauce.  Mmmmmm.
Mix in your morning oatmeal
Use as a topping for pancakes or filling for crepes
A tart spread for a savory sandwich

So there you have it.  Cranberry Maple Compote.  Love it.

Go Back

The previous VVP dish is found in Kelli’s Vegan Kitchen here:

Go Forward
Cook to Love is the blog next in the potluck.  Visit it here:

Kalmata Cannellini Bean Dip, Ab Fab Bug Spray, and a little Special Sauce

Vegan week 5 and loving it!  Our kitchen is exploding with produce, the crockpot is cooking up a veggie soup, the cuisinart just knocked out “larabars” three ways, fresh salsa on the cutting board and more goodness in the works.   And grilled veggies have been lovely with this old time (since freshman year in college- don’t ask) favorite seasoning.  Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt is amazing on roasted potatoes as well.

Funny thing.  My husband ate olives.  And liked them.  Shhhhh- he doesn’t know it yet.  He swears he never will.  Hates the suckers.  Not that I wouldn’t tell him if he asked, but he hasn’t so neither have I.  They were mixed in this yummy bean dip:

Kalmata Cannellini Bean Dip
(a fresher version of the Engine 2 Diet recipe)

2 cups Cannellini Beans, cooked in crock (or 1 can, drained and rinsed- I like fresh much better)
1 clove Garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tblish lemon juice (to taste)
1 tsp fresh thyme (yay for gardens!)
1tsp fresh rosemary (yay again! rosemary loves UT soil)
1/4 tspish sea salt (to taste)
4 Kalmata olives, roughly chopped

Blend.  I like to see bits of olive so I don’t over puree it.

Serve with pita chips or as a fresh veggie dip.  Or on a sandwich.  Or as an appetizer spread.  Possibilities.

Up next:  Homemade Insect Repellant!  This concoction was born last year as my sister and I perused the aisle with natural bug sprays.  As I read the ingredients and looked at the prices, I knew I could do better.  This is what we ended up with.

Two spray bottles (actually 3, my sister took one out into the field with her- she’s a wilderness therapist.)
Olive Oil– you could use any oil carrier you like.  The olive oil goes on quite nice.  And it looks pretty in a clear bottle. 😉
Essential Oils-
Tea Tree, Lemongrass, and Citronella.

Easiest recipe ever.  Ok, maybe not ever, but pretty close.

2 oz carrier oil
20 drops lemongrass
20 drops citronella
10 drops tea tree

Multiply for larger batches.  Mix.  Pour into bottles.  Yup.

This bug oil is absolutely fabulous.  It smells yummy, goes on smooth, moisturizes summer tanned skin, and most importantly, KEEPS THE BUGS AWAY.  One full year of use later, I will never even consider putting the evil DEET on my children.  Remember how I mentioned my sister took a bottle?  It worked so well being out in the woods for days at a time that she came back for a refill.  Ab fab my friends, ab fab.

And lastly, a little flavor for your ears- a little somethin’ somethin’ to put on as you get ready to sauce it up in the kitchen:  Baby’s Got Sauce by G-Love and Special Sauce.

Chocolate Sauce is what’s in the works. This recipe reminded me more of a hershey syrup more than fondue like I hoped.  Amanda’s Magic Shell made with coconut oil (why can’t I find the recipe on the blog?!?) is a thicker chocolate dip than this turned out to be, but still it was tasty with strawberries, even tastier with cherries and extra delish drizzled over Peanut Butter Chocolate So Delicious Ice Cream with sliced bananas.

Once again, found this in the Engine 2 Diet cookbook.  Yeah Rip.

Chocolate Sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 c water
2 Tbl cocoa powder
3 Tbl agave nectar or maple syrup (I used maple agave, thinking I would be doubly awesome, but my awesomely talented taster *Amanda* decided the agave left it a bit bitter- going maple next time)
1 tsp vanilla

Mix the cornstarch with a small amount of water until there are no lumps.  Whisk in the remaining water, sweetener, and cocoa.  Cook in a heavy saucepan over low hear, stirring continuously until the sauce thickens.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Drizzle.

We’ve got sauce.


Somer Saturday – Jam Packed Post

It’s Somer Saturday! Amanda recently said in an email to us girls at GCF “I’m not sure we can contain Somer in a single day.”  Indeed, I can hardly contain myself! We were recently nominated for TWO blogging awards: Drumroll Please….

First, Jason at Jason and the Veganauts nominated us for the Reader Appreciation Award. If you haven’t visited his stellar blog, do it now and you’ll find the coolest Atkins to Vegan dude that you ever met. Doesn’t hurt that his posts are so funny that he often leaves you in stitches with laughter tears running down your face. Good times. Thanks Jason. Pure worship to my veganaut brother from another mother!

Then the gracious Lucy at Lucy’s Friendly Foods nominated us for the One Lovely Blog Award. Aw, shucks! *Blush* Lucy is a Cordon Bleu trained Chef/Mom that has taken the vegan cooking/baking/you wanna reach into the computer and take the food in her photos and eat them world by storm. I’m hosting a birthday party this weekend, and I’m pretty sure most of what I’m serving will be Somerized interpretations of something dizzyingly delicious from her blog. Check it out now. Really. You won’t be sorry! So thank you to Lucy and Jason! You’re my faves too!

Where was I? Oh yes, not only can I hardly contain myself, but I’m bursting at the seams and this week my kitchen was overflowing with fruit. I had cherries, raspberries, pomegranates, blueberries and strawberries to name a few. What to do with so much fruit? Why I needed to make jam of course, not just any old jam, but Antioxidant Chia Jam. Adapted from this fabulous pectin free recipe here at OSG.

Antioxidant Purplicious Chia Jam

3 C. Pitted Cherries

2 C. Raspberries

1 C. Blueberries

1 C. Strawberries

1/2 C. Pomegranate Arils

1/2 C. Pure Maple Syrup

5 T. Chia Seeds

Dash Cinnamon

Method: Combine fruits, pure maple syrup and cinnamon in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook until it reaches a low boil. Mash a bit with a potato masher, add chia seeds and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often until nicely thickened. Remove from heat and ladle into jars. Share. Keep refrigerated, will stay fresh for a week or two.

Now you need to make this nut butter, also adapted from this recipe here at OSG (can you tell I’m in love with Angela lately?)

Super-Powered Nut Butter

2 C. Raw Almonds

2 C. Raw Cashews

1 C. Raw Pecans

1/2 C. Sunflower Seeds

2 T. Hemp Seeds

2 T. Sesame Seeds (I used black and regular)

2 T. Flax Seeds

2 T. Chia Seeds

1/2 C. Unsweetened Dried Shaved Coconut

1/4 C. Pure Maple Syrup

2 t. Kosher Salt

Ok, ok, so just really use whatever nuts and seeds you have, I know this list is a bit ridiculous, but my pantry is pretty awesomely stocked at the moment. You may also need to halve this recipe if you have large food processor envy. Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees, roast nuts all nuts and seeds on a large baking sheet (except coconut) for 5-7 minutes, stirring once. Add shaved coconut to the nuts and seeds and roast for a few minutes more until the coconut turns golden. Remove from oven. Let cool briefly. Add to food processor and let ‘er rip. You may have to scrape down the sides a couple of times but in 5 minutes or so it should start to come together and stop looking like very finely ground nut flour. When that happens, add the maple syrup and the salt. If you notice steamy fragrant luciousness emitting from your food processor, you’re not the only one, and no the motor isn’t malfunctioning, the nut butter is heating up under blissful pressure. Process for a couple more minutes until delicious. Eat while gooey and warm and turn into a veganaut superhero.

Add pretzel rolls, I know you haven’t forgotten these from my carb loading post, neither have I 😉

 Instant Picnic!

Don’t forget to make yourself a vegan pizza for dinner tonight for Vegan Pizza Day! Ideas here and here!

And finally, if you haven’t entered my Cafe Rio Giveaway, DO IT NOW! Winners to be announced on Tuesday!

We be Jammin’ – the Vegan Aebleskiver Edition

It’s very late on a Somer Saturday and sometimes life gives you strawberries instead of lemons. In those times, one must make freezer jam.

I have always used a low sugar pectin recipe in the past, and had no idea I could make freezer jam without sugar. Now I knew that some people made it using Splenda, but why on earth would I want to make jam out of something that is scientifically formulated by combining chlorine bleach particles with sugar particles? Ew!

Then one day Jinji over at jinjisfoodlove.wordpress.com set me straight. She told me freezer jam could indeed be made without sugar and that she has had success making it with just apple juice?!? Intriguing you say? Well I thought it was a fantastic idea.

I couldn’t immediately locate the pectin she directed me to use, so I had to improvise. I also wasn’t brave enough to use apple juice in its un-concentrated form, mostly because I didn’t have the said ‘magic’ pectin and was horribly afraid of  set failures. Now I understand that apple juice concentrate is just sugar in another form, but it’s significantly less sugar then I have used in previous recipes, and that makes me happy!

Apple Juice Sweetened Strawberry Freezer Jam

1 2/3 C. Mashed Strawberries

2/3 C. Apple Juice Concentrate

2-3 T. Ball Real Fruit Pectin

Combine above ingredients in a bowl and stir for a couple of minutes until pectin is completely dissolved. I used 3 T. of pectin because I like a firm set jam, but 2 would also work nicely.

I made several batches (making a bigger batch all at once can cause set failures with this particular pectin). They all turned out fabulous.

As luck would have it, Erika brought me some of the magic Pamona’s Pectin from Whole Foods, so I shall let you know how I like it when I next make jam. Amanda has all ready used it and was able to make a quadruple batch of strawberry freezer jam with 2 1/2 c of honey to 16 cups of mashed berries. A girl after my own heart. Can you tell we really love freezer jam?

Now when you have lots of strawberry freezer jam, you must make Aebleskivers (Danish pancake balls).

When I was a teenager, I visited Solvang California while on vacation with my family. We ate Aebleskivers at a restaurant there and we haven’t been able to stop eating them since. They have become a Holiday or special occasion breakfast tradition. They take a little practice to learn to make properly and in my previous omnivore life, I was quite the little aebleskiver maker. Sadly, when I went plant-based, I thought that I would never eat another aebleskiver again. They rely on white flour, egg whites beaten stiff, melted butter and buttermilk for their fluffy tenderness. I thought they couldn’t be veganized. Thankfully, I thought wrong. That darling restaurant in Solvang gave my mom their aebleskiver recipe (sorry, don’t know how to give them proper credit, It’s been too many years and a Google search reveals there are many little such restaurants in Solvang). I have a copy of it in my heavily abused used family cookbook, it just needed a little modification 😉 Note to self: these are a special treat, and because they use oil and earth balance, remember not to make them every day or Dr. Esselstyn won’t be your friend anymore.

Vegan Aebleskivers

2 C. plain soymilk + 4 T. lemon juice, mixed and set aside (vegan buttermilk)

2 c. white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour. I processed the measured flour in my blendtec for a minute or so to get it as fine as possible to mimic the tenderness of white flour

3 t. enerG egg replacer mixed with 4 T. water

2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

2 T. pure maple syrup

4 T. Earth Balance, melted

1 T. vanilla

vegetable oil of your choice for aebleskiver pan

Method: preheat aebleskiver pan over medium heat before mixing all ingredients, if it’s not hot, your aebleskivers will be  a disaster. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Add the wet ingredients and stir just until combined.  Put 1/2 t. vegetable oil in the bottom of each aebleskiver pan cup. Pour 2 T. (I use an 1/8 cup measuring cup) of batter into each cup.

After about 30 seconds, Turn the aebleskiver halfway out of the cup using a knitting needle, crochet hook or chopstick. The batter will pour out of the cooked portion and start to form a ball. Cook 30 more seconds and turn another quarter turn. Cook 30 more seconds. The final turn should have the cooked side facing entirely out and the batter forming the last bit of the ball in the bottom of the cup. Place cooked aebleskivers in a warm oven to keep them crisp while cooking the next batch, you will need to add more oil to each cup in between batches to keep the batter from sticking. Split open and serve hot with a dab of earth balance (if you must) strawberry freezer jam and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Laugh at guests who ask for maple syrup.

 Try not to eat the whole batch by yourself

Lemon Curd

This is just a brief post on how to make microwave lemon curd. I wish I had taken pictures, but I made it on one of those manic cooking/baking days and so the camera was kept far from my sight for the sake of safety. As it is, this page in my cookbook is smattered with sticky.

Lemon curd is one of those strange condiments that doesn’t know what to be … a jam or a pudding or a sauce? It never has decided, but it’s delicious nonetheless. I most recently put it on pancakes, but my sister puts in on bagels with cream cheese. I made mine with Meyer lemons, so it wasn’t as tart as it might be with regular lemons. I like it better with Meyer lemons.

This is a recipe my sister recommended from the book “The complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving.” This is at least the second recipe I’ve tried from this book since I got it two weeks ago, and both have been a success (imagine pineapple-orange rosemary freezer jam – it’s GOOD).

Microwave Lemon Curd
Be careful not to boil or overcook or it may separate. You can substitute limes, tangerines, oranges or unsweetened cranberry juice. See instructions below on how to can.

yield: 1 2/3 Cups

* 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 – 3 lemons)
* 1/4 cup unsalted butter
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used evaporated cane juice and it worked great)
* 2 eggs

1. Finely grate thin outer rind of lemons. Squeeze lemons. Measure 1/2 cup lemon juice into a 4-cup microwavable container.
2. Stir in the rind, butter and sugar. Microwave, uncovered, on high (100%) for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until butter is melted and mixture is hot.
3. Beat eggs in a bowl. Gradually add hot lemon mixture to eggs, stirring constantly. Return mixture to the microwavable container and microwave, uncovered, on Medium (50%) for 1 to 2 minutes or until just thickened, stirring every 20 to 30 seconds. Do not allow to boil; the mixture will thicken as it cools. Let it cool.
4. Pour curd into a tightly sealed container. REFRIGERATE and use within 2 weeks, or freeze for longer storage.

Multipurpose Berry Topping


This berry sauce is super easy but gets loads of compliments.


Frozen Berries (I use the mixed berries at Costco)


Pour desired amount of berries into sauce pan, keeping in mind that they cook down.   Defrost on medium-low heat, stirring often.  Add honey and cinnamon to taste, that simple. 🙂   Great on pancakes or as a dessert topping on vanilla ice cream.

Recipe Review – Pumpkin Blender Waffles & Caramel Syrup recipe

My sister recommended these when I was visiting a few weeks ago. She got the recipe for these seasonal waffles from a blog she follows: Every Day Food Storage, which just got a new REAL website. None of this silly blog-ness anymore.

The niche for this website is on how to use basic food storage items as real food. She even has a “Magic Mix” which she uses for everything from baked goods to homemade cream soup. The recipes have the great benefit of providing not a usable recipe just for today, but on the dried food equivalents, as you’ll see in the recipe below.

I was skeptical that adding milk to whole wheat kernels and whizzing the whole thing up in a blender would actually blend everything to a useful consistency, but it was one of the easiest and quietest things my blender has ever done, even easier than most smoothies. We have lots of squash in our house, so there is generally some cooked orange puree in the fridge. If I do this again, I might add an extra 1/4 to 1/2 of a cup of squash and see if it would taste a little more pumkiny. Any winter squash puree will do, although they all impart a very slightly different flavor.

We all loved these waffles. They browned up nicely and had a smooth consistency, not like most whole grain waffles. We didn’t make the caramel sauce, but I used a little vanilla kefir (similar to yogurt) and some maple syrup and I had an almost perfect waffle. The addition of a few candied pecans would have pushed it to perfection, but most mornings to even get close is a winner.


Pumpkin Blender Waffles

1 Cup Milk (3 T. Powdered Milk and 1 C. Water)
1 Cup + 2 Tbs Wheat Kernels, whole & uncooked
2 Eggs (2 T. Powdered Eggs and 1/4 C. Water)
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 Cup Oil
1/2 Cup Pureed, Cooked Pumpkin
1-1/2 t. Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 Tbs. Sugar

Put milk and wheat kernels in blender. Blend on highest speed for 4 or 5 minutes or until batter is smooth. Add eggs, oil, baking powder, salt, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and honey or sugar to above batter. Blend on low. Pour batter into hot prepared waffle iron from the actual blender jar (only one thing to wash!)
For a yummy variation, put chopped pecans on the top of the batter in the waffle iron before closing.

Caramel Syrup
3/4 C. Butter
1-1/2 C. Sugar
2 T. Light Corn Syrup
3/4 C. Buttermilk
1 t. Baking Soda
2 t. Vanilla
Combine ingredients in sauce pan (it gets frothy so make sure and use a large enough pan so it doesn’t spill over). Stirring constantly, heat sauce until boiling and then boil for 5 minutes.