Apple Cider Cranberry Smoothies

Apple Cider Cranberry Smoothies

You have them, those cranberry sauce fixin’s. Fresh cranberries. Apples. Carrots. They’re probably doing duty in your crisper while you put off making tomorrow’s sauce.

So, why not dig into those ruby globes and give them a whirl in the blender for a cranberry-relish-inspired smoothie?

Apple Cider Cranberry Smoothies

2 cups apple cider or apple juice
1 cup chopped fresh cranberries
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup shredded carrots

Place ingredients in blender, making sure to add the liquid first (this helps it blend easier), and give it a whirl.

Add honey or pure maple syrup if you feel like you need extra sweetener {we didn’t}.

This makes for a thin, frothy smoothie. If you’d like it to be thicker, add ice. If you want it perfectly smooth, pour through a fine sieve before serving. {There were still a few bits of cranberry, as you can see from the photo, but it didn’t bother me or my 7-year-old.}

This makes for a healthy alternative to polishing off the last of the Halloween candy while waiting for Thanksgiving dinner!

My daughter takes a high dose of steroids right now for a recently diagnosed autoimmune disease. And, she’s always hungry. I felt pretty good about giving her multiple helpings of this smoothie because of the antioxidant punch from the fresh cranberries, the natural probiotics in the yogurt, and the lack of added sugar. Plus the fiber from the carrots and cranberries helped it seem filling for her.

What’s your favorite way to use cranberries this time of year?

We used to add a ring of berries to the bottom of a bundt cake pan and fill with a few inches of water and freeze. Then, we’d use the iced cranberry ring to jazz up our holiday punch bowl.

Did you miss the earlier posts in Fall Flavors: A Recipe Series?

You can find recipes for Maple Vanilla Coffee Creamer, Pumpkin Spice ButterCurry Butternut Buttermilk DressingSlow Cooker Pumpkin LasagnaHarvest Spiced Kettle Corn, Pumpkin Spice Syrup, and Cinnamon Brown Sugar Sweet Potato Chips.

This post is part of:

MercyInk’s Heart+Home Linkupand Live Called’s Thrive at Home Thursday.


Pumpkin Spice Syrup and Cinnamon Sweet Potato Chips

Pumpkin Spice Syrup and Cinnamon Sweet Potato Chips

Today, I’m continuing my journey into fall flavors with two more simple, versatile recipes: Pumpkin Spice Syrup and Cinnamon Sweet Potato Chips.

Remember, earlier this fall when the news story came out about Starbucks running out of their pumpkin spice syrup? I thought, how hard could this be? Turns out, it’s not hard at all. And, it’s oh-so-tasty!

This syrup has plenty of yummy applications. I created it with a chai or coffee latte in mind, but you could just spike your morning coffee or tea with this syrup, without bothering to froth milk. You could also use it in combination with maple syrup to give waffles and pancakes a delicious pumpkin-spice makeover.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tbsp. pumpkin (or other winter squash, like acorn or butternut) puree
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract

Simmer sugar and water together to make a simple syrup. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, add the pumpkin puree and spices and simmer over medium to low heat for another 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and pour through a mesh strainer to remove any solids. Store in fridge and use for lattes and other autumn goodness!

Here’s an easy latte recipe: Brew a small, very strong cup of tea, coffee or espresso. Fill a mug about a third full of milk and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove mug and roll a whisk rapidly between your hands to froth milk. Mix 2 tbsp. of the pumpkin spice syrup in your strongly brewed coffee or tea and pour into the mug of frothed milk. Sweeten, if desired, and top with whipped cream and/or a dash of cinnamon.

Next up, we’re making sweet potato chips. I made mine with brown sugar and cinnamon, but these would be lovely with a savory twist, such as a curry spice blend or a chipotle cumin spice mix. You can use whatever appeals to your taste buds!

I wanted these chips as crispy as possible, so I had to get very thin slices. I was able to slice better when I cut my one (very large, 1.5 pound) sweet potato in halves, both lengthwise and crosswise, and cut skinny little half-moons.

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Sweet Potato Chips

1.5 pounds sweet potato, thinly sliced
1.5 tbsp. melted coconut oil
2 tbsp. rapadura, sucanat or other organic brown cane sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Toss your sweet potato slices in a large bowl with oil, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix well. Line two large baking sheets with a single layer of slices. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Check halfway through the baking time and switch cookie sheets. The chips take a bit of babysitting to get them right. You want them thoroughly cooked and crispy, but they will burn quickly if left unattended. (Trust me, I know!) It may take a bit less or a bit longer, depending on the type of cookie sheet you use and individual oven temps.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. They’re best during the first two days, but I’m guessing they won’t be around that long!

Do you have a creative use for pumpkin pie spice (other than pie!)?
I’d love to hear about it!

Did you miss the first two weeks of Fall Flavors: A Recipe Series?

You can find recipes for Maple Vanilla Coffee Creamer, Pumpkin Spice ButterCurry Butternut Buttermilk DressingSlow Cooker Pumpkin Lasagna, and Harvest Spiced Kettle Corn.

This post is part of:

Grace-Laced Mondays, MercyInk’s Heart+Home Linkupand Live Called’s Thrive at Home Thursday.

Harvest Spiced Kettle Corn

Harvest Spiced Kettle Corn

Kettle corn… first, there’s the crunch of freshly popped popcorn. Then, there’s the perfect tension between salty and sweet.

Whenever we visit our local farmer’s market and the kettle corn guy is there, we always seem to end up with a too-large bag of this toothsome popcorn that gets nearly eaten before we even make it home.

I’m always a little afraid to ask what’s in the popcorn, but I’m guessing corn syrup and rancid canola oil {or something similarly unhealthful}, so I usually don’t ask. But, what if you could make your own kettle corn at home and control the quality and quantity of the ingredients?

The good news is: You can! It’s so simple.

Harvest Spiced Kettle Corn

1/4 – 1/2 cup organic coconut oil
½ cup organic popping corn kernels
1 tbsp organic sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste
1/2 – 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Melt the coconut oil over medium heat in a large stock pot. {I used 1/4 cup coconut oil, but had to be very vigilant to keep shaking, so the popcorn on the bottom wouldn’t burn. I think somewhere in between 1/4 and 1/2 cup would be ideal!} Add popcorn and cover the pot with a lid. When the first kernel pops, add the organic sugar, re-cover, and shake the pot continually to avoid burning. Once the popping slows down, remove the stockpot from the heat and keep covered until popping stops. Sprinkle with sea salt and pumpkin pie spice and stir. {1/2 tsp. of spice gives a very subtle hint of spice; you probably want to start there and add more, as desired.} Enjoy!

What about you? do you have a favorite popcorn or fall snack recipe? Let us know about it!

Did you miss the first two weeks of Fall Flavors: A Recipe Series?

You can find recipes for Maple Vanilla Coffee Creamer, Pumpkin Spice ButterCurry Butternut Buttermilk Dressing, and Slow Cooker Pumpkin Lasagna.

This post is part of:

The Better Mom’s Monday Linkup and Thrive at Home Thursday.

Curry Butternut Buttermilk Dressing

Curry Butternut Buttermilk Dressing

Last week we made maple vanilla creamer and pumpkin spice butter. Today, we’re making another Seasons with Soul original recipe–Curry Butternut Buttermilk Dressing. 

It combines the goodness of home-roasted butternut squash with creamy organic, whole milk buttermilk. {I do culture my own, and it’s quite simple, but that’s another post :)} Add a dash of curry and some plain yogurt, and you have a healthy and deliciously tangy dressing, with a global feel.

The great news is this recipe is very forgiving. If you follow the basic ratio of squash to buttermilk to yogurt to spice, you can tweak things. So, you don’t feel like roasting your own squash and have an open can of pumpkin puree? Fine, you can use that. So, you’re not crazy about yogurt and would rather have the richer taste of mayo? Fine there too. Maybe you want to use less curry powder or replace the garlic powder with a clove or two of fresh minced or pressed garlic? Fine, and fine. Salad dressings are forgiving like that.

Curry Butternut Buttermilk Dressing

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butternut squash puree (or any pureed or mashed winter squash, like acorn or pumpkin)
1/4 cup mayo and/or plain yogurt
3/4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
a few grinds of fresh pepper

Mix well. Store in the fridge for a week.

If you’re wondering how to use the dressing, let’s start with the obvious–salads. I made a simple harvest salad with leaf lettuce, dried cranberries, and toasted chopped walnuts, topped with the Curry Butternut Buttermilk Dressing. If I do say so myself, it was quite tasty.

This recipe would also make a fabulous sandwich condiment–imagine it dressing up a whole-wheat turkey wrap with shredded kale and chopped sundried tomatoes–or used as a creative dressing on a rice or quinoa salad.

Next week, I’ll show you how to make Pumpkin Slow Cooker Lasagna–just in time for Halloween!

Do you have a favorite fall recipe? What flavors do you crave this time of year? Leave a comment and let me know!


This post is a part of:

Thrive @ Home Link-Up