Tag Archives: dried cranberries

Jumbo Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I start thinking about making recipes with cranberries as soon as the fall season comes around. Cranberries, whether they’re fresh or dried, are such a classic autumn and holiday ingredient. It just wouldn’t seem like Thanksgiving or Christmas without cranberries, would it? And because these cookies have dried cranberries, along with white and semi-sweet chocolate chips, they’re perfect for making this time of year when the days are chilly, evenings come earlier, and cookie baking and giving are in full swing.

These cookies are big, thick, and chewy–the kind of cookie you want to have when you’re sitting in a big, comfy chair with a mug of hot cocoa, wrapped in a warm blanket and maybe watching a favorite movie or reading a good book. Did I mention that these cookies also have oatmeal in them too? It always makes me feel a little better when a cookie has oatmeal in it–somehow, cookies with oatmeal just seem a little healthier, don’t they?

JUMBO OATMEAL CRANBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES by NancyC

Makes about 18 cookies

  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • parchment paper, for lining cookie sheets

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, blend butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well; set aside.

In a medium-size bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Add half of this flour mixture to the egg/butter/sugar mixture and mix well; then add in the rest of the flour mixture and mix all ingredients well.

Fold in the dried cranberries, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips; stir until these are evenly distributed in batter.

Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined cookie sheets (if dough is too sticky to work with, refrigerate it for 5 to 10 minutes before putting on cookie sheets). You should be able to fit 6 cookies per sheet. Bake at 350˚F for 12 to 13 minutes, or until very lightly brown (do not overtake, or cookies will be dry). Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute, then move to wire rack to cool completely.

Baking cookies is a great thing to do when it’s cold outside–it makes everything so cozy inside! Do you like making cranberry-flavored goodies this time of year too?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday.

Gingerbread Granola

Gingerbread Granola @ NancyC

It was time for me to make granola again and I love trying out different flavors! I had thought about making Gingerbread Granola during the holidays, but didn’t get around to it. I still wanted to try it this winter season, though, and I thought adding some dried cranberries into the mix, a little touch of red, would make it a wonderful granola not only for the holidays, but for Valentine’s day, too. So this is a perfect granola for all winter long…for breakfast, brunch, or a healthy sweet snack. And people love receiving treat bags filled with granola–it makes a great homemade food gift!

As you might be able to tell from my photo, I mixed in both dried cranberries and golden raisins into my granola.  I really like the sweetness and color they add.  I also like the rich molasses flavor blended with the other spices in this!

GINGERBREAD GRANOLA by NancyC

Makes about 6 cups

  • 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ
  • 2/3 cup raw shelled sunflower kernels (if using roasted and salted kernels, add them to the mixture after baking)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil or non-GMO canola oil
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries or golden raisins (or 3/4 cup of each)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 10 x 15″ or 13 x 15″ baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the oats, flaxseed or wheat germ, sunflower kernels, chopped pecans, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. In small microwaveable bowl, heat molasses for about 15 to 20 seconds to make consistency thinner and easier to stir. Then in a medium size bowl, blend molasses, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, stirring everything well (the oil may separate from the other ingredients, but blend it as well as you can). Add this syrup mixture to the dry oat mixture, mixing until everything is thoroughly coated.

Spread granola mixture onto prepared baking sheet and bake at 350˚F for 30 minutes, until mixture is golden, stirring every 15 minutes so granola bakes evenly. Remove from oven; stir in dried cranberries and/or raisins, if using, and then let the granola cool completely (the mixture will get crunchier as it cools). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks (or you can store a little longer in the refrigerator).

I have a good-sized jar of organic ground ginger, and I used some of that for this. I still have quite a bit of ground ginger, so I may be making more gingery recipes! Are you a fan of gingerbread-flavored treats?

Linked to Fiesta Friday.

Cranberry-Pecan Banana Bread

Cranberry Pecan Banana Bread @ NancyC

It’s been awhile since I made banana bread, so when I had some very ripe bananas, I decided it was time to make banana bread again! I also had some dried cranberries I was wanting to use and chopped pecans sounded like a great addition to those cranberries. So I came up with this Cranberry-Pecan Banana Bread. The loaf browns a little more while baking than some banana breads, but it’s sweet and moist when you bite into it and the dried cranberries give it a great flavor. My loaf did sink a little in the center–probably because I took it out too soon and then put it back in the oven. So be sure to do the toothpick test when you’re baking this bread!

I baked this loaf over the weekend one cold winter morning and it tasted so good with a hot cup of coffee! It’s great for breakfast, brunch, or an afternoon snack.  Also be sure to use a 9 x 5″ pan; an 8 x 4″ pan won’t be large enough.

CRANBERRY-PECAN BANANA BREAD

Makes one 9 x 5″ loaf

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (about 3 small or 2 medium)
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil or non-GMO canola oil
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5″ loaf pan; set aside.

In large bowl, blend flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In medium bowl, stir eggs, mashed bananas, oil, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract, blending everything well.

Add egg/banana mixture to flour mixture in large bowl and stir just until combined. Fold in the dried cranberries and chopped pecans.

Pour batter into prepared 9 x 5″ loaf pan and bake at 325˚F for 68 to 72 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

(Note: this bread may sink slightly in the center, but if you remove it from the oven too soon it will sink even more noticeably, so be sure to do the toothpick test!)

The weather has been colder lately, and that always puts me in the mood to bake. It’s always fun trying new banana bread recipes–do you have a favorite you stick to, or do you like trying new recipes too?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Wow Me Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Wow Us WednesdaysCreate It Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things.

Cranberry Quick Oats Granola

Cranberry Quick Oats Granola @ NancyC

I’ve always made homemade granola with old-fashioned rolled oats–I’ve read that they work better in granola recipes. But one evening when I was wanting to make some granola, I discovered I didn’t have enough rolled oats. And no time to run out and buy more. But I had plenty of quick oats! So I decided to try making granola with those instead. I found a recipe from The Daily Dish that I modified by using more dried cranberries, adding pecans, and making a few other small changes.

This granola is really yummy! It has a great crunchy texture when eaten while still warm (it’s a little less crunchy when it cools off) and the maple syrup gives it a nice sweetness. It’s definitely worth trying the next time you want to make some granola! I’m sure this recipe would work fine with old-fashioned oats too, if you prefer using those.

CRANBERRY QUICK OATS GRANOLA by NancyC, adapted from The Daily Dish

Makes about 10 cups

  • 6 cups quick oats
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups dried cranberries (added after baking)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two 9 x 13″ pans or one 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In large mixing bowl, combine the quick oats, pecans, coconut, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg (the dried cranberries are added after baking).

In a small bowl, stir together the maple syrup, oil, vanilla, and salt.  Add this mixture to the oat mixture, blending until everything is thoroughly coated.

With large spoon, spread mixture on parchment-lined pan or pans. Place pans on middle rack in oven and bake for 30 minutes total, or until golden–as mixture is baking, you’ll need to remove the pan or pans from the oven every 10 minutes, stir mixture, then return to the oven. After 30 minutes, remove from oven and cool completely. Then add in the dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

This granola makes a great healthy snack and also is good served as a cereal with milk or in a breakfast parfait with plain or vanilla yogurt. Have you ever used quick oats in a granola recipe?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Sunday Features, Inspiration Monday, Happiness is Homemade,  Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Wow Us Wednesdays, Wake Up Wednesdays, Wow Me Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Create it Thursday, Full Plate Thursday. Share Your Style, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things.

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Dark Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Blondies

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If you’re looking for something sweet to sink your teeth into, these blondies are exactly what you need! Some blondie recipes I’ve made before were more on the thinner side. But these are really thick and chewy. And they’re packed with dark chocolate (or semi-sweet chocolate) chips, dried cranberries, and chopped pecans…a really yummy combination of flavors!

pearson-logoI had just received a sample bag of Georgia pecans from Pearson Farm so I used them in this recipe. Pearson Farm has been growing pecans for over 100 years and they are really good! In addition to their fresh raw pecans that I received, they also sell salted, roasted, and chocolate-covered varieties. I love to much on raw pecans as a healthy snack and use them in dessert recipes when I’m baking. But pecans can also be added to healthy foods like salads, yogurt, and smoothies for a little extra nutrition. They contain vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, E, and B1, calcium, potassium, zinc, thiamin, and magnesium.

I like to think pecans make desserts a little healthier, too, so I thought they’d be great paired with dark chocolate and dried cranberries in this blondie recipe. I was so happy with the way these blondies turned out–a combination of rich, buttery taste with the chocolate-cranberry-pecan goodness mixed in!

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DARK CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY PECAN BLONDIES by NancyC, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes an 8 x 8″ pan

  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (or substitute white or milk chocolate chips)
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line an 8 x 8″ square baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease or spray with cooking spray; set aside.

In small bowl, soak dried cranberries in hot water for one minute to soften and plump them; drain well and set aside.

In medium bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together, blending well, then add in the vanilla extract and eggs, blending eggs in one at a time.

In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add this mixture to butter mixture and mix until all ingredients are combined.

Fold in cranberries, chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. Evenly press batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 350˚F for 38 to 40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then lift out of pan with edges of parchment paper. Cool completely on wire rack, then cut into squares.

Note: when these blondies are cooling, they do sink a little in the center, but don’t worry when that happens–that’s just what they do!

I often use pecans in my baking–they go well in so many different recipes! Do you use pecans much in your recipes?

Linked to Show and Share at Coastal Charm, Let’s Get Real Friday at Joy Love Food, and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

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Cranberry Pecan Pumpkin Muffins

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After baking quite a few mini loaves for the holidays, I thought I’d try some muffins! I really like these muffins because they have dried cranberries, golden raisins, chopped pecans, and lots of spices–they just seem perfect for this time of year! You can top them with cream cheese icing if you want, but I like them plain if I’m having them in the morning–they’re sweet enough on their own. These are perfect for a holiday breakfast, brunch, or snack and this recipe makes 32 moist, delicious muffins–so you’ll have plenty to eat, share, and use in your goody packages! 🙂

CRANBERRY PECAN PUMPKIN MUFFINS by NancyC, adapted from MyRecipes

Makes 32 muffins

  • 3/4 cup  (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Optional: Cream Cheese Icing (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line muffin cups with paper liners; set aside

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition.

In medium bowl, combine flour and next 6 ingredients (baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg). Add chopped pecans, dried cranberries, and golden raisins to flour mixture, tossing to coat. Then add the flour mixture to butter/sugar/egg mixture alternately with the pumpkin puree, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in vanilla.

Spoon batter into lined muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake at 350˚F for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in muffin pans on wire rack for 5 minutes; remove from pans and let cool completely.

If desired, frost with cream cheese icing. These muffins are so tasty, you don’t really need icing on them. But here’s the recipe if you want to try it…

CREAM CHEESE ICING

  • 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Half & Half (light cream)

Blend cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until creamy; gradually add powdered sugar, mixing until smooth. Add Half & Half, 1 Tablespoon at a time, mixing until it has a spreadable consistency (the icing will be thick–add more Half & Half if you’d like a thinner consistency).

It’s hard to believe Christmas is coming up so quickly! Are you getting everything done that you’re needing to?

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Pumpkin Spice Granola

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After making a few pumpkin recipes that didn’t require much pumpkin, like the Pumpkin Pie Latte and the yummy Pumpkin Pie Magic Bars, I still had some pumpkin to use from the can. So I decided to continue with the Pumpkin theme and try using it in granola! This is a pretty basic recipe as granolas go, with oats, hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), chopped pecans, and dried cranberries. And it’s spiced up cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice. You can also add in other things like coconut flakes or sunflower seeds if you like. The hulled pumpkin seeds I used were already roasted and lightly salted, which worked really well in this granola. If you use raw hulled pumpkin seeds, you may want to add an extra 1/4 teaspoon salt to the recipe.

These dry ingredients are coated with a pumpkin-maple-honey-brown sugar coating. With those yummy fall flavors, it’s a great granola to make this time of year! Note: this is a lightly-sweet granola, so if you like yours really sweet, you may want to add an extra Tablespoon or two of brown sugar.

PUMPKIN SPICE GRANOLA by NancyC

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas–you can use roasted and lightly salted pepitas, but add them to the mixture after it is done baking)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil (or coconut oil, melted)
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a large 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet or two 10 x 15″ rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, mix the oats, pumpkin seeds, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together until combined; set aside.

In medium bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, honey, oil, and brown sugar until smooth and well blended. Pour over dry ingredients in large bowl and mix until everything is moistened and evenly coated.

Spread evenly onto lined baking sheet or sheets and bake at 325˚F 40 minutes total, stirring the granola after 20 minutes for even baking.

Remove from oven and let granola cool on baking sheets for 20 minutes (the granola will get crunchier as it cools). Transfer granola into a large bowl and stir in the dried cranberries.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Serve with yogurt, milk, or eat it plain as a healthy snack!

I really like making pumpkin flavored things this time of year! Have you made any unique pumpkin breakfast dishes this fall?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener, Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy, and Thursday Favorite Things at Katherine’s Corner.

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Cranberry Raisin Nut Toasted Oat Cereal

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Last spring, I made some granola bars, and it was then that I discovered how much I loved the taste of toasted oats. After I toasted the oats for that recipe, I sampled some right from the pan and they were really good just by themselves–they had a richer, slightly nuttier flavor after being toasted. So I made a note to try making some toasted oat cereal sometime. Which brings me to this post. 🙂 I finally got around to toasting some oats and making a healthy homemade cereal!

This cereal is not sweet like granola, so it may not appeal to everyone.  It’s not as crunchy as granola either, since it doesn’t have a honey or maple syrup coating. But if you like the idea of eating pure toasted oats with dried cranberries, raisins, and nuts mixed in, then this cereal is for you! You can serve it with milk or, if you like your cereal more on the crunchy side, serve this over some vanilla yogurt–it will hold its crunchiness longer. That’s actually how I prefer to eat it, with vanilla yogurt. And I like eating it with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup on top, too–that makes it sweet enough for me! This cereal is a nice option for those of you who like to have oatmeal for breakfast–kind of like a toasted version of oatmeal!

CRANBERRY RAISIN NUT TOASTED OAT CEREAL by NancyCreative

Makes about 10 cups

  • 7 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped (or pecans)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup raisins, golden or dark
  • Milk or vanilla yogurt
  • Honey or maple syrup for drizzling over cereal

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line a 13 x 18″ baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper (or use 2 cookie sheets).

In large bowl, combine oats, oil, and salt, mixing until oats are evenly coated. Transfer mixture to baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake, stirring oats every 10 minutes, for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown.

Remove pan from oven and lower temperature to 350˚F. Sprinkle the chopped nuts evenly over the toasted oats and bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven and let oat/nut mixture cool about 10 minutes, then put mixture into large bowl. Add the dried cranberries and raisins, stirring until all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Serve in cereal bowls with some milk or vanilla yogurt and add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup on top. Cereal can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Another way you can make this–just toast the oats for about 30 minutes at 375˚F (stirring every 10 minutes) without adding the nuts; then, when you’re serving the toasted oat cereal, you can top it with fresh fruit, chopped nuts, a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, or whatever other toppings you like.

FYI, when you are toasting your oats, your kitchen will definitely have a toasty-oaty scent for a few hours! Which makes it kind of cozy on a cold day. Have you toasted oats before?

I’m linking this up to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener.

10 Recipes for Valentine’s Day

Here’s a roundup of 10 recipes that your Valentine–or Valentines–will love…some are healthy and some are not-so-healthy (but very yummy)!

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If you’re wanting something sweet for your Valentine breakfast, try these Strawberry Yogurt Muffins–the strawberries on top look like hearts, so they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day!

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Or if you’re wanting something healthy, try this Cranberry-Pecan Oatmeal, made with dried cranberries and chopped pecans. You can substitute dried cherries for the cranberries if you want.

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Or make this Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Bake if you’re feeding a larger group.

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You can also use your dried cranberries (or cherries) in these Cranberry Almond Breakfast Scones for a mid-morning or afternoon Valentine snack!

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Since you may be eating lots of sweets on Valentine’s Day, you’ll want to include a healthy salad in your lunch or dinner menu–this Apple Pear Pecan Salad has dried cranberries in it too, but dried cherries would be yummy as well!

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Savory Strawberry Salsa makes a great appetizer with tortilla chips, and it’s also really good served over grilled chicken!

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Now you need some dessert ideas…Strawberry Cupcakes are just the thing!

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But lots of people prefer something chocolate, and you can’t go wrong with these Chocolate Cupcakes with Fudgy Frosting!

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If you want a healthier dessert, you could always make this Healthy Chocolate Shake

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But, hey, it’s Valentine’s Day–if you want to splurge, make these Dark Chocolate-Covered Cherry Swirl Brownies!

Hope you get a chance to try out some of these treats! Do you have a favorite Valentine recipe?

Apple Pear Pecan Salad

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It’s always fun trying out different ways to make salads–it makes salad-eating a little more interesting! In the summer months, I like adding strawberries and blueberries to my salads. So I thought I’d try making a more “wintry” salad with apples and pears, inspired by this recipe. There’s also creamy crumbles of feta cheese mixed in, along with some healthy pecans that give this salad a nice flavor and crunch! I learned recently that pecans are rich in antioxidants and contain heart-healthy mono and ployunsaturated fats. They’re also rich in fiber–a handful of pecans contain the same amount of fiber as a medium-sized apple! I had received a complimentary sample of Bergeron Pecans through the National Pecan Shellers Association, and they were a perfect addition to this salad!

APPLE PEAR PECAN SALAD by NancyCreative, adapted from Kraft Foods

Makes 6-8 servings

  • 8 cups of packaged salad mix (about a 5.5-ounce package) or coarsely chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries, divided
  • 1 medium or large apple, unpeeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium or large pear, unpeeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 (4-ounce) package crumbled feta cheese, divided
  • 1 cup pecan halves or coarsely chopped pecans, toasted or untoasted, divided (I used Bergeron Pecans)
  • 1 bottle of your favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (regular or lite)

In a large salad bowl, toss together the lettuce, half of the dried cranberries (1/3 cup), and all of the chopped apple and pear. Then add in half of the crumbled feta cheese and half of the pecans (1/2 cup) and toss all ingredients together. Sprinkle the remaining dried cranberries, pecans, and feta cheese on top. Serve on individual plates and drizzle each serving with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing.

Toasting Pecans: For more crunchiness and flavor, you can toast your pecans in the oven by spreading in a single layer in a shallow baking pan; bake at 350˚ for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. To toast pecans on the stove top, place them in an ungreased skillet and cook on medium heat until golden brown, stirring frequently. To toast pecans in the microwave, place up to 1 cup pecans in a microwaveable shallow dish; microwave on high until crisp, stirring every 30 seconds.

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This salad is great with a meal–a larger serving of it can even be a meal in itself! What types of recipes do you like to use pecans in?

Linked to Tidy Mom–I’m Loving It.