Cranberry Orange Muffins

I love making muffins when we have house guests.

First off, people love baked goods.

And it’s a great way to ensure a good breakfast each morning without having to get up early and make it.

And this recipe makes a bajillion muffins.  So there’s plenty for the whole weekend.

But even if you don’t want a bajillion muffins, then you can easily cut the recipe back.

But I recommend baking all bajillion.  They keep well in an airtight container.  Breakfast for the whole week!

One year ago: Ramen Noodle Cole Slaw and Poppy Lime Fruit
Two years ago: No-booty Blueberry Muffins

Orange Cranberry Muffins
courtesy of The Pastry Queen Cookbook, as seen on Homemade by Holman
Yields 20 muffins

3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
zest of 1 orange
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
raw sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 20 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, combine milk, orange juice, sour cream, eggs, and butter, and whisk until well combined.

In another mixing bowl, add sugar and orange zest.  Use your fingers to rub orange zest into sugar.  Add in flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.  Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated.  Fold in cranberries.

Scoop into prepared pans, filling each cup about 2/3 full.  Sprinkle about 1 tsp of raw sugar on top of each cup of batter.  Bake 20-25 minutes, or until tops are just brown and tester comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.




Cranberry Spice Cake

November is like every foodie’s favorite time of year.  An entire holiday devoted primarily to food.  Well, and that whole being thankful thing.  That too.  But mostly the food.

And there seems to be a few camps when it comes to the cranberries at the Thanksgiving table.  Some seem to love the canned jelly cranberry concoction, even if it’s right out of the can.   Some make their own with whole cranberries, and some won’t touch cranberries with a ten foot pole.  If your family seems to be one that can do without the cranberry sauce, this might be a fun way to add cranberries to your Thanksgiving menu.  And for those who love the cranberries, well, then this will be right up your alley regardless!  The tart cranberries aren’t sweetened *too* much, the cardamom spice-goodness, and the fresh lemon glaze on top is just dessert deliciousness.

Would also make a great breakfast for Thanksgiving morning for parade watching.  If you’re down for eating cake for breakfast.  Clearly I am.

Check out some of last year’s Thanksgiving recipes:
Herbed Dinner Rolls
Harvest Roasted Vegetables
Homemade Turkey Stock

Cranberry Spice Cake
Adapted from Bon Appetit

for the cake:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp baking powder (high altitude folks, decrease to 1/2 tsp)
1/2  tsp baking powder (high altitude, decrease to 1/4 tsp)
2 cups fresh cranberries (or thawed, if frozen)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp fresh grated orange zest
2 tsp fresh grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup apple cider

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
pinch of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 9×9 cake pan with aluminum foil, coat with cooking spray.

Whisk flour, cinnamon, salt, cardamom, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.  Pulse cranberries in a food processor until chopped but not pureed., set aside.

Stir sugar, brown sugar, and oil in a medium bowl to blend.  Add in eggs, one at a time, , stirring to blend between additions.  Whisk in sour cream, orange and lemon zests, and vanilla.

Whisk in dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with cider in 2 additions and whisking to blend.  Fold in chopped cranberries.  Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth out top.

Bake, rotating halfway through, until tester comes out almost clean, about 40-45 minutes.  Transfer pan to wire rack, let cool in pan for 15 minutes.  Run a thin knife around pan to release cake.  Invert onto rack and remove foil.  Let cool for at least 20 minutes.

for the glaze:
Whisk powdered sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl.  Spread glaze over warm cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.  Let stand until glaze becomes crackly, about 1 hour.  Serve at room temperature.


And Happy Thanksgiving to all my PLFF readers!  I’m so thankful for all of you 🙂

Cranberry Scones


I first made these scones for when our families were in town for Thanksgiving.  I made them up the weekend before, flash froze them so they were just ready to throw in the oven in the morning.  They were gobbled up as everyone drank coffee (or tea, like me!) and read the morning paper.  It was wonderful and it didn’t take any extra time away from my family to make them up.  It was a perfect way to start the day – a day of kitchen chaos getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner. 

Come to think of it, I think I still have the other half of the bag of cranberries in the freezer.  I might have to make more scones this weekend!

One year ago: Pasta Con Broccoli (copy cat from Pasta House and one of my favorite recipes!)

Cranberry Scones
adapted from Annie’s Eats

1 1/2 tbsp orange zest
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream
additional sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Combine zest, flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in cold butter pieces and beat until mixture resembles coarse meal and butter pieces are no larger than peas.  In a small mixing bowl, toss together cranberries and 3 tbsp sugar.  Stir into flour mixture.

In another small bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolk, and heavy cream.  Slowly add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring gently until dry ingredients are just moistened, but ingredients are evenly mixed.

Turn dough out onto pastry mat and flatten into a large disc.  Cut into desired shape and place on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with additional sugar.  If freezing, place baking sheet into freezer and chill until frozen.  Store in a freezer-safe plastic bag and store until ready to bake.

Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.  If baking from the freezer, add about 5 minutes to baking time.


Chicken with Roasted Pears and Wild Rice


Feels like forever since I’ve posted a regular dinner recipe!  I’ve got a stack of them I need to type up, so have no fear, dinner recipes have returned 🙂

I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful this recipe is, for a number of reasons – 1. it’s ridiculously easy, 2. it’s ridiculously delicious, and 3. it’s pretty darn healthy for you.  Does it get any better than that?

This will be frequenting our weekly menu throughout the fall and winter, no doubt about it. 

Chicken with Roasted Pears and Wild Rice
as seen on Apple a Day, who adapted from the Complete Cooking Light Cookbook

2 small, firm Bosc or D’Anjou pears, cored and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips
1 cup apple juice
2/3 ucp water
1 1/4 cup uncooked quick cooking wild rice (or 1 box wild rice mix)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 450.  Arrange pear slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Bake 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temp to 400.  

Combine apple juice and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add rice, cover, and reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer 10 minutes.  Drain off any excess liquid and fluff with a fork.

Combine rice, chicken (raw), cranberries, onion, and spices in a medium bowl.  Pour into a small casserole dish (I used an oval one, 11×7 or 9×9 would work too).  Arrange pear slices over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes or until chicken is done.


I’ve gone granola!


Well, it’s official, I’ve gone granola.  After 5 years of living in Colorado, I seem to have inherited a few hippie tendencies: I’m using cloth grocery bags, I have a composter, I’m pretty anal about recycling, I’ve taken up yoga and now I’m making my own granola bars.  Say what you will, but if being granola tastes this good, then I guess I’m here to stay!

I see this whole making-own-granola-bars as being advantageous for several reasons:

1. Hello, healthier.  Less artificial gunk in my granola bars, thankyouverymuch.

2. I’m pretty sure this is significantly cheaper.  I made one batch of granola bars for approximately $6, and it made 24 granola bars.  WAY cheaper than several boxes of my favorite Nature Valley bars. 

3. Every had a granola bar still a little warm from the oven?  No?  They are ridiculously good!  And even once cooled and packaged up, still a gazillion times tastier than your average granola bar.  And I was pretty attached to my cranberry pomegranate granola bars…

So bite the bullet and join me on the dark side.  You’ll be happy you did!

Oh, and I hope it goes without saying, but these bars are very versatile – feel free to swap out your nut/fruit/chocolate of choice.  I used sliced almond and craisins, but you could use whatever tickles your fancy.

Cranberry-Almond Granola Bars
adapted from Oshii, originally from Quaker

4 1/2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
1 1/2 cups chopped salted nuts (I used sliced almonds)
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt (I increased to 1 1/2 tsp salt, my almonds weren’t salted)
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Press firmly in a jelly roll pan (10×15) lined with parchment paper.  Bake 15-17 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.  (Make sure whole pan is bubbly or granola won’t stick together)

Cool completely, and cut into bars.  Yields 24 granola bars. 


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My first attempt at making bagels…


I love me some bagels.  I would go as far to say that bagels are one of my biggest weaknesses.  Crusty, soft, chewy salty goodness.  Panera, Einstein Bros, or even out of the bins at the grocery store, heck out of the pre-packaged bags at the grocery store.  I love them all!

But I have to confess – the idea of making my own bagels never crossed my mind.  I mean, why make something that you can buy in all of its goodness down the street?  But – if you make your own bagels, then you know exactly what’s going in them – minus extra sodium and preservatives.  I saw a craisin bagel recipe a while back, shortly after I had bought a 5lb bag of craisins at Costco.  Kills two birds with one stone, right?  And now that I wasn’t so scared of yeast…

Ugh.  My first attempt at the bagel making was a giant FAIL.  I didn’t notice that the recipe called for “instant” yeast as opposed to the “dry active” yeast that I had.  Apparently there is a difference between the two and my dough did not rise AT ALL.  Dough in the trash.

I tried again this weekend, using a different recipe that called for active yeast, rather than going through the hassle of trying to covert the recipe to accommodate my active yeast.  Turns out, this was a great idea, because this recipe was super simple.  And I just threw a few handfuls of craisins in at the end of the mixing. 

The result?  Crusty bagelness on the outside, warm, chewy, tart bagelness on the inside!  So yummy. I sliced them all fresh out of the oven and threw them in a freezer bag.  Take one out in the morning, pop it in the toaster, and top with cream cheese! I’ve never looked forward to breakfast so much…

I will do a few things different next time.  First, my holes were not nearly big enough.  The hole shrinks as the dough rises, just an FYI.  Make your holes BIG – way bigger than you think to make them. Second, the baking time needs to be adjusted for high altitude.  The bottoms of my bagels got a little too crispy, so maybe check them at 20 minutes instead of waiting until 25. 

The recipe looks long and complicated – but don’t be scared!

Simple Bagel Recipe (with Craisin add-in)
Courtesy of

4 ½ cups bread flour
2 packets active dry yeast (or 2 ½ tsp)
1 ½ cups warm water (110 degrees)
4 tbsp sugar, divided
1 tbsp salt
¾ cup of craisins or raisins

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups flour and yeast.  Combine 1 ½ cups warm water, 3 tbsp sugar, and 1 tbsp salt, then pour over flour mixture. 

Beat at a low speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of the bowl constantly.  Beat at high speed for 3 minutes.  Gradually stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.  Add craisins if desired.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Dough should be moderately stiff.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Press in any craisins trying to escape.  When smooth and elastic, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Cut into 12 even portions and shape into smooth balls.  Poke a hole  in the middle of each and pull gently to enlarge the hole to two inches.  Place on a cookie sheet, cover, and allow to rise for 20 minutes. 


Heat broiler to low-medium.  Broil the bagels five inches from the heat for 90 seconds on each side (will speed up the rising process).  Heat a large stock pot with a gallon of water, plus 1 tbsp of sugar.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high. 

Boil bagels 4 at a time for 8 minutes, turning once in the middle.  Remove and drain on a paper towel.  Return to baking sheet. 

When all bagels have been boiled, bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes. 

Slice and enjoy!


Autumn Harvest bread


So it’t not autumn or harvest, so why am I making bread that’s clearly inspired by fall?  Easy – I have 3 pounds of craisins to use.  What can I say, they were a good deal at Costco!  I just don’t think I conceptualized just how many craisins that was when I bought the bag.  Half is safely in the freezer, but I wanted to find some new recipes to help get rid of hte rest.  Apple a Day comes through again!  The Autumn Harvest Bread was sweet and yummy and would be even more divine in the fall season.  Can’t wait to make it again next fall! I doubled the recipe for 2 loaves, because I like to make one for us and give one away!  Enjoy!

Autumn Harvest Bread
Original recipe from Recipe Zaar, introduced to me by Apple a Day. Altered a little based on what I had on hand.  Makes 2 loaves

3 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1.5 cups of white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
15oz can pumpkin puree
4 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 small apples, peeled, cored and diced (I used one fuji, one golden delicious)
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 2 loaf pans with baking spray.

Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, bakin soda and salt.  Combine sugars, pumpkin, eggs, oil, applesauce in a large bowl, mix until just blended.  Gradually add flour mixture, stir until just moistened.  Fold in apples, craisins and raisins. 

Spoon into pans, bake aprox 60 minutes or until tester comes out clean.  Cool for 20 minutes before removing from pans.  Cool completely.