Cranberry Gelatin Salad

It’s hard to believe that we are just 1 week away from another Christmas! It seems to me that 2017 has flown by faster than any other year!

My family has been scattered all over the world this year, so we have had no opportunity to get a family picture taken. I made this picture from ones we took throughout the year so that you can see how the family has grown.


Last night we had our church’s annual service of Lessons and Carols. I think that it is one of my favorite services of the year. I needed to take a dessert and a salad for the fellowship meal afterwards. My family has always enjoyed a cranberry gelatin salad at Christmas time, so I decided to make one for the meal. As usual, I didn’t follow a recipe, but just made it up as I went along. Many people liked it and asked for the recipe! I was shocked that it was really that good!¬† ūüôā

I think the trick to the flavor came from the wassail that I used in place of the cold water when I made the gelatin. It added an extra burst of cranberry flavor which did make it a delightful salad.

1 large box raspberry gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 cup regular apple juice (no extra sugar added)
1 cup cranberry wassail
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1 can whole cranberry sauce
Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, stirring until completely dissolved. Stir in the apple juice and the cranberry wassail. Stir in the whole cranberry sauce so the gelatin melts.
Put a layer of the crushed pineapple in the bottom of your dish. Pour some of the gelatin over the top and refrigerate until set. Add another layer of pineapple and more gelatin; refrigerate until set. Keep doing this until you use all the pineapple and the gelatin mixture. Refrigerate for several hours or until firmly set.

Cranberry Apple Pie

Hello, and welcome to the Christmas season! I can’t believe that it has been a month since I wrote my last blog post! These last few weeks have just flown by, and now Christmas is just a week away.

This post is #400! It has taken almost 6 years to get this far, but I have persevered and have ¬†had 22,760 views to the blog in that time. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get to 23,000 by the end of 2016!

I love Christmas, but I am also often a sentimental puddle of mush during the season. My fondest memories of my dad are from Christmas. I miss him the most during this season. Actually, I miss my mom, dad, and brother the most during Christmas.

Christmas will be a little strange since there will be only 3 of us together. Our family of 10 going on 11 will be spread out from Chicago to Philadelphia to Orlando this year. However, I am very thankful that I had 9 of our 10-almost-11 here at Thanksgiving! This is what life is all about! We spend years training our kids to become independent adults, capable of surviving life without us! It is such a blessing to see our kids marry and become parents and begin new traditions with their own little families! I have two favorite passages of Scripture concerning children. One has also been my mother-in-law’s favorite…Isaiah 54:13–“All thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children.” ¬†The other is verse 4 of the little 3rd epistle of John–“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” ¬†If these are true of my children, then I feel that I was a successful mom, for this is what matters most!

Here are a few pictures that we had taken at Thanksgiving.

Now to this amazing pie recipe! Tomorrow evening we are having our special Lessons and Carols service at church. We always have a fellowship time after this service, and this year we are all supposed to bring side dishes and desserts. I had an extra bag of fresh cranberries that I needed to use, so I did a little searching for a cranberry pie. I found one on the Food Network web page that sounded really good! As usual, I made some changes by adding apples and using pecans instead of walnuts.  It is not THM-friendly, but could easily be adapted. Delicious!!

  • 2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/3 cup Truvia baking blend)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. almond extract

Spray a 10-inch pie pan to prevent sticking. Spread the cranberries in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and sugar. Let sit while mixing the topping.

Cream the butter with the eggs and sugar. Add the flour and almond extract to the mixture until blended. This mixture will be thick. Spread the topping over the cranberries and nuts. Be sure to seal the edges. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Serve warm with whipped topping or ice cream!







Cranberry-Orange Smoothie

With the weather getting warmer here in the south (temps in the mid-70s this week), I am all about smoothies! I love them more when the weather is warmer than when it is cold outside.

My niece Hannah over at Through the Lens shared this recipe for a delicious smoothie. I am heading to the kitchen right now to make it! I always love cranberries, but when matched with oranges, they are absolutely amazing. ¬†Go ahead…give it a try! You know you want to!

Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Cranberry Upside-down Cake

Many thanks to all of you who have patiently read this blog over the years, especially this year of 2014. I had set a goal of 15,000 (total) views to reach by December 31. I’d like you to know that I am almost 1,000 views beyond that as of today!!! ¬†I need fewer than 180 more to reach a total of 16,000! You readers are amazing! I’d love to reach 16,000 by Wednesday night!

Last week I needed to make a dessert for a church gathering. Since the hubby and I have been trying to eat more of a low-carb diet, I didn’t want to make a rich dessert like I used to do at Christmas. I came across this recipe on the THM page and immediately thought it would be perfect. It was! If you like cranberries, this is the perfect recipe for something sweet. It pairs perfectly with a cup of hot tea or coffee. ¬†You can see the recipe here. ¬† I used a teaspoon or two of orange extract in place of the grated orange rind.

If you are on pinterest, you can see the pin here.



Cranberry Pecan Muffin Mix In a Jar

We are already a week into December, and the Christmas festivities are in full swing!  Today I spent some time with a dear friend who helped me make a wreath for my front door, and tonight Sam is over on campus at the Christmas Carol Sing and Lighting Ceremony!



Shopping is started (finally), and the challenge to keep to the budget is…well, challenging! ¬†Homemade gifts are ¬†always welcomed by those receiving them, and they are fun, thoughtful, and less expensive than purchased gifts. ¬†Cookie mixes or muffin mixes in jars make wonderful gifts. ¬†They are often easy enough to make that even small children can help create them. ¬†Why not consider making some of these to give this year?

1-quart canning jar with a tight-fitting lid

1 c chopped pecans

1 c. dried cranberries

1/2 c. packed brown sugar

1-3/4 c. all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2-1/2 tsp. baking powder

Layer the ingredients in order in the 1-quart Mason jar. Lightly pack down the ingredients before adding the next layer.  Put lid on the jar and cover with a pretty piece of Christmas fabric using a piece of ribbon to hold it in place. Write out the following directions and attach to the jar.

1 jar Cranberry Pecan muffin mix

3/4 c. milk

1 stick butter, melted

1 egg, slightly beaten

Pour contents of jar into large mixing bowl. Combine milk, butter and egg in separate bowl, mixing well.  Add to jar mixture and stir until just moistened. Spoon evenly into 12 greased muffin cups.

Bake at 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool in pan for about 5 minutes. Remove to rack to cool completely.


Holiday Wassail


Trim Healthy Mama is a book written by two sisters, Serene and Pearl. ¬†I’ve not read the book, but I have been following the Facebook page and learning a lot about combining foods to help with weight loss. ¬†While I don’t need to lose a lot of weight, I do need to trim down some (25 pounds gained in 25 years of marriage), and get back into shape. ¬†I will probably be prone to arthritis like my sweet mom was since I already have aches and pains. ¬†Keeping the weight down will help me in the long run. ¬†You can check out the web site here.

I came across this recipe the other day on the Trim Healthy Mama Facebook page and decided to give it a try today. ¬†Oh, my! The house smelled like Christmas as my son Sam and I began our Christmas decorating. ¬†I know that traditionally a wassail is an alcoholic beverage drunk while making a toast to a person’s health. ¬†This recipe is non-alcoholic and is actually very good for one’s health!

1 bag fresh cranberries

3 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp. whole cloves

3 whole anise stars (I didn’t have these, but I used a few drops of anise oil.)

2 quarts water

1 orange cut into slices or 2 tsp. pure orange extract

Pure Stevia extract to taste  (I used honey.)

Put the cranberries, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and anise stars into a large pot. Add 1-1/2 quarts of water. Cover and bring to a rolling boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about an hour.

Pour the wassail through a strainer into a 2-quart jar.  Add the remaining water to make a complete half gallon.  Add sweetener to taste.

Serve hot with a twist of orange.



Yummy Energy Bites!

I just love dried cranberries for a snack, and this recipe from my niece over at My Blessed Life is the perfect energy snack.  I made them last night and it was love at first bite!!  If you are looking for a healthful pick-me-up snack, this is the recipe for you!

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

As I was reading through my blog the other day I realized that I am just 9 posts away from 200!¬† I also just need 593 more views to reach 7000!¬† These facts just amaze me! I’d love to reach 200 and 7000 by the end of 2012!¬† ¬†When Barbi started us on this cookbook journey about¬†2-1/2 years¬†ago, I never dreamed that I would actually make it this far.¬† I am not really a writer. However, I do love baking and cooking, and in order to keep the blog going, I do need to write.¬† It has been a fun project!¬† I also can’t believe the wide variety of readers that I have…many different countries are represented by you, my faithful readers!¬† While North America claims the majority of you,¬†most of the¬†other continents are represented, too.¬†¬† I humbly thank you for taking your time to read my posts!

Now to the recipe for today’s dinner.¬† I have never made stuffed chicken breasts before and assumed that they are difficult to make.¬† I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they are quite easy.¬† You can use a variety of fillings…whatever flavor you want to achieve…spinach and cream cheese; shredded cheddar; broccoli, etc.¬† I decided to use stuffing, Parmesan cheese, and dried cranberries.¬† Yummy! By the time they were cooked, my kitchen smelled like Christmas!

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 box stuffing mix

1/2 c. dried cranberries

1/4 c. parmesan cheese

Place chicken breasts in a self-sealing plastic bag and pound with a meat mallet until thin.  Cook stuffing according to package directions.  Place about 1-2 tbsp. of stuffing on each chicken breast and sprinkle with about 1 tsp. of parmesan cheese.  Roll each breast and place seam-side down in a greased baking pan.  Spread remaining stuffing mix in pan in between each of the rolled chicken breasts.  Sprinkle dried cranberries and remaining parmesan cheese over the top.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until chicken is tender.  Remove foil for the last few minutes of cooking so that the meat can turn golden brown.  Serve with rice or mashed potatoes and a side of green beans!  Enjoy!

Cranberry Applesauce

Ever have “one of those weeks?”¬† Well, for me, this past week was “one of those weeks!”¬† I am so thankful that it is finally Saturday!¬† I honestly don’t know what the problem was, but it just seems like something went wrong nearly every day.

Today I wanted to do something with most of the remaining apples that my hubs brought back from PA a few weeks ago.¬† I’ve been keeping them in our spare fridge, but knew that I had to do something soon before they spoiled!¬† All the recipes that I looked at in my cookbooks called for cinnamon. This is usually not a problem, but I had run out of cinnamon!¬† I have not yet had an opportunity to visit my favorite bargain food store where I purchase cinnamon.¬† And believe me…I refuse to pay twice the price at a traditional grocery store.

Since most of the apples were getting a little soft, I decided to peel, core, and slice them and cook them in my crock pot for applesauce.¬† I didn’t follow any particular recipe at all!

Peel, core, and slice enough apples to fill up your crock pot.

Layer about 1 cup of fresh cranberries in between the apples.

Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours or until the apples and cranberries are tender.

If you like your applesauce chunky, just stir in a little sugar to taste. I used about 1/3 cup.  You can add cinnamon, cloves, or nutmeg if you desire.

My peeler/corer/slicer tool wasn’t working too well today, so I decided to run my cooked apples through a sieve.¬† I used the one my mom always used when she cooked fruits.

When I was a little girl, I would use this to help my mom make grape jelly! It was fun to squish all those cooked grapes through the sieve and see the juice in the bowl beneath!

This particular batch of applesauce came out very smooth and thick!  I think the key is letting the apples cook in their own juices!  I added just a touch of sugar to cut down on the tartness of the cranberries.  One crock pot full of apples cooked down to 1 quart of apple sauce.