Welcome to My Year Without

On January 1, 2008, I made a New Year's resolution to cut out refined sugar for one year. I cut out white refined sugar and corn syrups. My quest to be sugar-free evolved into political interest, public health, and letter writing to food manufacturers. Join me in sugar sleuthing, and learn more about the psychological aspects of sugar addiction, and those who push sugar on us.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dried Cranberries: Recipes and More

I love dried cranberries. I mean, I really LOVE dried cranberries. When I first gave up sugar in January 2008, it broke my heart that most brands of dried cranberries were covered in white sugar. I was ecstatic when I recently had the opportunity to review a package of dried cranberries, compliments of Eden Organic. Not only did they send cranberries, but I was "accidentally" sent dried cherries, too, as well as recipes, nutritional info, and their 2010/2011 catalog. I dove into each: cranberries, cherries (so tart, oh my!), and the catalog, which is full of a wide variety of items, including hard to find items like kuzu root, lotus root tea powder, and agar agar.

A bit about Eden Foods:
  • "Eden foods is the oldest organic food company in the US and Canada.
  • Eden foods means NO: Irradiation, Preservatives, Toxic additives, Food colorings, Refined sugars, or Modern genetic engineering.
  • Eden relationships with organic growers and over 355 family farms."
I used an Eden Foods cookie recipe, but as always, I made changes here and there, based on what I had in my kitchen. The cookies turned out incredible. The dried cranberries add a sweet zest. Though not as dark in color as other cranberries, they are just as flavorful and sweet as the other naturally sweetened varieties I've tried, and, they are bigger in size and organic.

Here are two oatmeal cookie recipes. The first is my version, and the second is the original recipe that I used to come up with mine.

Oatmeal Cranberry Walnut Cookies
2 C. old-fashioned rolled oats
1 and a half C. white whole wheat flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 C. chopped walnuts
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1/2 C. organic apple juice
1/4 C. sorghum cane syrup
1/2 C. dried cranberries
1 tsp. pure vanilla
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil baking sheet. Mix dry ingredients separately from wet. Combine wet ingredients and then mix with dry.

Drop on baking sheet, pressing down on each cookie and shaping into a circle. Bake for approximately 10 minutes.

Just a note about some of the ingredients I used. Apple juice is a fantastic liquid sweetener. It keeps the cookie moist while not taking over in flavor. I opted to use regular vegetable oil instead of olive oil because the times I've tried olive oil in cookie recipes, the cookie tastes too much like olive oil. I'm not sure how these would have turned out using olive oil.....

Note the sorghum I used for sweetener. I just got it from MOM's and they purchase it from a small family farm here in the US. Sorghum was recently brought to my attention because of its unusual flavor (sort of like a milder version of molasses) and its nutrients. Most liquid sweeteners don't have much to boast about nutrients. But sorghum has calcium, iron and potassium, to name a few. As far as the cookies go, I think the salt was in perfect proportion to the sweet sorghum (or whichever sweetener you use), making these cookies super yummy and highly recommended.


You can find the original recipe (Eden Organic: Oatmeal Cherry Pecan Cookies ) by clicking here.

Next on my list to try: Dried Cherry Tart with Oatmeal Crust....

Fun Ideas For Dried Cranberries
  1. Toast: Spread whatever kind of butter you use, then spread a thin layer of honey, then sprinkle generously with cranberries. It's more delicious than jam.
  2. Oatmeal: Sprinkle on top or for a softer version, add to the oatmeal as it's cooking.
  3. Cereal: Sprinkle on top to make the most boring cereal exciting.
  4. Trail Mix For Your Purse: Find yourself out and about and hungry? I always throw a little bag of trail mix in my purse if I'm going to be out long. A simple mixture of dried cranberries, almonds, macadamia nuts, pistachios, peanuts, raisins, etc.
  5. Trail Mix For Your Car: Who doesn't get hungry on long drives? I always keep a bag of trail mix in my glove box and it hits the spot especially if I get stuck in traffic between meals and my stomach is growling.
  6. Trail Mix For Your Desk: If you work in an office, keep a jar/bowl/bag of trail mix somewhere you can easily access it for when you get hungry or just get the munchies but want to avoid the vending machine. Add a glass of ice water and there, you've avoided the junk food vending machine and the soda vending machine. Start a healthy trend around the office.
  7. Trail Mix For Travel: Whether you travel by plane, train or automobile, having this snack with you will keep you satisfied. The peanuts in flight are usually honey-roasted and covered in sugar.
  8. Homemade Biscotti
  9. Oatmeal Cookies: If you like raisins in oatmeal cookies, you'll love cranberries.
  10. Salad: An excellent addition to a green salad. Sprinkle sunflower seeds and dried cranberries for added sweetness and burst of flavor.