Cranberry Orange Granola

My favorite cranberry orange granola recipe.
I’m sure you have your own favorite granola recipe. However, I wanted to share mine.

Because 9 out of 10 people who were never asked said this was the best granola recipe for the holidays.

I love the cranberry orange flavor combination as well as the fact that this quick and healthy recipe uses whole food ingredients like coconut oil and maple syrup.

You may want to double this recipe – some for you and some for gift giving!

Cranberry Orange Granola

Cranberry Orange Granola


  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
  • 1 C unsweetened large flake coconut (optional)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • Grated zest of 2 oranges
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (may substitute butter)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup


  1. Preheat the oven to 300.
  2. Combine the oats, nuts, coconut (if using), salt, cranberries, and orange zest in a large bowl.
  3. Heat the coconut oil (or butter) and maple syrup over low flame, just until butter melts.
  4. Pour over the dry mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into a jelly roll pan.
  5. Bake for 50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  6. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Granola Breakfast for Two

This is how I like to package mine:

Buy a milk bottle shaped bottles from here or you may be able to find them at a local craft store.

Paint a four pack box white.

To one bottle add coffee beans. To a second bottle add milk. To a third bottle add yogurt. To the last bottle add some cranberry orange granola.

You’ve got a darling package with breakfast for two!

This makes an amazing hostess gift, or it would be the perfect gift to bring if you are staying as someone’s house guest.

Homemade Holidays

DIY Project: Tomato Cage Topiaries

I saw this idea for Tomato Cage Topiaries years ago in a Southern Living magazine. Of course, theirs were completely covered in fruits and pinecones and other fluffy stuff I simply didn’t have. What I did have was some garland, white lights and ribbon, and two tomato cages just taking up space in the garage.

Tomato Cage Topiary


To make a tomato cage topiary, pull that tomato cage out of the garage where you thought you were storing it for the winter. Simply wrap the garland with white lights and a ribbon. Then wrap the tomato cage with the garland. Add a bow on top and some cascading ribbon down the side. Use your empty flower pots to stake the tomato cage to. Aren’t empty flower pots depressing? Now they don’t have to be!

PRESTO! In 10 minutes you’ve got DIY Tomato Cage Topiaries!

Tomato Cage Topiaries with White Lights

So have you finished decorating for the season, or are you just getting started?

Homemade Black Apple Tea Mix Recipe

Apple Tea

This homemade black apple tea mix is a great gift to give the tea lover in your life. Apple tea is a favorite in our family. We find nothing is more perfect to sip on cold afternoons.

There is only one problem with this apple tea. The dried apples and cloves infuse the tea with so much flavor, once you try a cup, you might find you don’t want to give it away!

I do have a helpful hint for making this recipe. The recipe calls for drying 1 apple. That is all you need to make for the tea. However, my advice to you is to make several apples. Cuz what is going to happen is you will smell those apples as they dry. Your mouth will start to water. You won’t be able to resist sampling one, which will lead to two. Plus, you can’t keep a smell to yourself. No, the smell will permeate the home. Your family is going to ask what you are making. They will ask for their own sample, and soon your dried apple will be gone. So do yourself a favor. The food processor is already getting dirty with one apple. May as well slice 3 or 4. The oven already has to be on for 90 minutes, so may as well have 4 trays of apples drying. Really, what’s not to love about making both snack and a gift in one fell swoop?!?

Here’s how to make Black Apple Tea for a Homemade Holiday gift:

Apple Tea Ingredients
Black Apple Tea Recipe

1 sweet organic apple (I used honeycrisp, but you could use gala or fuji)
2 T lemon juice
2 t turbinado sugar
1/2 C loose leaf black tea
15 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks, broken (to break cinnamon sticks, place on towel and fold towel over. hit with heavy object several times)

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Slice the apples as thin as possible. (I used the food processor) Soak the slices in a bowl of ice, water and the 2 T lemon juice for 5 minutes.

Soaking Apples

Drain slices and lay in one layer on a cookie sheet lined with either silpat or parchment paper. Bake in the preheated oven for 90 minutes.

Apple Slices Ready for Drying

Once dried and cooled, chop the apples finely. Mix the dried apples with the remaining ingredients. Store in an airtight container.

**To brew the tea, brew 1 tablespoon in one cup of hot water for 2 minutes.**

Stored properly, the tea will last 6 months. However, I doubt anyone can keep it around that long!

To package my tea, I used a Martinelli’s apple juice bottle. I loved that is was already apple shaped. I then added a green “leaf” that I cut out of a kleenex box that was green. On the backside of the leaf, I wrote the instructions for brewing the tea. This is the result:

Apple Tea

Do you have any tea lovers in your life that would like Black Apple Tea Mix?

Be sure you check out all my healthy drink recipes.

Homemade Holidays


DIY Christmas Gift: Vodka Cherry Bounce

It’s July. It’s 90 degrees. It’s looking nothing like Christmas. But it’s never too early to start planning ahead to make some budget-friendly gifts that friends and family will appreciate.

This recipe is perfect to make at this time of year. Cherries are fresh and in season. But that’s not the best part. What is the best part? This recipe will take you 2 minutes to put together and then you just put it on a shelf until Thanksgiving week! In the meantime, start saving and washing cute bottles that you can strain the Cherry Bounce into and decorate to present as gifts. How easy is that?

Here’s how its done:

Vodka Cherry Bounce Recipe

4 Cups Washed, Stemmed and Pitted Cherries

2 teaspoons Vanilla (optional)

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 quart Vodka

Put cherries in the bottom of a tightly sealing jar. Add sugar. Add vanilla. Pour vodka over the top. Place on a cool, dark shelf for at least 3 months. The longer it sits, the more potent it becomes. After 3 months, strain cherry bounce into tightly sealing containers, placing only a few of the cherries in the bottom of the container.