Cranberry Orange Granola

My favorite cranberry orange granola recipe.
cranberry-orange-granola
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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.
http://naturalgreenmom.com/cranberry-orange-granola/

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

How to Cook and Freeze Organic Pinto Beans

How to Cook and Freeze Organic Pinto Beans

Here’s another great organic food money and time saver: cook and freeze pinto beans. This is a perfect meal starter for meals like chili, bean and cheese burritos, burrito bowls, refried bean pizza on homemade whole wheat crust… anywhere you use beans. This is by far the easiest recipe I’ve found, and in the video I show you just how much money you can save!

My favorite use for these beans? Burrito Bowls! Make up a batch for the Superbowl and use them to make your own burrito bowls. Guaranteed crowd pleaser!

If the video is not appearing in your window/email, please head here to view it.

What is your favorite way to eat pinto beans?

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

 

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Let’s jump into fall, shall we? These baked donuts were sooooo delicious! And I love that they use whole wheat flour!

I’ve had trouble with baked donuts in the past. Too dry. This recipe calls for an apple cider glaze that really moistens the baked donuts. Don’t leave it out, k?

Ingredients

2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour

1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon cloves

1/2 cup organic light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup organic cane sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 C organic unsweetened applesauce

Cider Glaze

2 T butter

1/2 C apple cider or apple juice

Instructions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Prep two baked donut pans.

click image for purchasing information

In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and both sugars.  Whisk together ingredients until combined.

In a small bowl, whisk together butter, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, buttermilk, and applesauce.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Spread donut batter evenly into baked donut pans.  Bake 12- to 15 minutes or until donuts are slightly golden.

Remove donuts and set onto a cooling rack placed above a jelly roll pan.

Apple Baked Donuts

Prick the donuts with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat the butter and apple cider over medium-low heat and allow to cook until slightly thickened. Pour the glaze over the donuts before serving!

Using Natural Cleaning Recipes for your Home – Essential Oils

Natural Cleaning Recipes for your home - sunflower picture

Natural Cleaning Recipes - Sunflower

Today, Heidi from Little People Wealth is guest posting!

Many of my natural cleaning recipes for your home contain essential oils. Essential oils are a great way to clean your home! They smell wonderful and can be both safe and effective to use in your home.

Lemon essential oil has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It can be used straight to disinfect almost anything and it can be used as an addition to your natural cleaning recipes to increase their efficiency. I add 5-10 drops to the water I use to mop the floor. Lemon oil also has the added benefit of having an uplifting smell. Since a lemon scent is used in many store bought cleaners it is a great “gateway” essential oil for people just beginning to switch their store bought cleaners with natural cleaning recipes.

Like the lemon essential oil, orange essential oil also has a scent we are used to when we think of “clean”. Orange essential oil is one of my favorite oils to use in my natural cleaning recipes for this reason and because it is one of the cheapest essential oils you can buy. I like to add it to floor and counter top cleaners and it also works great when you diffuse it into a room (even if it is smoky).

You can purchase essential oil at a health or natural food store, but you will get a better price if you look online. One of my favorite places to find my essential oils is on Amazon. There are many third party vendors who sell through Amazon, but you can still use your free amazon gift cards to pay for the essential oils! It is the cheapest way to purchase essential oils.

Using natural cleaning recipes for your home is a great way to get harsh (and unsafe) cleaners out of your home.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I write for Frugal Tips by Little People Wealth and I hope to see you there soon!

How to Bake Bacon: Bacon Bundles

Have you baked bacon in the oven? To get the perfect amount of crispiness on your bacon – with no burnt pieces – let me show you how to bake bacon in the oven. But I’m not going to stop with plain old bacon slices. No. I want to show you how to bake bacon into a bacon bundle. The perfect bacon shape for adding bacon to your sandwiches and hamburgers. Yummy.

Oven Baked Bacon Bundle

See how perfectly it fits onto the bread? That’s so you can get a delicious bite of bacon every time.

A note on bacon: I only buy it nitrate-free. Nitrates can be converted into nitrites in the body – which are known carcinogens. It is easy to find nitrate-free bacon, so make a healthy choice for yourself!

Here’s exactly how I bake bacon in the oven to create bacon bundles:

How to Bake Bacon: Bacon Bundles

If you can’t see the video, head to The Natural Green Mom YouTube channel.

What’s your favorite sandwich featuring bacon?

Bunco: Inexpensive Game Night Decorations

Bunco Decorations and Snacks

Do you play the dice game bunco? I’ve had a bunco group in almost every state we’ve ever lived – and I even had one in Jordan! It is such a great way to get together with lots of friends once a month to enjoy a fun evening.

The way our bunco group works is we have 12 players, and we each take a turn hostessing. Last month was my month to hostess, so I was looking for an inexpensive way to dress up some flowers I literally picked off the side of the highway. That’s right. We have tons of black-eyed Susans (or are they sunflowers???) lining our highways right now, and I just didn’t see any reason not to pick a few. Yes, I was a girl scout. I do know not to pick a wildflower. Somehow I just don’t see these as wildflowers. And what would happen if we allllll picked the flowers from the side of the road? Great question. But it hasn’t happened yet, so it would all just be hypothetical, right? Anyway, there they were. There I was. On to the super cheap floral arrangement!

If you’ve ever received flowers, you probably have one of these florist vases just laying around. If not, I always see dozens of them at the Goodwill for around .75 each. You then need a small tupperware that will fit inside and lots of dice. I raided all our family games for the extra dice.

Bunco Flower Decorations supplies

Here’s your super simple steps to creating a Bunco floral centerpiece:

  1. Stick the tupperware inside the vase
  2. Line the outside of the vase with the dice
  3. Fill the tupperware inside the vase with the flowers
  4. Fill the tupperware with water

This is the end result:

Bunco Floral Decoration

Pretty cute, huh? One word of caution: if you pick flowers from the side of the road, you may find you’ll be bringing a few bugs along with them. Including a very freaky looking white spider. You’ll want to get rid of them before your guests come!

Next, I made two cheese spreads and decorated them to look like dice. To get any cheeseball/cheese spread recipe into the shape of dice, pull out your square shaped tupperware and line it with plastic wrap:

Tupperware Lined with Plastic Wrap

Then, once you’ve made your spread/or cheeseball recipe, smooth it into the square shape and wrap it with the wrap:

Square shaped cheeseball

Now I’m going to give you the recipe to what was perhaps the most delicious cheeseball EVER! It was a Lemon Cheesecake Cheeseball! You really only need three inexpensive ingredients and I promise your guests will be moaning with cheesecake delight!

  • 1 package of cream cheese
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice from half a lemon

Mix it all together and serve with graham crackers and fruit.

Trust me, when you make this recipe, you’re going to want to come back here and thank me. So I’ll just say it now: You’re Welcome.

Ok, now to turn your cheeseballs into a great centerpiece, simply unwrap them from the plastic and turn them out onto a platter. Decorate them to look like the number six dice using halved cherry tomatoes for a savory cheeseball and halved cherries for a sweet cheeseball.

Cheeseballs Decorated Like Dice

Double sixes! Not quite a Bunco (which requires 3 sixes), but definitely a cute centerpiece to feed your hungry Bunco crowd! Do you Bunco?