Monday, December 6, 2010

Cranberry Recipe Shoutout

When pumpkin-picking has passed, when the leaves have turned their vibrant colours and fallen to the ground, and as snow starts to blanket my city for three long months of bitter cold, what food better describes the passage from fall to winter up here in the great North than the cranberry? There's something about cranberries that just remind me of the passage from fall to winter. I don't know if it's just because American Thanksgiving seems to fall during that transition period, or if it's just something about the berry's vibrant red hue, which is both such a Yuletide colour and reminiscent of those bright red berry bushes you sometimes see when you're trekking or cross-country skiing through abandoned trails. Either way, they make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. As cranberry season comes to end, I'm assuming harvesters have long past flooded the last of their bogs before water turns to ice so I want to eat all the fresh cranberries I can get.

Cranberries are amazing for you, especially for us female types (check out an earlier post of mine extolling the awesomeness of cranberries). And aside from the benefits I already cited there, I also found out that cranberries are wonderful for the blood, and also act as a digestive aid for removing fat from the body! Yay, cranberries!

The first I wanted to do when I would pick some up next is try out a recipe I saw on Green Lemonade (an awesome blog on maintaining a healthy lifestyle regardless of your dietary choices) called the Holiday Cranberry Smoothie.

While the original recipe probably had a smoother texture by adding in cashews and sweetener and what not, I've been shying away from "less raw" foods like cashews and sweeteners. Instead, I decided to give the concept a go by making my own "not for the faint of heart version." I understand that cranberries are super tart, but I'm not that willing to douse them in sugar to make them more palatable. I love them just the way they are!

My version of the cranberry smoothie essentially only blending the 1 C of fresh cranberries and 1 1/2 C of almond milk. Earlier, I made my almond milk from 1/4 C soaked raw almonds + 1 date + 1 stick of vanilla and water, blended in the Vitamix and then strained through a nutmilk bag (p.s. the nut pulp makes a great textural addition to raw cookies).

The finished product was pretty sour, but the almond milk gave it a wonderful smoothness. If I were to suggest this to you (unless your a huge unadulterated fresh cranberry fan like me), I'd suggest adding in an extra date or two, or maybe a teaspoon of your favourite liquid sweetener or something to the finish product. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed my version. Something about it just made me want to bundle up for the winter and hibernate. Hope the rest of you aren't as cold as I am! Happy wintering!

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