Food Challenge: Cranberries

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Food Challenge:  CranberriesThis week we challenge you to make something with cranberries.

Cranberries are ruby red like jewels and their peak season spans the holidays. Now is a great time to take them home and make something delicious. Cranberry sauce is what most of us think of first (and it’s not hard to make from scratch), but you can also use them fresh or dried in breads and muffins, energy balls and cereal, and in warm or cold salads.

Cranberries have a fairly short season, but they are packed with health benefits that can help keep your military family healthy during the holidays. To keep your family healthy during the off-season, look for unsweetened cranberry juice to drink.Food Challenge: Cranberries

Cranberry Pistachio Bites

Tips - I substituted dark chocolate chips in these bites and they turned out amazing. They are the perfect pre-yoga snack, giving me the energy I need for a strong practice, but not making my belly uncomfortably full. Be careful when buying ingredients though because you could break the bank. I like to buy chia seeds at Trader Joe's, but if you can't find them at a reasonable price you could just double up on flax seeds which are available at the commissary. Shelled pistachios are expensive. To save money you could shell them yourself.

Cranberry Sauce with Star Anise

Tips - Licorice-flavored star anise is really pretty and provides a unique flavor to homemade cranberry sauce, but it can be expensive. You could use cinnamon sticks instead, which are more widely available. I steeped the anise in a disposable tea bag and tied it with thread. I substituted coconut sugar for the regular sugar in this recipe and my husband complained that it didn't quite taste traditional enough. I guess next time I’ll use traditional sugar. It is a holiday recipe after all.

Cranberry-Nut Mini Loaves with Flax Seeds

Tips – These pretty loaves would make a lovely hostess gift or breakfast for overnight guests. This recipe is from Eating Well so it's pretty healthy as is. But, I wanted to boost the health factor so I used whole-wheat pastry flour instead of the other flours, coconut sugar, and coconut oil. Whole-wheat pastry flour is really great because it is less processed than all-purpose flour, but it has a lighter, more delicate taste than regular whole-wheat flour so it is perfect for baking. Dr. Oz calls coconut sugar the best new sugar alternative because it could prevent the sugar crashes that make you hungry and cause you to gain weight.

Show us what you made with cranberries on Instagram or Facebook using the tag #IDfoodchallenge. Can’t wait to see what you came up with!