Created by Pam Anderson from ThreeManyCooks.com, these large and bountiful muffins will be a holiday favorite for years to come!

Big Beautiful Muffins with Cranberries and White Chocolate

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup dried cranberries, plus a couple of extra for studding the muffins
1 cup chopped white chocolate*, plus a little extra for studding the muffins
1 1/2 cups Green Valley Organics vanilla yogurt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flavorless oil, such as canola

Preparation

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; add cranberries and chocolate; toss to combine.

Whisk yogurt, eggs and oil in a medium bowl. Add to dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.

Spray a 12-cup muffin tin (with cups of 1/2 cup capacity) with vegetable cooking spray.

Use a large ice cream scoop to divide batter evenly among the cups; stud muffin batter tops with additional cranberries and chocolate. Scoop batter into muffin tin.

Bake until muffins are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Set on a wire rack to cool slightly, just a few minutes. Remove muffins from tin and serve warm.

About the Chef

This recipe was reated for Green Valley Organics by Pam Anderson, who along with her daughters, blogs at threemanycooks.com. She is AARP’s official food expert and a contributing columnist for Runner’s World magazine. She is former Executive Editor of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and the author of seven cookbooks. “When my daughters, Maggy and Sharon, were growing up we frequently made muffins together. I like to use yogurt to make muffins because it creates a thick batter that you can generously scoop high in the muffin tin to create a gorgeous puffy muffin. Thinner batters (made with milk) overflow before they puff.”

*Note from Green Valley Organics: We love the holiday combination of cranberries and white chocolate, look for lactose-free white chocolate; or replace with kosher pareve dark chocolate or nuts, such as walnuts.

Holiday Everyday PunchFrozen berries and cherries are perfect for this recipe. Thaw the fruit in the refrigerator overnight (in a bowl to collect the juices) and proceed with the recipe exactly as written.

Canned sour cherries are generally found in the canned fruit section at your grocery store. As they’re not generally a big seller — though they should be — they’re usually on the top or bottom shelf.

Tip: To avoid watering down the final product with ice cubes, make a punch cube: before adding the seltzer and lime juice, pour about 1 ½ cups of the punch into a round plastic bowl or food storage container. Add a few fresh berries into the container and freeze until solid. Use your punch cube to keep everything nice and cold during service.

Holiday Everyday Punch

Ingredients

1 pint fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 pint fresh blackberries
1 can (14.5 ounces) Pitted Tart Cherries, such as Oregon brand, with juices reserved
1 bottle Langer’s Cranberry Açai Plus Juice, chilled
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (approximately 3-5 limes, juiced)
1 liter Lime Seltzer Water, such as Polar, chilled

Preparation

In a medium pot, combine the raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and the sour cherries, including the liquid they’re packed with; if you’re using frozen fruit, be sure to add all of the liquid released during thawing to the pan. Place the pan over medium heat, bring to a low simmer, and reduce the heat to keep the fruit just barely simmering. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 15 minutes or until everything is soft. While still warm, pour the fruit and juices into a fine mesh strainer, pressing the berries with a spoon but not pushing the pulp through the mesh. Set the bowl aside to cool, leaving the strainer atop it to collect any last drips of juice. You’ll end up with somewhere between 1 and 2 cups of juice; this juice can be refrigerated for up to three days or frozen for a month.

To serve, combine the berry juice, the bottled juice and the lime juice in a large punch bowl and stir. Just before service, add ice and pour in the seltzer. If desired, serve the punch with a bowl of fresh berries that your guests can add to their serving.

Makes 20 servings.

*Recipe created by Erin Dow, and image courtesy of Guiding Stars.*

ID-100197651Decadent browned butter sauce is an optional topping for this hearty, wholesome soup from Guiding Stars that puts you wintered over pumpkins to excellent use. Serve with a generous salad of leafy greens for a meal balanced in texture and temperature.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients

1 medium sugar pumpkin, roasted and cooled
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 whole stems thyme
1 tablespoon picked thyme leaves
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (Optional)
2 large leeks, quartered lengthwise and finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely sliced
1 quart low-sodium vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon

Preparation

1. Warm olive oil over medium-high heat. Add leeks and onion and cook until softened. Add stock and maple syrup and bring to a simmer.
2. Add roasted pumpkin, bay leaves and whole thyme to the pot. Let simmer for 15-30 minutes then remove leave and stems. Puree soup until completely smooth.
3. (Optional) Heat butter in a small skillet over medium heat until butter is browned and nutty. Remove from heat and add thyme leaves. Add lemon juice and drizzle over individual portions of soup.

*Recipe courtesy of Guiding Stars. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

Vegan, gluten-free, and utterly delicious, this recipe is a prefect addition to your celebration recipes—all of your guests are sure to gobble it up with relish. For easier preparation, feel free to replace the squash with canned pumpkin puree.

Squash Risotto

Ingredients

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup brown risotto rice
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
a handful of fresh coriander leaves
2 sage leaves, chiffonade
Juice from half a lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preparation

1. Cook the rice according to package directions.
2. Spread squash on a baking sheet and toss with oil, herbs and spices. Roast in a 400 Degree Fahrenheit oven until soft.
3. Puree most of the squash a splash of water, nutritional yeast, vinegar, salt and lemon. Blend until creamy.
4. When the rice is almost cooked, stir in the squash sauce and the reserved roasted squash. Garnish with additional coriander leaves and serve warm.

Serves 4.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Guiding Stars.*

Cranberries and pears are simple ingredients, yet ideal for elevating a festive dessert full of fall flavors. This moist loaf will be bursting with fruity goodness, so get ready to roll up your sleeves and get your bake on!

Pear & Cranberry Loaf

Ingredients

2/3 cup rolled oats
1 cup milk (“Mom” prefers organic)
1 cup self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup fresh or dried cranberries
1 cup fresh or dried pears, diced
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Put oats and milk in a bowl. If you’re using dried pears, put them in the bowl to soak and plump up before baking.
3. Stir remaining ingredients into the soaked oat mixture. Mix together well and spoon the mixture into a WearEver Pure Living Loaf Pan.
4. Bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden and toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

*Recipe and image courtesy of WearEver.*

plum-ricotta-muffinsThese muffins make a satisfying on-the-go, portable breakfast or delicious after school snack! Packed with nutritious ingredients, this is your stuff-your-face, feel-good and guilt-free dessert that can be devoured anytime of the day! “Mom” has just been introduced to Camelina Oil, a new oil that is high in Omega-3 fatty acids that has been touted as the new flaxseed oil, but is heat stable so can be used while cooking and baking.

Plum Ricotta Muffins

Ingredients

1⁄2 cup rolled oats
1⁄2 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 cups all purpose flour
1⁄2 cup ground flax seeds
11⁄2 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp ground cardamom
1⁄2 cup coconut sugar
1⁄2 cup ricotta cheese
1⁄2 cup Veg-licious Camelina Oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp orange zest
1 cup diced red plums (about 3 small plums)
3 cups whole red plums, sliced into wedges for garnish

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line a standard sized muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

In a small bowl stir together oats, ginger and maple syrup until well combined. Set aside.

Into a medium sized bowl sift together flour, ground flax, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together coconut sugar, ricotta cheese, Veg-licious Camelina Oil, eggs, vanilla and orange zest.

Add flour mixture and stir with a fork until just combined.

Stir in diced plums and divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

Arrange 2 or 3 slices of plum on top of each muffin and sprinkle generously with oat topping.

Bake muffins until tops are golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Allow muffins to cool for 10 minutes before removing from tin and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

While best eaten the same day they are made, muffins can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Makes 12 muffins.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Sea-licious.*

Avocado Egg SaladThere’s good news for those who are looking for ways to include avocados in their meal plans, as part of a healthy diet.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, replacing some saturated fats with good fats like those found in avocados may improve the quality of one’s diet. Fresh avocados are delicious, cholesterol-free and a whole-food source of naturally good fats. Their mild flavor and creamy texture also make them versatile enough to include in a variety of dishes to be enjoyed every day. The fruit also contributes nearly 20 nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

The Hass Avocado Board has announced its new Love One Today campaign, sharing ways to love fresh avocados with all the benefits they can provide. At LoveOneToday.com, you can find recipes, how to buy and store avocados, expert tips and more.

For inspiration on how to include avocados in your diet, try this twist on an old favorite in which creamy avocado and spicy Dijon mustard replace mayonnaise.

Avocado Egg Salad

Ingredients

1 ripe Hass Avocado, halved, seeded and peeled

6 hard-boiled cage-free eggs, peeled and halved

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup minced onion

2 tablespoons chopped chives (optional)

Preparation

1. Remove and discard yolks of two of the eggs; chop remaining whites and yolks; set aside.

2. In a bowl, combine half of the avocado, vinegar, mustard and salt; mash until smooth. Dice remaining avocado and add to mixture along with eggs and onion; mix gently.

Serving Suggestion:

Serve on toast or gluten-free crackers. Garnish with chives, if desired.

Note: Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller- or larger-size avocados, adjust the quantity accordingly.

Serves 4.

*Recipe and image courtesy of www.LoveOneToday.com and NAPS.*

Grilled_Balsamic_Honey_Peaches_FetaFrom the 10 Fitch Luxurious Romantic Inn located in Auburn, NY, comes this delightfully simple yet elegant recipe!

Grilled Balsamic Honey & Feta Peaches

Ingredients

6-8 peaches
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preparation

1. Wash and halve peaches – remove pit.

2. Combine honey, balsamic & nutmeg, set aside.

3. Oil your grill or spray with non-stick spray. Place peaches cut side down on heated grill.

4. Brush bottoms of peaches liberally with honey-balsamic glaze and grill until starting to turn tender and nice grill marks appear.

5. Turn peaches over onto bottoms and brush tops liberally with honey-balsamic glaze, then sprinkle with a little brown sugar.

6. Continue grilling until peaches are tender drizzling with more glaze if desired.

7. Immediately add crumbled feta to center of peaches.

Serve warm.

Peaches can be kept warm in 250 degree oven or toaster oven for up to 30 minutes.

*Recipe and image courtesy of BNBFinder.com.*

Not to be mistaken for the yellow mustard frequently squirted on hot dogs or hamburgers, Colman’s Mustard is a powerful, versatile ingredient that at-home cooks, as well as restaurant chefs, use to add an extra dimension of irresistible flavor to their meals. Place a dollop on your turkey, add a teaspoon to your favorite salad vinaigrette, or try an exciting twist on classic Thanksgiving mashed potatoes with the following recipe!

Colman’s Sweet Potato & Mustard Mash

Ingredients

4 large sweet potatoes
8 fl oz half and half or full cream (“Mom” prefers organic)
6 level teaspoons of Colman’s Prepared Mustard
Juice of 2 Lemons

Preparation

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into large cubes.
Boil them for 15 minutes in salted water until they are just tender but not soft.
Drain, and transfer to a blender and add the cream. Blend for about 30 seconds until you have a smooth mixture.
Return the potatoes to the pan and stir in the Colman’s Mustard, warm through and add the lemon juice.

Serves 8.

(Source: Paul Hartley’s ‘The Colman’s Mustard Cookbook’)

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Fall a great time of year for so many reasons; sweaters, changing leaves, and above all, pumpkin is back in season! Sadly, many pumpkin favorites are packed with calories and unwanted fats. Recipe Rehab has a solution once again! Chef Tana’s Pumpkin Bar Recipe is a delicious and healthier pumpkin dessert; an instant favorite for anyone who can’t go without their daily dose of pumpkin, but wants to stay healthy.

Chef Tana’s Pumpkin Bars

Ingredients

2 cup(s) pumpkin puree
4 large egg(s), free-range
1/2 cup(s) raw honey
2 tablespoon sugar substitute, such as xylitol or stevia in the raw
1/2 cup(s) grapeseed oil
1/4 cup(s) light coconut milk
3/4 cup(s) rice flour
3/4 cup(s) all-purpose, gluten-free flour
1/2 cup(s) almond meal
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground
1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
1 cooking spray
8 ounce(s) cheese, neufchâtel, or vegan cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup(s) honey, raw

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F.

2. To make the batter: Using a handheld electric mixer at medium speed, beat together the pumpkin, eggs, honey, Xylitol, oil, and coconut milk until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Slowly add flour mixture to liquid mixture and mix with electric mixer at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth.

3. Spray a jellyroll pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the batter into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting and cutting into bars.

4. To make the frosting: Using a handheld electric mixer at medium speed, beat together the cream cheese and honey. Mix until smooth and creamy.

*Recipe and image courtesy of EverydayHealth.com/RecipeRehab.*