Merry Christmas! Just two weeks until Christmas day. Tis the season to bake, shop until you drop, send out Christmas cards and wrap up pretty presents to set gingerly under the Christmas tree. Be sure not to burn the candle at both ends by getting some extra rest so that you can enjoy spending quality time with family and friends. Take some time out as well to attend a Christmas service at your church. I love attending a candle light service on Christmas Eve and singing along to old familiar Christmas carols. Remember Jesus is the reason for the season!

Cranberry Orange Nut Bread

I am looking forward to celebrating an early Christmas with my side of the family this weekend. I spent some time in my vintage kitchen preparing and baking three loaves of cranberry orange nut bread yesterday. One loaf is gluten free for family members who adhere to this type of food plan. Cranberry orange nut bread is familiar favorite family recipe that I remember enjoying this time of year since I was a child. My mother began her Christmas baking several weeks before Christmas. I have fond memories of my sister and I assisting her with the holiday baking. We greased up the cake pans, helped roll out and cut Christmas cookies and licked the beaters. Our Christmas Eve celebrations usually were over at my grandma’s house after we participated in the annual a Christmas play at our little Lutheran church in my hometown. Cut out Christmas cookies in the shapes of Santa Claus, reindeer, stars and Christmas trees were my favorite. Other foods on the menu included date and cranberry bread, fudge, open face sandwiches, pickles and herring. My family has a German heritage so I didn’t even try lefsa, another Scandinavian Midwest favorite  till several years later when I moved to a city settled mainly by Scandinavians.

Cranberry Orange Nut Bread

Fresh cranberries are very low in calorie content and are a good source of Vitamins C and K. They are also an excellent source of fiber and are beneficial for the kidneys, bladder, heart and immune system. They are a tasty addition to muffins, oatmeal and quick breads.

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16 slices
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ cups chopped cranberries
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 TB coconut or canola oil
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 1 TB grated orange peel
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 TB ground flaxseed
  • 1 egg or 2 egg whites, beaten well
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray to prevent sticking. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and flaxseed. Stir until well combined. add orange juice, orange peel, oil and egg and stir in well. stir in cranberries and nuts. spread the mixture evenly in a loaf pan. Bake for approximately 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool down completely before slicing. Makes one loaf. (16 slices0
You may count 1/16 of a loaf as 2 carbohydrate choices. You may reduce sugar to ¾ cup if desired.

This blog is not intended to provide medical advice. Please contact your personal health care provider for personal nutritional or medical advice.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/16 of loaf Calories: 187 Fat: 6 grams Saturated fat: 0.8 grams Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 30 grams Sodium: 156 mg Fiber: 1.5 grams Protein: 3 grams Cholesterol: 18 mg


Cranberry orange Nut bread

Have a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year! Cheers!


It’s late October already. Most of our beautiful fall leaves have fallen to the ground but there are still a few golden and red trees shimmering in the sunlight today in our neighborhood. With a chill in the air, I decided it was a great day to cook up some chili using some of my frozen cherry tomatoes and chives from the garden that we tended over the summer. This chili can be easily prepared in your crock pot before you dash off to work in the morning or outside to rake your last leaves of the season.

Garden Fresh Chili

My husband and I are moving towards consuming more grass fed meat in our diet so the recipe calls for grass fed ground beef. I purchased the family three pack of grass fed ground beef at Aldi’s recently and it came out to four dollars a pound. Of course, you can use regular ground beef or ground turkey if you would like to. Grass fed beef mainly comes from cattle that are fed only grass and other foraged foods throughout their lives. On October 15, 2007, the USDA established a standard definition for the “grass fed” claim that requires continuous access to pasture and prevents animals from being fed grains or grain based products. Conventional beef cattle usually consume a diet that includes grains such as corn. Grass fed beef has the following benefits: lower in total fat, more heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids and higher levels of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) a type of fat that can help reduce heart disease and cancer and grass fed beef  is higher in precursors for Vitamin C and E. Raising grass fed cattle is also environmentally friendly since it can hep decrease greenhouse gas emissions. I like the taste of grass fed beef better also.


Garden Fresh Chili served with Sparkling Cranberry Spritzer

Recipe type: Main Meal, Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 servings
  • 1 pound (16 oz) grass fed ground beef
  • 2 cups raw, halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup Fruit Raspberry Salsa (may use another brand or flavor of salsa if desired)
  • 1 14.5 oz can of Dell Monte Stewed tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
  • 1 15.5 oz can of drained and rinsed kidney beans
  • 1 15.5 oz can drained and rinsed black beans
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh chives or onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp each garlic and onion powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  1. Brown ground beef in a frying pan and drain off fat. Place ground beef in a large cooking pot or crock pot and add the other ingredients. Draining and rinsing the canned beans will reduce the sodium content. You could also purchase low sodium beans or pre-cook your own dried beans if sodium content is a concern.If preparing the chili on your stove top, bring to a boil and lower the heat, simmering for at least 30 minutes . If preparing in the crock pot, cook on the low setting for 3-4 hours. You can also cook on high heat and it will be done in approximately 2 hours.
Information presented in this food blog is not intended to provide medical advice. Please contact your personal health care provider for nutritional or medical advice.

1/12 recipe = 1 carbohydrate choice
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/12 recipe Calories: 172 Fat: 6 grams Saturated fat: 1 gram Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 19 grams Sodium: 187 mg Fiber: 4 grams Protein: 11 grams Cholesterol: 23 mg


When shopping for my chili ingredients, I came across  Del Monte stewed  tomatoes with basil, oregano and garlic. They have sea salt added and are non-GMO so I used these in my recipe.

Chili is not only tasty on a cool day but super nutritious also. It is a great source of vitamin C  and potassium(from the tomatoes), Vitamins K and A (from the chives) fiber, iron, (from the beans and beef) Vitamin B12, B6, selenium, zinc, phosphorus (from the beef) as well as magnesium (from the beef and beans). Serve it along side a fresh fruit salad, whole grain (or gluten free) crackers and some sparkling water or cranberry juice and you have an easy and nutritious meal for your family.

We traveled through several small cities along the Mississippi River on a recent fall trip. We did spend the evening at the New Albin Inn in New Albin, Iowa and explored this quaint small town the next morning. We purchased several local items at the new Albin Meat Market. It reminded me of an old general store. I purchased this Spirit Valley Raspberry  Fruit Salsa which I used in this chili recipe. They had a small wine section also and we bought a bottle of Cranberry Crush wine since it won the first prize at the Iowa state Fair in the wine division. The wine is made by the Winneshiek winery in Decorah, Iowa. It was a very sweet tasting wine that we both enjoyed. I mixed it with some cherry flavored mineral water to make a spritzer and it was very good. My husband snapped a picture of the old narrow lighted bridge below which is built over the Mississippi river in Lancing, Iowa.

Easy to Prepare Garden Fresh Chili

I have included some pictures from our annual fall leaf tour. We traveled over to the river road along the Mississippi River and the colors were gorgeous!

Mississippi River View in La Crosse, Wisconsin
Marina in La Crosse, Wisconsin


Awesome Autumn View



Gorgeous View of Mississippi River and Wisconsin from Iowa State Park


Mississippi River View, Pikes Peak State Park, Mc Gregor, Iowa