another place to write stuff and post pictures


Gluten-Free Baguette

gluten-free baguette pieces



1 1/2 cups Brown rice flour (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill because it’s so fine)

1/2 cups Millet flour

1/3 cup  Tapioca starch or flour (or Cassava flour)

1/3 cup  Potato starch (not potato flour)

1/3 cup Arrowroot flour

3 1/2 tsp Guar gum (can substitute flax seeds by grinding 3.5 tsp with 3.5 tsp warm water and let soak)                

1 1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1/4 cup  Coconut Sugar    

1/4 oz /1 packet Dry yeast   (1.5 tsp of instant yeast if you have it loose)       

1 3/4 cup Milk         

1/4 cup Olive oil

1 tsp Apple cider vinegar

3 Eggs (room temperature if possible)

For baguettes you will need a special baguette pan…otherwise, you can use a loaf pan as long as you grease it well, or use a silicone pan.


In a large mixing bowl (preferably your stand mixer bowl) combine the flour blend, salt, and sugar. Use a whisk to mix thoroughly. Make a small depression in the center of the flour mix and pour the yeast packet into it.

Warm milk to 100F – 110F (or whatever temperature yeast calls for). Pour warm milk gently over the flour and yeast. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. If it does not foam up, something’s wrong–find a different yeast and try again…

Add the oil, vinegar, and eggs and mix well until smooth and free of lumps, preferably using the stand mixer. The mixture will be sticky and the consistency of thick cake batter, not firm like wheat bread dough. It will quickly try to climb the sides because of the gumminess of the millet, so be sure to watch it! You may need to keep putting some of it back in with a spatula (preferably silicone).

First %22shaped%22

While it’s embarrassing to admit this, I only took pictures the first time I made this, and after I tried shaping the loaves on the baguette pan sprayed with oil and having them partially “drip” through the bottom. I now recommend (having great success with this–just didn’t take pics) LINING THE PAN WITH PARCHMENT PAPER–just cut a piece and drape it across all 2 or 3 (this is kind of a “mini” baguette pan) hollows. Spread out the dough as best you can to shape–a silicone spatula works well for this, dip it in water if you need to.

after 30 min rise

Allow to rise for 30 minutes. As you can see, the dough will rise, but not double in size–it will gain some volume in the oven potentially. Preheat the oven to 375F. Once it’s up to temperature, pop them into the oven and bake for 25 minutes. (Again, these are slightly smaller loaves, so if you have a larger baguette pan that only makes two, you may need to play it by ear).


They will turn out pretty browned and, as you can see, gain some more volume in the oven! These can cool in the pan (again, on the parchment paper!).

If you use a loaf pan, you will want to bake them a bit longer, like 35 minutes, and you’ll need to remove them from the loaf pan after they’ve cooled 15 minutes or so to turn upside down and release more moisture from the bottom.

Either bread is really nice sliced, toasted, and served with butter. Enjoy! I usually store them in ziplock bags, but the baguettes don’t stay around long enough to spoil–they get eaten up pretty quick.


Recently I had a job interview that went really well for the first one, and they asked me back, and during that one, I had all sorts of red flags go off, and I KNEW, basically, from that second interview that I could never work there, but I wanted a job so bad to get out of debt, so went against my instincts (which felt TERRIBLE), and asked what the compensation was–and was disqualified, much to my instant relief.

I found out later that it was a very good thing I disqualified myself, because that company would have been TERRIBLE to work for, and that it was preferable to have a bad interviewing experience than a bad job experience.

Emotions are powerful indicators of what our intuition is telling us. Our mind can overpower our “gut” for only so long, and feelings will out, eventually, if not immediately. What I’m learning lately is that I have much less tolerance than I used to for ignoring my instincts. Doing so, especially in such a situation as the job, with my friends urging me to “go for it and ignore your fears,” quickly drives me into deep, overwhelming depression, and I suspect it is a protection mechanism at this point.

The idea for the graphic below (done in Illustrator) came from a dream I had a few weeks ago, of an “Emotion-o-meter” to gauge situations, thoughts, beliefs, etc. Anything that felt GOOD was allowing my core vibration, anything that felt BAD was resisting my core vibration. It was a pretty powerful image to me, because often, I’m so used to having my head overrule my heart that I needed something to gauge.



And, since money’s sooooo tight, and I am not a salesperson, someone suggested adding a “donate” button to my blog, which I have just done, and plan to do more posting over the summer…I have let this blog lapse while so busy in school, in favor of my technical blog. I also hope to get much more of my cookbook keyed in from the several inches thick stack of papers of hand-written recipes in my bookcase in the kitchen!

Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Banana bread loaf

It’s been a while since I posted–I’ve been super-busy with school, and having to keep up a technical blog for that (which I update more regularly, lol), but here, since we’re snowed in today, I created a new experiment. It turned out well, if a bit delicate, but really delicious. It has to bake quite a while, though, and my recipe below will be for muffins, which I originally planned to make, but then I wanted to try out these new silicone bread molds (see photo above) that my mother got me for Christmas. So, the baking estimate for the muffins is a guess–I can update the blog when I actually make them, or if someone else makes them, please comment and let me know how long it took, thanks! As for the loaf, though, it took a full hour and 25 minutes.

Grain-free chocolate chip banana muffins

yields 12 muffins or one loaf

1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup flax meal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt
2 extra-large eggs (if using large, use 3)
1 cup mashed ripe banana (2-3)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil (melt or cut up fine)
3/4 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with papers or grease loaf pan. Mix wet ingredients first (starting with eggs–I used a stand mixer on medium and just left it running much of the time! Adding ingredients one by one as I gathered them). You can mix the dry ingredients (except chips and nuts) in a separate bowl and add them to the wet OR simply add dry ingredients one by one to the running mixer filled with the wet mix. Make sure to add the baking soda last, however. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts with a spatula (as the mixer may be straining at this point).

Pour into muffin cups or a bread mold and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes (?) or until a toothpick inserted comes out dry. Loaves of bread will take longer, 1 hour and 25 minutes. Let cool before removing from pan and cutting.



Home made “Grounding” Sheet

I know, I know, it sounds like a weird idea–what in the heck is a grounding sheet? Well, I came across the concept while reading a book which mentioned disrupted circadian rhythms usually led to weight gain, feeling sluggish in the morning, snack cravings at night (hence weight gain), etc, and I thought–“Whoops! That sounds like me!” So I started looking into ways to get back into balance. I haven’t managed to get up early and stay in the sun for a half hour between 7 and 9 am yet (precious little sun here lately, anyway–raining now, s’matteroffact), but I thought, “Sleep must be a real culprit–I wake every morning almost more tired than I went to bed!” So delving a little deeper, I found out about grounding sheets.

The idea of a grounding sheet is to connect us electrically (we’re pretty electrical, believe it or not–every thought is a small electrical pulse–in fact, all neurons are firing off electrical impulses all the time to communicate) to the earth, to “ground” us. There’s a lot of EM interference from all the appliances in our houses, clocks, computers, lights, etc., so it’s a good idea to ground out that energy at night for deeper rest. There’s something to do with the Schumann resonance, too, which is some deep vibration in the earth that is healing and soothing–but to be honest, I just read a little bit and thought, “Cool! I’ll try it! How much are grounding sheets?” Well, we have a queens-sized bed, sooooo, I was dismayed to find that they cost $199–more than I cared to spend on what was an experiment, anyway. So I found a video by a guy who made his own. What follows, then, was me following his instructions, with a little help from my husband Sherman, who got to use his electronics degree ;) My total cost for the materials below (I already had the tape and the scissors) was under $15.

It’s important to note that this is merely a mattress cover–you will not be sleeping skin against metal! Instead, your regular sheets will cover the grounding sheet.


Materials you will need:

  1. An old sheet you don’t mind sacrificing to the cause
  2. Metal screen wire mesh (as for a screen door) that is not coated or fiberglass (which is not conductive)–enough to cover where your torso will go (I chose the smallest roll I could get)
  3. Scissors (wire stripping tool is handy, too, but I used scissors for my part)
  4. Single grounding wire (I chose green for ground, and 16 gauge, because it was long enough in the pack to do what I needed)–you will need to measure the “path” to know how much wire to get
  5. Strong duct tape (I used Gorilla tape)
  6. Something metal & conductive to be a “stake” for the ground outside (I did not get into the grounding through an outlet, as I believe this outlet may not be grounded, nearby, so instead, if you wish to go that route, watch the video, and he explains it ;)
  7. If you plan to solder wire instead of simply wrapping it, you will need a soldering iron and solder and wet sponge and patience.

Lay out screen

First, unwrap the screen and lay it out on top of the sheet roughly where your torso will lie at night. Cut off the excess (this was surprisingly easy to do with scissors, I thought) so that it is a bit in from the edge (ie. 2 inches or so) on either side.

Thread wire

Carefully strip off an inch of the wire insulation from one end–I did this with scissors, too, cutting around and sliding it off, but if you have a wire-stripping tool, definitely use that–easier and faster! Thred the copper ends as best you can over & under & into the mesh at the corner closest to where you intend to run the wire out a window (or to an electrical socket).

Taped up

Next, thoroughly tape the mesh to the bed. I doubled in some places, because it would get uneven on the cut edges, and I did NOT want to wake up being poked by metal. Be sure to tape it well–the weight of your body will cause it to sag inward at some point, and that is important to consider, too. I tried to get the mesh edge right in the center of the tap, but that was not always feasible. No one will see it, so don’t worry about how it looks, as it all gets covered by a regular sheet in the end.


After the mesh is taped and the wire connection is also well-taped, run the wire down the bed, across the floor, up the wall, whatever, out the window (this is why a smaller gauge wire works well–it goes easily under a screen in a window, or in this case, a window fan, to dangle outside until you connect it to your grounding stake.

Sanding tip of stake

The guy in the video suggested just using a clothes hanger, cutting it into a straight wire, sanding off the edges, and wrapping the wires around one sanded end with electrical tape while plunging the business end into the ground. But my husband, having an electronics degree, and a friend visiting who is an electrical engineer (whom I was amazed did not laugh at this idea, but thought it was very logical and added his input) insisted that a true ground to get to the Schumann resonance needed to be longer than a 6 inch tent stake (that I was planning to use), so Sherman dug in his leftovers and found a 24″ aluminum bar, .25″ thick, and decided it would go in easier if he sanded the edge to a point (I did not mention a belt sander in the requirements–I think it would still go in easily enough, with all the rain we’ve had!)


So the finished grounding stake turned out way more heavy-duty than I intended ;)

tinning wire

Next comes attaching the wire to the stake. Now, the video simply had the wires wrap around one end of the stake, and get taped in place, but Sherman was concerned about oxidation, and wanted to do it properly, so started by taking the other end of the wire dangling outside the window, stripping off the last inch of insulation, and tinning the wire with solder.

Connect wire to stake

With a buildup of solder on the stake, he could then attach the tinned wire to the end of the stake. (If it’s cool outside, however, it might help to torch the end of the stake to warm it up).

Wrapping wire to stake

After the stake and attached wire cooled completely (it will be HOT!), he then wrapped it well with the Gorilla tape (which you’d do whether or not you’d soldered it in place, to protect it).

Hammer into ground

And he drove it into the ground all the way to the tape with a mallet (it went in VERY easily).

The first night, I didn’t notice much improvement in my sleep (and have had CRAZY dreams, but maybe that’s the next full moon coming up), and from just ONE NIGHT, I noticed some definite crinkles in the wire mesh, from me tossing & turning (it does tend to make the bed a little firmer).

Wire mesh after one night's sleep on it

Wire mesh after one night’s sleep on it

But now, 3 days (nights) later as I write this, I have noticed being able to wake up easier, though I’m still somewhat tired during the day. I’m not dragging as much in the morning. But, already we’ve had to re-tape some of the top, since my weight has pulled it loose from the tape and metal ends started sticking out. Still, as an experiment, I think it’s successful! Though, I’m feeling a bit guilty over all the fuss Sherman went through to make the stake, because now I’m considering getting one of the fancy grounding sheets, as it would probably be more comfortable. But until finances are a little more stable, this will fit the bill.

Chocolate Coconut Milk Fudgesicles

First bite of fudgesicle

Want something rich and chocolatey, but vegan and dairy-free? Have I got the thing for you…and oh, so simple, too!

Sugar-free Vegan Chocolate Fudgesicles

1 14oz can organic coconut milk

1/4 cup xylitol (or sweetener of your choice–could use maple syrup, erythritol, etc)

1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used dutched Valhrona cocoa)

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp almond extract (or other flavoring, such as peppermint extract)

Put all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat on gentle heat to mix, like making hot cocoa (you might need to whisk it smooth). Set aside and let cool.

%22Hot chocolate%22

Line a small tupperware container with plastic wrap or tinfoil that goes over the edge. (I used tinfoil this time, because I’ve read such terrible things about the hormone-disrupting attributes of plastic wrap, especially with leeching into warm things…) Pour the cooled mixture into this and let it freeze overnight.

Lined container

The next morning, take it out of the freezer and carefully lift it out of the container. It should be a frozen block, like this.

Frozen block

It should be somewhat easy to cut up into pieces, and then put them in a Cuisinart or Vitamix, and beat it until it resembles frozen yogurt.

before blending

You may need to “tamp” it, if using a Vitamix or blender. The end result should be a somewhat wet purée, as shown below.


Here’s where you get your pop/fudgesicle molds (you can find them in kitchen stores, and occasionally at Dollar stores). It’s really better, the more runny the mixture is, to get it into the molds. Here I didn’t have it quite runny enough (until the very end), and was sloppily ladling it in with a spoon (if it’s runny enough, I prefer to use a funnel). Also, if it’s less runny, it has more of a tendency to form air bubbles, necessitating poking it with a chopstick to break the bubbles and “tamp” the mixture more firmly into the mold.

Filling molds

Now, fudgesicles take time–they will need to chill at least another day to be barely firm enough to eat. If you need more instant gratification (and you don’t have molds), you can always just pour it back into the container (minus the liner) to store in freezer, and it will be ready to eat (soft serve) after letting chill 30 minutes.

If making fudgesicles, don’t forget to put in popsicles sticks! These molds hold around 2.5 oz each, so this recipe made 6 fudgesicles, overall.

Filled with sticks

It does get firmer after a few days, and after several days it has the PERFECT fudgesicle consistency. Makes 6 fudgesicles. (Note, this picture is after slightly less than a day, so it is still on the soft side). (If you made just a sorbet in the container, you can still stick a spoon in for a couple of days, and after that, “cut” it with a strong spoon, to eat it.)


As I noted in the ingredients, too, you can flavor these however you like–I happen to love almond and chocolate. But you could just use vanilla, or use peppermint, orange extract, you-name-it. Enjoy!

Paleo Fried Avocado Slices


Why would anyone fry avocado slices? You may ask. Well, I was curious. A friend at the grocery store, when comparing notes on diet, said he’d “fried avocado” recently in coconut oil and that it was “awesome,” so, being hungry and wanting something quick, I decided to try it. I’d recently battered and fried eggplant slices for eggplant parmesean, so I knew it would work.

avocado setup

Battering and frying is generally a three stage/dip process. Flour–egg–bread crumbs. But, of course, the paleo diet precludes grains, so instead I chose coconut flour–egg–mix of flax, sunflower, and almonds ground into a meal (this mixture is from Dr. Cabot’s liver cleanse book–though Dr. Cabot would never EVER endorse frying anything like this!). I happened to have that mixture on hand, but one could easily use coarse almond flour or pecan meal instead. I also ground some salt and pepper and mixed it into the “breading.” Note that very little flour is needed, whereas more breading is needed–this was close, but I had to add a little bit more for the last couple of slices.

easing out of shell

After cutting the avocado in half and chopping lightly into the seed to twist and take it out, I sliced each side of the avocado into 4 slices while still in the shell, then gingerly “scooped” it out with a medium-sized spoon.

coconut flour

Unlike slices of eggplant, avocado slices are nice and moist, and coat easily with the coconut flour.

dipping in egg

Next comes the egg wash (this just one egg lightly beaten with a fork). In retrospect, I think I would beat the egg more thoroughly than just with a fork, as the egg white did NOT want to separate from slices. I ended up pinching off the egg white with my fingers each time.


And, finally, the “breading”–I usually plop the egg-laden slice right in the middle and use a spoon to scoop mixture on top and on the sides, until it’s dry enough to pick up and make sure it is all covered.

frying second side

I used coconut oil, in a cast iron pan, and had a good 2mm or so of oil to start (around 2 tablespoons), and made sure to give it some time to heat up before I put the slices in. This is after they’ve already been turned once.


And then, voila! Put them on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb some of the oil, and let them cool down before trying to bite into them.


Tasty–tastes like avocado, of course! Soft on the inside, crispy on the outside.

“Black Bottom” Ice Cream Pie

Black Bottom Ice Cream Pie

When I was growing up, every year for our birthday, my parents would buy the birthday boy or girl a Baskin Robbin’s Ice Cream Pie–which was dark chocolate ice cream on bottom, Jamocha almond fudge ice cream on top, with fudge sauce piped around the edges. Well, my birthday just went by, and something seemed to be missing…

Researching Baskin Robbins (which has long left our area, after being acquired by Dunkin’ Donuts), I discovered that they no longer make the Black Bottom Pie, and I couldn’t even find pictures of it online! But I remember it…

I decided to improvise a little. I’d gotten a free pie crust lately through an Earth Fare coupon, and I went to Ultimate Ice Cream–our local ice cream from scratch store in Asheville–and picked up a quart of ice cream, half Belgian Dark Chocolate and half Kahlua Mocha Almond. By the time I got home, it was nice and soft. Perfect.

I put some boiling hot water in a cup, got a large spoon and a spatula, and got the Belgian Dark Chocolate Ice cream in the pie crust first.

Then I smoothed it down with the spatula, repeatedly dipped in the cup of hot water.

Next I grabbed some leftover fudge sauce I’d made with baking chocolate and maple syrup a while back, and used it all to spread thinly on top of the chocolate ice cream.

Carefully glopping the rest of the ice cream–the Kahlua Mocha Almond–on top (you see how soft it is!),

I spread it as best I could with the spatula dipped in hot water. Now the chocolate ice cream underneath and the fudge sauce were starting to leak over the sides.

I quickly popped it in the freezer (I moved the wax paper after taking this pic, so it wouldn’t block the vents) to let it set up, while I had to rush off and complete some homework for class.

After class, I came home and made a chocolate fudge sauce from a recipe online, but it was so liquid at first, I let it sit overnight before trying to put it into a pastry bag I fitted with a #22 star tip. You can see from the picture how stiff it got–the spoon is standing up! Even after letting it sit out for two hours and working the bag of ganache with my hands, I could not get it soft & runny enough to squeeze through the tip–it must be the honey that was in the recipe.

I finally ended up scooping it out of the bag back into the bowl, and softening it over a double-boiler water bath, until it was just soft enough to spoon on. So, I just glopped it around the edge with a spoon, made some swirly marks in it with the spoon, which I then mostly hid by sprinkling slivered almonds on top. I was going to put a cherry on top, as I remembered it was usually topped with a maraschino cherry with fudge piped around it…but I couldn’t get my jar of homemade brandied cherries open (I even tried a channel lock), so I just topped it with an additional dollop of fudge sauce.

Black Bottom Ice Cream Pie

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance is when we are exposed to two conflicting stories, cannot “take it” and shut down, emotionally, blocking out the story that is conflicting with our current worldview or perspective. I mention this, because I just saw a documentary aired on PBS in Colorado about the scientific evidence of the buildings in 9/11 coming down in controlled demolition, in direct opposition to the official story that jet fuel from two planes ignited office fires, bringing down three buildings, melting steel, etc. Some friends of mine are vehemently opposed to this presentation of evidence that invalidates the official story, because they do not want to believe that our government could cover something like this up.

I think that keeping an open mind and listening to the evidence, however painful it is, will be ultimately more healing than shutting out everything that challenges what we believe in–as it said in the Bible, “The Truth Shall Make You Free.” In the end, it is facing and acknowledging the truth that will heal us.

It’s a good documentary. I highly recommend it. is the full video on PBS is the website by the people who did the documentary.

Reviving an old shirt with a quilted “stomacher”

Stomachers are traditionally just decorative cloth, sometimes with trim, sewn into a bodice (or shirt) or top of a dress going over chest and stomach. They were very in vogue in the 16th century, but not so much known now. But I have several shirts that have gaping holes in them, and being fond of them (and not being overburdened with wealth at this time to be able to buy a lot of new shirts) I decided to come up with a way to decoratively “patch” these shirts, and then, in a flash, it came to me–a stomacher, of course!

Now, let me clarify, while I have done a quilt (just the “piecing” part, not much actual “quilting” which is traditionally done by hand), and made costumes, followed patterns and made up dresses and costumes without patterns (more when I was younger, and not so concerned about craft), I am not a “seamstress” per se, but merely a craft enthusiast. So this step by step was partly me figuring out a process of how to go about doing this. Someone else might have a better way and can suggest it ;)

To start, I took one of my ragged, black shirts, that had multiple holes in it, and spread it out on a folding table with my quilting tools and some scraps of fabric. I put a white piece of cardboard inside of it here so that you could clearly see the holes. If you look closely, you can also see my teeny “rough draft” that I drew on a sticky note and placed to the right of the shirt.

Then I took two strips of bright fabric that I’d already decided would be my “edge pieces” and laid them on the shirt to determine the rough shape of the stomacher. I was trying to have it flare out a little at my breasts, and then angle in a bit, and then flare again slightly at the bottom, for a slimming and shaping effect ;) I also wanted to determine, from this, how wide/long scraps would need to be at the widest point in order to have a rough measure to cut them out by.

For my purposes, I figured 10 – 11 inches was a good length measurement to cut scraps, and accordingly got several scraps of fabric leftover from various projects and cut them out at angles, and some in strips (the strips were more cut from non-scrap accent cloth, that I got at a sale for quilting). I did follow a straight edge and used a cutting wheel, so that my seams would be even.

Once I had an assortment of scraps off to the side, I started blocking them out on my rough shape I’d established earlier, overlapping each one slightly to account for a seam, while realizing at the end I would probably have to add to it to make up the difference.

Then I started sewing, one strip at a time, right sides together, the top strip to the next strip, and so on.

Each time I sewed a piece to the next, I was sure to press it flat with the iron, too. Which way the seams got pressed depended a lot on the fabric–for instance, the upholstery fabric was stronger and thicker than the others and pressed on top of the adjoining pieces.

Once I’d gotten the initial pieces I’d chosen sewn together, I laid them back on my shape outline to see if I needed to add any pieces (because seams use up fabric). Sure enough, I needed to add a piece at the top and the bottom, and I had to trim the bottom so that it was even with the shirt.

I drew some lines on my fabric piece to help determine where to cut it out and wasn’t too worried if some of the lines showed on the cut piece, because I knew I’d cover them up with the edge pieces later. I cut this with scissors rather than trying to do it with the wheel. (But not with the shirt underneath! I cut it laying on the green board.)

I took my two red edge pieces and pinned them (there was no “right side” but if there had been, it would have been right side facing the quilted piece) to the side of my shape, set in a bit from the edge so that I would be sure to cover any stray pen marks. I made sure to have extra hanging off on both sides knowing I’d be trimming them later.

After sewing those seams where the pins were, I took care to press the seams outward, from the top/right side.

Then I turned it over and pressed a narrow seam on the outside edge so that it would be easier to sew.

Not trusting it to keep its fold when sewing it to the front of the shirt, I then basted/seamed the outside edge I’d just prepped, using a special foot on my Bernina that has a built-in guide and with the needle all the way to the left, for doing narrow seams.

I also seamed the bottom of the piece, trimming off the edge pieces to be even. Next step–getting close! I pinned the edged form to the shirt itself.

One thing I really liked about this shirt was its V neckline, which I wanted to preserve, so, while it was pinned, I turned the shirt over to trim where that neckline would fall. I put a piece of paper underneath, so it would be easier to see where I trimmed it.

I then pinned the collar in, and the whole thing was ready to attach. Sewing the sides, I was careful to sew on top of the seam I’d already put in, so it would look like one seam rather than two.

And…Voila! From ragged to artsy–someone used the word “Upcycled” on Facebook today, and I think that certainly fits.

Homemade Dried Cranberries Sweetened with Apple Juice

Since it’s getting harder to find dried cranberries sweetened with apple juice rather than sugar, I decided to delve into making them from scratch. I’d bought some fresh ones around Thanksgiving–around a pound, I think, and froze them till I could figure out what to do with them. I decided to try an experiment with the frozen cranberries and a 12oz can of frozen apple juice concentrate.

Dried Cranberries
12oz – 1 lb of frozen or fresh cranberries
12oz frozen apple juice concentrate

First I opened the can of apple juice concentrate and let it melt into a medium saucepan. Then I added the frozen cranberries and kicked the heat up to medium-high.

It wasn’t too long–maybe 5-10 minutes–before the ice had melted and they had simmered enough in the juice concentrate to start popping open. It’s important to get them to pop (and you can squash them open, too) because otherwise the skin will seal in the juices and keep them from drying (knowing this from an experience of drying blueberries and grapes in the past–it just made hot, juicy fruit).

So I removed it from heat when they started popping to let them cool down a bit before putting them in the dehydrator.

Then, using a slotted spoon, I carefully transferred them into the dehydrator trays lined with a mesh called “clean-a-screen” to help get them off later (because it’s flexible and the trays are NOT) and have something easier to clean.

I was careful to try to separate them as much as possible–where they clump and dry together, they become more like “fruit leather.” The big manufacturers just mist them with oil, but I didn’t want anything that could become rancid later. Then I put the lid on the Nesco Dehydrator and set it to 110F (more than that for long periods of time seems to warp the trays, so I just do them low–but you could also dehydrate them on baking sheets in the oven at 150 or warm overnight or for several hours, too).

Meanwhile, while those started drying, I decided to do something with the “juice” leftover, which now had cranberry seeds and juice in it, as well.

I measured it out, and it was exactly a cup. How perfect! Figuring that I would need to add more than just a cup of water, I found a glass jar with a lid that is 750ml (just under a quart).

I got some filtered water, and used the first cup of that to wash out the measuring cup from having the concentrate in it. After adding two cups of water, it tasted perfect (to me, that is–I don’t like juice very concentrated–you might want to taste it after adding one cup of water, and go from there!), and so as a leftover, I now had 3 cups of apple cranberry juice, too!

So, back to the dried cranberries. They were not quite dry enough the next morning, so let them go further, until early afternoon, and then finally stopped them.

So this was after roughly 18 hours or so of drying at 110F, so I’m thinking at 150F in the oven would take less time, perhaps just overnight. Even so, some of the berries had a little plumpness to them, so I’ll store them in the fridge instead of at room temperature. I’m sure Sherman will eat them up fast enough ;) They are not quite as sweet as the store-bought ones, but probably more sweet than they would have been otherwise.


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