It’s the season we crave stick-to-your-ribs, soul satisfying food. Because of the inclement weather it’s also harder to force ourselves outdoors so we naturally tend to put on Winter weight.
Don’t take it laying down (or curled up in the easy chair all winter). Start by reducing the processed sugars from your diet. Below are two recipes to help make that simple and I included groats (whole oat grain) to cook ahead and reheat.
No Sugar Cranberry-Berry Sauce
12 oz bag cranberries, rinsed
12 oz frozen apple juice concentrate thawed
6 – 8 oz flat blackberries or blueberries
Grated peel of 1 small or med orange (tangerine, tangelo, 1/2 grapefruit peel are also good) or (1/4 t. lemon or lime juice)
1 1/2 -2″ piece finely minced crystallized ginger
Assemble in a saucepan, stir gently, bring to boil and then reduce heat immediately. Stir and continue to simmer until cranberries stop popping, about 10 – 15 minutes depending upon your altitude and range top.
Stir and let cool. Taste. Before adding any other sweetener, consider whether you are simply used to a sweeter (sugary) sauce. If desired you can add a tablespoon of agave syrup or honey. This will thin your sauce slightly and add more calories.
Use your imagination using this sauce. Aside from making fowl, ham and most any smoked meat even tastier, another delightful way to use it is in oats.
For Microwave combine in deep bowl:
1/2 cup cranberry-berry sauce
1/2 cup 4 oz. (snack cup) unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 cup apple juice or water
1/2 cup old fashioned (rolled) oats
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Microwave: stir gently, microwave at high heat 3 1/2 mins, stir microwave another 2 1/2 mins
Range top: Combine ingredients in a deep, medium sauce pan, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes depending upon altitude.
Top with 1/4 cup diced walnuts,
1 teaspoon golden flax seed,
1 teaspoon chia seeds
Be creative with your favorite toppings, but watch out for saturated fats (butter, cream) and refined sugars. For example: vanilla powder, cocoa powder, coconut oil, grated unsweetened coconut, a splash of almond milk, cashew milk (and soy creamer is delightful). No added sugar is actually needed!
Frozen, chopped strawberries or blueberries are great during the winter months. I get a bag of frozen mango, pineapple strawberry mix from Aldi, soften in the microwave, chop and add to oatmeal and yogurt for a great energy boost that sticks with you all morning.
Groats (whole grain oats, hulls removed)
The healthiest form of oats is simple to cook, but it takes more time. The best advantage to groats is they reheat beautifully in the microwave or on the stove top. I make them ahead and freeze half the batch.
Use 1 part groat grains,
3 parts water,
1 small, grated apple (peels and all, omit seeds), and a
dash of salt.
In a large pan (grain will expand to 3 times it’s bulk), bring grain, water, salt and grated apple to a boil. Cover, remove from heat and let soak overnight (all day, whatever works for you). After 8 hours cook on low heat another 20 mins, add a dash of cinnamon if desired. Serve or store in serving sized bowls for convenience. Top as you like (cranberry-berry sauce and walnuts is especially good). Excellent re-heated for a delicious, satisfying breakfast in minutes.
For lots more information about the benefits of groats, click the links to these fine sites:
From the Culinate Kitchen collection by Carrie Floyd
Slow Cooker Groats by Martha Matheny
Spend less time cooking so you’ll have a little more time to exercise – “I like to move it!”