Cranberries and nuts

If it’s possible to overdose on dried cranberries and nuts, then I think I’m approaching that line…

First, allow me to start from the beginning with a pretty standard sans-cranberry breakfast.

Consumed: 1/3 C whole grain cereal cooked with 2/3 C water and whipped with half of a thinly sliced banana at the end. Topped with a cinnamon-baked apple, a spoonful of almond butter and a drizzle of maple syrup.

I must admit that there was a certain reason that I went all-out on breakfast: I had Sam,  one of my very best friends (and a blog follower), joining me!

Even though I went out-of-state for college, I’m still really close with a core group of friends from high school. Each of them have their own personalities and identities. For example, I always crack up with Sam around. The girl is a hoot — Even at 9 o’clock in the morning!

I was extra glad to offer breakfast, because Sam brought coffee from her dad’s coffee-roasting store in return. Although I’m no coffee connoisseur, I could tell how good the roast was. Plus, the combination of morning laughter and strong coffee kept me going all through the day.

After chowing and chatting, Sam had to take off for work. So I spent a little bit more time pulling myself together and relaxing “taking care of things around the house.”

Before I knew it, lunch time was rolling around. I planned on running a few errands with my mom, but we coordinated to also stop by one of our favorite lunch spots, Caffè Italia.

Consumed: “Fattoria Panini” with tomatoes, brie and arugula. Served with a side salad of field greens, olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette.

I’d like to say that I was successful at tracking down some Christmas presents during my time with my mom. Then again, I’d also like not to lie… I can report that I did get a new skirt, so it wasn’t a total loss. And, let me tell you, all that shopping was ex-haus-ting and I felt like the effects of the coffee were wearing off. So I was faced with a choice: Take a nap or bake cookies? The answer was obvious.

White Chocolate, Cranberry and Macadamia Nut Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C cold margarine
  • 1/4 C white sugar
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 flax egg (or real egg)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 C whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 C ground macadamia nuts (pulse in food processor)
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 C white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 C dried cranberries
  • 1/4 C chopped macadamia nuts

Directions:

  • Grind macadamia nuts. Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, mic together cold margarine with sugars.
  • Add in egg and vanilla while continuing to mix.
  • In a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda and salt.
  • Pour sugar mixture in with flour mixture. Combine, but do not over mix.
  • Add in ground macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips, dried cranberries and chopped macadamia nuts.
  • Refrigerate the dough while heating the oven to 350 degrees.
  • When oven is heated, scoop dough by the tablespoon onto  greased lined cookie sheets.
  • Bake for approximately 13 minutes or until lightly browned.

First of all, I should probably admit that I have a minor addiction to white chocolate, so I had a natural bias toward these cookies. The additions of crunchy-yet-buttery macadamia nuts and tart-yet-sweet dried cranberries truly took the cookies to the next level.

I honestly would have been fine with just snacking on the cookies for “dinner,” but I figured that wouldn’t quite be up to nutritional par (although for the record they did have fruit, grain and protein). I sucked it up and decided to add vegetables to the menu, I just didn’t feel like doing anything extravagant for dinner… So I took advantage of the preheated oven by cutting up a spaghetti squash, scraping out the seeds, popping the squash in a 400 degree oven and letting it cook for 30 minutes.

After allowing the squash to cool for a few minutes, I used a fork to scrape out the spaghetti-like threads. Then, I mixed it up with some olive oil, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese.

Before I could have anything else for dinner, I sprung a plan with my parents to go for a bundled-up run around the neighborhood — Never mind the fact that it was 7:30 on a December night in the middle of Nebraska.

Suffice it to say that it wasn’t exactly “ideal” running weather. Nonetheless, I thought it was still a nice opportunity for me to get out with my parents, enjoy the (cold) air and move my legs.

Plus, my experience with bundling up for cold runs helped me be adequately prepared for the chill. I even managed to survive with a smile on my face!

The crisp 5K also helped my work up my appetite a little bit more, so I dug into a cranberry-themed salad that my mom made.

Consumed: Romaine lettuce topped with dried cranberries and candied walnuts. Drizzled with a raspberry and walnut dressing. Served with a side of cranberry and walnut bread.

See what I mean about the cranberry overload? No complaints, though…

Question: Do you have a favorite kind of chocolate?

I always used to ask for white chocolate bunny rabbits for Easter. These days, though, I usually opt for dark, dark chocolate.

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18 responses to “Cranberries and nuts

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