Cranberry Whiskey Cocktail

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This time last year: Pumpkin Hot Chocolate (2013)

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Well, Christmas has passed, but this holiday season is far from over- at least that’s the case in my house. Why let such a good thing end so soon?!

In celebration of the 12 days of Christmas, and a continued season of festivities, I am going to bring you six drink options for this holiday season that are NOT eggnog- starting today!

I will admit, I really don’t have anything against eggnog. Eggnog and I don’t go way back, but I don’t hate it.

However, I like getting a little more creative with my cooking choices than eggnog. It just makes life more fun! Thus, this week, from Christmas to New Years, I am going to bring you a handful of new drink recipes that you can use for a variety of occasions- from happy hour to early morning coffee.

Cheers to you!

And cheers to the holiday!

Love, Sarah

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Ingredients:
  • 1 oz. Crown Royal Whiskey
  • 1 oz. Ginger ale
  • 1 oz. Cranberry Juice
  • Fresh Cranberries and ice for garnish
Directions:
  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour the liquids into the shaker and mix (shake or stir to your desire).
  2. Strain the liquids into a glass full with fresh ice.
  3. Garnish with cranberries and enjoy!
 
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Notes and Tips!:
  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Source: Your Southern Peach 
  • Like this recipe? Try these other beverages from A Rented kitchen (Recipe links below photos!):

Christmas Morning Scones (AKA Vanilla Bean, Cranberry and Rosemary Scones)

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This time last year: Baked Apple Cider Donuts with Cinnamon-Sugar Glaze (2012)

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YOU GUYS! It’s Christmas EVE!

I love this day.

Every Christmas Eve my mom, brother, and I spend all night together. We would spend it with my dad as well, but as a preacher, Christmas Eve is not vacation.

The night starts with the 5 o’clock children’s Christmas Eve service. Then we will come home and share a bowl of soup together- or something created with love and designed to keep us warm.

After dinner, without fail, I will watch Holiday Inn (the original White Christmas!), by myself, because my Mom will be busy cooking and my brother will be busy avoiding musicals. Then we will throw our coats back on, push back any sleepy thoughts, crawl into the car, and head to church for the 11 o’clock Christmas Eve service.

There we will sit in the pew together. We will sing our favorite hymns- Still, Still, Still, Away in a Manger, Joy to the World. We will light candles, and at the end of the service, as the clock strikes 12, we will raise our candles up. We will lift them above our heads, and my father- standing at the front with his candle mirroring ours- will whisper “It is Christmas,” and in my gut, I will feel that wave of hope, peace, love, and joy that we have been talking about all month, in one fell swoop.

There will be light, and then there will be joy, and it will be contagious.

When we were young, we would come home from the 11 o’clock service and  my mom would usher my brother and I to bed, so that she and my dad could “play Santa.” However, now that we are older, we all wait for my dad to get home. Once we’re all home- for the first time all night, we will stay up late, because the holidays aren’t the holidays unless you have time together. So we will make time, and we will likely do it by the fire, with a plate of crackers and cheese.

The next morning, we will stumble out of our beds- mom will make coffee, dad will turn on the Christmas lights, and somewhere between opening gifts, trying on new winter coats, and manning the fire, mom will pass around a tray of baked bread- muffins, scones, and loaf slices.

That is Christmas.

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When I stumbled upon this recipe, I knew I had to make it. The title alone pulled me back to those mornings around the Christmas tree, with our backs warming to the fire in the fire place,  and mom’s tray of baked bread circulating around the family. And I have to admit, I am so glad I did, because this recipe is AMAZING! These scones truly tastes like Christmas! Something about the favors, particularly the rosemary, smells and tastes like Christmas morning. I know that might sound crazy, but trust me on this. Tis the season for comfort and joy, and in my book, comfort and joy look a lot like scones.

Merry Christmas dear readers. Thanks for sticking with me for another year!

Gratefully, and warmly,

– Sarah
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Scone Ingredients:
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened dried cranberries, chopped small
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 1 cup half and half (or milk or cream), plus 2 Tablespoons more for brushing on top
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Glaze Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water
  • Optional: Unsweetened dried cranberries and fresh rosemary leaves
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450˚F.  Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, dried cranberries, and rosemary.
  3. Using a fork or two butter knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture, until it resembles a coarse meal.
  4. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the half and half and the vanilla bean paste, and then add to the flour mixture.
  5. Stir the liquid into the flour mixture using your hands or a wooden spoon, until the dough begins to form.  Shape the dough into a ball,  cover it with plastic wrap, and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  6. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, roll out until the dough is in a large circular shape, about 3/4 inches thick.  Run a large knife in water, then then cut the dough into 8 equal wedges.
  7. Arrange the scones on the prepared baking sheet and lighty brush the tops with half and half.
  8. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until light golden brown.  Remove from the pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
  9. Meanwhile, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze- adding water to reach your desired consistency.
  10. Dip the scones in the glaze, and sprinkle with cranberries or rosemary leaves as desired. Allow the glaze to set, and then eat and enjoy!
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Notes and Tips!:
  • If you want to make this dough ahead, instead of placing the dough in the freezer for 10 minutes, simply wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. Bake the scones straight from the refrigerator in the morning.
  • Source: An Edible Mosaic
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious bread recipes from A Rented Kitchen!

Cranberry Orange Sauce

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Sooooo, Thanksgiving.

It has come and gone, and boy was it good. I hope you found yourself surrounded by family, and hopefully some of your favorite dishes!

If you were staying tuned before Thanksgiving, I posted a few updates on potential menus for Thanksgiving (check it out here!). There are always more recipes and dishes I would love to make and share than I have time or energy for. However, as you may have guessed, this cranberry orange sauce is one recipe that made the cut, showing up on our Thanksgiving table! It was delicious!

Without turkey at the meal, some may wonder why my vegetarian family would have cranberry sauce. That’s a good question. Part of it is nostalgia and habit. My parents and brother have only been vegetarian for a few years, so they are used to a thanksgiving celebration with cranberry sauce and turkey on the table. Thus, we kept the cranberry sauce, despite forgetting the turkey! However, in addition to turkey, cranberry sauce goes really well over roasted asparagus, roasted Brussels sprouts, eaten plain, and spread on biscuits- similar to jam.

While I do love canned cranberry sauce, (I know, I’ll admit it), this three ingredient sauce feels soooo much healthier and natural. Not to mention, this recipe is incredibly easy, with only one pot to clean! Thus, you have no reason not to try it!

It’s easy, it’s simple, it goes well on SO much more than just turkey, and it is bound to be a crowd pleaser.

Tis’ the season 🙂

Happy cooking!

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Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • ½ cup sugar, or more, to taste
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan combine the first four ingredients. Cook, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add the cranberries to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer, uncovered, until sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.
  3. Cool completely before serving.
  4. Optional: Garnish with an additional sprinkle of orange zest!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: About 3 cups
  • Source: Damn Delicious
  • Like this recipe? Check out these other scrumptious dishes form ‘A Rented Kitchen’ (recipe links found below!):

Gluten-Free Cranberry Apple Crisp

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Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 22 (woot woot!). Some years, birthdays seem like a really big deal, and other years, they just don’t. This year, I have so many other crazy and exciting things happening that my birthday just turned into another excuse to hang out with my best friends for a night and bake! (No complaints here, obviously.)

One thing I love to do for my birthday and when I am on vacation with my family, is bake a new and fun dessert. When I lived at home my sweet mother would always bake me a cake. Now that I am older, I have found that I am no longer nearly as attached to the cake as I am the excuse to bake something new! Last year I made some absolutely scrumptious Vegan Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting! This year, I am introducing you to this absolutely delicious Gluten-Free Cranberry Apple Crisp. YUM!

I hope you have lots of exciting things in your life, but if you do not, I hope you chase the things that bring you joy, use your gifts, surround yourself with meaningful relationships, and celebrate all of our many blessings.  That’s my hope for year 22- that and this cranberry apple crisp!

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Ingredients:

  • 4 large Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 ¼ cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ¼ cup Gluten-Free Oats
  • ¼ cup Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon all spice
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

Directions:

  1. Rinse, peel, core, and chop the granny apples. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and butter an 8 x 8 inch baking dish (I used a quiche pan!).
  3. Add the cranberries, sugar, zest, and lemon juice to the apple mixture, and stir well.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, stir together the oats, flour, spices, brown sugar and honey. At some point, stop stirring with a spoon and use your hands to help form a crumbly mixture.
  5. Spread the fruit mixture evenly into the buttered dish and top with the crisp mixture.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the apples are fork tender and the crisp is bubbling.
  7. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: Two peas & their pod
  • If you are not gluten-free, feel free to use regular oats and flour as you please!
  • To make vegan, I suggest using agave or maple syrup in place of the honey, and using a vegan butter form. Enjoy!
  • If you like this delicious dish, try these other gluten free options from ‘A Rented Kitchen!’:

Homemade Cranberry Apple Pie

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There’s something about being home for the holidays that makes me crave delicious smells from the oven, time around the fire, and fresh baked family-favorites.  Being home for the holidays is also one of the only windows of time in my college career that I feel like I have a moment to breath. Thus, following exams I pack my bags, sleep for four days, and then get real old-fashioned with my cooking and baking.

This pretty pie was one that I prepared for my family on thanksgiving. I have never cooked with fresh cranberries (I almost always go for the cop-out Craisin version), so when I saw these pretty red berries in the store I knew a pie was in order!

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The leaf design was the result of me having the first large chunk of free time in a while, and my desire to try something knew.  You do not have to draw the leaves, it probably will not make the pie taste any better, but oooo was it fun!

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I hope this holiday season that you have time to slow down. I hope you have time to try something new, like cooking with cranberries or making a homemade pie crust. I hope your days are filled with time by the fire, and that you always have enough food on your table and people to share it with.

It’s the little things.

Happy Holidays!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds Gala Apples (about 5)
  • 8 ounces fresh or frozen (not thawed) cranberries
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Pie crust  (store bought or homemade!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
  2. Rinse, peel, core, and thinly slice your apples.
  3. Stir together the apples, cranberries, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and lemon juice in a large bowl.
  4. Lay your pie crust into your pie pan, and press into the edges. Prick with a fork several times on the sides and bottom.
  5. Pour the apple/cranberry mix into the pie and smooth over with a spatula.
  6. Top the remaining pie crust and bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Cover the pie with aluminum foil and bake at 350˚F for another 20 minutes.*

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Notes and Tips!:

  • This scrumptious pie can be made with either a homemade crust or a store-bought crust.  For a homemade crust, use my favorite pie crust recipe here, and double it for a pie topping. If using a store bought crust, thaw the crust in the refrigerator, and once malleable, spread into your pie pan. You will need an entire crust sheet to make the leaf design I made, if you are interested.
  • To make the leaf design, use a small paring knife, draw the leaves into the dough, and then cut out! It’s simple, but slightly time-consuming.
  • Source: Epicurious
  • If you like this recipe, check out these other delicious holiday treats from ‘A Rented Kitchen’ (recipes below)!: