Thursday, December 3, 2015

Easiest cranberry sauce recipe with no added sugar

Ever since we lived in the USA my family has loved cranberry sauce and have it on our Christmas menu every year. We used to make it with a huge amount of sugar but these days we don´t eat refined sugar anymore. So I made a new great recipe. This cranberry sauce is easy to make, using just fresh cranberries, apples, cinnamon and vanilla. The later two will trick you into thinking you're eating something sweeter than you actually are.
The only downside this sauce might have for you is that the color isn´t as bright red but more pinkish.

Cranberry sauce with no added sugar


1 bag (375 grams, about 2 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
5 jonagold apples
1 large cinnamon stick
2 vanilla beans
optional: a twig of thyme

Wash the cranberries and put them in a large pan.
Add water to the cranberries until they are just about under.
Peel and cut the apples in small pieces.
Add the apples to the cranberries.
Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise.
Add vanilla, cinnamon and thyme if using to the cranberries.

Heat the cranberries until boiling.
Reduce heat to low and let boil for 10-15 minutes.

Remove thyme, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick.
Mash the cranberries and apples together.

All done!

If you find the cranberry sauce to still be too sour, you can add a tablespoon of sweetener of choice. I recommend either agave or maple syrup.

If you are not eating the sauce immediately, pour into (sterilized) glass jar and add the cinnamon stick again.

Is cranberry sauce a tradition at your house too? How do you like to make it?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

How to cure hiccups fast and easy everytime

My family learned this trick to cure hiccups over 20 years ago but somehow the word never spread. It's ridiculously easy and works every time. I'm not kidding.
When you first read this you will probably think it's a joke. If so, try it anyway. Hiccuping doesn't make you look sophisticated either so what have you got to loose?
No more hiccups!
Step 1. Grab a glass of water or better yet a bottle that you can pick up with your teeth. 

Step 2. Plug your ears and nose. Easiest done by putting your thumbs in your ears and your fingers on your nose. 

Step 3. While keeping your nose and ears plugged drink at least half a glass of water. (It can work with just a mouthful of water but isn't as foolproof.) 
If you are by yourself and don't have a bottle, it is possible to pick the glass up with your little pinkies. Otherwise get someone to help you. 

Step 4.  Victory dance! 

(If it doesn't work, you probably didn't swallow often enough. Just try again with a bit more water. )

I don't remember where we learned this and have no idea why it works but it does so enjoy a hiccup free life!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Marzipan recipe with agave

Who doesn't love marzipan?!! Sinterklaas (Saint Nicolas) is back in the Netherlands so it's time for sweets, sweets and more sweets. Marzipan usually comes in sausage form, or as figurines. I made this one as a roll covered in chocolate. It's gone before anyone saw what it was anyway! It took me a little while to get a sweetener that gave the marzipan the right taste. I see a lot of recipes for marzipan with honey but I think the honey has too much of a distinguished taste to use in this case. I have found that agave is the best replacement for white sugar when taste is an issue.

Easy to make, easy to eat!

Marzipan with agave

Makes me want to stop writing this blog and go and make some!

150 grams (1 3/4 cups) almond flour 
100 gram (1/2 cup) light agave syrup
1 teaspoon almond extract
plastic wrap
optional: a bar of good quality dark chocolate and waxed paper

Mix the flour, agave and almond.

Yay you just made marzipan!

Scoop the marzipan onto a piece of plastic wrap. Use the wrap to make a roll, wrap it tightly.
Put the marzipan in the fridge overnight.

Now you can either eat as is, or coat it with chocolate like I did.

To do this put the marzipan in the freezer.
Cut a piece of waxed paper the size of a plate and put it on one.

Melt your bar of chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Don't let the bowl touch the water.
Just before it has melted completely, take the bowl off of the pan and let stand on the counter.

Put a piece of waxed paper on a baking tray.
Stir the chocolate gently to see if everything has melted. If not let stand for a few more minutes.
Pour the chocolate onto the baking tray.

Take the marzipan out of the freezer, remove the plastic wrap and push a fork in on either side.
Use the forks to roll the marzipan through the chocolate.
Put the marzipan on your waxed paper covered plate.

Keep the marzipan in the fridge until needed.
Remove it one hour before serving.
Cut in slices with a sharp knife.


(Note: I'm not sure if agave can be called unrefined or natural as it's not found quite like this in nature but goes through a process. A look on the web gives lots of contradictory articles about the (un)healthy aspects of agave. As far as I can tell agave is high in fructose, low in glucose. This makes it low on the Glycemic Index, meaning it doesn't spike your blood sugar levels. However it does have effects on blood sugar and insulin levels in the long term. Also some agave nectar or syrup is made by a chemical process. This doesn't make it any healthier. Always read the back of the packaging to be sure. 
My opinion: Don't use agave on a daily basis or often in large quantities. Remember that every sugar is crap for your body. Try not to eat too much of it, enjoy it intensely when you do and eat more vegetables!)

Any thoughts on agave? Do you use it?

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