Cranberry-Apple Pie

Cranberry-Apple Pie

Cranberry-apple pie adds zing to pie apples that fall a little flat. Lard in the pie crust & butter substitute in the filling makes it dairy free.

Yes, that slice of cranberry-apple pie looks delicious. And as everyone in the Home Again gang can testify, it tasted even better than it looks. Anne and I mentioned this pie in our live Facebook video that showed how to make Grandma Conrad’s Never Fail Pie Crust.

I promised to publish this recipe more than a month ago. But between my broken foot recovery, the men racing to complete a basement remodel project before the baby arrives, Anne’s contractions coming and going for at least a month (and still 3 weeks until her due date), and Tad being 2-and-a-half, our three generation household has been a three ring circus. So Anne and I would like to apologize for the lack of a new podcast episode for the second week of January 2018 and for not completing the promised pie making video on our Patreon page. To be honest, the video probably won’t happen for quite a while and new podcast episodes will be scarce until Anne and the new baby, once she’s born, get into a manageable groove.

However, as we mentioned during our first Facebook live video of 2018, I am walking again. So at least I can share the promised recipe for cranberry-apple pie. We created it after we discovered the pie apples we froze last fall make a rather bland pie. Because we had purchased and frozen extra cranberries when they were on sale at Thanksgiving, we searched the internet for cranberry-apple recipes. But we wanted a simple recipe, and the ones on the internet required oodles of spices, orange zest and more. Once again, I pulled out the 1977 Betty Crocker Cookbook, which was a wedding present from my grandmother and found the simple recipe we wanted. As usual, we used much less sugar since Hiram tries to watch his sugar intake. We replaced the flour in the filling with minute tapioca because we like it better. We also used Earth Balance Buttery Vegan Sticks instead of butter since 3/5 of our household can’t do dairy.

Cranberry-Apple Pie

3 cups peeled, sliced pie apples
2 cups whole cranberries, washed
1/2–3/4 cup sugar, depending on taste
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup minute tapioca
2 tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Vegan Sticks
Cinnamon sugar in a shaker

Preheat oven to 425°. In a bowl combine apples, cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, and minute tapioca. Mix thoroughly until fruit is coated. Turn into a 9 inch pastry-lined pie pan. Dot fruit with Earth Balance. Carefully cover with top crust and crimp edges to seal. With a knife trim off any excess pie crust. Cut small air vents in the top crust. Spritz top crust lightly with water and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake pie at 425° for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 375° and bake for 45 minutes longer or until the center filling bubbles. If top crust begins to brown early, lightly cover with a sheet of aluminum foil. Take out of oven and place on a wire rack to cool.





Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Protein Bars

These protein bars are low in sugar, high in flavor, and a perfect meal on the go.My daughter and I went to a coffee shop in Madison during my last visit. We spied homemade peanut butter protein bars in the cooler. My daughter picked one up. “These look good,” she said.

“Too bad they probably have whey in them to jack up the protein,” I said.

“No dairy,” the woman behind the counter said. “But they do have flax seed.”

The daughter and I were ravenous as we’d eaten only salad for lunch, so we laid two bars on the counter, ordered our coffee, and sat down to enjoy our treats and watch my adorable grandson be adorable.

The protein bars were delicious. So good we spent every minute we weren’t laughing at the grandson’s high jinks deciding what ingredients were in the bars so we could make them at home.

Here’s the recipe I created after arriving home. That means the daughter hasn’t taste tested them. But the Man of Steel and I both think their pretty good. The recipe’s pretty forgiving, so you can add your favorite ingredients to the mix so they tickle your taste buds, too.

Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Protein Bars

1 cup natural peanut butter (the gooey kind)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup Kirkland chocolate chips
1 cup puffed rice
1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons honey

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Stir until well mixed. Press into a greased, square 9 x 9 pan. Put in refrigerator until firm. Cut into 12 bars. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

Carrot Bread with Dairy-Free Cream “Cheese” Drizzle

Carrot Bread with Dairy-Free Cream “Cheese” Drizzle

The non-dairy carrot cake was such a hit with the Man of Steel, I'm working on an even healthier quick bread, low sugar version.About a month ago, I posted a recipe for the Dairy Free Carrot Cake with Cream “Cheese” Frosting our family enjoyed at the Man of Steel’s 60th birthday party. The Man of Steel, who usually avoids sugar, asked if there was any way to adapt the recipe even more. So he can have it more than once a year on his birthday.

After thinking on his request, I decreased the amount of the sugar in the batter and baked it in bread pans. Next, I halved the shortening and cream “cheese” in the frosting, added a little almond milk and cut the powdered sugar even more to create more of a drizzle than frosting. The resulting carrot bread was delicious, and the recipe is below. However, the Man of Steel says it’s still too sweet, so I’ll be making it again with even less drizzle and decadence. Stay tuned for the next update.

Dairy-Free Carrot Cake


6 cups grated carrots
1/3 cup light brown sugar
4 eggs
1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Combine the grated carrots and brown sugar in a medium bowl and set aside for an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350ºF, and grease and flour three bread pans.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and briefly set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, and gradually beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir in the pineapple. Stir the flour mix into the wet mixture, being careful not to over mix. Gently fold in the carrot mixture and nuts.
  4. Pour the batter evenly into your prepared pans. Bake for 40–45 minutes until the loaves are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Place the pans on a wire rack to cool for 10-20 minutes before removing them from the pan.
  6. Once the bread is completely cool, drizzle with icing.The non-dairy carrot cake was such a hit with the Man of Steel, I'm working on an even healthier quick bread, low sugar version.

Dairy-Free Cream “Cheese” Frosting


4 ounces vegan “cream cheese”
2 1/2 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, melted
2 tablespoons almond milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Using an electric mixer or in a large bowl with a hand held mixer, place the “cream cheese” and melted butter vegan stick. Cream them together. Add almond milk and beat until smooth
  2. Add the sugar, vanilla, and almond extract, and continue to beat the mixture until smooth. Drizzle over cooled loaves.
Chai Spice Oatmeal Cookies

Chai Spice Oatmeal Cookies

These chai spice oatmeal cookies are perfect for dipping into coffee, tea, or a chai latte. But not in milk since this recipe is dairy-free.The minute I saw this recipe for Chai spice oatmeal cookies, I knew I would someday concoct a dairy-free version of them. Getting to someday took longer than expected, but the results were worth the wait. They are perfect dunking into coffee or tea or a Chai latte.

The original recipe appeared at The Mountain Rose Blog, and called for all organic, all free-range ingredients. You can find it here if you want to go completely natural, but it won’t be dairy-free like the one below is.

Dairy-Free Chai Spice Oatmeal Cookies

1 egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks (I like to replace part of the buttery sticks with lard)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 (scant) salt
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon clove
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Heat oven to 350°. Put baking stones in oven to heat.

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices together in a bowl. Cream egg, shortening, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Add dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Add oatmeal and stir well.

Roll dough into balls the size of large walnuts. Place on heated baking stones and press down slightly. Bake for 10–12 minutes. Remove from oven. Place them on waxed paper lined newspaper to cool. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

You Can Have Your Biscotti and Eat It, Too

You Can Have Your Biscotti and Eat It, Too

biscottiI tried a new main dish recipe this week, and it was delicious.


We served it for company, and it seemed a bit awkward to ask everyone to not eat until I took pictures.


That recipe will wait to be made again and photographed with only the Man of Steel inconvenienced by the need to photograph our food.


Today’s recipe is a favorite of mine because it is dairy-free, low fat, low sugar and absolutely delicious. What is it?


Which I made because any day now a copy of my new book The Caregiver’s Notebook is supposed to arrive. And that means I’ll make and send a box of biscotti to the publishers to celebrate. So I had to make a practice batch to be sure I had the process down pat and to taste test it, of course. The Man of Steel helped with that part, too.


This recipe first appeared at Down the Gravel Road in November of 2011. Here it is again, for your eating pleasure.

Low Fat, Low Sugar Biscotti

3 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs and 2 egg yolks
2 cups granulated sugar (I used 1 cup to make them low sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons almond liqueur, such as Disaronna (I used 2 teaspoons almond extract)
1 tablespoon anise seed
4 cups coarsely chopped whole almonds (I used half walnuts and half almonds or sometimes use 2 cups nuts and 2 cups dried cranberries)

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat eggs, egg yolks, and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light about 2 minutes; beat in vanilla, liqueur (or almond extract) and anise. Beat in dry ingredients and then nuts to form sticky but workable dough.

Divide dough into four, long portions on parchment paper. Flour hands and shape each portion into an approximately 15 x 2 inch log. Bake until pale golden and just beginning to crack, about 25-30 minutes.

Cool cookie logs on baking sheets until tepid, about 40 minutes. Heat oven to 225 degrees. Slice logs diagonally into 1/2 inch thick strips. Lay slices on baking sheets in single layer. (You will need 2 – 3 cookie sheets.) Bake biscotti until crisp and golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before storing. They can be stored in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.)