My Secret Cranberry Relish Recipe

When I was growing up, no Thanksgiving meal was complete without cranberries. Unfortunately, it was canned cranberry sauce. And “sauce” isn’t the right word. It was actually more like cranberry gelatin. Yuck. (If you like it, that’s fine, you can have my share of it.)

This is real cranberry relish. Fast and easy, healthy and delicious. Give it a try!

Cranberry Relish
Serves 6-8
1 pound fresh cranberries, washed
1 apple, quartered and cored
1 navel orange, peeled
Sweetener, to balance tartness. Depending on the sweetness of the apple and orange, this may not be needed.

Place all ingredients in food processor. Process until evenly chunky. Chill and serve.

Nutritional data (per half-cup serving)0
Calories:        44
Fat:               0.1g
Sat fat:             0g
Chol:                0g
Sodium:     1.1mg
Carbs:         11.6g
Fiber:               3g
Protein:         0.4g

A variation is adding one jalapeno pepper for a nice southwest flavor.

My Secret Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe

(Photo to be added later.)

Poultry Stuffing
Makes 12 portions (approximately 4 ounces by weight, about 2/3 cup by volume)

This looks like a scary long recipe, but it is really very simple.

18 slices Healthy Life bread (or any preferred bread.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
2-4 clove garlic, mashed and minced
Spices and herbs (rubbed sage, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, celery salt or anything similar.)
Chicken stock (approximately 2 cups) warmed, but not boiling

1. Preheat oven to 425F
2. Lay bread slices on counter. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
3. Sprinkle lightly with sage, onion, garlic, pepper and celery salt.
4. Lay on cookie sheets in oven, until beginning to brown and are dry (about 30 minutes).
5. When toasted, cut into small cubes. Set aside in a large bowl.
6. In a large non-stick skillet, heat over med-high.
7. Add olive oil. When hot (the oil should shimmer) add onion and celery.
8. Saute until the onion begins to turn translucent (2-4 minutes.)
9. Add garlic. Saute for 1 minute.
10. Add 1 teaspoon rubbed sage, 1/4 teaspoon each celery salt (or powder) and black pepper. Saute for 1 minute.
11. Pour onion-celery mixture over bread cubes.
12. Pour half the chicken stock, gently mixing. Add more stock as needed. Mixture should be evenly moistened, but not soupy. (If you add more stock, and it doesn’t get absorbed, that is too much. Pour it off.)
13. If you still need more liquid, you can use hot water, or any preferred liquid for added flavor: beer, wine, apple juice/cider.
14. Preheat to 350.
15. Put stuffing a 2 quart casserole, sprayed with cooking spray for easy clean up.
16. Bake uncovered until hot (30-45 minutes.)

Nutritional data:
Calories:       80
Fat:              2.4g
Sat fat:         0.3g
Chol:           0mg
Carbs:        14.7g
Fiber:           3.4g
Protein:        3.3g

A few notes:
I use my own homemade chicken stock, which has no added salt. That accounts for the low sodium numbers in this recipe. You can use commercially prepared stock, but it will have more sodium. On the other hand, you can find fat free chicken stock, which will result in even lower calories per serving because mine isn’t fat free. (Everything is a trade-off.)

Use your favorite herbs and spices. Penzey’s Spices makes incredible mixes. Their Sunny Paris is excellent in this.

Instead of Healthy Life bread, use your favorite bread. Whole wheat makes a much more robust version (and needs more liquid). Cornbread is sweeter and more delicate.

Add hot peppers if you like a spicy version.

If you want a sweeter variation, add 2 chopped apples or pears to the onions and celery.

Mushrooms work well in this (I like fresh baby bellas.)

Add meats (bacon, chicken/turkey trimmings, sausage, burger, oysters/clams, chorizo, Andouille, bratwurst or anything) if you want. It will add calories, but also add more flavors.

I don’t like to stuff turkeys. It slows the cooking time on the birds, increasing the risk of dried breasts while you wait for everything to cook. That is why I make it in a casserole separately.

Two Side Dishes

Sweet Potato Fries and Three Bean Salad
These recipes feel a little like cheating. They are so easy that I almost think I should not include them here, but I don’t want people to overlook these.

Sweet Potato Fries

I bought a small electric fryer (This is not exactly the model I found at my local Aldi, but it is very similar and for a similar price.) It is just large enough to make one potato’s worth of fries. (Or as my friends from Great Britain would say, “chips”.)

Peel the sweet potato (and of course, these instructions are true for white potatoes.) Cut them into slice 1/4-1/2 inch thick, then cut them again at the same size to make the fries.

Rinse under cold water, then place in a bowl. Fill with water and ice. Let them chill for 30min to overnight.

Get the oil hot, 325F/162C. Use an oil that remain liquid at room temperatures (canola, corn, safflower or peanut work very nicely.) Drain the water off the potatoes, and using a clean cotton towel, get the fries as dry as possible. Carefully place in the oil. Let let cook for 6-8 minutes. They will start to get limp. Remove them from the oil and let drain. set them aside to rest.

Turn the heat up to 350F/175C. When hot, place the fries back in the oil for 1 minute. they will quickly get golden brown. Serve immediately.

Three Bean Salad
Makes approximately 8 portions (1 cup each)
2 cans cut green bean
1 can cut wax (yellow) beans
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed until clear
1 medium onion, slice thinly.
apple cider vinegar 
sugar (or I used Splenda)
Salt and pepper to taste
Place everything in a non-reactive bowl (glass is best). I try to find low sodium versions of the vegetables. That way, if you need to add a bit more, you are in control of how much is added.
Mix the dressing (equal parts vinegar and sweetener.) I make it in small amount ata time until I get enough. How much is enough? Hard to say, but after placing all the vegetables in the bowl, you want to add enough dressing to come about 3/4 of the way to the top. It’s okay if not everything is submerged. The onions will get soft and collapse, and the beans will give off their own juice. 
Mix together, season as needed, cover and refrigerate overnight. This is a salad that tastes better a few days after making it.
Nutritional data (using Splenda, and no-salt-added vegetables)
Calories:       149
Fat:                     0g
Sat fat:                0g
Chol:                0mg
Sodium:    295.6mg
Carbs:            32.6g
Fiber:               6.7g
Protein:            6.7g
Most of the calories and carbs are from the kidney beans.
I served these sides with burgers, fresh off the grill. I dressed my bun with Vidalia onion and avocado slices (on the bottom bun) with a dollop of coarse German mustard on top of the meat.


Note: the link to Amazon is an affiliate link. That means if you click on it and buy one, I will receive a small commission. It does not change your cost at all, but it will help me continue to provide recipes and advice here and in my podcast

BLT Pasta Salad

BLT Pasta Salad
Serves Approximately 16 (one cup portions)

1 pound shell pasta
8 slices of thick-cut bacon (ideally, low sodium)
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
5 ounces fresh arugala
1 bunch green onions, sliced, greens and whites

  1. Bring a large kettle to a boil. Salt the water. When boiling, add the pasta and cook until “al dente”, 8-10 minutes.
  2. While the pasta boils, fry bacon until crispy. Chop and set aside. 
  3. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon grease.
  4. Return the skilletto stove over medium heat. Add the garlic and tomatoes, and cook over medium-high heat until the tomatoes begin to soften (2 minutes.)
  5. Drain the pasta, saving 2 cups of the pasta water.
  6. Return the hot pasta back to the kettle. 
  7. Add the arugala and stir gently.
  8. Add the tomatoes and garlic, the green onion and one cup of the reserved water. Stir to mix.
  9. Top with bacon, and more pasta water if you think it needs it. 
  10. This can be served warm or cold.

Nutritional data for one cup:

Calories:         103
Fat:                 2.3g
Sat fat:            0.6g
Chol:              3.8g
Sodium:        47.9g
Carbs:           17.2g
Fiber:              1.3g
Protein:           4.4g

You can increase the health benefits by using a high fiber pasta, but Tammy and I don’t eat pasta that often and we simply prefer the “regular” white pasta.

Don’t forget to listen to my podcast, Make Your Someday Today! It is a motivational and weight loss podcast, featuring interviews with musicians, athletes, artists, entrepreneurs and weight loss success stories from around the world. I also answer listener questions, and beginning with Episode 49, I give my “Recipe of the Week!” 

Pickled Scallions

Pickled Scallions

2 cups white vinegar
2 cups Splenda (or table sugar)
2 cups water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 pound scallions, roots trimmed and cut to fit in the jar standing up

  1. Bring first 6 ingredients to a boil on the stove, and simmer for 2 minutes.
  2. While that is simmering, trim the scallions, wash under cold water, and stand up in a glass jar.
  3. Remove pickling liquid from the stove and cool (covered) to near room temperature. Pour over scallions. Cover and refrigerate.
  4. This will keep for several weeks in the fridge.
  5. Note: next time, I will also cut some jalapeno peppers in half (the long way) and add them to the jar for pickled peppers and onions.)
Excellent with burgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, and pork ribs.

Finding new ways to make simple foods that enhance life is a common theme on my Make Your Someday Today podcast, We want to live life, enjoy life, and become the best we can be. Don’t you?

Cabbage, Lime and Jalapeno Slaw

Cabbage, Lime and Jalapeno Slaw
Approximately 10 portions, 1/2 cup each

This recipe combines all the great food experiences. It has the creaminess of the sour cream, the tang of fresh lime juice and lime zest, and the heat of the jalapeno. And you can pump the heat up by using a habanero instead of jalapeno, or adding Sriracha for another layer of flavor. It is a perfect paring with seafood, especially a meaty fish like tuna, or with smoky BBQed pork ribs, or a battered and fried chicken. Such delicious foods, such a versatile side dish!

½ cup sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
2 tablespoon mayo
The juice of one lime
The zest of one lime
1 bag of pre-shredded cabbage (9-12 ounces by weight)
1-2 fresh jalapeno, minced
4-6 green onions, sliced, white and green parts
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Mix together first four ingredients
  2. Mix in the cabbage, onion and jalapenos
  3. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
  4. This is better if you make it one day in advance.

Nutritional data:
Calories:       29
Fat:               1.4g
Sat fat:          0.8g
Chol:         4.2mg
Sodium:   15.1mg
Carbs:           3.6g
Fiber:            1.1g
Protein:         0.9g
My Make Your Someday Today podcast is committed to helping people achieve success, in any goal: weight loss, physical fitness, business, happiness. Part of that is finding good foods that will support your health, reduce your workload, and still taste delicious!

Red Hot Relish

Hot Relish
Serves: makes about 12 portions, 1/4 cup each

A good relish takes a meal and can make it memorable. This is the perfect combination of heat, sweet and sour. Perfect on burgers, hot dog/brats, tacos or as a side dish to pork, or chicken.

2 tablespoon olive oil
15 red jalapeno peppers, partially seeded and sliced (Green will also work.)
1 large Vidalia onion, sliced thinly and then quartered
2 cups diced fresh pineapple or a 15 ounce can of diced pineapple
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 cup Splenda (or table sugar)

  1. Preheat large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add oil.
  2. Add onions and peppers, sautee, tossing occasionally, until the onions start to turn brown (10-15 minutes.)
  3. Stir in pineapple, vinegar and sugar. 
  4. Increase heat to medium-high.
  5. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
  6. Salt and pepper as needed (optional)
  7. Cool to room temp, cover and refrigerate.
Nutritional data:
Calories:        60
Fat:              2.5g
Sat fat:         0.4g
Chol:            0mg
Sodium:     1.3mg
Carbs:          9.6g
Fiber:           1.3g
Protein:        0.9g

My podcast, Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly show, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be. I hope you give it a listen!

Grilled Jalapeno Poppers

Grilled Jalapeno Poppers
Makes 4 servings (4 halves each)
8 jalapenos, halved and seeded
4 tablespoons goat cheese (or low fat cream cheese)
4 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
4 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons minced green onion
1.  Prepare jalapenos. If your hands are sensitive, wear gloves.
2.  Fill each half with approximately 1 tablespoon of the filling.
3.  Preheat the grill.
4.  Place peppers on grill, over direct heat, skin-side down. 
5.  Remove peppers when the skin begins to char.
6.  Serve warm or cold.
Nutritional Data
Calories:           64
Fat:                 3.0g
Sat fat:            1.7g
Chol:             10mg
Sodium:       120mg
Carbs:             5.2g
Fiber:              0.9g

Protein:           4.5g 

Rustic Meal: Sausages, Veggies and Polenta

Rustic Meal

I’m not going to tell you how to make this entire meal, nor the nutritional data for everything. The sausage nutrition will change with every choice, and your choices will change from region to region, from city to city.

Choice is a common topic on my podcast Make Your Someday Today. We are all confronted with challenges, and most are in the form of choices. Planning in advance makes choosing easier.

Your grilled veggies can be altered to your preference. I used baby zucchini, white button mushrooms, an onion, and two red bell peppers. I cut them into similar sizes, tossed them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and herbs, then grilled them over high direct heat until caramelized.

But the polenta requires a recipe and instructions. I’ve made mistakes with polenta; there is a secret.

Jalapeno-Cheddar Polenta
Serves 10+

4 cups liquid (I used 2 bottles beer–24 ounces, or three cups + 1 cup water)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup regular polenta (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup diced onion
1 (or more) diced jalapeno
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese.

  1. Bring liquid to a rolling boil. 
  2. Add onion and jalapeno. Let simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat up and bring back to a rolling boil.
  4. SLOWLY and STEADILY add the polenta, stirring constantly. (This is where I made earlier mistakes. I just dumped it in. Don’t do that!) When you are finished adding the polenta, reduce heat to medium.
  5. Let boil for 3-5 minutes, stirring once a minute, or until desire consistency.
  6. Lay out a 3 foot sheet of waxed paper. Spray with cooking spray.
  7. Pour polenta over wax paper. Spread to approximately 1/2 inch thickness. Let cool 30-60 minutes.
  8. Using a round biscuit cutter or other device, cut into circles. (Or cut into squares.)
  9. At this point, they are ready to fry for immediate service, or refrigerate for later use.
  10. If you are going to immediately serve them, preheat a non-stick skillet over med-high heat.
  11. Spray with cooking spray. Lay cut polenta cakes into the skillet (or griddle) and cook until beginning to brown, 1-3 minutes. 
  12. Flip and cook the other side.
  13. Serve immediately with butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, applesauce or sour cream.
Nutritional data:
Calories:         99
Fat:               1.9g
Sat fat:          1.2g
Chol:          5.9mg
Sodium:    96.3mg
Carbs:         12.5g
Fiber:            0.5g
Protein:         2.6g
Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly podcast, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be.

Green Beans and Butternut Squash

Green Beans and Butternut Squash
Serves Variable

This is a wonderful cool weather meal. It is very well-suited to pork dishes, but hearty fish (salmon), lamb or venison would be equally good.

On my podcast, Make Your Someday Today, many guests talk about need to make adaptations to changing conditions. When you make a side dish like that, you have automatic flexibility. You can prepare whichever meat you have in your freezer or is on sale at your local market. And this dish simply looks good!

Fresh green beans
Medium butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil

I didn’t weigh the ingredients, so I don’t know how much to tell you to use. I used about 4 cups of beans and 2 cups of squash and got 4 large portions from it.

  1. Put a large pot of water on the stove, and turn to high
  2. Peel the squash. 
  3. Cut into approximately 1/2 inch (10mm) slices. Then cut them into cubes.
  4. Trim the ends off the beans, and wash under cold water.
  5. Heat a large non-stick pan over med-high heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  6. Place squash in pan. Let them saute a bit until the first side begins to brown, then start to toss every minute or so to evenly brown them.
  7. When the water comes to a boil, place all the beans in. Prepare a colander in the sink.
  8. After one minute, pour the pot of beans into colander. (You just “blanched” those beans.)
  9. Let them drip dry for a minute, then add them to the large skillet. Continue to toss until the beans are heated through. 
  10. When done, the squash will retain its shape, but be easy to piece with a fork, and the beans will be hot, yet still have crispness. (If you want the beans softer, keep them in the water for an additional 2-3 minutes.) 
Nutritional data:
Calories:           96
Fat:               3.8mg
Sat fat:             0.6g
Chol:                0mg
Sodium:         9.4mg
Carbs:             15.8g
Fiber:                4.4g
Protein:             2.7g

This is excellent with grilled pork chops, by the way!

My podcast, Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly show, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be. I hope you give it a listen!