Winter is coming faster than I can dust off my cranberry recipes and start organizing my decorations. The days are getting shorter, and darkness is starting to hover over our kitchen table right about dinnertime. Where did all the time go this year? As I am writing this I am wondering what it will be like to have my first snowless winter in seven years living here in Sunny Florida. But even in this wayward climate, a welcome chill in the evening breeze is starring to make itself known. Winter is almost here and I’m ready for it, snow or not.
I love to create dishes that mirror the season and utilize seasonal ingredients. It makes each season feel more meaningful and set apart from the others. Even if you’re in a place where the weather doesn’t change much, there’s comfort in knowing that nature’s cycles continue to pass through our lives no matter what else is going on. Winter seems like the perfect time for hearty nuts and seeds, tangy fruits, and creamy Cultured Coconut Yogurt, the main ingredients in this cool snowy treat.
As the season starts in full swing, I can feel all the excitement in the air. But along with the excitement, other aspects are already becoming all too obvious to me; traffic, impatience, hurriedness and general anxiety. And I can’t say I’m immune to any of these either. It’s a time when calendars are overfilled and plates are packed with too many goodies. A little chilling and nurturing is just what my inner doctor ordered. It seems appropriate that I make a special treat that always seems to tickle my taste buds, calm my state of mind, and take me into a healthy winter spirit, my Cranberries & Snow Freezer Coconut Yogurt Bars.
I always feel privileged when I can include some cranberries in a dish. Fresh cranberries are pretty much seasonal and can be hard to locate the rest of the year except when frozen. They rescued me from some serious health issues during my college days and have been a part of my fruit life ever since, albeit not often enough. Unfortunately cranberries make an appearance all too infrequently in the culinary world. We would do ourselves a lot of good by thinking of cranberries as a berry for all seasons.
Cranberries are unique wild-habitat berries that grow in cooler climates. They’re rich in phyto-nutrients (naturally derived plant compounds), particularly proanthocyanidin antioxidants, which are essential for all-round wellness. The berries contain numerous chemical substances that offer protection from tooth cavities, urinary tract infection, and inflammatory diseases. They also help prevent attachment of bacteria to the stomach lining which is why they can help remedy stomach ulcers. Some label these unique berries a “super food”. I agree.
Cultured Coconut Yogurt speaks for itself; tasty, rich and mega healthy; a true super food if I ever saw one. Filled with enzymes, protein, amino acids, vitamins, healthy fats, its one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. It’s especially helpful for sustained energy. Being hypoglycemic, I start of a good deal of my mornings off with at least a tablespoonful of it.
Yogurt, fruit and nuts are such a natural combination that it seemed redundant to create a recipe around these ingredients. But when you freeze this gorgeous mixture, it’s transformed into creamy delicious yogurt bark with crunch, tartness, and lovely winter colors. Snowy and sweet.
I often grab one of these beautiful bars after working out, first thing in the morning, and anytime really. They make great meal replacement bars too. I really like to have one with, of all things, a cup of very warm herbal tea. The one gives my metabolism a proper send-off; the other soothes my soul to no end. What a lucky girl I am to have these wonderful foods in my life. I hope you consider yourself lucky as you make these delightful coconut yogurt freezer bars. We could all use a lot more luck.
This recipe is raw, dairy and gluten-free, and yields 9 – 12 bars.
Cranberries & Snow Freezer Coconut Yogurt Bar
- 3 cups thick Cultured Coconut Yogurt or other thick yogurt of choice
- 1 cup loosely chopped pecans
- 1 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup dried cranberries (preferably unsweetened)
- 1 cup sliced fresh or frozen cranberries
- few drops orange essential oil or 1/4 tsp orange extract or 1/4 tsp orange-flavored stevia
- 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
- 2 – 4 Tbsp honey or other sweetener of choice (optional)
- Add coconut yogurt and coconut oil to a blender.
- Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Add to a mixing bowl and stir in remaining ingredients.
- Transfer to a parchment-lined cake pan or any other container you want.
- Spread evenly smoothing out the top.
- Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and freeze for several hours. I suggest you score or cut the bars before they are completely frozen. It’s easier to serve this way.
- Once scored or cut, place the bars back in the freezer and freeze until completely frozen.
- Remove as using and enjoy. I suggest thawing a little before serving.
- Yields 9 – 12 bars.
- Can be stored frozen in a sealed container for up to 2 months.