Thursday, October 26, 2017

Halloween Nights--Shaking It Up with Cranberries and Honey

During one late October week before Halloween I was on a mission.  A trip to many stores around town was on my to-do list.  I bought pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, and chocolate candy bars (big and small)—the big day was coming!

On the afternoon of Halloween, I put a brighter bulb in the porch light, dumped all the candy into a plastic pumpkin, placed the muffins and cookies with spiders on a platter, and brewed a cup of coffee. It was Halloween night and I was super ready for trick or treaters. At dusk nobody came. When it was dark not one knock on the door. By 9:00 P.M., it was obvious. I was so tricked—no kids in spooky costumes for me. I blamed it on the chilly weather.

So, this year I am on a pumpkin fast. Well, I have canned pumpkin in the pantry, and I munched on pumpkin seeds last week. I did experience the pumpkin patch in Placerville in early October. But this time around, on Halloween night I’m starting a new tradition. All lights off. I’ll be watching Hallmark harvest films and/or scary sci-fi films for the chill effect, working on a book project, cuddling with the dog and cat—and  chilling. No goblins or witches—just a sweet treat—a cranberry shake.  

Autumn Cranberry Shake

1-1/4 cups vanilla gelato
½-3/4 cup fresh cranberries, whole
¼ cup all natural premium orange juice
½ small banana, slices
¼ cup organic half-and-half
1 capful pure vanilla extract
Honey to taste
4-5 small ice cubes
Whipped cream (optional)
Walnuts, finely chopped (garnish for topping)
In a blender combine gelato, berries, juice, half-and-half, vanilla, honey, and ice cubes. Blend quickly until thick and smooth.  Top with whipped cream and nuts. Pour into a milkshake glass. Grab a spoon and straw. Serves 1 or 2.
I didn’t want to spook you with exotic fruits, protein powder, or non-fat milk. After all, we are entering the holiday season. In defense of this decadent shake, you are getting plenty of vitamin C from the berries and orange juice. Also, this shake boasts calcium and protein. So you don’t have to feel guilty when savoring this cold, oh-so creamy delight. Give credit to the banana and gelato, less milk. The cool thing is, fresh cranberries are delicious when you include nature’s sweeteners, like orange juice and honey. You’ll feel festive sipping this shake day or night—whether trick or treaters pay you a visit. Or not. Enjoy the chill of the shake. For tradition’s sake, Boo!
Motto: When you’re tricked, treat yourself to something to feel warm and fuzzy.

— Cal Orey, M.A., is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, and Tea) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.)  Her website is

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