A couple weeks ago I went to the largest cranberry festival, CranFest, in Wisconsin. Countless times over the years driving to Wisconsin to see my brother in law, head to the Dells with the family, or heading out to Chicago we would pass a big billboard for the worlds largest cranberry festival. I love cranberries as does my good friend and I would text her saying we really need to go. We tried to go for 5 years but both being moms and it being her busiest time of the year as a photographer we never made it work. This year it happened! It was talked about a couple months in advance and I thought I had the weekends right and I messed up and booked 3 other things that weekend but when it came down to it we made it happen, a girls weekend to CranFest! We had no idea what to expect but thought there would be a lot more cranberry foods and stuff, not that there wasn’t a lot but there were lots of crafts and miles of flea market vendors in this small town of 360. With an estimated 120,000 visitors that attend it was packed and crazy.
The best part of the trip was by far a tour of the cranberry marshes and learning all about cranberries. Did you know that the cranberry is one of only three fruits native to North America? Crazy! Wisconsin produces about two-thirds of the 500 million pounds of cranberries that Americans consume each year. If you have ever just eaten a cranberry you might wonder, like my husband does, who would have ever thought to eat them. I just look at him strange as umm that would be me although I do prefer them cooked or dried but I like the tart taste of cranberries and don’t need lots of sugar to eat them.
I didn’t leave the festival empty handed, I took home 10 pounds of fresh cranberries! To which my husband laughed and also said what about the ones you already have hidden in the freezer, oh don’t worry I’ll use those too. Which I already did in the last couple weeks blending into things and making a few things. I also got cranberry creamed honey, which is delicious! Lots of dried cranberries, including flavors that Ocean Spray doesn’t sell in stores! I got big bags of blueberry, raspberry, cherry, and orange Crasins. They are all delicious and I got two bags of a couple flavors but the family is wishing I would have gotten more orange ones, they’re good! I also got lots of balsamic vinegars and oils from a vendor from Illinois, including some they didn’t have their that they shipped so I didn’t have to order them online. Oh they are so good! I got Raspberry, Blueberry, Cinnamon- Pear, Dark Chocolate, and Espresso. I think that’s it maybe a couple more. As well as Blood Orange Olive Oil and White Truffle Oil, oh so good! The Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar and White Truffle Oil are delicious on popcorn! I can’t wait to play with all of them. I got Cranberry Bloody Mary Mix that Ocean Spray doesn’t sell to the public, rethinking that one as maybe I should have gotten more than one bottle of that. I thought some family members might enjoy it for the holidays as we host Christmas. A few special Ocean Spray’s new Cranberry Juices like Pineapple Cranberry Juice, got some ideas for that! Last but not least wine, lots of cranberry wine!
So I have all these cranberries what to make first? Well we had a crazy week going on when I got back but I made the girls Cranberry Chocolate Chip Muffins, which they loved! I also made some cranberry juices, shakes, and smoothies. With the girls having a big fall soccer tournament the weekend after I went and I got home from the festival really late Sunday night there wasn’t going to be any baking with their 8 games! Yes it was crazy but such a fun amazing weekend, as long and tiring as it was. I did sneak in this oatmeal, and not just once but a couple times, and it’s been on repeat with variations on nut butters and toppings since. It’s so good, easy, and good for you! I can just curl up with a bowl of this and relax in the sun and it’s so relaxing. Same goes for enjoying it on the sideline of a soccer game because it’s just so good and warms you up. With all the flavors and textures there’s just so much going on, but not too much, that you won’t know what you love most about it just that you love it!
I use my favorite steel cut oats, but you can adapt to rolled oats if you like those better. I also use half milk and half water when making it so it’s really creamy like porridge yet I keep my steel cut oats slightly al dente but that’s personal preference. The cranberry goji sauce is so quick and easy it cooks while your oatmeal does and it’s not only delicious, I could literally eat a whole jar of it, but good for you! Cranberries are full of antioxidants, and high in vitamin C and fiber. and high in vitamin C and fiber. They also fight inflammation, reduce the risk of heart disease, and help prevent ulcers and yeast infections and may help prevent cancer. Goji berries are also packed with antioxidants, include 18 amino acids, have more vitamin C than oranges, more beta-carotene than carrots, and more iron than soybeans and spinach! So together they are one super fruit duo! I also top my oatmeal with yogurt for extra creaminess, unless I make it with homemade nut milk or another rich thick non dairy milk beverage. After that it’s up to you! I like to add in a spoonful of nut butter and drizzle of peanut butter. I also add in gelatinized maca to my portion of oatmeal. Adding in flaxseed, chia seeds, coconut, or whatever the mood strikes me for at the time!
Cranberry Superfood Oatmeal
Makes 2 servings
1c steel cut oats (Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats)
1 1/2c non dairy milk* (So Delicious Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)
1 1/2c water
¼ tsp sea salt
1c (4oz) fresh cranberries
1/4c goji berries (Navitas Naturals)
2 TBSP maple syrup
1-2 TBSP honey or maple syrup
1- 6oz container plain or vanilla yogurt* (used So Delicious Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut Milk Yogurt)
2 TBSP almond or cashew butter, optional (Peanut Butter & Co Bestie Cashew Almond Butter)
Optional add-ins: flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, maca powder (I add in Navitas Naturals Gelatinized Maca to my serving)
*The yogurt adds creaminess, if I use homemade nut milk I omit it as the homemade nut milk makes it rich and creamy.
In a medium saucepan, boil 1 1/2 cups of water and coconut milk beverage or almond milk. When it boils, pour in oatmeal, reduce heat to a light simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, for approximately 20 minutes or until a porridge-like consistency forms. While the oatmeal is cooking in a medium sauce pan with a lid stir together cranberries, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, and 1/4 cup of water and bring to a boil. Put the lid on and reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove lid and the cranberries should be popped and cooked down. Stir in goji berries and set aside. When the oatmeal has finished cooking, pour into bowls. Top with yogurt, nut butter (if using), honey or maple syrup, and cranberry goji berry sauce. Eat as is or mix it all up and enjoy!Fuel your day with #healthy Cranberry Superfood Oatmeal! #SweatPink @NavitasNaturals @OceanSprayInc Click To Tweet
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