Recipe Friday: Cran-Apple Crumble

It is cranberry and apple season! The cool blustery winds are coming in, the leaves are turning, and fall is in the air.

Cran-Apple Crumble is a seasonal dessert just right for potlucks, or for nibbling in the house. Have it with some coffee any time.

The flours and sweeteners mentioned are the healthy version; however, you can use white sugar, white flour, and brown sugar in this recipe.

As with many recipes, the amounts listed are suggestions: you can go crazy with cranberries, apples, oats, and sweeteners as you like. Customize this as you will; I like to add a bunch of cinnamon and nutmeg. 🤤


3 cups                  peeled and chopped tart apples

2 cups                  fresh or frozen cranberries

Âľ cup                   sucanat, coconut palm sugar, honey, or maple syrup

3 tablespoons     whole grain oat, barley, or wheat flour


1 1/2 cups           quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup                 whole grain oat, barley, or wheat flour

1/2 cup                 coconut palm sugar

1/2 cup                 butter, melted


In a medium-large bowl, combine apples, cranberries, sweetener, and flour. Pour into a greased 11×7-in. baking dish.

In a bowl, mix topping ingredients until crumbly; sprinkle over apple mixture. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until fruit is tender.

Recipe Friday: Mongolian Beef Slow Cooker

I grabbed a photo from the Internet for this one, since mine, while tasty, did not shoot well. (Maybe it was the lighting, but it looked dirty brown and unappetizing.)

My husband’s favorite dish, when we visit a Chinese restaurant, is Mongolian Beef. I had never made it at home, but I found an Internet recipe, and, with a few changes, whipped it up. So easy! We used round steak, normally tough, but this was very tender.

Traditional Mongolian Beef calls for soy sauce. I recommend against “soy sauce.” Read your labels, and you’ll see that most soy sauces on the grocery shelves are mostly wheat. Tamari is soy sauce, actually made from soy. I buy the low-sodium style.

For the healthy sweetener, I use palm coconut sugar, but you can try others such as honey, date syrup, molasses, or even brown rice syrup. If you don’t have those, use brown sugar.

And, okay, I probably used a tablespoon or so of the garlic, since we like garlic at our house.

Bamboo shoots would go well in this, as well as the soft pea pods and other common Chinese-style veggies. Like the broccoli, add them at the end so they don’t get mushy.

Mongolian Beef in the Slow Cooker

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 3 – 5 hours

Serves: 3 – 5, depending on serving size and how much rice you’re serving with it


1 1/2 pounds (or so) of beef (I used round steak)

1/4 cup                cornstarch

2 tablespoons     olive oil

1 medium            onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon      garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup                tamari sauce, low-sodium

3/4 cup                brewed coffee

1/2 cup                healthy sweetener

1 cup                    carrots, grated

4 cups                  fresh or frozen broccoli florets (if frozen, be sure it is completely thawed)

                              green onions for garnish

                              hot brown rice to go with


Cut beef into thin strips. In a zip-close bag add beef pieces and cornstarch. Shake to coat.
Add olive oil, onion, minced garlic, tamari, coffee, sweetener and carrots to slow cooker. Stir ingredients. Add coated beef and stir again until coated in the sauce.
Cook on high 1 hour, then on low for 4- 5 hours (or cook on high for 3 hours) until cooked throughout and tender.
In the last hour or half hour of cooking, stir in the broccoli.

Can serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

Recipe Friday: Beef Stew in the Instant Pot

This recipe takes a bit longer than the dump-set-and-forget-it types, as it takes some babysitting. I cook the meat, then add the potatoes and carrots and cook again. Total time is about 2 1/2 hours. A quicker way to cook it is to add all the ingredients and then bring to pressure for 18 minutes. I did that the first time, from a recipe I found; but the potatoes and carrots were too soft and mushy for me.
Any kind of red meat would go nicely in this stew.
A nice alternative to the cornstarch slurry is to add instant mashed potato flakes, a little at a time, until the desired thickness.

This is good with a crunchy, chewy bread, or biscuits.

Servings: 4 – 6
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 2.5 hours, includes coming to pressure and natural pressure release


2 pounds beef stew meat (or venison or whatever kind)

2 medium-large onions, diced

2 generous stalks celery, diced, include leaves

a few shakes each of spices: paprika, celery seed, basil, cayenne, minced garlic, parsley

1 cup strong, hot coffee; mix 1 tablespoon salt into it to dissolve

1 cup water

4 or 5 medium potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces

7 medium-large carrots, cut into bite-size pieces

4 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with a small amount of water or broth to make a slurry

Directions: Use Sauté mode to brown meat and onion. When mostly cooked, stir in celery. Cook maybe 10 minutes more, then add spices and stir well. Cook another 5 minutes.
Add a small amount of the coffee/salt, and scrape to stir up the fond.
Pour the rest of the coffee, and the extra cup of water, into the pot. Stir.
Put on the lid, set to Seal. Set Meat/Stew mode to 10 minutes.
Since it was hot from the sautéing, the pot took about 10 minutes to come to pressure.
Natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then release pressure.
Press Cancel.
Remove lid carefully.
Add the potatoes and carrots, stir.
Replace the lid and seal.
Set Meat/Stew mode to 8 minutes.
When the 10 minutes is finished, allow 10 minutes for natural pressure release, then release pressure and remove the lid.
Press Cancel, then press Sauté.
Stir in cornstarch slurry and stir thoroughly. Allow to simmer and thicken.