Let’s Make Cranberry Sauce


‘Tis the season for wonderful, healthy Cranberries – fresh from Maine. The raw berries are bitter-tasting but full of powerful antioxidants. I will add some unprocessed sugar and orange flavoring to make a tasty syrup to use in healthy plant-based baking. The cranberries will gel from their natural pectin, causing the sauce to thicken. The color and texture of the cranberry syrup is stunning, the translucent berries are especially captivating for a photographer. 

CITRUS: Oranges, lemons and cranberries.

SIMPLE CRANBERRY SAUCE RECIPE (to be used in desserts):
Quantity:  After cooking, makes about 1 cup sauce.
2 cups raw cranberries, wash and sort
1/3 cup sugar-in-the-raw type sweetener (or to taste)
1/3 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed or 100% juice)
1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier (orange-flavored liqueur)

So easy to make Cranberry Sauce:  Add sugar, orange juice and Grand Marnier to a small skillet. Stir and heat until sugar dissolves. Add raw cranberries, stir gently, bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Some of the berries will pop. Don’t over stir or over cook, leave some berries whole.


CRANBERRY SYRUP: This syrup is made from fresh cranberries and can be used in cakes or other baked goods.

This time I used the Cranberry Syrup to enhance my Orange Cake available in my eCookbook, see details available  on where to purchase and download my book Enjoy Cooking Whole Food, Plant-Based Desserts with CoachBJ 

ORANGE – CRANBERRY FLAVORED CAKE:  Fresh cranberries add a seasonal touch to this orange flavored moist cake.
ORANGE – CRANBERRY CAKE:  My Orange Cake with fresh cranberry sauce turns into a delightful holiday dessert.

I used Cranberry Syrup in two other desserts, I’ll be posting more PIX soon. More ideas coming.

Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

Coconut Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yummy gems for a special chocolate chip cookie treat! Who doesn’t love a soft chewy chocolate chip cookie with a low calorie count, natural sweetener and no oil. It’s hard not to eat them all right out of the oven…save a few for later!

Coconut Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Coconut Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Serves: 24 (2” cookies); Bake 12-14 minutes.
1/4 cup date syrup or maple syrup
1 medium banana, mashed
3 T. aquafaba (chickpea brine)
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 lemon (juice and 1 T. grated peel)
1/2 cup water plus 1 T.
1/3 cup Almond Butter or Peanut Butter
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup coconut reduced-fat shredded flakes
2 T. flaxseed meal
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/4- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 

Preheat oven 350F. Prepare and combine all liquid ingredients. Place dry ingredients in mixing bowl (except choc chips), mix. Pour liquid ingredients into dry, blend. Fold in chips. Cover a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper, spoon batter onto it. Bake 12-14 minutes.

Nutritional Facts:   Amount per Serving, Calories 103, Calories From Fat 40, Total Fat 6g, Sodium 51mg, Total Carbs 13g, Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 6g, Protein 2g 

Check out this cookie recipe along with 34 other dessert recipes in my downloadable e-cookbook. Whole food, plant-based dessert recipes include Apple Cherry Crumble, Banana Quick Bread, BJ’s Double Chocolate Cake, Citrus Pumpkin Cheezcake, Date Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free), Fudge, Orange Cake, Soft Pretzels, Strawberry Banana Cream Pie, Sweet Potato Pie, Walnut Pumpkin Bread and more – all with a healthy twist.


Enjoy Cooking Whole Food, Plant-based DESSERTS with Coach BJ
Enjoy Cooking Whole Food, Plant-based DESSERTS with Coach BJ

How-to Make Cantaloupe Banana Ice Cream

Cantaloupes at the Market

A nice cool refreshing dessert made from frozen fruit, including bananas and fruits of your choice, is easy to make with another toy that we own – Yonanas. But don’t fear, if you don’t own one, you can do the same by using a strong blender.


No dairy or added sugar but all the wonderful nutrients makes this a super healthy treat. Plant-based ice cream can be made anytime of the year but it is especially pleasurable during the summer.

Ice Cream Made with Bananas and Blueberries
Ice Cream Made with Bananas and Blueberries
Cherry Banana Ice Cream
Ice Cream Made with Bananas and Cherries

The other day I noticed that our cantaloupe was getting ripe faster than we could eat it. We’re aware of food waste and try our best to eat what we purchase or grow. So what to do with those fast ripening fruits, well easy, just freeze them, especially bananas and, in this case, half of that cantaloupe. I’m curious about how yummy this ice cream will taste. First time try but I think it will be perfect with cantaloupe’s natural sweetness!

You can see from my food photography that I’ve made ice cream from bananas and blueberries and cherries. Try strawberries, peaches, mangoes, raspberries…how about watermelon. So let’s see what happens with the cantaloupe in this video, what do you think?

Remember to throw over-ripe or excess bananas and fruit in the freezer – make an ice cream treat later! Top with nuts and add chocolate chips too. Delicious. Waste NOT!

Blueberries In The Round and more

Coach BJ's Blueberry Cobbler in the Round

I’m totally in love with cobblers in the round with a hint of peanut butter in the cobbler… throw in some beautiful fresh blueberries with a splash of a juicy peach…makes my mouth water. Decadent without many calories; plant-based fruits produce natural sugar – the best. Natural fruits…what a dessert treat! 

Aren’t we lucky to be surrounded by fruit orchards here in Central PA. We love to support our local farmers who work so hard to bring freshness to our table. We have no excuse for not eating healthy fruits and for those less fortunate there are various outlets and food pantries where in-season fruit is available for the asking if you qualify. Tom and I participate in the Gleaning Project where we help other community volunteers collect fruit which would otherwise go to waste but is now distributed to people who are eager to eat fresh vegetables and fruit. 

Tom Gleaning Peaches
Tom Gleaning Peaches

Here are a few of the cobblers I’ve made this season. Even when the fruit is out of season, it is perfectly fine to use frozen fruit…so enjoy cobbler all year “in the round”.

Coach BJ's Blueberries cobbler in the Round
Coach BJ’s Blueberries Cobbler in the Round
Coach BJ's Blueberry Cobbler in the round
Taking a bite of Coach BJ’s Blueberry Cobbler in the round…delicious!

…and there’s more…

Coach BJ's Blueberries and Peaches Cobbler in the round
Coach BJ’s Blueberries and Mangoes Cobbler in the round

…and more…

Coach BJ's Strawberries and peaches cobbler in the round
Coach BJ’s Strawberries and Peaches Cobbler in the round


Coach BJ's Peaches and Cherries cobbler in the round
Coach BJ’s Peaches and Cherries Cobbler in the round

Now let’s dig into that fruit cobbler! But which is your favorite…blueberries, cherries, peaches, mangoes or strawberries? My favorite is the last one I’ve made, so mix and match fresh or frozen fruits!

Apple Cherry Crumble

Cherry Apple Crisp

Apple Cherry Crumble:  Apples and Cherries together make this a wonderful dessert. The difficulty is trying not to eat the fruit before you make the crumble. The colorful beautiful presentation is a bonus for this healthy crumble delight!

Cherry Apple Crisp
Coach BJ’s Cherry Apple Crisp
Serves: 6 || Prep Time: 20 minutes || Cook Time: 25 minutes5 baking apples (5 cups), peeled and cored, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 medium lemon (juice and 1 teaspoon zest)
3/4 cup fresh or frozen cherries (no need to thaw)
1-2 tablespoon date sugar or maple syrup (to taste)
5 (3-inch) pieces crystallized ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup granola


Preheat oven 350°F. Prepare apples then place into a non-stick ovenware dish. Add remaining ingredients (except granola); gently combine. Crumble the granola over the top, bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 154  Cal from Fat 9, Total Fat 1g, Saturated Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 8mg, Total Carbohydrate 35g, Fiber 4g, Total Sugars 23g (includes 11g added sugars), Protein 2g

Gingerbread with Pumpkin Whipped Cream

Piece of Gingerbread Cake

Bites of crystallized ginger make this Gingerbread cake a favorite! Add Pumpkin Whipped Cream Topping to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Gingerbread Cake
Coach BJ’s Gingerbread Cake
Serves: 10 || Prep Time: 30 minutes || Cook Time: 40 minutes
For Pumpkin Whip Cream Topping:
1/2 (14-ounce) package firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/3 cup pure pumpkin, drained
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder ground
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (to taste)
Optional:  Add unsweetened non-dairy milk by spoonfuls as needed for consistency
For Gingerbread:
3/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
1/2 lemon (juice and zest)
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1 tablespoon arrowroot
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
2 1/2 teaspoons ginger powder ground or more if you want it extra spicy
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon gum xanthan
9 pieces (1/2 cup minced) crystallized ginger, minced
1/3 cup water (or cool coffee)
3 tablespoons aquafaba (chick pea brine)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup molasses

Prepare Pumpkin Whip Cream Topping before preparing the Gingerbread.
To Make Pumpkin Whipped Cream Topping. Press excess liquid from tofu. In a blender, blend all listed pumpkin topping ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate as least an hour before serving.
To Make Gingerbread. Preheat oven 350°F. In small bowl, add lemon (juice/zest) to non-dairy milk, set aside. In large bowl mix dry ingredients including flours, arrowroot, flaxseed, ginger powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, gum xanthan and minced crystallized ginger. To the non-dairy milk/lemon, mix in water or coffee, aquafaba, vanilla and molasses; add these liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Blend all ingredients together. Pour batter into non-stick cake pan or one lined with parchment paper. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a toothpick pierced into the cake top comes out clean. Cool before removing from pan, then frost with Pumpkin Whipped Cream Topping.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 149  Cal from Fat 14, Total Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 125mg, Total Carbohydrate 29g, Fiber 3g, Total Sugars 12g (includes 8g added sugars),  Protein 5g