4 Simple Last Minute REAL FOOD Gift Ideas

4 simple gift ideas that might also inspire with their real food message.Is your holiday shopping complete? I’ve almost got mine “wrapped” up. But if you’re not so lucky, here are several simple gifts that are not only thoughtful, but might also share a subtle REAL food message with your friend or loved one!

Your favorite REAL food recipe and a dish to serve it in:

Last minute gifts: recipe and serving dishWhen I got married one of our wedding presents was a wonderful recipe for a hot cheese dip with a serving dish to prepare it in. Over twenty years later I still remember the gift and who gave it to us. Why? The gift was personal, the recipe was delicious (I’ll probably share it on the blog sometime soon), and the idea was totally unique.

So if you’ve a got a simple, family-favorite REAL food recipe, write it down and wrap it up with a serving dish. My guess is it will be a gift that’s remembered for years to come! Continue Reading >>


Recipe: Peanut Butter Whole Wheat Dog Biscuits

Peanut Butter Whole Wheat dog treats are a perfect way to give a gift to your friends or family members with dogs!

Have you heard the saying “the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”? Well, that may be true for some, but I’d argue if you’ve got a friend or family member with a pet, a thoughtful gift for their dog or cat might trump just about anything you could feed them. At least that’s true for us and our dog Katie! Continue Reading >>


Recipe: Cherry Almond Chip Cookies

Bruce Bradley's Cherry Almond Chip cookies are a delicious holiday twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie!

Choosing to eat REAL food doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun of the holidays. Yes, finding the role for treats in our lives can be a challenge, but I think it’s totally doable. If you’re eating treats all the time, every day, it’s going to start taking a toll on your health. But once in a while making a batch of cookies is totally cool—especially when you share them with friends. That way it’s just about having a taste of something sweet for a day or two. After all sugar isn’t evil … it just can become a very bad habit.

Continue Reading >>


Recipe: Cranberry Orange Crisps

Cranberry Orange Crisps are a delicious cookie that will soon become one of your holiday favorites!

I enjoy making cookies for the holidays. I know they’re a treat, but an occasional indulgence is perfectly fine in my book! And what’s so great about baking this time of year is you can share some of your goodies as a holiday gift from your home. But let’s face it, it can be hard to find something new and different to bake up. That’s why I love these Cranberry Orange Crisp cookies so much. They’re delicious, easy, and really unique. Going to a holiday baking cookie party? I bet you’ll be the ONLY one to bring this recipe!

Now this history behind these cookies is a kind of interesting. Back in 1998 when I ran the Pillsbury Dessert and Baking Mixes business there was a recipe for Cranberry Crisps that won a prize in the Pillsbury Bake-Off. It was made out of cranberry quick bread mix, something that I’ve since stopped using given all the processed ingredients in these kind of mixes. So for while I didn’t make these cookies. :-(  But a couple years ago I decided I wanted to bring them back, but this time using real, fresh ingredients. And here’s the result … my Cranberry Orange Crisps!

Continue Reading >>


Recipe: Crazy Good Cranberry Orange Quick Bread

Learn why boxed mixes may not be your best option for holiday bakingOver the years Cranberry Quick Bread has become a festive, holiday classic. In fact when I ran Pillsbury’s dessert and baking mix business, Cranberry Quick Bread sales were so important that they were a big part of making our profit goals in November and December. And part of the marketing strategy behind these mixes was to portray them as a fresh, home-baked alternative to scratch baking. But when you take a closer look at what’s really in them, you might want to “beware of the box” and make a REAL, homemade recipe instead.

Learn why boxed mixes may not be your best option for holiday baking

With ingredients like white flour, white sugar, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate), and emulsifiers (propylene glycol esters of fatty acids, distilled monoglycerides) store-bought quick bread & muffin mixes are filled with highly processed ingredients and lots of GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Probably the most concerning item on the list, however, is BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), an ingredient used to increase the shelf-life of the highly processed oils used in these mixes. While preventing these oils from going rancid is important, it definitely comes at a cost since BHT has been linked to higher cancer rates in some animal studies. Finally, quick bread mixes often include some dairy ingredients that are typically sourced from dairy cows treated with growth hormones (rBGH) and/or antibiotics.

To avoid all these processed ingredients the best solution I’ve found is to make my own CRAZY GOOD Cranberry Orange Quick Bread recipe. It’s lightly sweetened with honey and some orange juice, and it uses REAL ingredients like whole wheat flour, fresh fruit, butter, and buttermilk. And since it only takes about 10 minutes to whip up, it really isn’t that hard to make!

Ready to give it a try? Then preheat your oven and get out your mixing bowls! Here’s my recipe!

Bruce Bradley's CRAZY GOOD Cranberry Orange Quick Bread is lightly sweetened and uses only REAL ingredients

Recipe: Crazy Good Cranberry Orange Quick Bread
Recipe type: Dessert/Treats
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 12 slices

  • 2¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 6 tablespoons stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into ¼ slices, plus extra to grease the loaf pan
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup honey
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 orange, zested (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cup chopped cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease and flour large loaf pan.
  2. In a food processor pulse together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cold butter until it resembles cornmeal.
  3. Pulse in honey, buttermilk, orange juice, and orange zest.
  4. Pulse in eggs. Don’t over mix.
  5. Fold in cranberries and nuts (optional).
  6. Pour into a prepared pan.
  7. Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove bread from pan and cool on wire rack for at least 30 minutes.

We recommend using organic ingredients when possible.

Our cranberry orange quick bread embraces the fact that cranberries are a tart berry—so this bread isn’t overly sweet. We believe when cooking with cranberries, you’re shooting for some of that tart taste vs. covering it up with a lot of sugar. That said, if you’re looking for a truly “sweet” quick bread, add a ¼ cup more honey (or sugar) and increase the bake time slightly. Just remember that whether it’s sugar or honey, sweet is sweet and we all should be trying to limit our intake of sugars. =)

I love to share these wonderful quick bread loaves as gifts. What are some of your favorite holiday gifts from your kitchen? PLEASE … share them in the comments below. And if you’re looking for some tools to make this recipe just a little bit easier, check out my Kitchen Tips and Resources below! Finally, if you love the tart, fresh taste of cranberries, check out my next post for Cranberry Orange Crisp Cookies. Yes, the recipe uses some sugar, but an occasional holiday indulgence isn’t bad, right? :-)


Kitchen Resources and Tips:


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