Cranberry Oat Bread

This year I'm not doing a traditional Thanksgiving. My husband and I are running off to Vegas for a random excursion and we couldn't be more excited. But Thanksgiving for me is an important time of year because it's the first day of nostalgia season. That time of year where all sorts of warm memories come flooding back and make people like me all kinds of emotional. Perhaps I am a bit overly nostalgic. Like who else cries over a Jimmy Buffet song because it makes them think of endless summer days floating in the pool? I mean really, who does that? No seriously, I'm choked up just thinking about it right now...

...regaining composure...

Anyways! The holidays make me crazy bonkers nostalgic. The music, the smells... But the older I get, it seems, the less I realize that the holidays have even arrived. They can come and go so easily without me noticing if I don't try. So I have to grab ahold of this nostalgia - these things that represent the holidays to me - so I can fully appreciate and live in the moment of the day.

When it comes to Thanksgiving there are staples that I am quite attached to. No, don't worry - it's not eating hotdogs. I grew out of that stage of my life early enough.  It's the Thanksgiving Day Parade that really gets me amped up. Something about waking up early, grabbing a cup of coffee and watching Snoopy float around the corner of Times Square allows me to finally feel in the holiday spirit. Every year I'm scared to miss the parade because I fear I won't remember it's the holidays without it.

The other gem that makes Thanksgiving truly Thanksgiving to me is one of the tastiest traditions of all: CRANBERRY BREAD. This was my absolute favorite Thanksgiving treat growing up. (My mother would send me boxes of cranberry bread mix for years after moving to California.) So, this year, in honor of Benner Fit and making better choices, I wanted to find a healthy cranberry bread I could share with you all.

This Cranberry Oat Bread recipe began here and I expanded it into my own. Let me just say, I am a recipe follower so branching out and trying to create a healthier version was a scary move on my part. But I was pretty happy with the results!

INGREDIENTS: 2 1/2 cups of flour 1 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp cinnamon A dash of nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice 3/4 cup of old fashioned oats (or you can go for 1 cup of quick oats) 1/2 cup of honey 1/4 cup of agave 1/3 cup of coconut oil 2 eggs 1/2 cup of almond milk 1/2 cup of greek yogurt (I used vanilla flavored, to add a bit more sweet) 2 cups of cranberry 1 cup walnuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan In a medium bowl, stir together your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, old fashioned oats. In a large bowl, mix together your wet ingredients (except for the berries and walnuts): honey, agave, coconut oil, eggs, almond milk, yogurt. Mix the dry ingredients into the large bowl. Once this is moist, stir in your cranberries and nuts. Pour into your loaf pan and bake it up! 45min - 1 hour

I definitely recommend not digging into this bread right away. Give it time to cool off, so that the flavors can come out in full force. When I pulled it out of the oven I jumped right into snacking on this, and I wasn't thrilled with the flavor. But when I woke up in the morning, I snuck in a piece for breakfast - and it was quite lovely!! The spices really started to show themselves after cooling. If I were to do it over again, I'd bump up the spices and possibly add a bit more honey or agave to boost up the sweetness. But that might just be because of my raging sweet tooth. For some additional flavor and texture - toss in some walnuts along with the cranberries! And bring on the nostalgia!