Calorie Free

Welcome to our annual food edition! Our friend and former co-host Lisa Salinger joins us to share in all things delicious. Get ready for fun, laughter, and easy recipes to love both during the holiday season and throughout the year. All recipes can be found below.

First, though, a couple quick event-related announcements. Our phone comparison event is being made available as a download rather than a live event. Registrations were very low, so we made the decision to just put this up as a free download as soon as possible. I’ll send an announcement to our free Events mailing list as soon as the audio is available. If you had hoped or intended to join us live, and you had questions, please send them to us via email and we’ll do our best to answer in the audio.

And speaking of events, we will be holding our annual open house on Friday, November 24, between 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM eastern time. You must register to join us at the event. To do so, please visit:

This is an annual event, and is always so much fun. Feel free to come for 20 minutes or stay for the entire time, it’s all up to you. And no, you don’t need to talk if you’d rather not. This event is never recorded, and we look forward to it every year.

To make this episode even better, Kesel Wilson, editorial director with National Braille Press comes by the castle to talk about 2023 holiday picks. Is there much better to celebrate all things festive than books and food? We think not!

Hope the start to your holiday festivities is simply wonderful! Now, on to the recipes!

Citrus Rainbow Carrots

(Excerpted from:
6 servings
Prep/Total Time: 25 min.
2 pounds medium rainbow or regular carrots, diagonally sliced
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1. Place carrots and enough water to cover in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, until tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain; return to pan.
2. Add remaining ingredients. Cook over medium-high heat until carrots are glazed, 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Test Kitchen Tips
Rainbow carrots can be deep burgundy, golden yellow, jeweled orange or creamy white in color.
Be careful to only zest the outer layer of orange peel. The white part underneath is bitter.
One medium orange will yield about 4 teaspoons grated orange zest.
Nutrition Facts
2/3 cup: 132 calories, 6g fat (4g saturated fat), 15mg cholesterol, 445mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (12g sugars, 4g fiber), 2g protein.

Lemony rice

One and 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 3/4 cups of water and two bouillon cubes or the equivalent
 1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup white rice, not instant or minute rice.
Bring the broth and lemon juice to a boil in a saucepan. Add the rice, turn to low, cover and cook for about 18 minutes. If you normally cook your rice for 22 minutes, cook it for 20 instead. The acid in the lemon juice breaks down the rice a bit, and if you cook it for the normal amount of time, it will be too mushy.

Applesauce Sweet Potatoes

(Excerpted from:
8 servings
Prep: 15 min.
Cook: 4 hours
3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and sliced
1-1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup glazed pecans, chopped, optional
1. Place sweet potatoes in a 4-qt. slow cooker. In a small bowl, mix applesauce, brown sugar, melted butter and cinnamon; pour over potatoes.
2. Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours or until potatoes are tender. If desired, sprinkle with pecans before serving. Serve with a slotted spoon.
Nutrition Facts
3/4 cup (calculated without pecans): 303 calories, 5g fat (3g saturated fat), 11mg cholesterol, 57mg sodium, 65g carbohydrate (39g sugars, 6g fiber), 3g protein.

Cranberry Relish

3 cups cranberries (10 ounces)
1 medium tart apple, such as Granny Smith, cored and quartered.
½ large navel orange unpeeled, scrubbed, quartered and seeded
⅓ cup granulated sugar 
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 
Pinch of salt 
Pulse cranberries, apple and orange in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 1 week.

Candied Pecans

(Excerpted from:
These 5-minute Stovetop Candied Pecans are a quick and easy way to make sweet glazed pecans for salads, snacking, food gifts, and more! It’s all made in one pan for minimal mess, and it’s overall much quicker and easier than the oven method. Plus, no candy thermometer needed!
Tips for Best Results:
Use a nonstick pan – While you can get away with using any stainless steel pan, the nonstick pan helps all of the sweetness stick to the nut. It glazes easier, in my experience.
Use brown sugar or maple syrup – I love honey, but I don’t recommend using it here. Brown sugar or maple syrup will give you the best results.
Toast the pecans first – Totally optional, and sometimes it’s easier to just use raw nuts straight out of the bag. But if you have the time, toast the pecans for a few minutes (you can use the same skillet) to begin bringing out the flavor in the nuts. Most importantly, make sure to use fresh pecans that aren’t rancid or expired.
Raw or toasted both work, but I personally think toasted pecans taste better.
Ingredient Variations and Substitutions:
This is a great recipe for accommodating several different substitutions. I recommend trying the recipe once as written, then you can experiment with changes.
Spices: You can pretty much use whatever spices you’d like. I like to keep it simple with cinnamon, but you may add cloves, cardamom, allspice, or pumpkin pie spice. You may also try options like cayenne pepper, ancho chile powder, or even smoked paprika.
The Sugar: I like using brown sugar for its slight molasses tastes, but you can also use granulated white sugar or even coconut sugar. I do not recommend corn syrup.
Fat: It is not necessary to add fat here, but if you’d like it for richness, add a tablespoon of butter or coconut oil with the rest of the ingredients.
Vanilla extract: Add up to 1 teaspoon with the rest of the ingredients.
Stir it all around to combine:
Can you use other nuts?
Absolutely, it does not matter what kind of nut you use. Walnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, and really any other nut will work well here.
Cook the pecan halves for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid cooks down and glazes the nuts:
These candied pecans are gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp water
1 cup pecan halves
1. Combine all ingredients except the pecans in a skillet and cook over medium heat for a minute or two, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling.
2. Add the pecans and cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring to coat in the glaze.
3. Remove from the heat, and spread the pecans out on parchment paper to let them cool completely.
4. Break apart, and enjoy!
If the nuts are sticky: If the pecans turn out sticky, this means the sugar never reached a high enough temperature to have that hard crack “brittle” coating on the outside. Electric stoves tend to have less heat power and responsiveness as compared to gas stoves, so cook for a few minutes longer if you have an electric stove or a weaker gas stove. Just watch and smell to ensure it doesn’t burn.
Storage: These can be stored in an airtight jar for about one week.
Freezing: Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
calories: 282kcal, carbohydrates: 22g, protein: 3g, fat: 22g, saturated fat: 2g, cholesterol: 2mg, sodium: 131mg, fiber: 3g, sugar: 19g

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

1 beaten egg at room temperature
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
Dash salt.
Combine all ingredients, and roll into balls. Press down with the tines of a fork or flatten a bit with the palm of your hand.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. They may feel soft to the touch but will harden a bit. Leave them on the cookie sheet for about ten minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.

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