I think everyone has things in life that will forever remind them of their grandparents. Maybe it’s a smell, a song or a picture. For me, the taste of walnuts will always flood me with memories of my Grandma Lee.
Without fail my grandmother always had a big bowl of walnuts in her living room. They were in the shells and you had to crack them with her nut crackers to eat them. I remember spending hours sitting on her big comfy couches cracking away to get to the nuts. It began my love affair with walnuts.
My grandmother was a very special lady. She is the matriarch, the ultimate independent woman and spurred a line of “don’t-mess-with-me” females. She is to thank for all the sassiness flowing through my veins.
The women in my family all contain bits and pieces of her that are expressed in different ways. She was such a powerful force that she already has two great-grandchildren named after her. Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of her, either through some characteristic of hers that I’ve inherited or the walnut cracker and bowl that sits out on my coffee table.
The other day I was brainstorming recipe ideas when my eye caught the nut cracker (which btw still has leftover shells in it from when she was alive…I’m sentimental!) and I knew immediately I needed a recipe using walnuts. Then I remembered how she always had cranberry juice in her home and it was the only juice I would ever drink!
I guess lately I’ve been feeling particularly nostalgic for the time I had with my grandmother. I have a lot of things on my plate right now that I know she would handle with ease if she were in my position. In many ways I am trying to channel some of her strength and wit to manage the craziness that is my life at the moment.
- 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used the blend from my Healthy Breakfast eCookbook)*
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- optional: 1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar or brown sugar to offset tartness of cranberries, if desired**
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Grease an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with coconut oil or nonstick spray of choice.
- In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a separate bowl combine almond milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and eggs. Add in coconut palm sugar if using.
- Add wet mix to dry and stir to combine.
- Stir in walnuts and cranberries. Reserve a few walnuts for sprinkling on top.
- Bake for 50 minutes or until top is browned and springs back when lightly poked.
- Let cool in pan for 20 minutes.
- Using a butter knife, cut around the edges of the pan to loosen the loaf.
- Turn over and remove loaf from pan to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Will keep for up to 5 days, sealed.