Crock Pot Cranberry Sauce

This Crock Pot Cranberry Sauce is an easy update on the classic Thanksgiving staple! It is such a great combination with tart cranberries, along with sweet apples and just the right amount of citrus. It’s made right in the slow cooker which means hands-off cooking so you can focus on other aspects of your holiday meal! It contains no refined sugars and is bound to be a new family favorite!

Slow cooker cranberry sauce

Crock Pot Cranberry Sauce

Forget the over sweetened canned cranberry sauce this year because it is SO EASY to make this Crock Pot Cranberry Sauce! You essentially throw all the ingredients in your slow cooker and walk away! It also is  refined sugar free relying on coconut sugar, honey and sweet apples to balance the tart cranberries and citrus.

This sauce is of course well known as a Thanksgiving staple, but I also love to put a spoonful right on top of of latkes or as a versatile spread for breakfast or leftovers!

Easy homemade cranberry sauce

How do you sweeten homemade cranberry sauce?

We used a combination of naturally sweet apples, orange juice, honey and coconut sugar!

How long does homemade cranberry sauce last?

Homemade cranberry sauce will last quite a while, so this makes it a great make-ahead part of your holiday feast! We’d recommend using it within 7-10 days after making for optimal freshness, but it could very well last longer. For Thanksgiving it might make sense to make the cranberry sauce a few days ahead of time! You can serve it cold or you can re-heat gently in a pot over low heat.

Cranberry sauce with orange juice

Like this Thanksgiving / Holiday recipe? Check out these others:

Crock Pot Cranberry Apple Sauce

Prep Time 00:00 Cook Time 04:00

Ingredients

Directions

  • 1. Place all ingredients in slow cooker
  • 2. Cook on high for 4 hours
  • 3. At 3 hours, use a potato masher and mash mixture (leave some chunks)
  • 4. Cook for the remaining hour with lid ajar

Recipe Notes

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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract requires only two ingredients, and we’re going through the step-by-step process of how to make it. It’s better quality than anything you can buy at the store, for less money and it makes a great gift!

how to make your own vanilla extract

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Here at LCK, we treat vanilla extract like liquid gold. We love using it in all of our baked goods like muffins, cookies and cakes. A good vanilla extract can make a big difference in a recipe, especially ones that only have a few ingredients in it. The price of vanilla beans fluctuate from year to year, and currently they are trending to be very expensive causing the cost of store-bought vanilla extract to rise. In addition to this, there are often quite a few added ingredients besides vanilla bean in the extract that are questionable. All this being said, it makes total sense to make it at home because Homemade Vanilla Extract is SO EASY to make. All you need are two ingredients (vanilla beans and vodka) and about 10 minutes of time to put together a batch!

We’ve included instructions to make a one cup batch, but this is something that is so easy to double or triple to make a great big batch to last a while, or to give out as gifts during the holidays.

how to make vanilla extract from vanilla beans

How Do You Make Homemade Vanilla Extract?

It is so simple! All you need to do is scrape out the beans from 5 vanilla pods (beans) and cut the pods to fit the size of your jar. It is best to use grade B vanilla beans which are better for making extract because they are drier than grade A, which are better for baking with. Place the scraped beans and the cut pods inside of a clean jar and top with 1 cup of alcohol and close with a tight-fitting lid. Scraping the beans leaves the extract with flecks, which we think makes it more authentic, but you can also skip this step and just slice open the beans and place in the jar, or strain it if you don’t want any flecks.

vanilla extract ingredients

What Kind of Alcohol is Used To Make Vanilla Extract?

Any neutral tasting alcohol like vodka is a good choice, but really any 80 proof alcohol like brandy, rum or bourbon is fine so long as you are okay with it imparting a slight flavor. We like to use a gluten-free vodka, like Tito’s.

best bottles for homemade vanilla extract

How Long Does Homemade Vanilla Extract Last?

The jar sits at room temperature and is ready to use at 6 weeks, though it is best to leave it as long as possible. We’ve tasted it at 6 weeks, when it is similar to store-bought extract, and then at 6 months where it is pretty phenomenal and after a year, it is truly the most amazing extract you have ever smelled. Pure extracted vanilla in alcohol has an indefinite shelf life.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

If you make more than one jar at a time you can make sure you never run out. When one jar starts to get low, place in a few more scraped vanilla beans and top it off with some vodka and set it aside while you start on your second jar.

BONUS: You can also give these out as gifts by purchasing some small jars and putting on a cute label and with some ribbon.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

If you like this “how-to” recipe, try these others:

Watch the video:

P.S. We buy our grade b vanilla beans here.

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Prep Time 00:10 Yields 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 5 grade B vanilla beans
  • 1 cup gluten-free vodka (We Like Tito's)

Directions

  1. Using a sharp pairing knife, slice vanilla beans in half. Scrape out beans using the back of the knife and place inside of a clean 8 ounce jar. Continue with the remaining vanilla beans. Once they have all been scraped, cut beans in half or to fit jar.
  2. Place cut beans inside the jar and pour in 1 cup of vodka and cover with a tight fitting lid. Let sit at room temperature for at least 6 weeks before use. The longer you let it sit, the more flavor it has.

Recipe Notes

  1. We love to have the flecks of the vanilla beans in the extract, but if you'd like to have a clearer extract you can save the beans for another use, or strain the extract before use.
  2. To make more extract at once, double or triple the recipe.
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

Homemade Meat Sauce Recipe

This easy Italian meat sauce recipe is my probably my all-time favorite pasta sauce recipe! It’s an easy homemade meat sauce recipe that is hearty and flavorful, and perfect for a weeknight meal. Make this healthy meat sauce with ground turkey or ground beef, and let it cook nice and slow! It’s gluten-free, paleo-friendly, whole30 compliant, and so yummy! Serve it over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash for low carb, or gluten-free pasta!

Italian meat sauce recipe

Homemade Meat Sauce Recipe

I LOVE Italian dishes. Especially a quick and delicious meat sauce! I often make my favorite Italian dishes into healthy versions that I love to dig into, weekly. This spaghetti meat sauce is delicious, always a hit and so versatile! Serve it over zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, the options are endless! I often make a big batch to have for the week, and I never get sick of it!

How do you make meat sauce
If you love meat sauce, try this spaghetti sauce in these recipes:

Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce

Want other healthier pasta recipes? Try these favorites:

How Do You Make Meat Sauce

Lexi's Meat Sauce

Prep Time 00:05 Cook Time 00:15 Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 large organic carrot stalks, chopped
  • 1 lb. organic grass-fed beef (or ground turkey)
  • 1 15 oz. can organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz. can organic tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, more for garnish
  • Optional: Serve with fresh parmesan
  • Optional: Garnish with fresh Basil

Directions

  1. In a medium sized saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add onion, carrots, and peppers to saucepan. Let cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until onions are translucent and the carrots begin to soften.
  3. Add meat to saucepan and let cook until brown and no pink remains.
  4. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, spices, and 1 tablespoon fresh basil to the pan and mix well.
  5. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and remove from heat.
  6. In a large skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in zucchini noodles and red pepper flakes and let cook for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Serve over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

Sausage, Peppers, and Onions

Sausage Peppers and Onions | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

This low-carb and keto-friendly Sausage, Peppers, and Onion, one-pan dish is made in just twenty-minutes! Such a perfect sausage and peppers recipe for any night of the week.

How to make Sausage and PeppersSausage, Peppers, and Onions

Did you know that peppers are at their growing season peak right now? I was over at my favorite little farm and they had a bin with the most beautiful looking peppers, so I just had to get a bunch! This dish went over big time here.

This is the EASIEST sausage and peppers recipe! It is made in one skillet, is so flavorful, and you can use chicken sausage, pork sausage, or any sausage you like! I like to find ones with minimal added ingredients.

Chicken Sausage and Peppers with cauliflower rice

It is flavorful, comforting, and just plain delicious with the perfect amount of sauce. A great dish for football Sunday or those nights when you need a quick and easy meal!

How to make Sausage and Peppers

Sausage Peppers and Onions on a plate

You can get creative with how you serve this dish! I love it served over roasted spaghetti squash or cauliflower rice but I bet it would be great with gluten-free pasta or spiralized veggies as well! This sausage and peppers recipe is Paleo friendly, whole30 compliant, dairy-free, grain-free, and no sugar added!

Like this easy skillet recipe? Try these other favorite one pan meals!

Sausage, Peppers, & Onions

Prep Time 00:05 Cook Time 00:15 Serves 4

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds or just until fragrant.
  2. Add sliced onions, bell peppers, and poblano pepper to the skillet; let cook until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add cooked sausage to the large skillet with the peppers and onions and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Pour in diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and spices. Mix well.
  5. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Taste and adjust spices as desired.
  7. Serve over spaghetti squash, cauliflower rice, or gluten-free pasta!

Recipe Notes

  • *If you are using uncooked chicken sausage, remove the casing and cook the chicken sausage and garlic together in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until the sausage is brown on both sides. This should take around 5 minutes, stirring often.
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

Paleo Lemon Bars [VIDEO]

Lemon Bars {Paleo-friendly, grain-free, gluten-free} | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

Lemon bars are one of my staple Summer desserts and I can’t wait for you to try this paleo version! The perfect balance of tart lemon, buttery crust, and just the right amount of sweetness.

Paleo Lemon Bars | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

It took us a few tries to perfect this recipe, but man was it WORTH IT! These lemon bars are bursting with lemon goodness and the crust compliments the lemon curd so perfectly. No one will be able to tell these are grain and gluten-free! They will be the hit of your summer BBQs!

Paleo Lemon Bars | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

This lemon curd would be an amazing filling inside of a cupcake!  Perfect for the Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in my cookbook!

Paleo Lemon Bars | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

Watch the video here:

 

Paleo Lemon Bars | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

Lemon Bars

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 40 minutes Yields 4

Ingredients

    Crust

    Lemon Curd

    • 3 large eggs
    • 4 large egg yolks
    • 1/2 cup beet sugar OR maple sugar
    • Zest from 4 lemons
    • 3/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
    • Powdered sugar, for dusting

    Directions

    1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees °F.
    2. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
    3. Combine all crust ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and mix well. Press evenly into the baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until crust is lightly brown.
    4. While curst bakes, make the lemon curd.
    5. Place lemon curd ingredients, except for the butter, in a small saucepan.
    6. Over low heat, whisk the lemon curd until it becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and take off heat. This process should take around 8-10 minutes.
    7. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the lemon curd into a medium mixing bowl. Add in the butter and stir well until melted.
    8. Pour lemon curd over the crust. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Set aside, let cool completely, cover, and store in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours to set.
    9. Top with powdered sugar, slice, and devour!

    Recipe Notes

    *Store in the refrigerator.

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    There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

    How To Build The Perfect Salad Dressing

    I hope your holiday weekend is wonderful, and filled with tons of love, laughter, and delicious food! Now, you may want to whip this up for your weekend festivities, or keep this in your pocket for next week, and moving forward into January.

    We are going to clean up our diets this January (yes, you are joining me!), and that includes looking into the store-bought ingredients we are buying. Store-bought dressings often contain WAY too many ingredients and sugars. Seriously, check out some of those labels next time you’re in the store!  Since every good salad needs a good salad dressing, we need to make a little guide to save for future reference! 

    Making your own dressing is easy breezy. It takes under 10 minutes and the options are endless. Today with American Express, let’s build some dressing together!

    How To Build The Perfect Salad Dressing

    BASE: 

    4 Tablespoons Oil:

    Extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, etc.

     

    2-3 Tablespoons Vinegar:

    Apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, champagne vinegar, balsamic vinegar, etc.

     

    FLAVOR OPTIONS: 

    1 Teaspoon Sweetener (more as desired):

    Raw Honey, Pure Maple Syrup, Coconut Palm Sugar, Maple Sugar.

     

    1 Teaspoon Mustard:

    Dijon, Grainy, Honey, etc.

     

    1/4 Teaspoon (a pinch or two) Dry Herbs of Choice:

    Basil, Dill, Rosemary, Cilantro, Parsley, Italian Seasoning, etc.

     

    1/3 Teaspoon (a pinch or two/three) Seasoning of Choice:

    Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Cayenne, Paprika, poppy seeds, etc.

     

    OTHER: 

    Lemon juice, lime juice, lemon zest, lime zest, fresh fruit, fruit juice, cinnamon, cocoa powder, fresh garlic cloves, homemade mayonnaise, toasted nuts, shallots, truffle oil, ginger, coconut amino, fresh herbs.


     

    Salad dressings are totally customizable based on taste! Maybe you’ll add additional sweetener or vinegar. Maybe you’ll add fresh garlic and mayonnaise and make it creamy. Play around for your perfect dressing.

    Try these dressings below! Click the images to see the recipe.

    antipastosalad7

    HarvestSalad

    Lemonvinaigrette2

     leftoverburgersalad3

    Watermelonsalad5

    StrawberryAsparagusSalad8

    GreenGoddessDressing4

    Warm Harvest Salad with Walnut Honey Vinaigrette

    grilledveggiesalads2

     

     What is your favorite salad dressing?

    How To Build The Ultimate Salad | Lexi's Clean Kitchen


     Use Membership Rewards® points for some of my favorite salad items!

    Veggie dicer

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    Salad Spinner