Blog Post By Italia Peretti

TREEt Yourself

Its crunch time people—three days till Thanksgiving and whether you already have a meal planned down to the last perfectly placed pecan and are looking for delicious pre-meal cocktail or are in need of a side dish to bring to the in-laws, we have you covered.

Casey Trees staff and volunteers shared some of their favorite recipes—tree based of course! So show off your cooking skills and love for trees with these delicious holiday treats!

Baked Spiced Pears

By Stephanie Juchs, Community Education Coordinator

This gluten free and low sugar dessert is sure to please everyone at your dinner table. Makes four servings.

2 large ripe pears

¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp honey

¼ cup crushed walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Cut pears in half, scoop out seeds and place cut-side up on a baking sheet.
  3. Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice, top with walnuts and drizzle ½ teaspoon honey over each half.
  4. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes.
  5. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Sweet & Spicy Nut Mix

By Jared Powell, Director of Communications and Development

Sweet, savory and oh so simple to make. This is great for snacking while watching the game or wrap it in a festive bad for a festive holiday gift!

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

2/3 cup white granulated sugar

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp cayenne

1tsp cinnamon

½ lb walnuts

½ lb pecan halves

1 egg white, room temperature

1 tbsp water

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Beat egg white and water until frothy and toss with nuts to coat.
  3. Stir in sugar and spice mixture, making sure to break up any lumps.
  4. Spread nuts in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Cool completely before storing.

Cranberry & Thyme Gin and Tonic

By Italia Peretti, Communications and Marketing Associate

This cocktail is a perfect mid-cooking break for chefs and you can make it using the ingredients you probably already have out! Makes 4 cocktails.

3/4 cup fresh cranberries

1/4 cup white granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

Splash of orange juice

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Fresh thyme leaves

Gin of choice

Tonic of choice

  1. In a small saucepan mix cranberries, sugar, water, orange juice and vanilla extract
  2. Cook for 10-15 minutes stirring and pressing cranberries with the back of your spoon.
  3. Add the fresh thyme and press and stir using your spoon.
  4. Pour the mixture through a strainer discarding the solids and reserving the cranberry syrup.
  5. To assemble the cocktail add 1 fluid ounce of syrup over ices to each glass, 2 fluid ounces of gin and top with tonic.
  6. Garnish with a fresh spring of thyme.

Serviceberry Muffins

By Victor Castillo, Casey Trees Volunteer & Lead Citizen Forester

These muffins are famous at plantings Victor leads, and luckily we were able to convince him to share the secret recipe!

For the Muffins

½ cup rolled oats

½ cup orange juice

½ cup plain yogurt

½ cup vegetable oil

1 egg, beaten

1 ½ cups flour

½ cup sugar

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

1 ½ cups serviceberries

For The Topping

2 tbsp sugar

¼ tsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Soak rolled oats in orange juice for a couple of minutes. Add yogurt and mix. Stir in egg and oil to the oats, orange and yogurt mixture.
  3. Mix dry ingredients (but not berries) together in a large bowl. Add berries to dry mixture; stir to coat.
  4. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients. Pour in the rolled oats mixtures. Gently fold together. Be careful not to over mix.
  5. Spray mini muffin or standard muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Evenly Spoon mixture into the pan and top with cinnamon sugar topping mix.
  6. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean; 12-14 minutes for the mini-muffins or 18-20 minutes for the standard muffins.
  7. Cool Muffins in pan. Serve warm or cool completely on a wire rack.

Haven’t seen serviceberries on your grocery store shelves? The berry grows on a tree native to the D.C. region, is pleasantly sweet but not overtly so. Learn more about the serviceberry in our Tree Species Guide.

Be sure to share your tree-based creations this holiday season by tagging us @CaseyTrees on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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