One of my favorite snacks of all time is granola. When I saw this recipe for Small Batch Honey-Pistachio Granola on my dear friend, Kelley’s blog, Mountain Mama Cooks, I had to make it. My kids and I loved it, and we have made it so many times that we know it by heart. I decided to change up her recipe just slightly to make this Small Batch Granola for some last minute holiday food gifts. I substituted pecans and almonds for her pistachios, but both versions are spectacularly simple. I found these super cute Christmas tree shaped jars at Walmart, and I had made budget friendly food gifts with ease. I gave one of these to my friends yesterday, and she called to tell me it was already gone. She asked for the recipe. Well, here it is….
One of my food weaknesses is definitely granola so I thought I would develop a recipe for a Grain-Free Granola for all of those who can’t have grains, are gluten-free, are following the Paleo Diet or are watching their carbohydrate intake. This recipe for Grain-Free Granola is super easy to make, and it’s full of my favorite seeds and nuts. Feel free to use whatever you have on hand as all of the nuts and seeds are easily interchangeable. This granola makes a great breakfast idea stirred into nonfat Greek Yogurt or with almond milk. It also makes a great afternoon snack, a healthy sweet to put in your children’s lunch, or a wonderful dinnertime dessert served with fruit.
It’s the time of year when my kids get hooked on any type of hot chocolate desserts. My 3 kids especially love “molten” and “lava” cakes. So, I thought, “Why not change a recipe around a bit to create another tasty treat for them.” Instead of using ramekins, I tried some fun stoneware mugs. These Molten Cakes in a Mug came out absolutely wonderful. They make a simple, inexpensive holiday gift. Just purchase a stoneware or ovenproof mug, and tie a recipe card with this recipe to go along with it. It may just be what my neighbors are getting :). I hope they aren’t reading this…
I’m always looking for new granola bars recipes to try since it’s one of mine and my 3 kid’s favorite snacks. I saw a version of this bar recipe on The Whole Kitchen by my friend Jenn which was adapted from a talented Cookbook Author (who I also know) Camilla’s Enlightened Cooking. These Homemade, All-Natural Granola Bars were a huge hit with the kids. I was so excited to share this recipe for a healthy homemade holiday food gift option. These make a great breakfast, afternoon snack or pre-workout offering. I even break them up and stir them into nonfat Greek Yogurt for a wonderful high protein breakfast. You can see me making these on Monday on NBC 13 “Daytime Alabama” at 11:30 CST on my food television segment on featuring healthy homemade food gift ideas.
Homemade Caramel Corn anyone? This child (and adult) favorite is a great snack, dessert or even fun tailgating recipe. It also makes a great fall or Christmas food gift. I love this homemade Caramel Corn because it’s simple to prepare and uses a variety of almonds, pecans and walnuts, adding more protein. Make this even healthier by using my Saucepan Popcorn recipe to pop your popcorn. It’s so easy and uses no microwave. Be careful, this can get very addicting 🙂
Everyone loves homemade food gifts so if you’re in a pinch with only a few more days, here’s a easy, healthy and pretty food gift. Curried Soup Mix is a great combination of lentils and spices. It makes a pretty presentation perfect for this time of year. It’s a true comforting soup ideal for this cold weather.
Since I’m teaching a cooking class next week -“Gifts from the Kitchen”, I thought I would share with you my recipe for Maple-Chipotle Spiced Nuts. There’s no oil or butter in this recipe. Just egg whites, some of my favorite seasonings and nuts. I love Priesters Pecans, especially this time of year. This makes a great Christmas gift but is wonderful anytime. For more information on my class, see Birmingham Bake and Cook. I am also taping a “Gifts from the Kitchen” television segment Tuesday for NBC 13 Daytime Alabama and will let you know when it’s going to air.
Some of you may know that my background and love is really in healthy and light cooking, but I know with the holidays, it’s hard to focus on that. Even in my profession of being a Recipe Developer, I deviate from my healthy schedule, especially when working on holiday recipes. Usually, most magazines work six months in advance so I am preparing heavy holiday foods in the summer (during bathing suit season), and am grilling light summery food in the winter (luckily, I live in the south). As far as healthy gift ideas, I thought I would share one of my (and my kid’s) favorites-dried fruit mixed with a touch of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. We went threw our jar in less than one day, so I hope this will be as popular as it was at our house.
Dried Fruit Mix
Prep: 10 minutes
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried apples
3/4 cup pitted prunes
3/4 cup dried aprictots
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1. Layer all ingredients in a 1-quart jar in the order given; tightly seal. Makes 1 gift jar.
Homemade treats and gifts are so comforting during the holidays, and who wouldn’t love a gift that looks like this? I made a few of these, and everyone went nuts over them. I couldn’t make them fast enough. Not only is this the easiest gift in the world to make, but the finished product is beyond awesome (and when I say that, it’s good). You can find one-quart jars almost anywhere, but if you’re having trouble, check Walmart or your local grocery store. These recipes can be made ahead, and don’t forget to make a few extra batches to keep on hand for family munching, drop-in guests, or any time of the year.
Chocolate Butterscotch Bars
Prep: 5 minutes
YIeld: 3 dozen
11/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels
2 cups (12 ounces) butterscotch morsles
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1. Layer all ingredients in a 1-quart jar in order given; tightly seal. Makes 1 gift jar.
Chocolate Butterscotch Bar Cookies: Combine Chocolate Butterscotch Bar Mix and 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk. Press into a greased aluminum foil-lined 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350F for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely and cut into squares.