Monday, December 10, 2012

Homemade Gifts for the Holidays

We love nourishing homemade gifts, from photo albums filled with memories to cookies baked with love, a gift created from your own hands says, “I love you.”

Here are some of the gifts we’ll be giving to loved ones this year.

Our signature granola makes a perfect gift.  Healthy and delicious, it’s great with yogurt, milk or on its own.  It looks beautiful packaged in a jar with a bow and a personal note.  See below for my favorite version, made with less sugar than our original recipe and studded with pecans and currants.

Who doesn’t love to receive cookies?  Our no-fail signature oatmeal cookie recipe, made with chocolate, cherries and hazelnuts, has been known to win hearts.  You can feel good giving this gift to absolutely anyone—while the cookies are incredibly delicious, the whole wheat flour, oats, nuts and dried fruit also make them a healthy treat for the holidays.

Another healthy treat, our Cranberry Walnut Banana Bread, looks beautiful wrapped in cellophane and tied with a bow.

And this year, we have a new edible gift to add to our repertoire—Cranberry Apple Champagne Sauce.  It’s incredible easy, low in sugar, and equally delicious on ham as it is on leftover turkey sandwiches.  Your friends and family will love this addition to their holiday table.

This is a very forgiving recipe.  Change the ingredients according to your whim or fancy.  Like it sweeter?  Add more honey or jam.  Like it spicier?  Add more chili flakes.  Don't have oranges on hand?  Use apple juice.

Sauté the apples in a little butter.
 Add the rest of the ingredients.
Simmer over low heat until the cranberries pop and the sauce reaches your desired consistency, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Package in a jar and tie with a bow.  I was too busy getting ready to leave for Maui to photograph this step—but I did give my Mom a jar before we left.        

Happy Holidays and joyful gift giving, from our hearts and kitchen to yours!    

Cranberry Apple Champagne Sauce   

Makes about 3 cups

1 teaspoon butter
1 apple, diced
1 bag fresh cranberries
Zest and juice from one orange
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
Pinch of red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon fig jam, or honey
1 – 1 ½ cups champagne or Prosecco

Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat.  Add apples and saute until the apples just start to soften. 

Add all the other ingredients to the pot.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, until cranberries have popped and the sauce reaches a desired consistency, about 20 to 30 minutes. 

Let cool completely.  Spoon the sauce into a glass jar and tie with a bow.  Give to someone you love.

Nourish Granola

Makes 45 servings ¼ cup servings

4 cups whole rolled oats
2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
2 cups pecans
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup grapeseed oil or melted butter
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup brown sugar
2 cups dried currants

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Place two oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven.

In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, pecans, sea salt and cinnamon. 

In another small bowl, whisk together oil or butter, maple syrup and brown sugar.  Pour the maple syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well, being sure to coat all of the dry ingredients with the maple syrup mixture.

Divide oats mixture among two large rimmed baking sheets and spread to a thin layer.  Place baking sheets on two racks in the oven and bake, about 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes, or until deeply golden brown.  Halfway through cooking time, switch the placement of the pans to the other rack.

Remove from the oven and pour into a large bowl.  Stir in currants.  Let granola cool completely before storing in an airtight container, preferably in the refrigerator.

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