The holiday season is a wonderful time and a hectic time, all in one. The roads are busy as everyone is scrambling to the next place to pick up that last minute gift. There is this need to buy "something" not because we want to, but because we feel obligated to. Well, that's where I turn away from material things and give the gift of food.
If there is one time of year to give someone a gift that you've spent time on in the kitchen, it's the holidays. If you need something for a co-worker, boss, secretary, friend, neighbor.... I have two words for you: edible gifts.
Each holiday season, I drive home with a few jars of candied nuts or cookie-mix-in-a-jar. And my now husband and I infuse olive oils and give to our parents in small bottles. The best part about making a gift is that one - it's easy. Two - it's thoughtful. And three - when they eat or make what you bring them, they will think of you!
Today I'm sharing two gift ideas to make this week. First up is a fruit & nut oatmeal, which is perfect to bring to your family or in-laws. Thanks to you, breakfast is all ready to go on busy holiday mornings!
Fruit & Nut Oatmeal In A Jar
- 2 cups gluten-free old-fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup wheat germ or ground flaxseed
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
- 1/3 cup dried fruit (cranberries. blueberries, cherries, raisins)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread out the oats and nuts in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until oats are lightly browned, stirring twice. Cool in the pan.
- In a quart-sized glass jar, layer ingredients in the following order: half of the toasted oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, flaxseed, walnuts/pecans, dried fruit and remaining oats. Tap the jar gently on the counter to settle each layer before adding the next. Attach the following directions in step 3 & 4 with the oatmeal.
- For two servings on the stove: Shake up the jar to mix contents. Place 1 1/2 cups water or milk on stove and bring to a boil. Add 1/3 the oatmeal mixture and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10-12 minutes or until desired consistency. The oats will thicken as it cooks.
- For 1 serving in microwave: Mix up the jar to combined contents. Place 3/4 cup water or milk in a bowl with 1/3 cup of the oat mixture. Microwave 8-10 minutes. Let stand for about 1 minute. It will thicken when it cooks.
- You can store the layered jar of oatmeal for up to 1 month.
Now, let's talk about my second gift idea: candied cashews. I've shared this recipe a few years back, but it deserves an updated post. If there is one gift I always package up at Christmas it's these candied cashews. I used to send them to Chad while he was living in Brooklyn. And I always give a jar to my secretary and family.
These are a special treat, an indulgence and so easy to make. Plus, your kitchen will smell amazing!
- 3 cups raw cashews
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- Beat the egg whites and the vanilla together with a whisk until frothy.
- Toss the cashews in the egg mixture to coat.
- In a large (gallon-sized) resealable Ziplock bag, put the sugar and cinnamon and salt and shake together.
- Pour the coated nuts into the bag and shake around to sugar coat everything. It will be moist and the sugar will look dissolved. So don’t worry, it’s supposed to!
- Spread out on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.
- Bake at 250 degrees for about an hour. Toss every 15 minutes.
- Take out and toss once more and let cool.
- Store in jars at room temperature.
This post is sponsored by Whole Foods and #MyHolidayTradish. Be sure to check out http://bit.ly/2ffouBj for more holiday traditions! Plus there is also a Free Groceries Giveaway to enter!
And also because all you readers rock, below are two coupons for Whole Foods as you all celebrate your own holiday traditions.