HOLIDAY Gift Ideas, Quick, Easy and HOMEMADE! ~Fantastic Granola & Peppermint Bark~
I have officially given up on store bought gifts for those wonderful people who I entrust with the safety of my two beautiful daughters. I mean really, how many coffee cups, candies, socks, or Starbucks gift cards can one person get (actually, scratch that, I would never turn down a gift card for coffee 😉 ) Not to mention finding thoughtful gifts for co-workers, friends and family members.
I guess if I’m being totally honest, it’s hard for me to spend money on something that, well, they may just re-gift to distant Aunt Sally. If nothing else, at least they will know that some thought and love went into their gift. And chances are, they will LOVE the delectible gift even more than a free cup of coffee!
A few ideas that I will be gifting this year…My Fantastic Gluten-Free Granola Recipe, (seriously some of the best stuff I have ever had) and a sweet treat of Peppermint Bark for those chocolate lovers…guilty!
Gluten-Free Almond & Cranberry Granola
Ingredients: Yields approx 15-20 servings
4 1/2 cups Gluten-Free certified Rolled Oats
3/4 cup ground Flax seed or ground GF rolled oats
1 1/4 cup Almonds (slivered, chopped or whole…your preference)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut (I use the unsweetened, but use what you like)
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/2 cup agave or honey
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp Pure Vanilla
1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Combine oats, flax seed, almonds, sunflower seeds and coconut in a large mixing bowl and stir well. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the brown sugar, agave, oil, cinnamon and vanilla. Heat for 30 seconds at a time then stir well. Do this until all ingredients are dissolved, about 1-2 minutes total.
Mix glaze into dry ingredients until evenly coated. Spread granola evenly on both sheets. Bake for 20 minutes total, turning after 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool completely. Before storing in airtight container, add dried cranberries. This delicious granola can be enjoyed morning, noon or night. Mix with plain or fruit yogurt, milk, on ice cream, fresh fruit…the possibilities are endless! Get creative: use other nuts, dried fruit or sweetener.
Use a classic glass container to highlight the contents and dress up with some holiday ribbon and details. Voila!
Note: Each 1/2 cup of granola contains approximately 30 grams of carbs.
1 bag white chocolate chips, chunks or large bar
1 bag dark chocolate chips, chunks or large bar (milk chocolate, semi-sweet or any other variety will work)
Handful of candy canes, or 1/2 bag of mint candies, crushed
If you don’t want to deal with double boilers, and if I don’t have to then I won’t, simply place all white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat for about 30-45 seconds at a time, stirring well each time. Depending on the white chocolate you use, you may want to add a tablespoon or two of canola oil to make it more silky and smooth. On a sheet pan that’s been lined with parchment paper, spread melted white chocolate in a thin layer across the sheet. Allow to cool for about 15-20 minutes or to speed up process, place in frig for 5-10 minutes. Melt the chocolate using the same steps. Oil should not be necessary with the chocolate. Spread chocolate on top of the white chocolate in the same thin layer. Simply sprinkle on the crushed peppermint candy and pat down lightly with the back of a spoon or spatula. Allow to cool completely. I place the sheet in the frig until firm. Break bark into pieces and add your decorative touch. Place in a pretty box, or a see-through container. For smaller portions, wrap in the pretty holiday baggies and tie with string. It’s a guaranteed hit!
Note: this is not the most Diabetic Friendly recipe, but I believe all things in moderation. I allow my daughter to have a small piece after dinner. Carbs will vary with size of piece and chocolate used.