desserts

Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas

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As we all know, the holidays can be a stressful time with traveling, cooking, gifts, and trying to remain calm through it all. I used to stress about buying gifts for my family and friends, until I realized that gifts don't need to be something expensive or even material. In my opinion, the best gifts are usually good company and sweet memories. That said, of course I still get the urge to gift my loved ones something, but it's different now. Now I gift things that I make myself because I know they will enjoy especially because they're made with love.

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite gifts that I've made in the past that will still make your loved ones smile, but won't leave your wallet hurting. Plus, you'll be giving them something nourishing that will support their health.

  • Dark Chocolate Bark - Find my recipe for 5-minute homemade chocolate here. To make into bark, pour mixture onto a flat dish lined with parchment paper and then add any toppings of choice to make it festive. Refrigerate until firm and then break into pieces. Recommended toppings: chopped nuts or seeds, coconut flakes, cinnamon, cacao nibs, goji berries.
  • Lavender-scented Coconut Oil Moisturizer (or flavor of choice)
Lavender coconut oil
Lavender coconut oil

Ingredients:

1 cup melted coconut oil

Handful dried or fresh lavender flowers

A few drops of lemon essential oil (optional)

Procedure: Mix lavender flowers into coconut oil and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Drain lavender and mix in a few drops of lemon essential oil if desired. Place in a glass jar with lid and let sit on counter until solid. Use as you would any lotion. If too solid when ready to use, grab a spoonful and let it melt in your hand for a few seconds before applying it.

  • Coconut & Cinnamon Granola - recipe here - Never fails to impress.
  • Creamy Sunflower Seed Butter - recipe here.
  • Prepare a DIY gift for someone with all the ingredients they need - I did this last year and it was a hit. Simply choose a fun recipe and get all the ingredients together in a container along with the recipe for your loved ones to make themselves. Fun examples are chai (picture below), granola, baked goods, or homemade beauty products.
chai gifts
chai gifts
  • Coupon book! -  This one seems silly, but it can be the most fun. Make a coupon book for someone you love with coupons for special gifts they like such as a massage, a picnic, their favorite food/dessert, and day trip somewhere, a movie, or anything else your heart desires to give.

I hope you enjoy making your own loving gifts. Get creative, there are no limits.

Happy Holidays!

Giovanna

Homemade Dark Chocolate

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These chocolates are the perfect treat to have at home to avoid the white stuff (refined sugar). They're delicious and ridiculously easy to make. The chocolate base is 3 ingredients, that's it! Then you can add your flavorings and toppings of choice. If you like very dark chocolate, omit the sweetener and just use spices to sweeten. My favorite are turmeric and maca powders.

IngredientsIMG_0190

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2-1 Tablespoon coconut sugar or raw honey

Optional Flavorings and Toppings

Vanilla extract

Turmeric

Cinnamon

Ginger

Maca powder

Mesquite powder

Sea salt

Cacao nibs

Raw nuts and seeds

Shredded coconut

Procedure

  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. If adding flavorings, add them now.
  2. Place mixture in chocolate molds or in a small dish lined with parchment paper. Top with desired toppings and place in freezer until firm (about 20 minutes).
  3. Remove from mold or dish. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Serves 4

 

Raw Brownies

Raw-brownies_v2

These raw brownies are simple and delicious. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. They are sweetened with natural sugar from fresh dates. Dates are high in sugar and should be consumed in moderation, but they are a great alternative to refined sugars. Just one is enough to curb a sweet craving, they are a great afternoon snack. Besides their sweetness, they are also a good source of fiber, some B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and copper.

This is a simple recipe that you can use as a base and add toppings/spices/flavors of your liking. I almost never make the same recipe. I'm always experimenting with different ingredients. My favorites are grated ginger, lemon zest and juice, vanilla extract, protein powder, orange zest, spices, and different nuts and seeds. Anything goes. Get creative.

Ingredients

1 cup medjool dates, pitted

1 cups raw nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans)

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor (can use blender but you will have to move things around with a spatula throughout the process) until dates are finely chopped and mixture sticks together when pressed with fingers. If mixture doesn't stick and is too dry, add more dates.
  2. Press into a parchment-lined baking dish and place in freezer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Cut into 2 x 2 inch squares and enjoy!

Store in refrigerator.