granola

Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas

choc14

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

Coconut and Cinnamon Granola

Coconut & Cinnamon Granola Fetaure Image

I've been on a granola kick lately. It's my current go-to treat, except it's not filled with crap and it keeps my blood sugar stable. It's also gluten-free, grain-free, and nut-free. Of course you can add nuts if you'd like, but I omit them since I am sensitive to them. Coconut & Cinnamon Granola

This recipe in particular is one of my favorites. Coconut and cinnamon make a great combination and are both anti-inflammatory. I personally leave out the sweetener and it tastes just as delicious. Try it out with and without sweetener and let me know what you think. Enjoy this granola for breakfast with non-dairy milk, as a snack, or for dessert.

Ingredients

2 cups coconut flakes (not shredded)

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1 Tablespoon natural sweetener (coconut nectar, raw honey, grade B maple syrup), optional

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, optional

pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 250 F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to coat evenly.
  3. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes. Stir and bake for another 8-10 minutes, until beginning to brown.
  4. Let cool for 15 minutes and store in air-tight container.

Makes ~4 cups

Green Superfood Granola

IMG_6972

This granola is one of my favorite treats. It is grain-free, gluten-free, low in natural sweetener, high in healthy fats, and packed with energy boosting ingredients. It won't give you that sugar crash other granolas and cereals may give you due to their high amounts of refined sugars and oils. I sweetened this green granola with coconut sugar, which has a low glycemic index and won't spike your blood sugar. So what makes it green? Spirulina powder (Click the link to see the brand I buy). Spirulina is a nutrient-dense superfood that has great health benefits and is a great supplement to a healthy diet. Spirulina has a strong and overpowering taste, but just a little bit provides great nutrition. The taste can be masked with fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats (add it to your smoothies and you won't even know it's there). Check out my Superfood Ice Popsicle recipe for another nourishing spirulina treat.

Aside from spirulina powder, I also used maca root powder and mesquite powder in this recipe. These are two other 'superfoods' that contain lots of health supporting nutrients even if using small amounts. Both maca and mesquite powders have a nutty, sweet taste to them. I often use them in recipes to add sweetness without having to add an actual sweetener.

This green granola has the perfect balance of bitterness and sweetness to take care of that sweet craving, but also provides a nutrition punch. I crave it all the time but only let myself make it every so often because it's so addicting. Even though it's addicting, it's still good for you compared to store bought granolas. You can enjoy it sprinkled on yogurt, chia pudding, or in a smoothie. Eat it dry as an afternoon snack, or pair it with almond or coconut milk to make a delicious healthy cereal.

 

IMG_6965

 

Ingredients

2 cups coconut flakes

1/2 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-2 teaspoons spirulina powder (I used 2 tsps)

2 teaspoons maca powder (optional)*

1 Tablespoon mesquite powder (optional)*

1/2 - 1 Tablespoon coconut sugar (I used 1/2 Tbsp)

pinch of sea salt

*maca and mesquite powders are optional, but since they add sweetness to the recipe, you might want to increase the coconut sugar a bit if you omit them.

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 225 F.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in a sealed container.

Makes ~3 cups