Give the Gift of Real Food
Looking for alternatives to heavily processed, refined food gifts this holiday season? Why not try your hand at one or all of these homemade options? Have fun with traditional mason jars or try more decorative container ideas.
Dried Fruit. Most marketed dried fruit contains sugar and other additives such as sulphite. Even if you don’t have a dehydrator, you can dry virtually any fruit by transforming your oven into a dehydrator. If you have a food processor you can make fruit leather, a fun gift for kids and adults alike.
Sprouted/Soaked Nuts and Seeds. Many packaged seeds and nuts add genetically modified oil such as canola or soybean oil. By soaking raw nuts and seeds, you can bypass these additives while increasing the health benefits. Soaking and sprouting neutralize anti-nutrients such as phytic acid, making nuts and seeds more digestible. After soaking, dry them in a dehydrator or makeshift oven dehydrator. Add olive oil and seasoning for a spicy flavor, or leave them plain to combine with dried fruit for your very own trail mix.
Vinegar Infusion. A little effort can go a long way to give a life-giving gift to a friend or relative. There are a myriad of options when it comes to raw apple cider vinegar and various herbs and plants. This recipe can be used in salad dressing, as a skin toner, or even as a room disinfectant! It is one of the numerous versions of the legendary Vinegar of the Four Thieves.
6 cups raw apple cider vinegar
1 handful fresh or dried lavender flowers
1 handful fresh or dried rosemary
1 handful fresh or dried mint
1 handful fresh or dried sage
4 cloves garlic
Pour vinegar into 8-cup mason jar or similar container. Add remaining ingredients. Add lid and leave on pantry shelf for 1-3 weeks (the vinegar’s high acidic levels offer complete protection from botulism). Shake mixture occasionally to help the infusion. Strain and pour into decorative jar or mason jar.
To purchase 7 dried herbs to make this recipe see Just So’s Herbal Sachet. (link: http://justso.co/product/four-thieves-herbal-blend/)
Cacao Almond Balls. Instead of sugar-laden, chemically altered, processed chocolate, introduce your friend or coworker to raw cacao powder. You’re not only giving a delicious gift, you’re offering a nice dose of the “bliss” chemical, anandamide, a neurotransmitter linked to good mood.
2 cups soaked and dehydrated raw almonds
3/4 cup raw cacao powder
8 pitted dates
1 tbsp. coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt
3 tbsp. filtered water (you may need more)
1 cup raw, unsweetened shredded coconut
Grind almonds in food processor. Add all but shredded coconut. Blend well. Add enough water to make the mixture moist. Form in balls and roll in shredded coconut. Store in refrigerator until hardened.
These can remain at room temperature for several hours but are best stored in the fridge.
Gluten-Free Pancake Mix. Most pancake mixes contain emulsifiers, anti-caking agents, and a host of additives. Even gluten-free mixes come with added starches. Coconut flour, derived from dried coconut meat, offers a wholesome alternative. Coconut flour is highly absorbent, so far less is needed than typical flours. See this article for tips on baking with coconut flour. Adding a handwritten recipe card makes this gift even more personal and thoughtful.
Put 2 cups coconut flour in pint size mason jar. Add 4 tsp. baking soda and 2 tsp. sea salt. Blend well. Include the pancake recipe with the mixture and perhaps a jar of coconut cream to make fresh coconut milk!
Place 1/2 cup flour mixture in mixing bowl. Blend 4 eggs with 1 cup coconut milk. Add 2 tsp. vanilla extract and a pinch of honey or stevia. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Add a handful of blueberries or other fresh fruit, if desired. Blend. Fry in coconut oil or butter. Keep pancakes small, 2-3 inches in diameter. Coconut flour can burn easily, so watch them carefully! Enjoy.
No time for homemade gifts? Consider purchasing tokens to the local farmers market. Make your own gift basket with locally grown organic fruits and vegetables, or offer a gift card to your local health food store.
And while you’re at it, why not leave Santa some Real Food this year? He’s sure to appreciate the much needed health boost!
Are you making real food gifts this holiday season? Tell us about them in the comments!
Photo Credit: Andrea Fabry
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