It appears holiday celebrations will be a little different this year. While we may not be able to gather with our families and friends the same way, we can still connect with a festive card or letter, phone call, virtual Zoom session, a little homemade gift or food related surprise. Hunting for the perfect gift? There’s still time to bake up some of your favourite holiday treats, order a new cookbook or essential kitchen gadget, or shop in your local neighbourhood for gourmet foods and treats.
Homemade Gifts from the Heart
Box up some home baking - one bowl chocolate chip banana bread, decorated and shaped cookies, biscotti with olive oil and add some tea or a new mug, some moist mini muffins and jar of fruit preserves (jam), some chocolate covered strawberries, or bake up your favourite holiday traditions and include the recipe
Homemade baking mixes - cookies, coffee cake, squares, pancakes
Assemble some healthy mason jar soup mixes
Make a fruit bouquet
Michele’s Favourite Baked Holiday Tradition - “Mom’s Shortbread”
1 lb butter
1 ½ cups icing sugar
1 egg yolk
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 325 F. Blend butter and icing sugar. Add egg yolk and blend. Add flour and salt, mix until a ball forms. Roll into 1” balls and flatten with a fork. Bake for 13 to 14 minutes.
Purchase a Heart Healthy Cookbook (available at Chapters / Indigos)
Lighthearted at Home: The Very Best of Anne Lindsay
Oh She Glows Every Day, Angela Liddon
The Kitchen is for Dancing, Karlene Karst
The Heart Protection Kitchen, Tracy Severson, RD
Food as Medicine, Sue Radd PhD
Vegetables: The Ultimate Cookbook, Laura Sorkin
Kitchen essentials - A pepper grinder for the table, a sharp paring knife, vegetable peeler or a set of ceramic knives (reasonably priced), handy garlic press, a spice rack to organize your herbs and spices, or a lettuce spinner to easily wash and dry your greens
Small kitchen appliances - Instant Pot, Air Fryer, Magic Bullet (small blender), vacuum sealer, Soda Stream (sparkling water), electric indoor grill, single cup coffee maker, countertop toaster oven
Other Food Gifts - David’s Condiments salt free spice rubs and herb blends and other lower sodium condiments, Vancouver Olive Oil Company infused olive oil and balsamic vinegars, quality loose leaf tea and fine tea blends at local tea shops such as Murchies, Granville Island Tea Company, Silk Road Tea or wrap up other gourmet foods from local ethnic food stores
Indian Spiced Lentils-In-A-Jar
In a jar with a lid, mix:
1 cup dry split red lentils 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin 3/4 tsp ground coriander 1/4 tsp ground turmeric 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/4 tsp chili flakes (optional)
Directions for the gift recipient: Combine lentils with spices and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Stir occasionally.
Additional preparation tips: Use a low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock instead of water for added flavour. Sauté 1 chopped onion in 2 teaspoons oil on medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and follow the cooking directions above. Add your favourite vegetables at the end.
Recipe reference: www.lentils.org