Bring Healthy, Homemade Gifts to Your Next Holiday Party: Ideas from the Authors of ‘Grain Crazy’

Tired of bringing the same old high-calorie bottle of wine or box of cookies as gifts to holiday parties? The co-authors of the new book Grain Crazy: Recipes for Healthy Living are here to help. Their homemade gift ideas are easy, creative, delicious and healthy. (Or check out these presents your kids can make.) You’ll feel good about giving their ideas listed below, and your host will appreciate your thoughtfulness. Here’s what Cherie Schetselaar, mother of seven, and her daughter, Britney Rule, mother of three, put together. They also run the popular blog called Grain Crazy.

“We’ve gathered some of our favorite ideas here of treats you can bring that will add some additional health to your friends’ holiday–along with some sweet cheer.

1. Homemade Salsa—It’s the type of snack that we see way too little of during the holidays. Who doesn’t like a spicy treat to warm up a chilly night?

2. Granola—Granola is great because it can be a snack, breakfast, or a dessert—just throw it in with yogurt and fruit for a healthy parfait. We provide our recipe below.

3. Freezer Jam—Jam is something every household uses, right? This is a yummy, but useful gift that you can dress up to be festive and cute. Package it in a mason jar with a ribbon tied around the top.

4. Whole Grain Bread—Everyone loves homemade bread. Pair this with the freezer jam and you’ve got a slam-dunk gift.

5. Candied Nuts—Give some of those “chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” The aroma of toasted nuts and spices feels like Christmastime. Our favorites are pecans and almonds.

6. Jarred Fruit—If you spend time canning in the summer months, consider giving a jar of your favorite jarred fruit. To those that don’t have the time, means, or knowledge to can their own fruit, this is a perfect taste of summer in the cold of winter.”


We love the “clumping factor” of this granola. It’s a healthy alternative to the cold cereal my dad and brother love to eat. It would make a perfect hostess gift or Christmas present for a neighbor.

Here’s my favorite recipe:

2/3 cup of honey
1/2 cup of coconut oil
3 cups of old-fashioned oats
1 cup of almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup of sesame seeds
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup of unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground nutmeg
Dried fruit, raisins, dates, craisins, if desired

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the honey and oil together in a small bowl. Set it aside.

2. Mix together all of the dry ingredients. Pour in the honey mixture. Stir until all the ingredients are combined.

3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Pour the granola onto the cookie sheet. It will be thick.

4. Place it in the oven. Bake it for 30 minutes. Stir the granola a couple of times during cooking.

5. Let it cool on the counter and store in an air-tight container.

Makes 5 cups


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