Category Archives: Food Gifts

Gingerbread Granola

Gingerbread Granola @ NancyC

It was time for me to make granola again and I love trying out different flavors! I had thought about making Gingerbread Granola during the holidays, but didn’t get around to it. I still wanted to try it this winter season, though, and I thought adding some dried cranberries into the mix, a little touch of red, would make it a wonderful granola not only for the holidays, but for Valentine’s day, too. So this is a perfect granola for all winter long…for breakfast, brunch, or a healthy sweet snack. And people love receiving treat bags filled with granola–it makes a great homemade food gift!

As you might be able to tell from my photo, I mixed in both dried cranberries and golden raisins into my granola.  I really like the sweetness and color they add.  I also like the rich molasses flavor blended with the other spices in this!

GINGERBREAD GRANOLA by NancyC

Makes about 6 cups

  • 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ
  • 2/3 cup raw shelled sunflower kernels (if using roasted and salted kernels, add them to the mixture after baking)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil or non-GMO canola oil
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries or golden raisins (or 3/4 cup of each)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 10 x 15″ or 13 x 15″ baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the oats, flaxseed or wheat germ, sunflower kernels, chopped pecans, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. In small microwaveable bowl, heat molasses for about 15 to 20 seconds to make consistency thinner and easier to stir. Then in a medium size bowl, blend molasses, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, stirring everything well (the oil may separate from the other ingredients, but blend it as well as you can). Add this syrup mixture to the dry oat mixture, mixing until everything is thoroughly coated.

Spread granola mixture onto prepared baking sheet and bake at 350˚F for 30 minutes, until mixture is golden, stirring every 15 minutes so granola bakes evenly. Remove from oven; stir in dried cranberries and/or raisins, if using, and then let the granola cool completely (the mixture will get crunchier as it cools). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks (or you can store a little longer in the refrigerator).

I have a good-sized jar of organic ground ginger, and I used some of that for this. I still have quite a bit of ground ginger, so I may be making more gingery recipes! Are you a fan of gingerbread-flavored treats?

Linked to Fiesta Friday.

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Salted Dark Chocolate Coffee Bark

Salted Dark Chocolate Coffee Bark @ NancyC

On chilly mornings, I like to have a hot cup of coffee to start my day. With cream. I don’t like black coffee or sugar in my coffee, but I love having cream in my coffee! But cookingwithcoffeeapparently you can do so much more with coffee, as I discovered when I received a review copy of Cooking with Coffee by Brandi Evans. It’s a hardcover book with 60 recipes and lots of color photos.

The book begins with a brief history of coffee, benefits of coffee, different brewing options, and popular ingredients to use with coffee. Then you’ll find recipes for baked goods; homemade coffee creamers; drinks and smoothies; sauces, dips, and toppings; savory foods; and sweets and snacks. Recipes include:

  • Espresso Banana Muffins
  • Coffee and White Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
  • Salted Chocolate Coffee Creamer
  • Peanut Butter Mocha Smoothie
  • Chocolate-Coffee Gravy
  • Coffee Maple Vinaigrette
  • Chicken Enchiladas with Quick Coffee Ranchera Sauce
  • Triple Chip Espresso Cookies

I decided to try the Salted Dark Chocolate Coffee Bark, because I thought it would be a great recipe to keep in mind as a food gift for the holidays. It’s easy to make and only has 3 ingredients, so you can whip it up easily and quickly. You just need to give the bark enough time to harden, at least an hour, before you break it up into pieces. It makes a great sweet treat for coffee and dark chocolate lovers! The recipes says to use 10 ounces of 60% dark chocolate, so I used one 10-ounce bag of dark chocolate chips and that worked perfectly!

SALTED DARK CHOCOLATE COFFEE BARK from Cooking with Coffee

Makes about 2 cups pieces of bark

  • 10 ounces 60% dark chocolate or semisweet
  • 1/4 cup whole coffee beans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons large flake sea salt (I used less salt-more like 1 teaspoon, and that was salty enough for me!)

Over a double boiler or in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate until it’s just warm enough to completely melt when you stir (a few minutes over the double boiler or 1-2 minutes in the microwave, checking every 30 seconds).

Pour the chocolate onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and smooth out into an even layer.

Sprinkle the melted chocolate with the coffee beans and the sea salt.

Let the chocolate set at least 1 hour, then break into bite-sized pieces.

Like I mentioned earlier, this bark makes a great homemade food gift. Or you may want to give the book itself to a coffee-loving friend. Are you a coffee-lover yourself, and do you use coffee in any recipes?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, FoodieFriDIY, Sunday Features, Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Tasty Tuesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Wake Up Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Wonderful Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Share Your Style, Thursday Favorite Things, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Create It Thursday, Fabulous Foodie Friday.

S’mores Granola

SmoresGranola_NancyCreative.com The last time I made granola, I made Chocolate Chip Cherry Granola. It was the first time I had added chocolate to granola and I loved the combination! And now that summery weather is here, it seemed like the perfect time to try making S’mores Granola. S’mores are such a classic summer treat, so why not make a granola version? I used Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits, mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, and Golden Grahams cereal to mimic the chocolate-marshmallow-graham cracker flavors, and these all worked really well with my granola base.

This S’mores Granola makes a good snack to munch on any time of day and you can also spoon it over vanilla yogurt for an easy breakfast or dessert. If you like sweet cereal, you could also serve this granola in a bowl with milk.

S’MORES GRANOLA by NancyC

Makes about 10 cups

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 3 Tablespoons non-GMO canola oil or light olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (do not use quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ or ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 3 cups Golden Grahams cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups Kraft Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits
  • 1 1/2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chop an equivalent amount of Hershey bars into small chunks)

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a 10 x 15″ or 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl or container, heat the honey for about 30 seconds so it’s thinner and easier to stir; then mix the honey, oil, and salt together in a small bowl; set aside.

In large bowl, toss the oats, wheat germ or flaxseed, and chopped pecans. Add in the honey, oil, and salt mixture and toss again, combining all ingredients well.

Spread mixture evenly on your parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 325˚F for 20 minutes; remove pan from oven to stir and toss mixture for even baking. Return to oven for an additional 15 minutes, until mixture is golden, and remove from oven.

Stir granola, then let it cool completely on pan (if the granola isn’t quite crunchy, it will get crunchier as it cools). When completely cool, put granola mixture in an extra large bowl and stir in the Golden Grahams, Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits, and mini chocolate chips (or chopped up Hershey bars). Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 weeks.

S’mores are such a classic treat and it’s fun making variations on the chocolate-graham cracker-marshmallow combination. Did you have S’mores often as a kid and do you make them now?

Linked to Full Plate Thursday, Let’s Get Real Friday, Inspiration Thursday.

Gourmet Gift Baskets for Mother’s Day and a Giveaway!

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I received a nice surprise on my doorstep the other day–a beautiful gift basket from GourmetGiftBaskets.com. It was carefully packaged in a box and arrived in perfect condition with a festive bow wrapped around the basket. You have a chance to win this gourmet basket of goodies, too (a $99.00 value)–see the end of the post for details! If you’re not familiar with GourmetGiftBaskets.com, it’s a family-owned business that is one of the fastest-growing online gift companies in the U.S. They’ve been featured on Food Network and in many magazines like Bon Appétite, Gourmet, and Food & Wine.

Mother’s Day is next weekend and if you’re needing a last-minute gift for mom, you’ll find lots of special Mother’s Day Gift baskets to choose from–one of these gourmet baskets would make a wonderful gift for her! Here are some of the different baskets you can choose from:

MothersDayGourmetGiftsI wanted to point out that in the golf gift basket, the golf bag holding the gourmet goodies is actually a cooler that mom can use on the golf course–how great is that? There are even more gifts and goodies at the website–including a special Mother’s Day Cake and Cookie Cake–with a variety of price ranges to fit your budget. Click here to see the full selection. The gift basket I received was the Bountiful Harvest Fruit Gift Basket which included fresh fruit, Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Artisan Crackers, Caramel Fruit and Snack Dip, Peanut Brittle, several kinds of Gourmet Cookies, Peanut Crunch, Roasted Peanuts, Snack Mix, some chocolate candies, and Gourmet Popcorn.

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What a wonderful combination of goodies! Who wouldn’t love to receive a gift like this? Well, now is your chance to win the same kind of basket that I received from GourmetGiftBaskets.com–they will send your basket directly to you!

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 9.10.38 PMTHE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Congratulations to commentor #22, Kendra, on winning the giveaway!

If you’d like to enter the giveaway to win the Bountiful Harvest Fruit Gift Basket, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Monday evening, May 4 at 8 p.m. (CST). The random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced later on Monday evening, May 4. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond within 24 hours, I will do another drawing). Giveaway is limited to readers in the Continental U.S.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post letting me know what your favorite Mother’s Day gift basket is from the Gourmet Gifts Baskets collection.

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

Note: If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry–it just means I haven’t had the chance to click on it to approve it before it becomes visible!

Easter Trail Mix

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Something that’s hard for me to resist when I see the long aisle of Easter candy at the store are those malted milk Robin Eggs–malt balls covered with a candy coating. I buy them every year and eat way too many of them! This year, I told myself I would not buy them unless I used them in a recipe. And since I’ve been short on time lately, it needed to be something pretty simple. So I came up with an Easter Trail Mix–a blend of chocolatey sweets mixed in with some healthy ingredients. The mini robin eggs and pastel M&M’s give the mix plenty of chocolatey taste and spring color, and the other goodies include raisins, sunflower kernels, coconut flakes, peanuts, and mini pretzel twists. This recipe makes a large bowl of trail mix, so there’s plenty for everyone to munch on!

EASTER TRAIL MIX by NancyC

Makes about 13 cups

  • 1 (13.7 oz.) bag Mini Robins Eggs (almost 3 cups)
  • 1 (11.4 oz) bag milk chocolate easter M&M’s (about 1 2/3 cup)
  • 1 cup raisins (you can use golden or dark raisins)
  • 2/3 cup roasted and salted sunflower kernels
  • 1 cup sweetened dried coconut flakes
  • 1 (16 oz.) container cocktail peanuts or dry roasted peanuts
  • 3 cups mini pretzel twists (you can also use mini pretzel sticks or mini pretzel snaps)

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, stirring with a large spoon. Eat right away or store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Makes a great food gift, too, packaged in treat bags!

Are you a fan of those Robin Eggs too? Are you using them in any Easter recipes this year?

Linked to Full Plate Thursday.