Healthy, Homemade, Edible Gifts in a Jar

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Christmas is nearly upon us, which means most of us are in gift mode: brainstorming, shopping, listing, and bargain hunting. I figure everybody likes to eat, so I think a good strategy for gift giving is food. Last year I decided to make homemade gifts; specifically healthy, homemade, edible gifts in a jar. I had to wait until this year to share them with you, of course, so I didn’t tip off any of my recipients before the unwrapping!

First I made a mix for Gingerbread Pancakes from The Spicy RD Blog. You’d never know they were gluten free. Buckwheat flour, cinnamon, ginger, delicious.

Gingerbread pancake mix in a jar

Assuming 2 pancakes per serving (made with soymilk) here are the nutrition facts: Calories 310, Fat 15 g, Saturated Fat 1.5 g, Carbohydrate 40 g, Sugar 8 g, Sodium 460 mg, Fiber 3 g, Protein 7 g, Cholesterol 55 mg. And this mix keeps best refrigerated.

Then I decided I wanted some other choices. The standard of course is cookies in a jar, or baking mixes, but what about other breakfast ideas or dinner in a jar? After a bit of trial and error I ended up modifying a couple of my favorite recipes and packed all the dry ingredients in my beloved pint and a half mason jars. I printed the labels on craft paper and decorated the jars with twine and colorful Christmas fabric.

The first one was a typical winter breakfast for us, adapted from the Oregon Dietetic Association’s cookbook, Tastefully Oregon. It’s a great option for hot cereal in the morning if you want to mix up your oatmeal routine.

Bulgur and Apple Breakfast in a Jar

Once you’re done cooking, it’s pretty handy to store the leftovers in the jar…like the extra pancake batter or hot cereal. Who doesn’t love that?

 

Bulgur and Apple Breakfast
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Prepped ahead in the jar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup powdered soymilk (My favorite brand is Better Than Milk)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ⅓ cup dried fruit (I used a mixture of dried cranberries and currants)
  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts in a snack-size plastic bag
When you're ready to make breakfast
  • 2¼ cups water
  • 1 apple, cored and diced
Instructions
Prepped ahead in the jar
  1. Layer the ingredients in the jar and put the lid and screw band on.
When you're ready to make breakfast
  1. Remove walnuts from jar.
  2. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  3. Empty contents of jar into pan, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until water is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in walnuts and diced apple and serve.
Notes
The recipe is adapted from Bulgur and Apples, courtesy of Charlotte Hennessy R.D. from Oregon Dietetic Association Tastefully Oregon cookbook. And prep time and cook time listed are for when the recipe gets cooked, so doesn't include the fun part of actually filling the jars.
Nutrition Information Per Serving
Calories: 380 Fat: 12 g Saturated fat: 1 g Carbohydrates: 63 g Sugar: 24 g Sodium: 150 mg Fiber: 10 g Protein: 8 g Cholesterol: 0 mg

The second is an easy one-pot dinner recipe that we rely on an awful lot. It’s an extremely flavorful and hearty bean dish adapted from Mark Bittman’s Mung Bean Dal with Apples, Coconut and Mint. You can find the original recipe in his book (or app) called How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Mung bean dahl in a jar

Mung Bean Dal in a Jar
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
Prepped ahead in the jar
  • 1½ cups mung beans
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch turmeric
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried green onion
When you're ready to make dinner
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, and chopped
  • 14-ounce can light coconut milk
  • 2½ cups water (or more as needed)
  • ½ cup fresh chopped basil
  • juice of 1 lime
Instructions
Prepped ahead in the jar
  1. Layer the ingredients in the jar and put the lid and screw band on.
When you're ready to make dinner
  1. Empty contents of jar into large pot.
  2. Add apples, coconut milk, and water.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover.
  4. Simmer for 50-60 minutes or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed.
  5. Stir in basil and lime juice and serve. Delicious with rice or Indian flat bread like naan, roti, or chapati.
Notes
This recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman's Mung Bean Dal with Apples, Coconut and Mint from his book How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. And prep time and cook time listed are for when the recipe gets cooked, so doesn't include the fun part of actually filling the jars.
Nutrition Information Per Serving
Calories: 360 Fat: 10 g Saturated fat: 8 g Carbohydrates: 56 g Sugar: 18 g Sodium: 260 mg Fiber: 11 g Protein: 16 g Cholesterol: 0 mg

One benefit of these recipes is that they use healthful ingredients that we should all be eating more of, like whole grains and legumes. Because of this the dishes provide fiber and have plenty of protein. And while I think they’d taste fantastic to anyone, these recipes can work for friends or family on special diets like vegan (bulgur or dal), gluten free (pancakes), or low sodium (bulgur or dal). So grab some jars, get your layers going with colorful and tasty ingredients, and start checking people off your Christmas list. What better way to show someone you love them than by giving a gift that says “I want you to stay healthy for the New Year!”

 

What are your favorite food gifts, for giving or receiving?

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Homemade Gifts in a Jar – 9 Easy Mason Jar Recipes (DIY Gifts for Foodies Week) - Two Healthy Kitchens

  2. Pingback: A Vegetarian in Vancouver BC: Vancouver Christmas Market - Veg Girl RD

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