Granny is always looking for recipes that are healthy, easy-to-make, inexpensive, and tasty. It’s not hard finding those that are “some of the above,” but really hard to find “all of the above.” So, she will present a recipe each month that fits that requirement, along with some of your ideas!
Granny has one big word for affordable grocery options: bins! Sprouts/Sunflower, Whole Foods, & a little at Safeway allow you to buy just what you need at a great price & avoid wasting 40% of your groceries (or so you read about that % of waste in this country).
Tasty Gift Ideas for the Holidays or
Break Away from that Boring Bottle of Booze
Whether you are looking for quick & tasty treats to use as “thank you” gifts, hostess gifts, or potluck ideas, you could check out these ideas for something that looks festive and tastes great!
Granny suggests that you look back to the October Seedy Cereal recipe & kick it up a notch for gift-giving. Instead of the cheap-ass sunflower & pumpkin seeds, add walnuts* or pecans*. Then after the mixture has cooled, add chopped dark chocolate, chopped dried mangoes*, or even holiday M&Ms. Scoop the mixture into festive cellophane bags & tie with bright ribbon. (Granny adds that if you double the recipe, using two 9x13s, you could have gift bags for the entire Fifth Army!
Who doesn’t love a cheese ball-and the recipe is good too!
Festive Cheese Ball
1 8 oz. package of Neufchatel cheese, softened
½ c. plain Greek yogurt
½ c. flaked coconut
1/3 c. onion, finely minced
1/3 c. dates, chopped (about 3-you can keep the leftovers in the freezer, seemingly forever)
1/3 c. pecans*, chopped
Thoroughly combine the first 5 ingredients. Refrigerate until fairly stiff. Place the chopped pecans on a plate or foil. Now comes the hard part-this will make two cheese balls, so you want to scoop out half of the mixture, shape it into ball & roll it into ½ of the pecans, & place it on the decorative plate or clear wrap. (It helps to have another person scoop the cheese mixture into your hands.)
You can wrap these with holiday colored plastic wrap & tie with a bow, add a nice box of crackers & you are set for that cocktail party. You could make one large ball if you are taking it to a potluck or two smaller ones as gifts. (The small ball is about 5 inches across & the larger one is the size of a beach ball.) This recipe easily doubles as well.
*buy these items in the bins to save $!
You could really shock them at the office party & bring this healthy fruit dip with an assortment of cut up fruit! It’s hard to believe that one could make a dip without Cool Whip, but here it is:
Orange Fruit Dip
¾ c. Greek yogurt
½ orange, juiced plus 1 tsp. fresh jest
¼ t. almond extract
sweetener of your choice: add slowly & taste (2 packets of Stevia or Truvia & 1 T of powdered sugar)
Wisk together & pour into a festive bowl. Add a platter of fruit & you are ready to party!
Cereal is one of the most expensive items per pound that families purchase. Here is a recipe that meets the Big Four Requirements!
Seven Cup Seedy Cereal
1/3 c. canola oil
Combine in a small saucepan & simmer for around 3 minutes.
1/3 c. water (Syrup will string from your spatula.)
1/3 c. honey
2 t. cinnamon
Turn oven on to 350º. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper, if you have it. (Granny likes easy cleanup, as the ole girl is lazy.)
5 c. plain rolled oats
2 c. assorted seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, ground flax, chia, sesame, or hemp. (Or you can use assorted tree nuts, but the seeds are cheaper.)
Carefully pour the syrup into little wells in the oat mixture & combine thoroughly so all the oats are coated. (Plain, uncoated oats could make you whinny).
Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
After it cools, you can add chopped dried fruit or even chopped dark chocolate. Store in a sealed bag or container. Serve with fresh fruit, almond/coconut milk, and a touch of agave if you like a sweeter taste.