From Your Table to Your Health: Stay Off the Naughty List With These Gift Ideas

Becky Varner shares recipes for gift-giving ideas that won't land you on the naughty list.
BY BECKY VARNER Modified: December 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm •  Published: December 5, 2012

Combine all ingredients in jar.

Secure lid and shake to mix.

Tie ribbon around jar and make a bow.

Type or hand write the following information on a card to include with the mix: Sprinkle lightly on meat or vegetables before cooking.

Nutrition Information: A teaspoon of this seasoning mix contains about 1 mg sodium.

Low-Sodium Barbecue Seasoning Mix

Another idea is this low-sodium barbecue seasoning mix. Many barbecue seasonings are quite high in sodium. This one contains about 9 mg sodium per teaspoon. It is delicious on chicken and hamburgers. Makes ½ cup seasoning mix.

2 tablespoons onion powder

¼ cup garlic powder

1 ½ tablespoons paprika

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons dried mustard powder

2 teaspoons crumbled dried thyme

1 small decorative jar with a tight fitting lid

Ribbon to decorate

Combine all ingredients in jar.

Secure lid and shake to mix.

Tie ribbon around jar and make a bow.

Type or hand write the following information on a card to include with the mix: Sprinkle on chicken or hamburgers before cooking.

Nutrition Information: A teaspoon of this seasoning mix contains about 9 mg sodium.

Homemade Granola Bars

Another recommendation is to limit the consumption of foods that contain refined grains. Whole wheat flour and rolled oats, which are both whole grains, are used in these granola bars. Makes 12 bars.

½ cup whole wheat flour

½ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup rolled oats

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup honey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 10 x 6 inch or 8 x 8 inch baking dish with a nonstick cooking spray.

Sift together the whole wheat flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Sprinkle the whole wheat flour that remains in the sifter over the sifted ingredients. Fold in the oats and walnuts.

Combine the honey and vanilla in a small bowl. Add to dry ingredients.

Using clean hands mix ingredients very well.

Press the mixture evenly into prepared baking dish.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.

Cool completely. Using a very sharp knife cut into 12 bars.

These can be left in the baking dish (to include dish as part of the gift) or placed on a decorative disposable plate and cover with plastic wrap.

Nutrition Information: This recipe makes 12 granola bars. Each bar contains approximately 126 calories and 4 grams of fat.



Friendship Soup recipe

Makes 8 generous servings

½ cup dry split peas

¼ cup pearl barley

½ cup brown rice

½ cup lentils

¼ cup dehydrated minced onion

4 teaspoons Italian seasoning

¾ teaspoon salt

¾ cup whole wheat small pasta

1 quart Mason jar with lid

6-inch circle of a Christmas print or fun print cotton material

Several cotton balls to create a soft rounded lid

2 small clear cellophane bags or zippered plastic bags for the seasoning and the pasta

A blank recipe card or sheet of paper to include the directions to prepare the soup

Red or green curling ribbon

Directions to make the Friendship Soup Gift:

Wash and thoroughly dry the jar.

Layer the split peas, barley, brown and brown rice in the jar.

Combine the dehydrated onion, Italian seasoning and salt in one of the small plastic bags. Tie closed with a piece of the ribbon.

Place the pasta in the other plastic bag and tie it closed also.

Place both of the bags in the jar.

Place sealing lid on top of jar. Place several cotton balls on top of lid and cover with fabric circle right side. Position outer ring over fabric and twist to secure attractively.

Directions to enclose with the gift:

Type or hand write the following directions to include with the soup mix:

Cook 1 pound of lean ground beef in a large pot. While meat is cooking remove the seasoning and pasta bags from the jar. Pour the remaining contents of jar in a colander, wash thoroughly and drain. When meat is cooked, drain the liquid but leave meat in pot. Add 3 quarts of water, 6 cups diced canned or fresh tomatoes and the seasoning mix to the pot. Cover and simmer for one hour. Add pasta, and simmer another 15 minutes.

Punch a hole in the corner of the instruction tag and tie with a ribbon to the lid of the jar.

Nutrition Information: This recipe makes 8 servings. Each serving contains approximately 201 calories and 4 grams of fat.

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