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Midday Fix: Gifts from the kitchen

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Kristen Brogan, Registered Dietitian

On Target Living

To purchase a copy of the book:

Target To Table: Healthy & Delicious Meals One Superfood At A Time

Traverse City Cherry Granola
Serves 8-10

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup of chopped pecans
1/2 cup of dried tart cherries
1/8 cup of flaxseeds
pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon of nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice (for holidays)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup of virgin coconut oil
1 Tablespoon local/raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. In a small saucepan, combine wet ingredients and heat over medium heat or until melted and mixed. Pour melted mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread granola evenly over sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir mixture on the cookie sheet and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Transfer granola to a large decorative glass jar and serve as a gift for the holidays with recipe attached.

Homemade Body Scrub
Combine 1 cup of raw cane sugar and 1 cup of almond or jojoba oil. Add your favorite essential oils and mix well. Store in glass jar with festive measuring spoon attached.
*May use Epsom, Himalayan, or sea salt in place of sugar for a more calming magnesium rich scrub.
To gift, add scrub to a relaxing spa basket that includes an eye mask, facial scrub, and other rest essentials.

Overnight Oats with Dates or Figs & Apples
Serves 4

1 cup oat groats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups water
1 apple, chopped
4 dried figs (or may use 4 pitted dates)

Rinse oats and soak in cold water for 1 hour. Drain and rinse oats and add to a small (1.5 quart) slow cooker. Mix in cinnamon and then stir in 4 cups of water, apples and figs. Cook in slow cooker for 7-8 hours or overnight. Serve warm with almond or coconut milk.
Print recipe and tie to a holiday themed crockpot filled with recipe ingredients, a festive dishtowel, and utensils. May even fill it savory options like chicken broth, soup mix, and spices for a different spin.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

3 vanilla beans
1 cup organic vodka (Local Koval Brand)
Glass bottle with tight fitting lid

Use kitchen scissors or a sharp paring knife to cut lengthwise down each vanilla bean, splitting them in half, leaving an inch at the end connected. Put vanilla beans in a glass jar or bottle with a tight fitting lid (mason jars work well). Cover completely with the vodka. Give the bottle a good shake every once in a while. Store in a dark, cool place for 2 months or longer.
*Homemade vanilla extract lasts for years. You can keep topping it off with vodka once in a while as you use it- just remember to give it a good shake.

Banana Bread
Serves 10-12

1/2 cup organic cane sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon virgin coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup applesauce
3 1/2 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
2 Tablespoons organic plain Greek yogurt or Siggi’s brand
1/2 cup of local/raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of organic whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Beat together the sugar and eggs on medium until light and fluffy, roughly 5 minutes. Very slowly, drizzle in the coconut oil, still beating the mixture on medium. Then add the applesauce and continue mixing. Add the banana, Greek yogurt, honey, and vanilla. Mix together on low speed until combined. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and sea salt and fold into the banana mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in toasted walnuts. Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. (I use virgin coconut oil spray to grease) Bake for 50-55 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Wrap in festive holiday paper and gift to someone special.

Raspberry Chia Seed Jelly

1/2 cup of pitted Medjool Dates
1/2 cup of fresh raspberries
2 Tablespoons of chia seeds (chia seeds can be used in place of pectin)
1/4 cup of coconut water
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until mixed. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator to thicken. Use in place of processed jam or jelly. Makes a delicious filling for thumbprint cookies or used as a topper for your favorite pancakes or French toast.

Trail Mix Treats

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup of dried cranberries or cherries
1/4 cup raisins
1 bag dark chocolate chips

Combine nuts, seeds, and dried fruit and set aside. Melt 1 bag of dark chips over a double boiler. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Using a ladle, drop small dollops of melted chocolate on the waxed paper. Sprinkle chocolate with trail mixture and let cool. Sprinkle with sea salt for a delicious salty flavor if desired. Serve in festive gift bags for the perfect stocking stuffers. For convenience, choose store-bought trail mix combinations that include raw nuts, and dried fruits without added oil or sugar.

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