Tag Archives: gifts

Healthy Cooking Christmas Gift Ideas

I kind of hate thinking about Christmas too much before Thanksgiving. But many of us do our Christmas shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. And I will be busy with family over the holiday, so here we are. Here are some of my favorite cooking gadgets or healthy resources. Hope they give you some ideas for people on your Christmas list. (I am not receiving any compensation for mentioning any of these products. These are just things I use and love.)

-Spiralizer. While I might be a year or two behind the trend on zoodles, I recently got a spiralizer and I love it. We have loved eating spiralized hash browns A LOT. You can buy really expensive or really cheap ones. I opted for a less expensive, handheld model and love it. (The one I got doesn’t seem to be available on Amazon, but this one is like it.)

Spiralizer Hashbrowns

-Kitchen Scale. While this seems like a rude, diet-oriented gift, it is actually quite useful. Especially for any bakers out there, exact measurements are very helpful. I recently got this one, because it was the top rated item on Amazon. It does work well.

-Spices or herbs. This isn’t a joke. Fun or exotic spices can be expensive but really open up doors in cooking. Plus it is important to have fresh, quality products. While I don’t purchase them all the time, Penzey’s Spices have great products. I love the curry powder, chipotle chile powder, garam masala, and cocoa powder I have gotten from there. I know many people love their cinnamon as well. They also have great gift box options.

-Magazine Subscription. My favorite cooking magazines are Cooking Light and Cook’s Illustrated. While Cook’s Illustrated doesn’t only have “healthy” recipes, their analysis of the science behind cooking makes you a better cook for reading it.

-Lasagna Pan. I registered for this when I got married, and I kind of felt frivolous. It’s a 9×13 pan, right? WRONG. I love my pan. It is just a bit bigger than a traditional 9×13 pan, which is great for lasagna, enchiladas, and all sorts of casseroles. I just discovered that mine was recalled over 2 years ago (oops!), but there are plenty of options out there.

Happy shopping!

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Chocolate Banana Bread

I was invited to participate in an online cookie/holiday treat exchange by Patience Brewster. If
you’re not familiar with Patience, she is an artist that is on a personal mission to bring you joy through the unexpected in her handmade gifts, holiday ornaments and home decor.

I am very excited to participate and share this fun, tasty, and healthy treat with you that is perfect for gifting.  I’m also supposed to tag friends to participate, so Anna Costa, show us what you’ve got!

Everyone gets a ton of cookies, fudge, and homemade candies around Christmas.  Try doing something a little different – give a dessert bread that is rich but still healthy.  Your friends and neighbors will appreciate the variety and your consideration of their waistlines!

Chocolate Banana Bread (Makes 1 large loaf or 2-3 mini loaves, depending on pan size)

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4 very ripe bananas
¼ cup melted butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup white whole wheat flour
½ cup cocoa powder
⅓ cup chopped walnuts, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat loaf pan(s) with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, mash bananas. Whisk in butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla.

3. Combine baking soda, salt, flour, and cocoa powder in another bowl. Sift or whisk to remove any lumps. Add to wet mixture. Stir until just combined with a spoon. Gently stir in chopped nuts, if using.

4. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 55-65 minutes (large loaf) or 35-45 minutes (smaller loaves) or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10-15 minutes. Then loosen from pan with knife and remove to a cooling rack. Cool to room temperature before wrapping.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving with 10 slices per large loaf)

Calories: 209
Protein: 5 g
Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 3.7 g
Cholesterol: 21 mg
Carbohydrates: 33 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 196 mg

Recipe Notes: If you are eating this yourself, it is really delicious when it is still a bit warm from the oven.

Source: slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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