Gifts from the Kitchen, 2.0

December 12,2008
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird( )

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

After yesterday's post, are you not convinced that canning can be simple and easy?  Then this "canning" gift is right up your alley.

A lot of people do cookie mixes and such as gifts, but this is an easy alternative that will help warm someone up on a cold winter morning.  If your gift recipient has a nut allergy, simply replace the walnuts with more dried fruit or oatmeal.  This mix is very versatile -- you can alter it to your taste very easily. Don't like cranberries? Use dried apricot pieces, figs, dates, or raisins. Don't like walnuts? Try almonds, pecans or even sunflower seeds. The sky's the limit.

Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Mix

In a one-quart canning jar, mix:
2-2/3 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Close jar with lid, then shake well to incorporate. (Alternatively, layer half of the oatmeal, then the cranberries, then the nuts and remaining ingredients.)

Once the mix is made, you can fancy up the jar, if you wish, with raffia or ribbon around the top.

Attach a tag that reads as follows:

Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal
To create the perfect cold winter morning meal, simply shake the jar and pour 1/2 cup of the oatmeal mix into a microwave-safe bowl. Add 1 cup of water. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Add milk to taste, and stir well. Top with a drizzle of maple syrup, if desired.

I also posted a recipe for homemade caramel corn on Sweet Peas and Pumpkins, and have a couple more kitchen gift ideas up my sleeve, so stay tuned...

SPC