Food for Thought: Gifts From The Kitchen

As seen in Haddam-Killingworth News


Tis the season for some holiday treats! Of course in my kitchen, I like to keep things a bit healthier, so here are a few of my go to recipes, made with lots of love, to gift at the holidays! You’ll notice I’m a fan of avocado oil. This healthy fat is great for baking as it can tolerate heat better than most and it has so many health benefits. Check out this article to learn more:

Once you have created your healthy treats, it’s time to think about how to package them. I buy inexpensive glass jars and take-out-boxes for this purpose. I embellish them with fabric, bows, stickers and other assorted fun! Tying cinnamon sticks with twine to the outer packaging makes for a delightful presentation and it smells divine! Most of all, have fun, get creative, and give a gift of love.


Half Baked Granola

Lightly toasting the oats with the dried fruits, the maple syrup, and the spices gives the granola such wonderful flavor. I keep the remaining ingredients in their raw state to preserve the nutrients, making this granola one of my favorite superfoods!

·       ½ Cup avocado oil

·       1 Cup pure maple syrup

·       1 Tbs. vanilla extract

·       1 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice (1-tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 -tsp. nutmeg & ginger, & ½-tsp. allspice & cloves)

·       4 Cups GF, organic rolled oats

·       1 cup mixed dried fruits of choice

·       Raw Additions

·       2 Tbs. cacoa nibs

·       2 Tbs. hemp hearts

·       2 Tbs. chia seeds

·       1 Tbs raw vegan protein powder (SunWarrior)

·       1 Tbs maca powder (optional)

·       1 Cup organic raw nuts & seeds


In a large bowl, whisk the first four ingredients. Toss in the oats and dried fruit and stir until well coated. Spread on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Stir half way through baking and watch carefully not to burn.

In the same large bowl, mix all the raw food ingredients while the oat mix is baking. While still warm, add the oat mix to the raw food mix and stir well. Allow to cool and store in glass Mason jars. Serve with your favorite nut milk or use as a topping to your favorite dairy free ice-cream or yogurt. You can also add crystalized ginger and/or fresh berries or fruit.


Acorn Truffles

These are so simple, fun to create, delicious, and make an adorable gift packaged in a little take-out box.

·       12 meljoon dates, cut in half and pitted

·       Organic Almond butter

·       1 bar organic dark chocolate

·       Crushed almonds

Cut the dates in half, making a little cup out of each half. Stuff with almond butter. Melt the dark chocolate and dip the flat end into the chocolate, then dip into a bowl of crushed almonds. Set on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and place in the fridge until solid. Package into cute take-out-boxes.


Gingerbread Bites

My one bowl, health’d-up version of this old holiday classic, is not only easy, it is deliciously healthy and allergy friendly.

Wisk the following together:

·       1 Tbls. Psyllium husk (an Indian herb available in health food stores or on Amazon)

·       ¼ cup water

·       1 Tbls. Avocado oil


·       1 cup Coconut Palm Sugar

·       ½ cup Molasses

·       1 cup Avocado oil

·       ¾ tsp. sea salt

·       1 Tbls. Baking soda

·       1 tsp. cinnamon

·       1 tsp. allspice

·       1 tsp. ginger

·       1 tsp cloves

·       3-4 cups loosely packed chickpea/garbanzo bean flour

The dough should be stiff. You can roll it in one inch balls, then flatten with the bottom of a glass, or roll it between two sheets of parchment paper to use cookie cutters. Embellish, if desired with raisins, then bake at 350 degrees, on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, for 8-9 minutes. Makes about 24 cookies.


Janet E. Verney is an Author, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Wellness Designer, and Healthy Food Chef who resides in Higganum and loves helping others to “health-up” their lives!  Have a burning health or nutrition question, write to Janet at To learn more, visit her website at 

Janet Verney