December 14, 2018

Edible holiday gifts don’t cost a lot to make, and your friends and family will look forward to getting them year after year.


Edible holiday gifts are a fun and inexpensive way to show your food-loving friends and family how much you care.

I have always thought that the gifts with the most heart are the ones we make ourselves. My ideas for edible goodies don’t cost a lot to make, and your friends and family will look forward to getting them again and again. Making homemade treats has also become one of my most treasured rituals around this time of year. I love to spend time getting them ready to go while listening to holiday music and thinking of those I care about and how they will enjoy what I give them.

They also make great hostess gifts for those last-minute get togethers, so make extras. Whether in a simple canning jar, or a pretty tin, these yummy edibles look so lovely and festive with a pretty tag and some twine or ribbon strung on them.

Here are two of my favorites:


Roasted Almonds with Rosemary and Sea Salt


1 pound of raw almonds

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons or so of fresh rosemary, stemmed and chopped finely

1 tablespoon sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place the almonds, olive oil and rosemary in a large bowl and toss.
  3. Spread the almonds on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with the salt.
  4. Roast the almonds for about 20-30 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes with a spatula until they are lightly browned. Watch them carefully; they will go from under-baked to burned pretty suddenly.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container for a few weeks. These delicious and nutritious nuts make great gifts in a pretty Ball canning jar and tied with a rustic bit of brown twine. Or, wrap them in tissue and put them in a small box or tin.

Serving Size: 1 ounce or approximately 16 nuts

Per serving:  Calories: 197. Fat: 16 grams. Saturated fat: 1.6 grams. Trans fat: 0. Carbohydrate: 6.6 grams. Protein: 6 grams. Fiber: 3.9 grams. Sodium: 352 milligrams.

Adapted from The Chew.


Granola with Dried Fruit

Use this recipe as a starting point for your own creativity; substitute dried blueberries or chopped dried apricots for the cranberries, or walnuts or pecans for the almonds. It is delicious with milk, as a topping on yogurt or as a crunchy snack.

Makes 9 1/2 cups (19 servings, 1/2 cup each)


2/3 cup frozen, unsweetened apple juice concentrate, thawed

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup almond oil, or canola oil

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (optional)

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

5 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking)

1 cup toasted wheat germ

1 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped (4 1/2 ounces)

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, (2 ounces)

1 cup dried cranberries, divided


  1. Position the racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven; preheat to 325°F. Coat two large baking sheets with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk apple juice concentrate, maple syrup, oil and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in salt and optional cinnamon.
  3. Mix oats, wheat germ, almonds and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Stir in the juice mixture; toss to coat. Spread the granola evenly on the prepared baking sheets.
  4. Bake the granola for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Reverse sheets top to bottom and back to front. Continue baking until lightly browned and aromatic, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes more. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks; stir 1/2 cup dried cranberries into the granola on each sheet. Let cool completely before sealing in an airtight container for storage for up to two months.

Per serving: Calories: 262. Fat: 11 grams. Saturated fat: 1 gram. Carbohydrate: 37 grams. Protein: 7 grams. Fiber: 5 grams. Sodium: 67 milligrams.

Recipe adapted from

Stacey Kendrick, MS, is a health educator with more than 20 years of experience in wellness and population health. She spent much of her professional career at Vanderbilt’s Faculty/Staff Wellness Program and currently works in the Strategic Marketing Department at Vanderbilt. She is the mother to two adult daughters. In her free time, she teaches healthy cooking classes, runs, gardens and enjoys backyard bonfires.