Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gifts in a Jar: Cranberry Apple Oatmeal Mix

I don't know about you, but I struggle every year to decide what to give my grandparents for Christmas.  I want to give them something thoughtful and something they will like, but most grandparents don't have room for a bunch of extra knick-knacks.  Enter the food gift.  I love to put together homemade food gifts and am able to express my love for them by giving them gifts that they can enjoy, while not cluttering up valuable space in their homes.  This year that gift will be oatmeal mix in a jar.

Start by finding a cute jar.  I bought these at Wal-Mart for around $6 a piece.  If you can't tell, they have a snowflake on them.  You can also find individual jars at Hobby Lobby (don't forget to pull up their 40% off coupon on your phone if they aren't on sale!).  

Next, mix up your oatmeal.  Here is there recipe I used:

3-4 cups quick cooking oatmeal (not instant)
1 cup dried fruit (I used 1/2 c cranberries and 1/2 c chopped dried apples)
1/2 cup sliced almonds (toasted in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup flax seeds

Put all ingredients into a gallon zip top bag and shake to mix. Pour into jar, filling to the top (contents will settle).  Notice there is no sweetener added.  I know that each of my grandparents like to control the sugar they take in, so I left it unsweetened.  I will include with the gift a small bottle of maple syrup, like the ones you can buy at Cracker Barrel.  

After completing the jars, make a card with instructions.  I provided several options for my grandparents so they can choose a serving size.

1. Combine water and oats in a medium microwaveable bowl. For a small serving, use 1/3 cup oatmeal mix and 1/2-2/3 cup water.  For a larger serving, use 2/3 cup oatmeal mix and 1-1 1/3 cup water.
2. Microwave 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.  Stir.

Finally, tie a ribbon around the jar or top with a bow and you are finished!  Easy, right?  These also mail well - just be sure to surround it tightly with packing peanuts or bubble wrap.

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