{edible gifts} breakfast in a basket

I like to “theme” my edible gift presentation. “Lunch in Paris”…”Cooking 101″… “Cookie Carnival”…

This year {and last} is breakfast in a basket…or more appropriately “breakfast in a reusable shopping bag”. If I’m not shipping the gift, I try to always give my gifts in a stylish non-logo-ed reusable shopping bags. I can usually grab a handful at various places, like Old Navy, Ocean State Job Lots, the dollar store and Big Lots for a dollar or two. The gift that keeps on giving without much waste.

Because I am a drink person, lots of plain seltzer and coffee with a side of tea, beer and wine, I always pair my homemade goods with drink goods. I make a set of components, food & drink, for two people. Not an entire family, just usually the adults in the house. That’s the gift, no more no less…just enough of each item for a perfect breakfast or brunch for two…I picture my gift recipients sipping my hand-chosen coffee beans or tea and eating my nibbles while reading the NYTimes morning… sun hitting the table just so…jazz on the Ipod.



No seriously, those relaxing mornings are a thing of a past with children. So I know that most of my recipients won’t be leisurely -lounging, but I do hope my small gift brings a little pleasure during their Christmas morning.

Okay, now the goods. This gift includes homemade granola and hot chocolate mix, somewhat-locally roasted coffee (abut 104 miles away if you drive through Troy, Williamstown & North Adams), a few bags of earl grey tea and some fruit, usually clementines. I will start with the two recipe-driven items first. The granola & hot chocolate mix.

I have been working on a gluten-free/allergen-free granola for a while now. I have tweaked this recipe multiple times. It has been perfected. I am proud of this recipe. It has multiple flavors with just a touch of sweetness. Even though many of you are not on a gluten or allergen free diet, I encourage you to try this recipe. It is super fiber dense, especially with the rice bran which at a half cup provides 19 GRAMS of dietary fiber..whoa. But as always with my recipes, substitute for your various needs, like regular oats and wheat flour.

Breakfast in Brooklyn Granola
5 cups GF oats
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup quinoa flakes
1 cup corn flour
¼ cup rice bran*
¼  cup flax meal*
1 ½ cup coconut
½ cup dried fruit (optional)
2 T vanilla
¼ cup water
1 cup honey
½  cup oil

* You can combo the rice bran & flax meal into 1/2 cup of one of those or wheat germ

Preheat over to 225 degrees. Mix wet & dry ingredients separately. Mix wet into dry. Once incorporated, pour and spread onto multiple pans. Put in oven to bake. Every 30 minutes or so make sure you gently stir (your baking pans have shallow sides, so be careful not to spill!) to make sure everything gets evenly dry and toasty.  Bake until dry, NOT BURNT the subtle flavor will be killed with the powerful flavor of burnt food. This should take “about” 2 1/2 hours. Take out of oven, and don’t touch, just let sit and cool. Once cooled, scoop into mason jars or food-grade cellophane and tightly cover. Create your holiday label magic (more on that in a later post). Present gift and enjoy the holiday season.

Next up, Hot Chocolate Mix. I had no idea how easy this is. I will NEVER buy mix again. Especially because if it’s not high-end mix, it will have a bunch of extra ingredients included that are NOT necessary.

Hot Chocolate Mix
1 cup UNSWEETENED cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar

As you can see from the photo, I put the mix into the tiny canning jars which hold about 6-8 Tablespoons. What I did was basically take two tablespoons, one for the cocoa and one for the sugar, and just added 3 Tablespoons of Cocoa powder then 3 Tablespoons of Sugar to each jar; assembly line style. Tighten the top and shake. If you make it in a big batch you can fit 8 Tablespoons of product into a jar. That’s it. The person makes the hot chocolate the way they want to; either with all water, all milk or milk type product or half water, half milk/milk-type product (that’s the way I prefer it). Running with the theme, this mixture, 6-8 Tablespoons total, will make multiple cups of hot chocolate. Not just two.

{DON’T do this…step away from the hot chocolate mix….too much cayenne pepper}

If you want to jazz the mixture up a bit, you can add a dash- 1/16  teaspoon of cayenne to 6-8 tablespoons of mix. Trust me when I say more than 1/16 to your little jar…it will be unpleasant tasting if you use more. Steeping tea into the hot chocolate mix is also delish, I prefer earl grey.

As for the remainder of the gift is fruit and coffee. I always try to add a few pieces of fruit. Mostly clementines because they say “Holiday Season” to me but oranges or grapefruits as they are in season in warmer climates. Or some local apples from the farmers market…easy.

As for the coffee, I will have a longer more in-depth post about coffee-related gifts next week. In the meantime, I am a lucky girl because the Capital Region is a coffee roasting hub. We are not the 5 bouroughs, Seattle, Portland or San Francisco, but we do have numerous talented roasters, within 120 miles of Saratoga Springs, making complex blends and roasts including The Daily Grind (best Italian Roast!), Saratoga Coffee Roasters (Dean’s Beans), Saratoga Roasters, Uncommon Grounds, Dean’s Beans and Pierce Bros Coffee.

At my favorite local speciality food store, and quiet frankly my hub for all things Miles-friendly, Wild Thyme, the owner Jill, introduced me to Pierce Bros Coffee out of Greenfield, MA. She sells their charity blend Cafe Lena, named after the legendary venue in downtown Saratoga Springs, NY. All the proceeds from sales of this blend (on Pierce Bros’ side of the transaction) goes to Cafe Lena, hence its a “charity blend”. Their entire coffee catalog is organic and fair trade which is unusual for these parts. Many coffee roasters have a portion of their catalog devoted to organic and/or fair trade beans…not its entirety. I should also say that my second favorite coffee roaster is Dean’s Beans in Orange, MA and they are also 100% organic, fair trade and shade grown. You can purchase their coffee at various places, including Mango Tree in Ballston Spa and Saratoga Coffee Traders who make their own house blends with Dean’s Beans.

When I buy the coffee I always ask for a handful of those mini coffee baggies and ties so I can portion the pound into multiple mini bags of coffee. Again, just enough beans for one pot-o-coffee.

That’s it…Now get started! The holiday will be here before you know it!


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Kim M. says:

    Love it! Now I have to get up and do some mixing & cooking!!!

  2. I adore this idea! This year everyone in my family is getting a variety of extracts that I made- vanilla, rosemay, nutmeg, clove and cinnamon. But I might steal your idea next year.


  3. Izetta says:

    At this time I am ready to do my breakfast, after
    having my breakfast coming yet again to read more news.

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