Recipes in Jars for Anyone!
How to give the gift of food to anyone on your list
Tis the season for decadence, celebration and giving. To battle the stress of the season, more and more people are looking toward the simpler things. Of course, our favourite gifts are those that embrace a healthy lifestyle. Among the many possibilities, a Recipe-in-a-Jar is the perfect blend of low waste and DIY thoughtfulness for anyone on your list. With all of the various dietary restrictions out there, food may seem like a bad idea, but we promise, with a couple of tweaks, you can make delicious gifts for anyone on your list, regardless of their dietary preferences/needs.
We picked three easy to assemble Recipes-in-a-Jar to show you how we modified them to fit special dietary needs. Click here for the full recipes.
Gluten-Free, Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
If you’ve ever had gluten-free, vegan cookies…you may have never known. We started with this gluten-free recipe. Instead of adding refined white sugar*, we used coconut palm sugar. We also mixed coconut flour and gluten-free baking flour** for a slightly chewier texture. Finally, we chose enjoy life chocolate chips, which are free of the top ten allergens, including gluten and diary. When wrapping, we would include a small jar of applesauce.
*Did you know that strict vegans avoid refined sugar? This is because of the way white sugar is refined. Select a high quality alternative such as palm or coconut sugar, or a sugar replacement such as xylitol or green stevia.
**When selecting a gluten-free flour blend, check for oats. While gluten-sensitive people may do well with oats, those with Celiac disease may still have problems.
Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo-Friendly Lentil Curry Soup
Lentils and beans are a staple for many healthy vegans. In their dried form, legumes* are not only an excellent source of fibre and protein, they are also extremely inexpensive and easy to store. We selected this vegan coconut curry soup recipe to start. We also added turmeric, which is an excellent, flavourful spice with anti-inflammatory properties. Because onion is a staple in most pantries, we skipped the dried onions in favour of including a fresh onion on the ingredients list. When selecting the bouillon cubes, we opted for a vegan, gluten-free brand**.
* Some people following a strict paleo diet will not consume legumes because of their phytic acid content. However, because many paleo-friendly foods are higher in phytic acid than legumes, paleo adherents have started to reassess their stance.
** Some ingredients in processed foods such as bouillon cubes may be problematic for people following a paleo diet. You can check out this recipe for a homemade, paleo safe alternative.
Protein-Packed Hot Chocolate (with gluten-free and paleo alternatives)
It’s cold out, and hot chocolate is the perfect cozy night-in drink. We loved this recipe because it also adds a protein punch to this sweet treat. One fantastic tip for creating chocolaty treats, regardless of your dietary preferences, is to substitute cocoa with cacao. Not sure what the difference is? While we used the homemade protein powder show in the video, there are a variety of protein powders on the market. Check in at your local Vita Health to pick one that’s right for your recipe. Finally, there is a whole world of sweeteners out there. We opted for palm sugar, but raw honey, maple syrup or even green stevia might be a better fit for your barista-to-be.
Assembling Your Recipe-in-a-Jar
Just grab a clean mason jar and fill with the dry ingredients from your selected recipe. Keep in mind quantities and make sure you’re using a jar that will properly fit all of the dry ingredients. You also want to print out the recipe title, wet ingredients the cook-to-be will need along with cooking instructions and you’re done.
Of course, there are all sorts of things you can do to modify this basic gift. Layering the dry ingredients and adding a ribbon to the jar are always a nice touch. You may also want to look for recipes that have a higher ratio of dry ingredients to wet or fresh ingredients. Alternatively, including fresh ingredients or a gift card to their favourite grocer (ahem, Vita Health♥) can be a fun way to adapt to gift your favourite recipe if it’s difficult to put in a jar.