There is something magical about home-made gifts. Honestly, who doesn't like them? They are full of personality and love. So, why not make your festive season merrier this year? Get inspired by some of these gift ideas I've rounded up for you.
When it comes to sweeteners, the best low-carb options are Erythhritol or stevia, while honey and maple syrup are autoimmune (AI) paleo-friendly options. In this post, I have compiled a list of healthy sweeteners for you. Always avoid agave syrup - it's high in fructose and it's not healthy. If you have an iPad or iPhone, you may also want to check out my apps, KetoDiet and KetoDiet Basic, which are on a limited-time offer!
Healthy Low-carb Marshmallows
These healthy marshmallows are great Holiday gifts! They are surprisingly easy to make and you can use any coating you like (I used chocolate, shredded coconut, chopped almonds, freeze-dried strawberries and mango). I'd suggest you make them just a couple of days in advance. If you find them too "wet", simply leave them for a few hours to dry at room temperature. Do not leave them uncovered for too long, as they may become too dry on the edges. Keep them in a cool room, so the chocolate doesn't melt.
Here, you can find the recipe for my Healthy Low-carb Marshmallows.
Healthy Jam Preserves
Commercially available jams are often full of preservatives and sugar. It's easy to make your own, just keep in mind you'll need to preserve them if they're not consumed within the first 1-2 weeks. Here is a video that explains how to preserve them (just ignore the part with sugar). As long as you avoid high-carb sweeteners, there is no more than 1-2 grams of net carbs per tablespoon.
This year, I made a few jars of different jams that I'm planning to give as presents. You can find the ingredients I used below. You can also add a tablespoon of ghee or butter which will prevent the jam from foaming and help with preserving.
Cranberry & Apple Jam (~ 500g / 17.5 oz jar):
- 3 cups cranberries (300g / 10.6 oz)
- 1 apple, medium, sweet or sour variety (150g / 5.3 oz)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (~ 2 vanilla beans)
- ½ cup Erythritol or 20-30 drops stevia (vanilla / clear) or other healthy sweetener from this list
- ¼ cup water
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
Tropical Jam (~ 500g / 17.5 oz jar):
- 1 very ripe mango, peeled, deseeded and chopped (300g / 10.6 )
- 1 peach, deseeded and chopped (150g / 5.3)
- 3 pieces passion fruit, deseeded - push through sieve to remove seeds (30g / 1 oz)
- ½ cup Erythritol or 20-30 drops stevia (orange / clear) or other healthy sweetener from this list
- ¼ cup water
Fig & Walnut Jam (~ 500g / 17.5 oz jar):
- 2 ⅓ cups fresh figs, chopped (350g / 12.3 oz)
- 1 tangerine, chopped (100g / 3.5 oz)
- ¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped (60g / 2.1 oz)
- 1 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
- ½ cup Erythritol or 20-30 drops stevia (cinnamon / clear) or other healthy sweetener from this list
- ¼ cup water
Very Berry Jam (~ 500g / 17.5 oz jar):
- ½ cup strawberries, chopped (140g / 4.9 oz)
- ½ cup blueberries (140g / 4.9 oz)
- ½ cup blackberries (130g / 4.3 oz)
- ½ cup raspberries (130g / 4.3 oz)
- ½ cup chia seeds (32g / 1.1 oz)
- ½ cup Erythritol or 20-30 drops stevia (berry / clear) or other healthy sweetener from this list
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
- Do NOT add any water - berries contain more than enough
You can find out how to make home-made jams if you follow my recipes: Home-made Strawberry & Rhubarb Jam and Dark Cherry Chia Jam.
Another option for a healthy gift is Home-made Ghee infused with herbs and spices. When you follow my recipe, make sure you remove all the milk solids, otherwise it may get rancid. My favourite flavours are rosemary and garlic but you can try mint, parsley, sage or even onion (to use in savoury dishes) or cinnamon, vanilla seeds, nutmeg, cloves, etc. (to use in sweet dishes).
Home-made Fruit Vinegar requires at least 14 days to prepare. You can use any fruits you like. Berries such as raspberries, blueberries or cherries work best!
Home-made Vanilla Extract requires at least 4 weeks for best results. If you want offer it as a gift, you will need to include a "use after" note.
Home-made Hazelnut Extract may be more tricky to prepare than vanilla extract but doesn't need as much time for infusing. In my experience, even 14 days should be enough to get good results. However, the longer you leave it, the better. Also, keep in mind that unlike the vanilla extract, you will need to remove the solids.
Great ideas from other bloggers
These are great gift ideas from my favourite bloggers. Use your imagination for wrapping to make them unique :-)
Dark Chocolate Bark With Sea Salt from The Iron You. Don't be tempted to use coconut oil in this recipe or it will melt outside the fridge.
Vanilla-Strawberry and Raspberry Coconut Macaroons from The Urban Poser. Jenni's blog is full of amazing photography and real food!
Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti from All Day I Dream About Food. Just make sure the biscotti are dry before you wrap them.
Celestial Cinnamon Bites from Low-carb So Simple - a blog I discovered a few months ago. You'll find unique low-carb recipes with 5 ingredients or less all accompanied by beautiful photos!
Hot Chocolate Mix from Healthy Living How To. Place the chocolate mix in a nice decorative jar and your gift is ready!
“Peanut” Butter Truffles from Healthy Living with Chocolate. As you can see for yourself, my Pinterest board Paleo Recipes (Sweet) is flooded with recipes from Adriana's blog!
Sunflower Butter Cookies from Beauty and the Foodie are great low-carb & paleo cookies for nut and dairy-intolerant people.
Rosemary and Sea Salt Crackers from Living Low Carb one day at a time prove that crackers don't need to be sweet to be delicious!
Healthier Homemade Limoncello from Desserts With Benefits is very simple, flavourful liquer based on the traditional Italian recipe.
Dark Chocolate Covered Walnuts from All Day I Dream About Food. I frequently visit Carolyn's blog for the best low-carb treats!
… and some non-edible gift ideas:
Homemade Tinted Lip Balm from Five Little Homesteaders is a non-toxic all natural beauty gift.
Lemon Honey Sugar Scrub from Home-made Mommy - I think we just found the best use for sugar :-)
Do you have any gift ideas? Let me know by leaving a comment :-)