Homemade Christmas Gifts

I wanted to show you some healthy foodie gifts to make for friends and family this Christmas.  I know it’s getting late in the piece but you still have this weekend if you want to whip any of these up.  The healthy muesli and the banana bread toasted would make a lovely late breakfast on Boxing Day after the excesses of Christmas day.  I prefer toasted muesli but didn’t want to make a version with all the extra sugars (honey, maple syrup etc.)  This muesli is dry roasted and tastes just as good.
The little bottles of seed mix (pumpkin, sesame and sunflower) are a healthy and tasty way to give your salads a lift and make a cute little gift.   Throw half a handful in when you’re putting your salad together..delicious!

You can flavour the basic Banana Bread recipe with whatever you like.  I made a plain one and a raspberry and banana as we had so many bananas in the fruit bowl that’d gone overripe, I didn’t want to waste them.  Blueberries, choc chips, walnuts.  Whatever you fancy,  package your gifts in cute bottles, cellophane, Christmas ribbon and tag and you can’t go wrong.
Whilst you’re busy making all these homemade gifts, you’ll need a drink and while many enjoy a tipple over the silly season, finding a non-alcoholic option that isn’t soft drink or OJ can sometimes be a struggle.  Here’s a refreshing drink that brings with it lots of health benefits made with Nature’s Cuppa tea which I’ve mentioned before is one of my favourite teas.
“Black tea is not only packed with antioxidants, but it also helps detoxify and repair the liver, something we can all use at this time of the year,” says Johanna Clark, Nature’s Cuppa’s consulting naturopath.

“Making iced tea using organic tea, such as Nature’s Cuppa organic Ceylon, ensures you are enjoying nothing but the health benefits of pure tea without preservatives, artificial flavours and colours often found in many packaged iced teas.”
Here’s Cheers!
This is my last post for the year and I wanted to raise a glass to thank everyone who reads my blog.  I’m so grateful for the wonderful blogging community and everyone who visits.  I’ve made some amazing friends from all over the world and can’t wait to see what unfolds in 2013.  I wish you, your families and friends a Very Merry and Peaceful Christmas and New Year.  Look forward to seeing you back here on Monday 7th January.
Catherine xxx

Banana Bread Recipe
125g butter- softened, 1 cup (175g) brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 2 cups mashed banana,  1 3/4 cups (225g) plain (all purpose) flour – sifted, 1 teaspoon baking powder – sifted, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of (baking) soda, 1 teaspoon ground cinammon, 1/3 cup (115g) golden syrup.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C (325F). Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in an electric mixture for 8-10 minutes until pale and creamy.

Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.

Add the banana, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and golden syrup.  Stir to combine or beat just to mix through these ingredients, then stop beating.

Spoon mixture into a lightly greased loaf tin lined with baking paper and bake for 60-65 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.  Cool in tin for approx 15 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For Banana & Raspberry bread, stir 1 cup frozen raspberries through the mixture at the end.

Healthy Toasted Muesli
750g rolled oats (not quick oats), 1/2 cup (50g) flaked almonds or whole almonds chopped, 1/2 cup (40g) sesame seeds, 1 cup shredded coconut, 150g cranberries, 150g dried blueberries, 100g chopped apricots, 50g sunflower seeds, 50g pepitas, 2 cups oat bran/processed bran cereal.

Preheat the oven to 200 deg C.  Divide the oats between two flat ungreased oven trays and cook until oats start to brown (took mine about 30 minutes), checking them every 10 minutes and giving them a stir.  Make sure they don’t burn.

Place the oats in a large bowl.  Toast almonds and sesame seeds on the same tray for 5 minutes, take care not to burn them.  Toast coconut in the same way for 2-3 minutes.  Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. 

Store in an airtight container.
Summer Iced Tea

Serves 6


4 Nature’s Cuppa Organic Ceylon teabags

500ml freshly boiled water

¼ cup sugar or to taste (can use natural sweeteners such as Stevia and coconut sugar instead)

1L  cold water

Ice cubes

Fresh lemon juice (one or more lemons, to taste)

Lemon slices, to garnish

Fresh mint leaves, to garnish


1.       Infuse Nature’s Cuppa Organic Ceylon Tea in freshly boiled water for five minutes

2.       Add sugar to hot tea and stir until completely dissolved

3.       Pour cold water in a large jug, add hot tea mixture and stir

4.       Add lemon juice to the iced tea mixture, to taste

5.       Add ice cubes to chill and garnish with lemon slices and fresh mint.


  1. Lauren

    Happy Happy Christmas! These are wonderful ideas! I'm making crackers for our neighbors…figuring they were getting inundated with sweets these days…but I love the seeds, just LOVE them! SO sweet!

    I've so enjoyed your blog this year, dear. Really enjoy your recipes and watching you grow as a foodie! Here's to a wonderful 2013! Enjoy your family and your holiday!

  2. tina

    Oh, Catherine, healthy recipes to see us out of 2012 and into 2013. I LOVE LOVE LOVE all of them and I love your styling.

    Those pots of seeds. Gorgeous. I also mix seeds but don't have them in a cute bottle like this:)

    I will make the toasted muesli as soon as i return from holidays.

    I love coming here (no surprise there) and agree with Lauren. It has been

  3. mel

    Such great ideas Catherine. Handmade is the best especially when they're presented so well. Love the tags also. Hope that you and your family have a lovely Christmas and enjoy the break (afterwards). Look forward to connecting in 2013! Mel x

  4. Johanna Clark

    Gorgeous blog Catherine! So lovely to see you enjoying our delicious Nature's cuppa Iced Tea recipe. I hope all of your readers are loving brewing some nice pots on their holidays and then hopefully they will all take their new healthy habit back with them to work. Best, Johanna Clark

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