As we approach Christmas life gets a little more hectic and if you are anything like me you will be racking your brains what presents or gifts to buy for people. This blog idea came from SusieQ one of our online cancer support specialists and that is, ’What to Buy a friend or relative if they have cancer’, and thought that a hamper was a perfect gift.
I thought it was a clever idea and have put together some foods that could make up a hamper that would not only be very useful but that they would also enjoy. Some of the ideas will need preparing and some simply bought. They are only ideas and you may have many of your own. You can of course put one together to suit the person you know, your purse strings and of course could get together with a friend and have a team effort. Christmas is traditionally a time of treats and over indulgence, these ideas will certainly be treats but not wreck good intentions.
A good oil.
By this I mean an oil that is made from a seed or nut. Oils like flaxseed oil or walnut oil or hemp oil. These should be cold pressed and bought in a glass bottle. As we know they are to be used cold as salad dressings and not heated as heating will destroy their natural essential fatty acid content and break down the natural structure of the oil making them a potential health hazard. You can also buy blends like one called Groovy oil or called Good oil from most super markets.
Cinnamon nuts in a jar. The ideal snack
These are so easy to make and will keep in a screw top jar for up to 2 months so can be made well ahead. Of course if you did not need to make these but simply buy some unsalted nuts and put those in the hamper but I think these are worth the effort.
You will need:
1 tbsp of olive oil or rapeseed oil
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
½ tsp of mixed spice
400g/14oz of mixed nuts like almonds, brazils and cashews;
2 tbsp of raw honey.
1. Heat the oven 120’C/gas 1
2. Mix the oil with the spices and then mix in the nuts. Drizzle over half of the honey and spread over a baking sheet and cook for 10 mins.
3. Remove from the oven and drizzle over the remaining honey and then cook for another 10 min.
4. Remove from oven and cool completely before storing.
Dark chocolate (at least 70% plus)
As you can see it is rich in antioxidants, the minerals magnesium and iron and it has been shown through research to boost mood. I do not think that we need any more persuading do we. Obviously it is good for us in moderation and will be a much better alternative at Christmas than all the traditional sweet treats.
A jar of almond nut butter or cashew nut butter.
Most super markets sell these now and certainly you would get them from a health food shop. They make a great snack spread on top of oatcakes or rice cakes and can be used as part of a salad dressing. Both are high in protein and are sugar and salt free.
A tub of nutritional yeast flakes.
This may seem an odd idea but they are invaluable as part of a healthy diet. They have a cheesy nutty taste and mix well into soups, casseroles, smoothies, juices and sprinkled over salads or cereals. They are a pure food very rich in B vitamins which helps us release energy from our cells as well as being good for nervous energy and proper functioning of the immune system.
A bottle of organic red wine.
Organic red wine is free of preservatives and rich in polyphenols that act as powerful antioxidants. A great deal of research has been carried out about the antioxidant resveratrol found in red wine and the fermented skins of red grapes and cancer. One of its main properties is that it has been shown to induce apoptosis (cell death) and it is also said to be anti- angiogenic. Angiogenesis is the process by which cancer cells develop a blood supply so that they can receive nourishment to survive.
Date and Lacuma cocoa bars
These are very simple to make, very nutrient dense and again something that we would not normally make on a regular basis. They are quite extravagant to make which may be a consideration.
Lacuma powder can be bought from any good health food shop. It is made from a fruit that is native to Peru which is traditionally used in ice cream and desserts, it has a maple syrup flavour. These bars can be cut as large or small as you like and wrapped individually in cling film and put in a small box or simply put in the hamper with a ribbon tied around. They are chilled not baked so you do not even have to turn the oven on! And they keep for up to a week and freeze well.
You will need
6 pitted dates
150g pecan nuts
80g Lacuma powder
30g of cocao powder or cocoa powder
4 tbsp of shelled hemp seeds
2 tbsp of ground flax seeds; zest and juice of 2 lemons
4 ½ tbsp of cashew nut or almond nut butter.
1. Soak the dates in hot water for 10 min then drain and set aside. Meanwhile line a shallow 8” square baking tray with baking parchment.
2. Put the nuts into a blender or food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cocao powder, hempseeds, lacuma powder, and ground flaxseeds.
3. Put the dates, lemon zest and juice into the blender and blitz until they form a paste.
4. Add the bowl and combine the ingredients to form a soft dough. When I made these I added 2 tsps of cold water to help the process along.
5. Press into the prepared tin and chill for 2 hours or freeze.
Fresh fruit that is associated with Christmas
like Mandarins or satsumas to complete the hamper.
A box of nice tea bags.
This could be any herbal or fruit tea. Green tea is very beneficial but it could be camomile if you know they have trouble relaxing or sleeping or ginger if you know they have digestive problems.
I hope that you like these ideas and give it a go because I am sure that the recipient will be thrilled with the thought. You may of course find other ideas as you browse the shops which could be added or put in place of some of my ideas.
Blog originally written by Caroline December 2013