Freedom from Emotional Eating, Food & Weight Obsession

Rita’s Handmade Kitchen Holiday Gifts

The holidays are upon us! I love gathering my family and friends in my kitchen to make gifts from the kitchen. You know, a gift from the hands is a gift from the heart, and these recipes are quick, easy and delicious, just perfect for anyone “special” in your life, for those folks on your list who have everything, or for the teacher, or the service person whom you wish to thank.

1/4 cup dried fruit
1/2 cup whole grain Kashi cereal (like Go Lean Crunch)
2 tablespoons sliced raw almonds

2-3 cinnamon sticks, broken up
6 whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

In decorative cellophane bags, place individual little cheesecloth bundles of nuts and cider mix, and seal. 
Write on the Recipe tag:  Heat cider mix with 1 quart apple cider.


Mix together:
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup brown lentils
1/2 cup split peas

Pour into a jar and decorate lid if desired.

On Recipe tag: Combine mix with 4 cups broth (chicken, beef or vegetable) or water. Bring to a boil, cover and lower to a simmer.  Cook until lentils and peas are tender, about 45  minutes or more, stirring occasionally.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a sprinkling of favorite cheese or a couple dashes red wine vinegar.


Better than any store bought honey roasted bits!


Almonds, like all nuts, contain fiber and protein, plus a good amount of calcium. If you’d rather substitute walnuts (great source of Omega 3’s) or your favorite nut, go ahead!

2 cups whole almonds, skin left on and toasted ***
1/4 cup Splenda or equivalent
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ea: honey and water
2 teaspoons Canola oil

Mix Splenda and salt in large bowl and set aside.  Stir together honey, water and oil in pan and bring to a boil.  Immediately stir in nuts, lower heat to a simmer and continue to cook and stir until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.  Transfer nuts to bowl with sugar/salt mixture and toss until evenly coated.  Pour out onto sprayed cookie sheet.  When cool, break up and store airtight at room temperature up to a month.

Tips from Rita’s kitchen:
***To toast nuts: Pour in single layer on cookie sheet. Roast at 350 until fragrant, about 8-12 minutes. Stir from outside edge into center a couple of times.


Bonus: Here’s a colorful holiday drink you can make and share with guests.


 Serve this healthy and beautiful drink in stemmed wine glasses.

Mix together:
2 cups white grape juice
2 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup each apple juice and cranberry juice
1/2 cup lime juice

Serve chilled, at room temperature or on the rocks.


Rita Nader Heikenfeld, CCP, CMH, is a Certified Culinary Professional and Certfied Modern Herbalist, educator, author, founding editor of
a popular website that showcases her many interests in healthy living.

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About Ellen Shuman

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I have worked in the Wellness Field for 30 years. I created an Emotional Eating & Binge Eating Disorder Recovery Program way before most people knew BED was an eating disorder, NOT a “willpower” issue. Personally, I suffered for years before finding answers and the help I needed and deserved! I became a Coach in 1997 to help others who were still suffering as I had. I love being a Coach!


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