I love being in school except for one small, tiny, detail: money.

Normally I really do not care about not having that much money, I mean, school isn’t that expensive, right? [Insert talk about higher tuition every year, less grants, yadda, yadda, yadda…]

Anyway, for Christmas this year I decided to give my family gifts that were straight from my heart (and kitchen.)  Homemade goody basket (whether they like it or not!)

The theme was, well come to think of it, there really was no theme and instead the conversation in my head went like this:

“Okay, today is December 19th and I have no idea what to do for Christmas.  I could buy this, or this, or even this…”


“No, no, no.  That is just stupid.  I could make something.  Or, I could make a few somethings.”

Search the internet for 30 minutes

“Okay, well I have a recipe for granola, spice rub, mustard, and pancake mix.  How in the *&$% do those things fit together?  Oh never mind, it will work!”

So, with in a couple of hours I had a list of five items I could give my family in what eventually ended up as a “goody-box.”

On the list:  Oatmeal Stout Mustard, Quick Pancake mix, Fruit and Nut Granola, Popcorn mix, and a BBQ spice rub.

The Mustard Recipe came from a Guiness recipe I found a while back and the oatmeal stout is what I happened to have in the house.  Easy enough right?  Actually, more than easy:  Ingredients go in the bowl, sit, sit, sit, food process and ta-da: mustard.

Pancake mix came from the King Arthur’s Baking Book (love, love, love this book!)

The Granola came from a combination of granola recipes

The popcorn is our go to popcorn recipe for our movie snacks and this came from Rachel Ray.  Seriously good popcorn plus about a five-minute workout from shaking a kettle.

The BBQ rub- Martha Stewart.  One cannot give Christmas gifts away without at least one idea from Martha.

I am pretty sure this will be a tradition from now on whether my family likes it or not.  I enjoy being in the kitchen so why shouldn’t I share that? (Rhetorical, I can answer that myself….)

Oatmeal Stout (or Guiness) Mustard
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Miscellaneous
Serves: 3
  • 1 12 bottle Oatmeal Stout
  • 1½ cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • pinch of each :ground cinnamon,cloves, nutmeg, and allspice
  1. Combine ingredients in a nonreactive mixing bowl (I enjoy my pyrex bowls for this.) Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1�2 days ( I let mine sit for two days. After the first day, the flavors of the mustard begin to really develop.) The seeds should be softened.
  2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and process for 3-5 minutes or until the seeds begin to break down and the mustard begins to thicken.
  3. Can be refrigerator for up to six months. I opted to go through the canning process just in case someone wanted to let the mustard sit and mellow a little with age.
Cranberry Almond Granola
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 12
  • 4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cup sliced almonds
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dried apricots, diced
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350?
  2. In bowl, combine oats and almonds.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine honey, oil, and vanilla extract; whisk to combine and pour over oat mixture.
  4. Stir until all of oats are covered, place on two separate parchment covered baking sheets and spread mixture evenly around.
  5. Bake 45 -50 minutes or until oats become golden brown.
  6. Let cool and mix fruit into oat mixture.

So, Merry Christmas and look for the next post about the tale of the Tiramisu Cheesecake….


Tagged with →