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Last Minute Gifts From the Kitchen

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Apple Mustard Glaze
Cranberry Orange Tea Bread
Upside-Down Double Apple Coffee Cake
Apple Cinnamon Jelly
Chunky Maple-Apple Sauce Topping

(Family Features) - You're making a list and checking it twice -- but it seems to grow longer every day! With teachers, neighbors and co-workers, not to mention uncles, aunts and cousins, holiday shopping can seem endless. Why not leave the malls behind and generate the spirit of the season right in your own kitchen? It's easier than you think!

Start by selecting easy recipes that can be made ahead and doubled or tripled as your list grows. Then get the kids involved, first in the mixing and stirring then packaging and decorating the gift labels.

When you make gifts in your own kitchen, you can also give the gift of healthy eating by starting with one of the season's most delicious ingredients -- apples. Using 100% apple juice or apple sauce in holiday cooking can help cut down on fat while adding great flavor and a host of important health benefits.

Keep the ingredients for the recipes listed below stocked in your kitchen. Then, when you need a gift at the last minute, there's no need to panic. A few minutes in the kitchen and you are ready to enjoy the holiday season.

The gift of health

Research collected by Mott's is now helping define exactly why apples and apple products are so healthy. As it turns out, apples contain a beneficial combination of fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants that are good for the whole body. What's more, 1/2 cup of apple sauce and 6 ounces of 100% apple juice each count as one fruit serving, which makes getting the recommended 5 A Day servings of fruits and vegetables that much easier for kids.

Merry apple holidays

Start a new tradition of healthy holidays with these easy ideas:

  • Leave Santa an apple instead of cookies - his reindeer will appreciate extra apples too.
  • Simmer a pot of apple juice with cinnamon and cloves during holiday parties. It makes a delicious warm and healthful drink while making the whole house smell inviting.
  • Use warm cinnamon apple sauce instead of chocolate as a "fondue dip" for chunks of angel food cake.
  • Who needs eggnog when you can have applenog! Mix together apple sauce with equal parts nonfat whipped topping and apple juice. Spice as desired.

Apple Mustard Glaze

Brush this sauce on ham before baking for a delicious glaze. It also makes a wonderful dip for vegetables or grilled sausages. Double or triple the recipe and pour into decorative jars for great gifts.

  • 2 cups Mott's apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup Dijon-style mustard

    1. Pour apple juice into medium saucepan, add cloves and cinnamon stick. Simmer over medium heat until thickened and reduced to about 1/4 cup. Allow syrup to cool; remove and discard cloves and cinnamon stick.
    2. Blend cooled syrup with mustard. Store in airtight container in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Calories: 60g     Total Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg     Protein: 4g
Carbohydrates: 14g     Sodium: 480mg

Makes 3/4 cup

Cranberry Orange Tea Bread

Perfect for a holiday open house or on a brunch buffet, this tea bread is full of delicious flavor. Make extra loaves and keep in the freezer for instant hostess presents.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup Mott's cinnamon apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Combine flour, dried cranberries, sugar and baking powder in large mixing bowl. In separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Blend apple sauce mixture into flour mixture until just combined.
    3. Spoon batter into greased loaf pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until pick inserted in center comes out clean.
    4. Cool 10 minutes in pan before removing loaf to cool completely on wire rack.

Calories: 190g     Total Fat: 5g
Cholesterol: 30mg     Protein: 3g
Carbohydrates: 36g     Sodium: 115mg

Makes 12 servings

Upside-Down Double Apple Coffee Cake

When you have family visiting for the holidays, this coffee cake will be a sure winner.

  • 1 medium apple
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup Mott's natural apple sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1. Cut apple in half and remove core. Cut each half into slices approximately 1/8-inch thick. Stir together brown sugar and water in medium saucepan. Add apple slices. Cook, stirring gently over medium heat, until apple slices are softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle cranberries in bottom of non-stick or greased 9-inch cake pan. Arrange apple slices over cranberries, drizzling with brown sugar sauce. Set aside.
    2. Preheat oven to 350°F. In large bowl or mixer, beat butter with granulated sugar until thoroughly combined. Add apple sauce and egg. In separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Gently blend into apple sauce mixture. Spoon batter over apples and cranberries, spreading evenly. Bake 30 minutes, or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes before turning cake out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Calories: 250g     Total Fat: 5g
Cholesterol: 35mg     Protein: 3g
Carbohydrates: 49g     Sodium: 180mg

Makes 10 servings

Apple Cinnamon Jelly

Delicious on toast or scones. It tastes like you've worked for hours, but this jelly is extra easy, starting with apple juice.

  • 3 cups Mott's apple juice
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 package (1.75 ounces) fruit pectin
  • 3/4 cup water

    1. Wash and dry 1- or 2-cup glass jars or decorative containers to accommodate 5 to 6 cups liquid. Set aside.
    2. Combine all ingredients except pectin in large bowl. Stir several minutes until sugar dissolves.
    3. Combine pectin with water in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to boil; boil 1 minute. Stir pectin mixture into apple juice mixture, stirring until thoroughly blended.
    4. Ladle mixture into prepared containers and cover. Let sit at room temperature 24 hours until set. Store in refrigerator up to 3 months or freezer up to 1 year.

Calories: 90g     Total Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg     Protein: 0g
Carbohydrates: 24g     Sodium: 0mg

Makes about 6 cups

Chunky Maple-Apple Sauce Topping

Delicious served over pancakes, waffles and even ice cream. Another great gift for teachers or neighbors, this sauce can easily be doubled or tripled.

  • 2 cups Mott's chunky apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1. Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently to allow flavors to blend. Remove from heat; cool. Store in airtight containers in refrigerator.

Calories: 130g     Total Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg     Protein: 0g
Carbohydrates: 34g     Sodium: 0mg

Makes about 2 cups

SOURCE: Mott's Apple Sauce and Juice

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