Archived Story

Stuff their stockings with good taste

Published 5:16pm Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Christmas stocking is big enough for a themed gift but small enough to make filling it quick, easy and fun. Everyone loves the gift of delicious food, and here are some suggestions to stuff stockings with good taste and good health:

 Breakfast in a stocking

Holiday excitement can disrupt little ones’ meal schedules. When the excitement of long-awaited gifts is more interesting than coming to the table for a meal, why not stuff breakfast into their stockings?  Customers have shared how they have received apples or oranges in their stocking along with a toothbrush. You could also add a whole grain granola bar or a package of dried fruit.  Make it festive by tying a ribbon around the package.

 Treat your teacher

Go to the head of the class with a stocking stuffed with unique items to help teachers take care of themselves with a variety of teas, a dark chocolate with dried fruit purchased snack mix, a bag of popcorn and some carbonated juice drinks.

It’s fun to buy a gift for others that they wouldn’t ordinarily by for themselves.  Don’t forget the apple!

 Love our neighbor

Simply tie together a package of beautiful gourmet pasta, olive oil and a jar of tomato basil pasta sauce as a way to remember your neighbor at the holiday season. Add an invitation to bring the items over to your house for dinner in the New Year — and this simple, thoughtful gift encourages both good health and friendship.

 For the gourmet foodie

A quality cheese slicer along with a package of your favorite cheese. Pair with your choice of wine, a package of walnuts in their shells, a nutcracker and fresh fruit such as Holiday seedless grapes and fresh apples along with the following recipe on a card:

 Apple, cheddar and walnut toasts

Featuring Cabot 50 percent Reduced-fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese

A great accompaniment to any festive occasion, this recipe highlights the sharp flavor and excellent melting qualities of Cabot 50 percent reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese.

All you need

•12 thin slices demi-loaf Hy-Vee Baking Stone Bread

•2 apples, variety of your choice, cored and thinly sliced into approximately 24 pieces

•24 thin slices Cabot 50 percent reduced-fat sharp cheddar Cheese

•½ cup walnut pieces

All you do

1. Preheat broiler. Arrange bread on baking sheet and toast lightly on both sides under broiler.

2. Remove from broiler and place about two apple slices on each toast.

3. Top with a thin slice of cheese

4. Sprinkle walnut pieces into cheese.

5. Top with a second thin slice of cheese.

6. Return to broiler until cheese melts and is lightly browned.

For a brunch or appetizer wine suggestion, pair with Sauvignon Blanc.

Makes 12 toasts.; modified by your Hy-Vee dietitian

Encouragement and inspiration

for the young cook

Right-sized, fun tools inspire young cooks to develop life-long cooking skills. Items such as their own measuring cups and spoons, prep cups and pinch bowls and a small whisk stimulate kitchen creativity and ownership of their creations. Start by preparing Santa’s Favorite Pancakes together and begin a new Christmas morning breakfast tradition:

Santa’s Favorite Pancakes

Inspire creativity in the kitchen by giving kids right-sized kitchen tools as a stocking-stuffer then welcome them into the kitchen to help prepare these whole-grain pancakes. For a fun Christmas morning twist arrange the pancakes to look like one of Santa’s reindeer.

All you need

For the pancakes

•1 cup Hodgson Mill Buckwheat Pancake Mix

•3/4 cup skim milk

•1 Hy-Vee egg

•1 ½ tbsp cooking oil

•Hy-Vee non-stick cooking spray

To assemble Santa’s Favorite pancakes, you’ll also need:

•2 slices cooked bacon, per pancake

•2 chocolate chips, per pancake

•1 fresh raspberry, per pancake

•Hy-Vee whipped cream

 All you do

1. Prepare pancakes by placing pancake mix into mixing bowl; add milk and egg. Stir in vegetable oil. Mix until just blended. Let stand for 5 minutes.

2. Preheat griddle or large skillet to 360 degrees. Grease lightly with Hy-Vee cooking spray. Griddle is ready when small drops of water sizzle and disappear almost immediately.

3. Pour ¼ cup batter for each pancake onto the hot griddle, adding 2 separate spoonfuls additional batter to form “reindeer ears.” Cook 1 to 1-½ minutes and flip when edges appear cooked and bubbles form throughout the pancake. Cook additional 1 to 1-½ minutes on opposite side.

4. Pour 1/8 cup onto griddle to form smaller pancake for reindeer face. Repeat cooking instructions of step 3.

To assemble “Santa’s Favorite” reindeer face-shaped pancake:

1. Place 1 smaller pancake on top of larger pancake

2. Arrange bacon to look like antlers, raspberry for a red nose and two small dollops of whipped cream, each topped with a chocolate chip, for eyes.

Makes approx. 6 pancakes.  Source:; modified by your Hy-Vee dietitian

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