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We're thinking WAY ahead to Christmas. Who has some truly unique ideas
for holiday food gifts that we might share with Country Woman readers?
Share your most creative, new and different ideas and briefly describe
the food items and how you package them. Thanks in advance for your
In years past, I always made a pot of fresh vegetable soup. I would cook a roast and then use the leftover broth and roast in my soup. I would look in the freezers and the homemade canned goods of what vegetables were from the summer gardens put away for later use, to add to the goodies to the soup. I would let the pot of soup cook away in the morning. Then ladel it in quart jars. (sometimes the items were delivered later in the day. Sometimes the soup was cooled and placed in the refrigerator to deliver the next day.) I would place the soup in a box wrapped in Christmas paper or a empty basket, I would put one or two jars of soup in the container, depending on how many were in the family. I would then gather an array of cookies from what Christmas baked goods I had made and put them in a plastic bag or decorative styafoam plate covered with plastic and sealed with a bow, and a card attached to the bow with whom it was intended for and signed by. It helped on knowing which boxes of containers went to whom. I placed the the baked goods in the basket or box with the jar of soup. A loaf of homemade bread went also in the basket or box. I would plan on doing this in December before the Christmas week. Explaining a holiday treat from us to them. A visit was planned when I arrived with the goodies. Many enjoyed it. I only had one person ever complain. But they were weird to begin with. Many enjoyed to have a meal to warm up and enjoy the treats that accompanied it. Especially with how busy their month could be with activities and hecticness. I made certain the soup went to people who would truly enjoy vegetable soup. Not everyone is keen on it. It was a great treat to elderly or single people. Or even busy families. The elderly enjoyed it more it seemed because they loved vegetable soup but didn't want to go the hassel of making a big pot. I haven't done this idea in several years now. But did do it for many consective years as a way of giving to others.
I only had one person ever complain. But they were weird to begin with.
I only had one person ever complain. But they were weird to begin with.
I told you in another post how much my family and I would enjoy a gift like this and I think I'm going to steal this idea for a few people I know who would enjoy it.
My Christmas food giving started about 1994. My husband's work is in route sales, so he had a number of stores that he called on. That first year he asked me if I could bake some goodies and put them on trays for him to give to his customers. I didn't know how to make many "fancy" holiday goodies, so I just baked several batches of regular sweets. Our trays usually included no-bake cookies, peanut butter cookies, fried peach pies, chocolate chip cookies, etc. I also melted almond bark and used it as filling between 2 Mexican wedding cookes. The white really stood out on the trays. We found that around Christmas, many folks are tired of rich chocolate goodies and the like, but they really enjoyed homemade "like mama used to make."
I have continued that tradition through the years, even though my husband's routes have changed. Now he calls on a couple of large retail stores which won't allow vendors to bring goodies to employees, but we still love to give to our neighbors and church folks.
In the past few years, I've made spice tea mix and hot cocoa mix to go along with the baked goodies. I buy my containers as soon as the Christmas merchandise hits the shelves. If you don't get it right away, it disappears from the shelves! I usually find great things at places like Dollar General or Family Dollar stores, but one year Dayspring had a large quantity of Christmas platters and dessert plates for just a couple of dollars each. I try to find plastic jars with Christmas decoration on them for the spice tea and cocoa mixes. Usually I write the recipe on Christmas card stock and tie around the jar. One year I put the mixes in canning jars and used Christmas fabric as a jar topper under the ring and tied a ribbon onto the jar with the recipe. Last year I found these cute ceramic type jars with the old timey clamps and Christmas themes on them. These were used for iced almonds. At a local kitchen store one year their "free gift with purchase" was a clear glass jar with a clamp on it, which had red and green decoration on it. I waited until a day or two after their "free gift" day and asked if I could buy some of them. They gladly sold them to me at just a few dollars each.
For our dentist and doctor office, and our pharmacy where there's a number of people, I use pretty cellophane bags with ties for the food and smaller containers for the mixes so that each employee will have their own.
My husband and I thoroughly enjoy this every year. We both love giving better than receiving!
Every year I give mixes in a jar to all my family as an added gift, . They are filled with the ingredients to make cookies, muffins, chocolate treats, spice and seasoning mixes, loaf cakes , soup mixes, etc Most are in 1 or 2 quart jars. I cut a piece of christmasy fabric either on the lid and seal with an elastic and then tie a pretty bow, or I put the fabric under the lid. I also add the directions for mixing and baking, plus a copy of the recipe should they want to make it again. My family just love these extra little touches at holiday time Then I pack however many I'm giving to each one in a decorated gift bag. Most people love homemade gifts as they know they are made with LOVE. Anne. .
My daughters and I make cookies - different kinds, but a lot of lemon and chocolate chip) to give to teachers and other folks in our lives we want to give to at Christmas time. Now that we are under 10 weeks to Christmas, I'm hoping to see more folks check in here with ideas of what they do or lan to do. I love hearing about it and am interested in some new ideas.
Enjoy - I love your giving! Great idea.
How to keep Gingerbread men from running away? Eat them.
My favorite thing to give (and the most requested) is a Southwestern style dip mix. I make a big bowl of the mix (my husband states it makes our house smell like a Moroccan spice bazaar) and package it in the plastic bags found in the candy making section of the craft store. I close it with a small rubber band and cover the rubber bank by attaching the directions with holiday ribbon.
Some years I have made dipped pretzel sticks. I use the large pretzel rods, first dip them into melted caramel (about 3/4 of the stick) and let harden. Then I dip them into either melted white or semi-sweet chocolate. I then roll them into chopped nuts or sprinkles, or drizzle them with the alternating color of chocolate. These I also packaged in the plastic candy bags tied with a holiday ribbon.
I also like make all kinds of chocolate dipped items. Some of the items I have made are : marshmallows, dipped in chocolate and then rolled in either coconut or chopped nuts; rice crispy treats dipped half way into chocolate (or butterscotch); graham cracker squares and dried apricots are some other items that are great too. Peppermint bark is always popuar during the holidays. For the chocolate dipped treats and the peppermint bark I like to use either holiday tins or the Chinese take-out containers from the craft store. If I am using the take-out containers, I like to decorate the outside of the container so it isn't so plain.
Since I have a pear tree and Meyer lemon tree in my yard, I use them to make pear butter. I usually have enough just for my immediate family. I put the pear butter in pint canning jars and put a square of holiday fabric underneath the ring and put a holiday label on the jar.
Everyone's ideas sound great.
In past years, I've made up to 18 different types of cookies. Packaged them in individual baggies and placed them in decorated tins or on decorated plates. I have made mixes, decorating the jars, including the directions and recipes. Also have made mini quick breads, wrapped in colored plastic wrap or placed in decorative bagies. Then make up gift boxes or baskets with the mixes, home made yeast or quick breads, cookies, etc.
It's easier to make these gift items if you know the people really well so you can give things they can eat. It seems that there are so many people who have dietary restrictions of some sort. I would hate to think I gave them something which would cause them health problems.
lvandrgrl.....would you care to share your recipe for the pear butter? I make apple butter in my crock pot. Would love to have a tried and true recipe for pear butter. Thanks. I buy pumpkin butter, sweet potatoe butter and peach butter for my mom. Made by Wythe. She really enjoys them. Have often thought it would be nice to make my own.
Random Acts of Kindness-Do small things with great love.
mlsrds, I am more than happy to share my recipe.
10 large pears (about 4 lbs)
1 cup orange juice
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
Peel and quarter pears. Place in slow cooker.
Cover. Cook on low 10-12 hours. Drain and discard liquid.
Mash or puree pears ( I like to mash and leave some chunks). Add remaining ingredients. Mix well and return to slow cooker.
Cover, Cook on high 1 hour.
Place in hot sterile jars and seal. Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes. Allow to cool undisturbed for 24 hours.
My variations: I use the juice from one orange and add to it if necessary to make the one cup and then add the zest in with the spices. Since I have a lemon tree, I also like to add the juice and zest from one lemon. I don't can so I just put the pear butter in jars and freeze them until I am ready to give them out. Your house will smell heavenly while making this. I hope you enjoy!!!
oops - forgot to add that the pear butter recipe makes 2-3 pints. I usually double the recipe too.
Thanks so much. Will give it a try. Not pear season here but sometimes I can get decent ones in the stores. Mary
For many years I have made this recipe for Spiced Nut Mix I found in an issue of Taste of Home: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Spiced-Nut-Mix It's delicious and pretty addicting! I put some in a cellophane bag with a pretty label and some curling ribbon or in a small tin with a lid. I bake cookies, Christmas toffee, truffle-style candies, some kind of dipped pretzels, cracked-glass candy dusted with powdered sugar, peanut butter no-bake cookies, and several varieties of quick breads baked in mini loaf pans. I wrap them and make a variety of gift bags or trays and deliver them or have them ready to take along to gatherings when we are invited. My husband is a sales manager at a small company, but works mostly based from home. When he has a trip to the headquarters planned during the holidays, I pack some of the goodies along with fresh cheeseballs, dip, and crackers and other appetizers, and some dollar store serving platters, and send them an office party in a box. My husband says they disappear very quickly!
Just wondering if you could share your SW Dip Mix recipe? That sounds like a real winner for friends & family...
I would really love to have your Southwestern dip please. Thank you Anne
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