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Food Gift Giving - Other Than Sweets

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cstout Dec 8, 2011 05:02 AM

We all have a friend or two who is not a foodie - that leaves out gadgets & other kitchen related items. Some don't eat sweets for various reasons. Some have gluten problems. I am determined to give food related items from now on out. Makes sense to me...everybody's got to eat & it is just a waste of money to go to the store & pick out something they really don't need or want. With all that said, I am sitting here with no clue whatsoever about what to fix. Please put on your thinking caps so we can feed these people.

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  1. w
    wyogal RE: cstout Dec 8, 2011 05:11 AM

    As in a holiday gift? I think giving a frozen food item kind of weird, unless this person couldn't make meals for themselves or needs help with meals.
    I would rather give a nonfoodie, well, no food, but maybe a custom CD mix.
    But, if you want to give food as a gift to someone that doesn't like sweets, and has no dietary restrictions, spiced nuts are nice, or an infused vinegar, with directions for use. Also, a savory cracker in a decorative tin would be good, too.

    15 Replies
    1. re: wyogal
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      cstout RE: wyogal Dec 8, 2011 05:25 AM

      wgogal, I was in the process of editing this post when you posted this, but yeah, you are right about the frozen food thing.

      1. re: cstout
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        wyogal RE: cstout Dec 8, 2011 05:27 AM

        Yep, you sure did edit it! ;)

        1. re: wyogal
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          teezeetoo RE: wyogal Dec 8, 2011 05:33 AM

          infused vinegars are nice, things like pickled peaches if you know how to make sure you sanitize the jars, savories like chutneys (ditto re: the jars), i put up honeyed clementines to serve with pork or chicken, preserved lemons with recipes for tagines (this is so simple and is always received with wonderment for some reason), and I've taken to providing my celiac friends with any of the above plus King Arthur's gluten-free products (flour, pizza crust mix).

          1. re: teezeetoo
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            cstout RE: teezeetoo Dec 8, 2011 06:06 AM

            teezeetoo, those ideas sound great. I have never heard of honeyed clementines. Will search the net for that & the preserved lemons. Thank you.

          2. re: wyogal
            sandiasingh RE: wyogal Dec 10, 2011 02:04 PM

            I made home made Italian pork sausage for 6 close friends/neighbors, but they live so close I can just run it over and they can pop it back into the freezer pronto.

          3. re: cstout
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            cstout RE: cstout Dec 8, 2011 06:09 AM

            I guess I should plan my thoughts first. I think while typing & sometimes that is not a good thing. Your idea of a CD mix is great though. I would like to do that but don't know how to make my own CDs & it's no use me trying this so late in the game. But that will be a new project I want to get into.

            1. re: cstout
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              PartyPlanningPals RE: cstout Dec 9, 2011 06:26 AM

              Our family makes a lot of ethnic food that people absolutely love to receive.....we make Greek and Lebanese food that others don't know how to make. We love giving this gift of food.

              1. re: cstout
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                PartyPlanningPals RE: cstout Dec 9, 2011 06:29 AM

                I had posted about how we love to make ethnic food for people who don't know how to make it. Greek stuffed grape leaves are the best!!! I am attaching a photo of them :) Mmmmmm!!!!

                 
                1. re: PartyPlanningPals
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                  cstout RE: PartyPlanningPals Dec 9, 2011 07:41 AM

                  PartyPlanningPals, I am just thinking you could give a class on how to make ethnic food. Folks love to attend cooking classes & if you don't have much room, just do the "show & tell" demo. It sure it would be a hit.

            2. re: wyogal
              goodhealthgourmet RE: wyogal Dec 8, 2011 04:30 PM

              +1 on spiced nuts (or spiced, roasted chickpeas) and infused vinegars or oils - i jumped on this thread just to suggest those.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
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                cstout RE: goodhealthgourmet Dec 8, 2011 04:41 PM

                goodhealthgourmet, yes the nuts sound great, does anyone have a great recipe for them?

                1. re: cstout
                  goodhealthgourmet RE: cstout Dec 8, 2011 04:54 PM

                  http://glutenguide.blogspot.com/2008/...

                  http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/28/din...

                  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ni...

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/674332
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/460258
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/504170
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/487036
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/566313
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/581598
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/789799
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/276284
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/659519
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/749043
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/381411
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/562056
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/674332
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/460258
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/338770

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
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                    cstout RE: goodhealthgourmet Dec 8, 2011 07:21 PM

                    WOW goodhealthgourmet,,,,looks like I won't get much sleep again tonight, got to readd all those links you sent. You are a dear for sharing that with us.

                2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                  perk RE: goodhealthgourmet Dec 10, 2011 10:24 AM

                  Clementine's does terrific spiced nuts, wrapped with a little bow. Great little gifts. I think you have to order them. If you're making them, there are lots of recipes online. The one from the Danny Meyer restaurant in New York seems to be a real favorite.

                  1. re: perk
                    goodhealthgourmet RE: perk Dec 10, 2011 02:00 PM

                    i assume this reply was meant for cstout and not me...? coincidentally, i posted links to the recipes for the bar nuts from two of Danny Meyer's restaurants :)

              2. Samalicious RE: cstout Dec 8, 2011 06:35 AM

                Last year I did two batches of "party mix." One sorta traditional with chex cereal, pretzels, and nuts; the other was a cranberry-nut recipe from the Chex website. Put them in decorated mason jars,
                each person got a bag with both kinds. Easy to do, gluten-free and not too sweet. Even the snooty foodie on the list liked them.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Samalicious
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                  cstout RE: Samalicious Dec 8, 2011 07:03 AM

                  Samalicious, oohhhhh weee, that cranberry-nut mix sounds like I would like to receive that myself, I suddenly have the munches....two great ideas. Thanks.

                2. h
                  HillJ RE: cstout Dec 8, 2011 06:56 AM

                  Sometimes a gift certificate to a local place is the best way to go for folks who don't spend time in their own kitchens. Not necessarily a dinner for two but a local cafe or lunch stop, a place with wonderful breads or soup....for about $10-15 (about the same it would cost to make something) is a nice unexpected food gift.

                  For the folks in our life that take good care of us (think service workers) we wrap a local menu around a bank gift card. Smoothie King, cafes, small local spots that don't have their own gc's printed.

                  21 Replies
                  1. re: HillJ
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                    cstout RE: HillJ Dec 8, 2011 07:11 AM

                    HillJ, I have taken a friend out to dim sum for several years, but that is a good idea about the gift certificate...that way she can go whenever she wants. Do you have any ideas what to give someone in a nursing home?

                    1. re: cstout
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                      HillJ RE: cstout Dec 8, 2011 10:16 AM

                      Do you have any ideas what to give someone in a nursing home?

                      Are there dietary considerations?
                      My first thought is hard candies; a nice assortment in a festive container.

                      1. re: HillJ
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                        cstout RE: HillJ Dec 8, 2011 04:43 PM

                        HillJ, as for as diet considerations, I just pice 2 or 3 people at the nursing to bring little presents, some of those folks appreciate anything. The hard candies are a great idea.

                        1. re: HillJ
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                          wyogal RE: HillJ Dec 8, 2011 07:39 PM

                          Nursing home gift ideas: socks. and more socks. Nice, fuzzy warm socks with rubber stuff on the bottom. I heard that is one of the most requested items.

                          1. re: wyogal
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                            HillJ RE: wyogal Dec 8, 2011 09:13 PM

                            Just throw some hard candies inside the socks....they deserve a nice treat (and warm feet!)

                            1. re: HillJ
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                              wyogal RE: HillJ Dec 8, 2011 09:22 PM

                              :) Those coffee flavored hard candies, along with lemon drops.

                              1. re: wyogal
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                                HillJ RE: wyogal Dec 8, 2011 09:24 PM

                                My FIL loved black licorce hard candies. We use to find wrappers inside all the cushions of his car and sofa!

                                1. re: HillJ
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                                  Island RE: HillJ Dec 8, 2011 09:29 PM

                                  Black licorice hard candies? Mmmmm sounds good and would like to try those. Do you have a name brand?

                                  1. re: Island
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                                    HillJ RE: Island Dec 9, 2011 05:34 AM

                                    http://www.ohnuts.com/buy.cfm/bulk-ca...

                                    1. re: HillJ
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                                      cstout RE: HillJ Dec 9, 2011 06:36 AM

                                      HillJ, thanks for the link, I know someone who absolutely loves licorice.....ME...wel.l I know another person too, so that will make it worthwhile to order. YUM. Most people hate the stuff, but if they tasted a really good bite of licorice, they might reconsider. Those on the web site are a far cry from the ones you used to buy at the dime store & they would put them in a little brown sack. I've come a long way baby........no more brown sacks for me!!!!!

                                      1. re: HillJ
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                                        Island RE: HillJ Dec 9, 2011 02:39 PM

                                        Thanks HillJ. Gonna get me some! Had a flash back to childhood when I though Smith Brother's black licorice cough drops were candy.

                                        1. re: Island
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                                          HillJ RE: Island Dec 9, 2011 03:19 PM

                                          You weren't the only one.....made having a sore throat almost worth it!

                                          1. re: Island
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                                            wyogal RE: Island Dec 9, 2011 03:29 PM

                                            YES!

                                            1. re: wyogal
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                                              karykat RE: wyogal Dec 9, 2011 03:35 PM

                                              I was kind of partial to the cherry ones.

                                    2. re: wyogal
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                                      HillJ RE: wyogal Dec 9, 2011 06:32 AM

                                      I love the coffee candies myself! We use to slow melt a lemon drop inside my grandmothers hot tea.

                                    3. re: HillJ
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                                      cstout RE: HillJ Dec 9, 2011 06:27 AM

                                      HillJ, love the idea of candies in the socks, wyogal suggested lemon drops, so many elderly folks get dry mouth & those candies seem to help a lot. Let us all make a little gift bag or two & drop it off at a nursing home. You don't even have to know anyone there, just tell person at the front desk you left a present for someone that might not have someone to give them a gift. Trust me, every nursing home has a few of those folks. Forgive me for deviating from the the subject, but those people are so special & a little gift can mean the world to them.

                                      1. re: cstout
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                                        HillJ RE: cstout Dec 9, 2011 06:31 AM

                                        Thank you cstout, that's an excellent idea/suggestion/giving idea. My family outreaches to the food pantry and men's shelter each year and nursing homes, as you said, are just as appreciative. (Including the people who work @ nursing homes.)

                                        1. re: HillJ
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                                          cstout RE: HillJ Dec 9, 2011 07:11 AM

                                          HillJ, yes, it would be a great idea to make a big dish of chicken spagetthi or some other casserole in a disposable pan to leave in the break room of the nursing home. Bring along some paper plates & forks too so they can put some on a plate & put it in the microwave. You would be amazed how fast that food will disappear!!!!! They love it. Or how "bout a big pan of cinnamon rolls????

                                    4. re: wyogal
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                                      cstout RE: wyogal Dec 9, 2011 06:18 AM

                                      Yes, socks are always welcome. Also body shower products are always requested by the staff members, don't know why.

                                      1. re: cstout
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                                        HillJ RE: cstout Dec 9, 2011 06:35 AM

                                        Many staff members assist the residents with personal hygiene. Have a handy product that fits in your pocket is a godsend.

                                        1. re: HillJ
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                                          cstout RE: HillJ Dec 9, 2011 07:06 AM

                                          HillJ, that explains why shower products are better than soap. Thanks for answering my question.

                              2. j
                                juli5122 RE: cstout Dec 8, 2011 10:28 AM

                                I know the frozen thing sounds odd but last year I did slice and bake crackers. Wrapped them up and gave them with a bottle of wine and people loved them because it was a quick to fix and jazz up a cheese tray or just to have as a nibble. i did blue cheese walnut and parmesan thyme.

                                http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

                                http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: juli5122
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                                  cstout RE: juli5122 Dec 8, 2011 04:46 PM

                                  juli5122, I think the lice & bake crackers are super & thanks for posting where to get the recipes. I am going there now.

                                  1. re: cstout
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                                    sandylc RE: cstout Dec 8, 2011 05:41 PM

                                    I don't personally care for lice. Ha. :-}

                                    1. re: sandylc
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                                      cstout RE: sandylc Dec 10, 2011 04:26 PM

                                      sandylc, yep, that spell check can only do so much...can't correct stupid mistakes...some of my keys stick & it becomes a problem.....too much food stuck down in there. Sorry.

                                      1. re: cstout
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                                        sandylc RE: cstout Dec 10, 2011 07:25 PM

                                        Auto correct on texting is even worse!!!!

                                        1. re: sandylc
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                                          cstout RE: sandylc Dec 10, 2011 07:36 PM

                                          sandylc, I have read some "auto corrects" on google news & they were absolutely hysterical....I don't do texting...have a hard enough time just posting here. Oh well, we manage to get the thought across one way or the other.

                                    2. re: cstout
                                      gingershelley RE: cstout Dec 10, 2011 10:36 AM

                                      Cstout,

                                      Food & Wine mag had a great article with cocktail savory cookies with recipes by Dorie Greenspan in the Nov. Issue. Super easy, and interesting flavors. I am making some for gift giving myself. They seem rather chic to me, and just different enough. Great for wine lovers who know too much about wine for you to give them any - many of my friends!
                                      http://www.foodandwine.com/search?que...

                                      1. re: gingershelley
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                                        cstout RE: gingershelley Dec 10, 2011 07:13 PM

                                        gingershelley, darn it! I was just at the library today & could have sat down & looked through the Food & Wine magazines. Thank you so much for the info..maybe I can google "Dorie Greenspan savory cookies"....maybe I can come up with something. This year I think I am going to try for "less is more" in my food gift giving. I used to always try to give a wide variety, but this year I want to just give a couple of really tasty treats that cost more but leave an impression. These savory cookies seem like the ideal thing. Thanks for posting.

                                        1. re: cstout
                                          gingershelley RE: cstout Dec 11, 2011 10:15 AM

                                          cstout, link to the recipes is right there in my post:)

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                                    fourunder RE: cstout Dec 8, 2011 10:33 AM

                                    Two of the best food gifts I ever received were from Harry & David....

                                    Pears and Pecan Shortbread Cookies.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: fourunder
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                                      ediecooks RE: fourunder Dec 8, 2011 02:06 PM

                                      this would have to be more of a time sensitive thing as far as when you make it and when you gift it, but last year I brought a tin of homemade cinnamon buns as a christmas eve hostess gift....they went right in her fridge for their slow overnight second rise and i had written out baking instructions. I also gave a small tin of a a pancetta/spinach strata (which is a savory overnight french toast. it was a huge hit and i have requests for it again this year.

                                      1. re: ediecooks
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                                        cstout RE: ediecooks Dec 8, 2011 04:50 PM

                                        ediecooks, could you freeze the cinnamon buns before the second rise or just let them rise & then freeze them? I am not familiar how to do breads & rolls to prepare for freezing & then thawing. I would have to go the frozen route if this is possible.

                                      2. re: fourunder
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                                        juli5122 RE: fourunder Dec 8, 2011 05:11 PM

                                        Their pears are so good!!

                                        1. re: fourunder
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                                          cstout RE: fourunder Dec 10, 2011 07:15 PM

                                          fourunder, yes anything from Harry & David is special in my books. Love it all from them. Thanks for the suggestion.

                                          1. re: cstout
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                                            sandylc RE: cstout Dec 10, 2011 07:33 PM

                                            I don't mean to rain on this, but I received a gift through Harry & David a couple of years ago that I am sure the gift-giver would have been ashamed of. It was something like one dried-up orange, one tasteless apple, three cashews in a bag, etc. Puts the receiver in a difficult position; gosh thanks so much, we really enjoyed it - when the giver was really ripped off!!! Point-and-click shopping can be wonderful, but buyer beware!

                                            1. re: sandylc
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                                              cstout RE: sandylc Dec 10, 2011 07:43 PM

                                              sandylc, I too have wondered about people shipping fruit from one part of the US to the other..your point was well made. I think if most folks would buy "in season" at their own store, maybe things would be better. I shy away from "bags" of any fruit, would rather pay a few cents more & pick out that one special orange, apple, pear or whatever. Also, you could make a wonderful gift basket yourself on doing just that & leave the "shipping" for different things. Just sayin".

                                        2. jenscats5 RE: cstout Dec 8, 2011 03:37 PM

                                          Every year I dip pretzels in chocolate to give out......the last couple of years I've also added extra dipped items - like candy cane Oreos or Jo Jos from Trader Joes, candy cane bark (VERY popular!), mini cupcakes, cake balls, etc....all easy to make & everyone loves them...

                                          One item last year that garnered some high interest & easy to make was Maple Bacon Fudge.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: jenscats5
                                            jenscats5 RE: jenscats5 Dec 8, 2011 04:18 PM

                                            Oops! Just fully read you said other than sweets.....sorry!

                                            1. re: jenscats5
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                                              cstout RE: jenscats5 Dec 8, 2011 04:56 PM

                                              jenscats5, hey no problem, the maker (me) just loves those kinds of sweets, so I am always glad to have another one of "those" recipes. Thank you.If it's good, post it.

                                            2. re: jenscats5
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                                              cstout RE: jenscats5 Dec 8, 2011 04:52 PM

                                              OK jenscats5, I want to make that Maple Bacon Fudge,,,never heard of it. Please share.

                                              1. re: cstout
                                                jenscats5 RE: cstout Dec 10, 2011 10:11 AM

                                                http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...

                                                It's down the page a bit....I like to top it with mini peanut butter chips in addition to the extra bacon....

                                                1. re: jenscats5
                                                  goodhealthgourmet RE: jenscats5 Dec 10, 2011 02:02 PM

                                                  those cookies look awesome.

                                            3. s
                                              sandylc RE: cstout Dec 8, 2011 04:25 PM

                                              Homemade crackers. Spiced Nuts. A cheese assortment.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: sandylc
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                                                cstout RE: sandylc Dec 8, 2011 04:53 PM

                                                sandylc, I have never made homemade crackers, are they hard to do?

                                                1. re: cstout
                                                  nofunlatte RE: cstout Dec 8, 2011 05:19 PM

                                                  Sorry, I'm not sandylc, but homemade crackers are exceptionally easy. (and that was an excellent suggestion!) They require few ingredients and people are generally impressed that you made CRACKERS.

                                                  1. re: nofunlatte
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                                                    sandylc RE: nofunlatte Dec 8, 2011 05:45 PM

                                                    Thanks, nofunlatte. I haven't made any lately, but they are not hard if you have basic dough-handling skills. Alton does some and so does Martha.

                                                    1. re: nofunlatte
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                                                      cstout RE: nofunlatte Dec 8, 2011 07:17 PM

                                                      nofunlatte, it certainly sounds IMPRESSIVE to me!!!

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                                                  smtucker RE: cstout Dec 8, 2011 04:27 PM

                                                  I make soup mixes for stockings every year. Each packet includes the beans and a separate packet of seasonings. Much tastier than store bought since there are no ingredients that I wouldn't eat myself.

                                                  My mother also gets a ham bone or smoked turkey leg cause she is my Mom and brings a cooler.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: smtucker
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                                                    cstout RE: smtucker Dec 8, 2011 05:00 PM

                                                    smtucker, everyone could use a soup mix gift package. I knew someone that dried a bunch of veggies for her soup mixes, but she used a dehydrator & I don't know if all those veggies could be done in the oven. Her dried soup mixture was heavenly. Does anyone dry veggies in an oven? Thank you.

                                                    1. re: smtucker
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                                                      cstout RE: smtucker Dec 10, 2011 07:28 PM

                                                      smtucker, got to thinking about the soup mixes & maybe I need a little more direction on that. I got a bean soup mixture as a gift one year of all kinds of beans. The seasonings were fantastic, but with all the different beans in there, some got done sooner than others & then turned to mush & some stayed hard...did you do the 15 bean one or what? Thanks

                                                    2. s
                                                      sandylc RE: cstout Dec 8, 2011 04:29 PM

                                                      Booze! Movie theatre gift cards! Gourmet popcorn gift boxes!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: sandylc
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                                                        cstout RE: sandylc Dec 8, 2011 05:02 PM

                                                        sandylc, I must look up some recipes for Gourmet popcorn...everyone likes popcorn. I want some now.

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                                                        sueatmo RE: cstout Dec 8, 2011 05:50 PM

                                                        Toasted savory nuts would by my choice. Or a good cheese that I would never buy for myself. Or a gift card to a cheese shop, a bottle of wine, or a fabulous EVOO import. Or homemade crackers.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: sueatmo
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                                                          cstout RE: sueatmo Dec 8, 2011 07:03 PM

                                                          sueatmo, homemade crackers seem like it would be a most enjoyable gift, but then again, it's ALL good.

                                                        2. k
                                                          karykat RE: cstout Dec 9, 2011 02:25 PM

                                                          How about prunes in brandy (or armagnac)? I'm going to be making that along with some candyed peanuts from David Lebovitz website. I made both last year and both were great. And easy.

                                                          8 Replies
                                                          1. re: karykat
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                                                            cstout RE: karykat Dec 9, 2011 02:33 PM

                                                            karykat, candied peanuts here I come. I am going to his website now. Thanks

                                                            1. re: cstout
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                                                              karykat RE: cstout Dec 9, 2011 03:34 PM

                                                              Super easy and good. I used a little 5 spice powder with mine.

                                                              I made some more caramelized and some less so. Both were good.

                                                              And I can't believe how fast I could make panfuls of these.

                                                              1. re: karykat
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                                                                cstout RE: karykat Dec 9, 2011 03:44 PM

                                                                I found the recipe & just sounds wonderful....did you use only peanuts? Have you tried it with other nuts? Someone suggested to use the peanuts with the skin on, what is your take on that??

                                                                1. re: cstout
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                                                                  karykat RE: cstout Dec 9, 2011 09:45 PM

                                                                  Yes, I've used only peanuts. Although sometime I may try cashews. I saw some candied ones at my coop the other day and thought this method would work well with it.

                                                                  I used ones without the skins. I'm not sure how well the skins would work because the caramelized sugar forms kind of a crust and I kind of think the skins would complicate that.

                                                                  The recipe calls for raw peanuts. I've used roasted ones which were easier for me to find and they were just fine with it.

                                                                  I've tried a few different spices and the one I liked best with it was a little 5-spice. Which is kind of interesting because I don't necessarily like that with everything but I thought it worked really well with it.

                                                                  I think I may have used salted peanuts one time and just cut back on added salt and that was fine.

                                                                  I think the smoked salt sounds interesing. I haven't tried that before but may try that this year.

                                                                  I've caramelized some batches more and some less. When you caramelize them more it gets a darker more caramel coating but will want to burn slightly. You have to watch closely when it gets to a certain point.

                                                                  But I've also done it to a lesser degree so its not as caramelized and less likely to burn and I liked that just fine too. Without the worry of watching as closely.

                                                                  I hope you like this! I think you can do it easily and quickly and it's kind of different. And you can adapt it to how you like it.

                                                                  1. re: karykat
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                                                                    cstout RE: karykat Dec 10, 2011 07:06 PM

                                                                    Karykat, yes I think you gave an excellent tutorial on what types of nuts to use. I am always amazed at how the folks on this forum reach out to help others. No cookbook or recipe can give this type of information. Thank you for taking the time to explain everything. Bless you!!!!!!!!

                                                                    1. re: cstout
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                                                                      karykat RE: cstout Dec 11, 2011 06:56 PM

                                                                      I get a lot from everyone here and it's fun to think about this stuff.

                                                                      1. re: karykat
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                                                                        cstout RE: karykat Dec 12, 2011 07:39 AM

                                                                        karykat, I sure get a lot of great ideas from these folks too. It definately is fun to think about what someone is making or giving. So much better than a cookbook. People who post on CH are the BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                        1. re: cstout
                                                                          gingershelley RE: cstout Dec 12, 2011 08:52 AM

                                                                          +1 :)

                                                          2. l
                                                            Lady_Tenar RE: cstout Dec 11, 2011 10:47 AM

                                                            This year, I will be giving my dad a jar of homemade niter kibbeh--Ethiopian clarified butter infused with clove, ginger, fenugreek, garlic and other spices and seasonings. It's the base for Ethiopian meat stews, but it's also great for curries, vegetables, seafood, sauteing anything etc. And it requires no special equipment. Consider it for someone who really enjoys exotic food and spices. Things like a homemade garam masala in a nice jar would be a good option too.

                                                            Still trying to figure out what to give my very diet-conscious mother, though! I'm thinking of a few bottles of homemade, low-fat salad dressings...

                                                            13 Replies
                                                            1. re: Lady_Tenar
                                                              biondanonima RE: Lady_Tenar Dec 11, 2011 11:50 AM

                                                              Lady Tenar, that niter kibbeh sounds delicious - would you mind posting your recipe? As for me, I like to give homemade spice rubs, breads and also bacon jam - that is definitely my most popular gift. It's not something you can really buy in the stores, and who doesn't love bacon?

                                                              1. re: biondanonima
                                                                jenscats5 RE: biondanonima Dec 11, 2011 02:25 PM

                                                                Interested in the Bacon Jam......got a recipe?

                                                                1. re: jenscats5
                                                                  biondanonima RE: jenscats5 Dec 11, 2011 02:50 PM

                                                                  My recipe is based on this one by Homesick Texan:

                                                                  http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/200...

                                                                  I generally use more onion, more chocolate (I use cocoa powder instead of mexican chocolate) and not too much chipotle if I'm giving it as a gift, since not everyone has the same tolerance for heat that I have. I like it because it's not sweet, the way many bacon jam recipes are, but it doesn't have the same consistency that a sweet jam would. If I want a sweet jam, I either add a little maple syrup or turn it into a caramelized onion/bacon jam, which has more of a traditional jam consistency.

                                                                  1. re: biondanonima
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                                                                    cstout RE: biondanonima Dec 12, 2011 08:30 AM

                                                                    biondanonima, I am spending way too much time on this talk forum...I have her book & guess I overlooked that recipe. Also, will check out the web site, has been some time since I went there, just cannot seem to get away from here. I am not a fan of real sweet things either. Seems the trend these days is to add chipotle & smoky chili seasoning to just about everything. Sometimes things can go haywire with those spices if you're not careful. If you don't have her book, put it on your wishlist, I enjoyed it.

                                                                2. re: biondanonima
                                                                  gingershelley RE: biondanonima Dec 11, 2011 05:10 PM

                                                                  Bacon Jam is for sale nationally by a street-food cart outfit here called Skillet Street Food. There is a cult following here for their burger with bacon jam. They sell the bacon jam at retail now, and it has been featured on Oprah, and on Martha Stewart. You can order it online too, I believe :)

                                                                  http://www.skilletstreetfood.com/shop...

                                                                  1. re: biondanonima
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                                                                    cstout RE: biondanonima Dec 12, 2011 08:07 AM

                                                                    BIONDANOMINA, I want to hear about that bacon jam right now....a loaf of homemade bread & a jar of bacon jam.....really got my curiosity up in the air,,,,please please share with us.

                                                                    1. re: cstout
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                                                                      HillJ RE: cstout Dec 12, 2011 08:17 AM

                                                                      http://spoonforkbacon.com/2011/09/boo...

                                                                      This is the recipe I followed for the last batch of bacon jam and it was amazing! A long ingred list but so worth it.

                                                                      Come on Biond-we need ya :)

                                                                      1. re: HillJ
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                                                                        cstout RE: HillJ Dec 12, 2011 09:22 AM

                                                                        HillJ, thank you, thank you. I have everything to make this wonderful bacon jam, except the tarragon vinegar, gosh, hate to buy a whole bottle for just a couple of tablespoons, but got to thinking I could sprinkle some over some cooked cabbage, would that work?

                                                                        1. re: cstout
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                                                                          HillJ RE: cstout Dec 12, 2011 09:25 AM

                                                                          A quick fix to that would be to grab a small packet of fresh tarragon from the market and steep in just enough of the cider vinegar (also in the ingred list) until fragrant. Don't use dry tarragon. Cabbage will change the recipe-strong flavor profile there :)

                                                                          1. re: HillJ
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                                                                            cstout RE: HillJ Dec 12, 2011 10:32 AM

                                                                            HillJ, yes, I thought of getting some fresh tarragon from the market & steeping my own. Now that you have convinced me, I shall do this. Yes, the cabbage thing would not work, just flying off my head. Thanks oh so much for the web site for the bacon jam.

                                                                        2. re: HillJ
                                                                          biondanonima RE: HillJ Dec 12, 2011 09:25 AM

                                                                          HillJ, that recipe you posted looks INCREDIBLE. Here's my version:

                                                                          1 pound of bacon (either thick cut or regular, depending on the consistency you desire)
                                                                          4 cloves of garlic, minced
                                                                          1 medium onion, chopped
                                                                          2 chipotles in adobo plus 2T. adobo from the can
                                                                          2 T. cocoa powder
                                                                          2 cups of brewed coffee
                                                                          1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
                                                                          2 T. dark maple syrup (grade B)
                                                                          a pinch of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg or any other "warm" spice
                                                                          2 T. bourbon

                                                                          Cut the bacon into one-inch pieces. In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, cook the bacon until fat is rendered and the bacon is starting to crisp. Remove the bacon and pour off all but 2T. fat, saving the remainder for another use.

                                                                          Over medium heat, cook the onion and garlic in the reserved bacon fat until golden and wilted. Return the bacon to the pan and add all the remaining ingredients except the bourbon. Simmer on low for approximately two hours, stirring occasionally. If jam starts to get dry (which it will), add water or more coffee, 1/4 cup at a time. The bacon will become very tender through the braising process. Add the bourbon along with your last addition of water (I find this keeps the flavor fresher - if you prefer a less boozy flavor, leave out the bourbon or add it at the beginning).

                                                                          Once the bacon is tender and most of the liquid has cooked off, place the bacon jam into a food processor, and pulse to desired consistency. I prefer it with some larger chunks. Thick cut bacon lends a chunkier quality, but I like this recipe made with regular supermarket bacon, too. I play with these basic proportions quite frequently - I'll add more maple syrup for a sweet jam, none at all for a completely savory/low carb treat, process the batch with an equal-sized batch of caramelized onions for an oniony jam, etc. I'm thinking of trying an Asian version with Sriracha instead of chipotle and plenty of ginger instead of the other spices. There is really nothing that this stuff isn't good on, but my favorite use for it is breakfast sandwiches - there is nothing better than a couple of fried eggs smothered with cheese, topped with bacon jam between two slices of sourdough toast!

                                                                          1. re: biondanonima
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                                                                            HillJ RE: biondanonima Dec 12, 2011 09:29 AM

                                                                            You had me at fried eggs smothered...oh lord have mercy! Of course there's enough cofee in either version to complete the morning!

                                                                            Thanks for sharing it, biond!

                                                                    2. re: Lady_Tenar
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                                                                      cstout RE: Lady_Tenar Dec 12, 2011 07:44 AM

                                                                      Lady_Tenar, wow, you just knocked my socks with that butter....are you going to make it yourself or what?? If so, please tell us how to do it. I can just taste all those flavors now. They have so many low fat recipes out now, the salad dressings would be wonderful. Your parents are going to love their visit from Santy.

                                                                    3. j
                                                                      jlhinwa RE: cstout Dec 11, 2011 05:40 PM

                                                                      I love these ideas, thanks for posting this thread. Last year I made savory cookies (blue cheese and fig) and gave them along with spiced candied nuts. Both were hits and I am trying to figure out what to do this year as I don't like the idea of doing re-runs. I have made Smitten Kitchen's pickled grapes recipe to good review and was thinking of doing that with something else. I am going to check out those savory cookie recipes.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: jlhinwa
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                                                                        cstout RE: jlhinwa Dec 12, 2011 08:10 AM

                                                                        jihinwa, those blue cheese & fig cookies are sounding great too. Care to share those candied nuts & fig cookie recipes? Gosh, I want to make ALL these wonderful things. Thanks for ideas.

                                                                      2. tcamp RE: cstout Dec 12, 2011 07:53 AM

                                                                        I probably wouldn't shy away from frozen items if you know the recipients' tastes. I, for one, would love to get homemade sausage or dumplings.

                                                                        That said, this year I made/will make mustard and savory cheese biscotti. May do some cheddar cheese penny crackers if I have the time next weekend.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: tcamp
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                                                                          cstout RE: tcamp Dec 12, 2011 08:35 AM

                                                                          tcamp, yes, I am leaning more & more to making a couple of frozen dishes, was thinking about a frozen quiche, but don't know if they freeze well, must research that. Goodness gracious, where in the world do you all find all these wonderful ideas??? Savory mustard & cheese biscotti just sounds wonderful. I thought I was tiring of biscotti until I heard this idea....I want to make/eat some too!!

                                                                          1. re: cstout
                                                                            tcamp RE: cstout Dec 12, 2011 09:46 AM

                                                                            Sorry, two different items. The mustard was from LA Times - I made Beer and Caraway and Hard Cider. Savory Biscotti was a paper recipe I copied from a mag years ago. I'm at work at the moment but can retrieve it if you like.

                                                                            http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...

                                                                            1. re: tcamp
                                                                              c
                                                                              cstout RE: tcamp Dec 12, 2011 10:41 AM

                                                                              tcamp, yes work has a way of dominating our cooking life, thanks for the link. So good of you to share.

                                                                        2. BalsamicMaile RE: cstout Dec 12, 2011 11:05 AM

                                                                          I like to find something delicious that the recipient might not purchase for themselves. My family members have gotten me specialty mustards that have been a hit. Garlic infused Sweet & Sour Mustard - yum!

                                                                          I work with Italian Imports, so I love to get my friends and family higher quality balsamic. It's a product that they're inexperienced with, and they appreciate the personal touch that I'm sharing one of my own food loves with them. If I had the funds, I'd love to give someone a bottle of Traditional Balsamic.

                                                                          Foodie or not, everyone has flavors they love. Find something they enjoy, and see if you can find a way to make it special for them.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: BalsamicMaile
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                                                                            cstout RE: BalsamicMaile Dec 12, 2011 11:51 AM

                                                                            BalsamicMaile, you are a dear & I know what you mean about funds, some of those balsamic vinegars are unbelievably expensive. What a wonderful gift. Do you get to sample all the different things?

                                                                          2. b
                                                                            Bigley9 RE: cstout Dec 12, 2011 11:27 AM

                                                                            Last year we made nut butters - almond, hazelnut, pecan - not preserved but they last a long time in the fridge. Also made red onion jam and pickled onions.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Bigley9
                                                                              c
                                                                              cstout RE: Bigley9 Dec 12, 2011 11:53 AM

                                                                              Bigley9, I love all you ideas, I am especially thinking of that red onion jam though. Thanks for posting.

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