Homemade for the holidays

Posted 12/16/19

Between sports, meetings and regular everyday life at The Prairie Press, I have to admit Christmas has snuck up on me this year.

I hope to get my tree decorated this weekend. I had planned to do …

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Homemade for the holidays

Posted

Between sports, meetings and regular everyday life at The Prairie Press, I have to admit Christmas has snuck up on me this year.

I hope to get my tree decorated this weekend. I had planned to do it before Thanksgiving, but of course that didn’t happen.

I don’t find much joy in the rush of Christmas shopping except in my hometown. Thanks to Dalbey Designs with their fan gear, Sweet Vintage, Bee Sweet Boutique and Ellie and Olive Boutique, I don’t have to leave town to find wonderful gifts.

What I really miss, however, is baking and sharing what I’ve made with friends and family. My niece Kim Curl and her family have invited us to bake and make candy this weekend — and try to keep Logan and Ethan out of the goodies as they’re decorated. The fellowship alone will be wonderful

When Don and I owned Homefront with Don Zeman, I prepared homemade goodie trays for our employees. We always had a Christmas party whether we were located in Columbia, Mo., or Savannah, Ga. I took my cue for the treats from the Jenison family, who for years hosted a Christmas party for the entire Beacon-News family. Everyone always came home with something thoughtful from Ed, Ernestine, Ned and Kevin. 

Everything — Christmas gifts, especially — mean more to family and friends when they come straight from the heart. While one can find personalized and unique gift options from stores like Amazon and Etsy, there’s nothing that tops the sentiment behind a gift that’s truly a labor of love. Cross everyone off the shopping list this season without even battling the crowds by making something from the kitchen as Christmas gifts.

Gifts made in the kitchen don’t have to be complicated or have 20 ingredients. As far as I’m concerned, simple is the way to go. Those receiving these special gifts don’t care if they were from a Martha Stewart or Paula Deen recipe. All they know — and appreciate —is that it came from a friend or family member who took the time to make something special for them.

The gifts don’t have to be something sweet. The spice rub recipe is perfect the guy or gal who loves to smoke or barbeque. It works on chicken, pork or beef. I’ve even sprinkled it on fresh vegetables before grilling them, including ears of corn.

My Mom loved anything nutty so I enjoyed making peanut brittle each year for her. The any nut brittle recipe I’m sharing is the opportunity to use any leftover nuts before they go rancid and have to be pitched. I’ve never used corn nuts or pine nuts but if you’re doing any baking at all, then I’m sure there are pecans, walnuts and peanuts in your freezer.

Every year, countless retailers roll out newfangled holiday food gifts — chocolates, candies, baking mixes, all festively packaged but at a pretty steep price.

No one knows your loved ones’ taste preferences as well as you do, which is why you might want to do your holiday shopping in your own kitchen and pantry this year.

Once your treats are done, stop by a local dollar store and pick up attractive trays or  boxes. It will make your gift extra special.