Janet's Notebook
The Secret to Last-Minute Gifts Is Right in Your Pantry

Favorite Recipes Make for Unique Gifts

I absolutely love giving - and receiving - homemade food gifts. Having baked for years, I know first-hand how much care goes into creating handcrafted gifts, and am thrilled to pieces anytime friends and family are willing to share their efforts.

Well, it's not too late to whip together a few last-minute goodies of your own to brighten someone's holiday! Cookies like Doris Ware's sweet little Gingerbread Men are a classic choice. This recipe isn't particularly brittle, so you won't have to worry about any of your ginger guys losing their heads during packaging. In fact, depending on what size cookie you choose to make, you may simply want to wrap these fellows individually in clear cellophane. Tied with a cheerful ribbon, one large cookie makes a terrific gift for co-workers, teachers, mailmen... or anyone else whose day you'd like to sweeten.

Another fun gift recipe comes from Shirley Makekau of Washougal, WA. Her Chocolate Peanut Butter Grahams are a major hit with the kids in my family - proof that good recipes don't necessarily have to be complicated!

"Last Christmas a church sister gifted me with a box of these and after tasting them I asked her for the recipe," explains Shirley.

These salty, sweet bites are a great family project and take no time at all to make. They're ideal for those times when you're in a "Pinch" for a gift! Simply sandwich your favorite peanut butter between two graham crackers and dip them into yummy, silken chocolate! Simple, quick and oh-so delicious. Package 'em up in a festive tin, or stand a few up on end in a holiday mug for a picture-perfect gift.

An all-time favorite recipe of mine for gift-giving and for plain ol' munching, is the Christmas Cream Cheese Mint. I have fond memories of making these with my mother and grandmother in years past. Duncan, OK cook Natasha Snell recently shared her own recipe for this nostalgic treat where simple cream cheese and powdered sugar transform into something truly magical when combined with peppermint flavoring and a touch of food coloring. Shape them free-hand, or use rubber candy molds or cookie cutters. No matter the shape, these are ideal for gift-giving or for decorating cupcakes, cookies and cakes! They also freeze well, so you can enjoy these little Christmas jewels all season long.

And finally, perhaps the most out-of-the box gift recipe of all: Shirlie Ingram's Cappuccino Blocks! Each one of these individual coffee cubes is like a little present. Packed with flavors of white chocolate, cocoa and espresso, you simply drop them into a steamy mug of warm milk for a decadent coffeehouse drink right in the comfort of your own home! Better still, the recipe uses all natural ingredients that really allow the flavors to "pop". Imagine getting a box of beautiful cappuccino squares with a pretty little recipe card tucked inside (because once they try some of your Cappuccino Blocks, their most definitely going to want to make more!)

The possibilities for great homemade gifts are endless. You don't need a lot of time or money or special skill in order to make a big impact. Thoughtfulness is a gift that never goes out of style!

Don't forget to print recipe cards to include with your gifts! Choose any size option from the Just A Pinch print menu to print any recipe in the Club! (Hint: The Avery card stock option will produce perfectly sized 4x6 recipe cards. Woohoo!)

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Linda Sherly - Dec 27, 2010
Happy New Year, Everyone! I worked thru Christmas, so my holiday starts now. But my oven is on the fritz so thse no-bake recipes are perfect for me. Thanks for the help! I'm new to this town, so will dish them out to my neighbors. You ROCK!
JoSele Swopes - Dec 24, 2010
I am so glad that you enjoyed the salad Debra, we love it...Have you had a chance to rate it as of yet?
Thank You so much.....You are welcome!
Debra Hubbard - Dec 23, 2010
I've tried the Chicken Ambroshia Salad by Jo Sele Swopes. Thank you, It's delecious!
Doris Ware - Dec 23, 2010
Merry Christmas Janet!And Every One
LISA BOGER - Dec 23, 2010
Natasha Cannon - Dec 22, 2010
Aww thank you so much!
NADINE REID - Dec 21, 2010
Merry Christmas Janet! Thanks for all the great holiday ideas.
pamela woodfill - Dec 21, 2010
well just stubbled on to ur site ,, and signed up right away this is right up my alley ...I love to bake .and in time I will add a few I've come across.. Just need to get thru the hoildays ..lol
sharon cowles - Dec 21, 2010
Very well said..I enjoy giving gifts made from the heart.. my friends enoy getting gifts made in my kitchen or from my hands... I always keep homemade raisin bread in the deep freeze and create a gift package of homemade jams and breads.. or Italian bread and a few jars of my.. canned tomatoes... and lots of mini pies... I'm have many thoughtful friends who come by and may have some extra produce they need to get rid of.. so when it's my turn to stop by.. I'm not empty handed... I myself appreciate a handmade item over a gift card any day.
Doris Ware - Dec 21, 2010
Thank You Janet! I Do Like This Recipe Club And This Site,Proud To Be In It. Doris