As I glance about my house, I see countless reminders of Christmaspast–an old-fashioned tin container here; there a beautiful basket thatonce held fruits and cheeses. In my cupboards are numerous glass jarsof all descriptions now filled with lentils, beans, nuts and seeds, allserving a useful purpose long after they arrived filled with specialgifts from friends and relatives. Each container still reminds me of the giver. At the time Ireceived them, each meant much more to me than had I been offered someexpensive store-bought item.
You can’t put a price on the love,time and thoughtfulness that come with a gift of homemade food. Over the years I have assembled an array of my own gift recipes.They aren’t the traditional candies and cookies. I wouldn’twant to be responsible for spreading cavities or adding extra pounds tothe families of my friends and relatives. One of my favorite gifts is marinated carrots. Everyone who hastried them knows they’re worth their weight in gold–what a uniqueand wonderful flavor! Unbaked Fruit and Nut Balls and Apricot-Pineapple Bread arewholesome treats you can’t find the likes of in any store orbakery. Almost everybody is eating salads these days to stay thin, butgrocery-store-variety salad dressings can be high in calories.
Here is a light dressing recipe my friends really like. Packagedin an attractive cruet, it can make a unique, useful gift. Instead of giving that bottle of whiskey this year, try makingFrancine Prince’ Old English Mulled Punch from page 23 of thisissue. Put it in a glass decanter with a bright ribbon and know thatyou’ll be giving them a healthful toast. Think about it a bit, and you may realize that some of your ownrecipes would make wonderful presents, too. Merry Carotene (marinated carrots) (Makes 8 servings) 2 poundscarrots, cooked (do not overcook) 1 medium bell pepper, sliced orslivered raw 1 medium onion, sliced 1 can tomato soup 1-1/2 teaspoonshot Tabasco 1/4 cup oil 1/2 cup honey 3/4 cup apple-cider vinegar 1teaspoon dry mustard (or can use prepared mustard) Whip all marinade ingredients well. Drop onion and pepper slicesinto marinade. Pour marinade over drained, slightly cooked and slicedcarrots.
Place in refrigerator. Store and chill for 8-12 hours beforeserving. Will keep up to three weeks in refrigerator (if you can keepthem that long). Suggestions for gift-giving: Fill pint jars withthese, top with lid.
Type or print gummed label for side of jaridentifying these as “Merry Carotene” carrots–must berefrigerated. You could also fit the jar into a basket. Wrap, tag andgive to someone who appreciates something tangy. Makes a lovely hostessgift if you are going to a party. Apricot-Pineapple Bread (Makes 2 loaves) 1 cup dried apricots1-3/4 cups water 2 cups oat flour 1-1/4 cups rice flour 1/4 cup soyflour 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk 3 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt3 eggs, beaten 1 cup honey 1/4 cup vegetable oil Remaining liquid fromapricots 1/2 cup crushed, unsweetened pineapple with some juice Choppedapricots Cover apricots with water in saucepan, simmer fruit until it istender but still has body. Cool.
Sift all dry ingredients into mixingbowl. Beat eggs well and add honey, oil and apricot liquid. Stir incrushed pineapple and blend well. Add this to the dry ingredients andcombine until moistened. Now add the chopped apricots, folding in anddistributing through the batter. Oil two 3-1/2″ x 7-1/2″ loafpans and divide the batter between them.
Bake in a moderate 350[deg.]F.oven for approximately 30 minutes. Watch carefully, because this breadbrowns quickly. If you use glass pans, reduce heat to 325[deg.
]F. Suggestions for gift-giving: A basket a little larger than thebread, lined with a large paper napkin. Wrap bread in see-through wrap.Tie with ribbon and tag. Makes two gifts. Fruit and Nut Nibbles (Makes 8 cups) 4 cups old-fashioned rolledoats 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts 1/2 cup sliced almonds 2 teaspoonsground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 cupsafflower oil 1/4 cup honey 2 tablespoons water 1/2 cup coarsely choppeddried apricots 1/2 cup coarsely chopped prunes 1/2 cup coarsely choppeddried apples 1/2 cup golden raisins Preheat oven to 300[deg.]F.
In a large bowl combine oats, walnuts,almonds, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Add safflower oil, honey andwater; stir until moistened. Pour into an oiled jelly-roll pan.
Bakeuntil golden (about 30 minutes) and stir occasionally. Set aside tocool. Stir in apricots, prunes, apples and raisins. These should berefrigerated until you give them away (if they last that long!). Suggestions for gift-giving: Line an attractive tin with wax paper,add the nibble mix, fold the paper over to cover and put on the lid.Wrap the tin in clear cellophane paper, tie with a bow or length ofnarrow lace ribbon and add a thoughtful, written note on a tag. Thesecould also be given in glass jars. Sesame Seed Squares (Makes 1-1-1/2 dozen) 1/2 cup honey 1/2 cuppeanut butter 1 cup powdered nonfat milk 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut 1cup sesame seeds Heat honey and peanut butter slightly over very low heat for easeof mixing.
Add powdered milk, coconut and sesame seeds. Mix well andpat into oiled 9″-square pan. Place in refrigerator to set. Cut insquares (approximately 60 calories per square with 4 grams ofgood-quality protein per square). Absolutely delicious! Suggestions for gift-giving: Choose a pretty plate for these tastysquares, wrap with clear cellophane paper, Saran Wrap or one of theplastic see-through wraps, tie with a bright ribbon and add nametag. Unbaked Fruit and Nut Balls (Makes 6 servings) 1 cup pitteddates 1 cup pitted prunes 1 cup seedless golden raisins 1 cup walnuts oralmonds, chopped 1 cup shredded coconut 1/2 cup honey Grind (or chop fine) all ingredients and mix thoroughly with honey.
Shape into balls. Store in refrigerator several days before giving. Suggestions for gift-giving: Line a decorative tin with wax paper,drop balls onto paper; for second layer, add more wax paper. Cover withlid. Wrap and give to someone with a sweet tooth. Sherry French Dressing (Makes 5 cups) 1 egg 1 teaspoon honey 1/4teaspoon Lite salt 4 cups salad oil (half olive oil makes it stillbetter) 1/2 cup vinegar 1/2 cup sherry 1 clove garlic Mix egg, honey and salt together; add oil and vinegar alternatelyuntil all the oil is added, then drip the sherry in slowly.
Add garlicbutton, just barely crushed, and store in Mason jars in refrigerator. Suggestions for gift-giving: Type or print gummed label for side ofjar or fancy cruet identifying this as Sherry French Dressing–must berefrigerated. Wrap, tag and give to a friend or relative who lovesunusually tasty salad dressings.