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Posts Tagged ‘homemade gifts’

As a kid, I flipped when my parents received food as gifts.

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You know, jars of unbelievably scrumptious homemade jams made with love by your great-grandmother, those baskets of specialty foods presented so beautifully, the warm baked bread, sweet mouthwatering fudge, freshly harvested homegrown produce from my grandfathers garden, and oh, the heavenly assortment of cookies at Christmas time!

Not only is it a fantastic present for someone that truly enjoys tasty treats (and my parents certainly did) it’s also such a gracious and thoughtful gift. Giving a little piece of yourself to the recipient.

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Of course, it’s almost impossible for a kid to really appreciate these homegrown and homemade goodies. So, now as an adult I understand my parents hesitation in sharing these eats with the 3 greedy vultures in their home who were completely oblivious and ignorant of the muscle and devotion that has been poured into picking the fruit, growing the tomatoes, or kneading the bread.

But I secretly did appreciate the effort and love that went into making each treasured snack and someday wanted to grow up to be the giver of these yummy gifts.

baked bread

Feeling nostalgic for those days and remembering the taste of my Great Aunt Freida’s famous freshly baked bread (well it’s more like sweet cake), the bread that as teen-agers my brothers and I would devour in one sitting, I knew I just MUST get the recipe from her and bake some straight away.

Baking this deliciously moist bread warms your kitchen with such a marvelous aroma and sends me right back to begging my mom if we could crack into yet another cherished loaf.

Great Aunt Freida’s Fabulous Zucchini Bread

Makes 2 loaves

You’ll need:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, shift flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar together.

In a separate bowl whip eggs until foamy, add in oil and follow with zucchini and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into dry until well combined. Fold in nuts if using.

Divide batter equally in 2 standard greased loaf pans. Bake for 45 min – 1 hour or until a tester comes out clean. Alternatively, bake in 5 mini loaf pans for about 45 minutes or 24 muffin tins for 20-25 minutes.

This bread stores and freezes well.

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barefootMy girlfriend brought the most delicious roasted rosemary cashews to a shin-dig last Saturday night. After I took my third trip back over to the bowl, I noticed these tasty nibbles were just about gobbled up and everyone was raving about them. The next morning, we were delightfully surprised to find an extra stash in a ziplock baggie in the pantry! I’m adding these to the goodie baskets I give away for Christmas; they would also make a wonderful hostess gift.

Apparently, these cashews were inspired by the bar nuts served at Union Square Cafe in New York City. The recipe is from Ina Garten’s cookbook, Barefoot In Paris, Easy French Food You Can Make at Home.

 

 

Rosemary Cashews
by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa

  • 1 pound unsalted cashews
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  1. Spread the cashews out on a sheet pan. Toast in the oven until warm, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, sugar, salt, cayenne, and butter.
  3. Throughly toss the cashews with the spiced butter and serve warm.

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