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Everyone loves a gift of food! If you don’t know what else to give someone – give them a foodie gift. People appreciate the thoughtfulness, time, and love put into homemade goodies.

It’s not too late to make some simple and delicious food gifts for your friends and family! I’ve come up with some easy recipes you can make quickly. These are some of my favorites to eat and to make.  They are also fun to do with kids!

Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Sticks in a jar

Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods are always a favorite!

Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Sticks 2

Pecan Brittle is good for some one who doesn’t like something too sweet!

Pecan Brittle

Mini Pumpkin Bread is so moist!

Mini Pumpkin Bread 2

Peppermint Bark with crushed candy canes is the flavor of the season!

Peppermint Bark 2

There are many special gifts we receive this time of year. But none are as special or important as the gifts of Jesus. I recently did a worship service for the residents of a local nursing home and shared a simple message with them, and I would like to share it with you too!

What IS Christmas?

Seems like an obvious question. In our society there are 2 types of Christmas – there is the Christmas with Santa and the Christmas with Jesus, and we celebrate both. 

In both celebrations there are gifts and there is an element of Believing. In both, it is a time of anticipation and celebration – a time with your family and friends, fun activities, singing, and gatherings with food and gifts. Joyful and exciting.

Santa brings gifts and you have to “Believe” so when you wake up on Christmas morning you will find gifts under the tree. As children, we eventually learn that Santa isn’t real, and doesn’t bring the gifts. It was disappointing – remember when you found out that Santa was really Mom and Dad?? Ugh what a let down.

That is not the case with Jesus – He is Real! And He does bring gifts – gifts that are everlasting! His gifts will continue and He will not let you down!

Jesus brings the gift of:

Joy – that feeling of happiness and elation

Hope – just knowing there is so much more than this temporary life on earth – there is blessed eternity

Peace – the feeling of calmness and serenity; security

Love – the gift of kindness and compassion, hugs and kisses, understanding and a smile, and so much more!

These gifts don’t break, they don’t get old, or too small or worn out, they don’t get put away or thrown away. The gifts of Jesus are eternal!

Dear Friends, receive the gifts of Jesus this year and BELIEVE in Him! You don’t have to go anywhere or do anything special to receive them. Just open your hearts to Him. His gifts will be with us and will remain with us forever.

What is Christmas? Christmas is Jesus – son of God, a miracle sent from Heaven

Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas!

Basket of food gifts 2

Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

Melt 6 ozs of almond bark or candy melts in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Heat for another 30 seconds. Stir and microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir until completely melted. Dip pretzel rods into melted candy and coat with your favorite toppings such as sprinkles, nuts, crushed candy canes, etc. Place on tray until set.

Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Sticks

Pecan Brittle

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups pecan halves or cashews

1 tsp butter

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

Directions:

In a greased 2 qt bowl cook sugar, corn syrup, and salt on High 2-3 minutes until boiling. Cook 4 minutes. Stir in nuts, butter, vanilla, and cinnamon. Cook 2 minutes. Immediately, stir in baking soda until light and foamy. Quickly, pour onto a greased cookie sheet; spread. Cool and break into pieces. Makes 1 pound.

Pecan Brittle on a tray

Mini Pumpkin Breads

3 cups flour

1 3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp baking power

1-16oz can pumpkin

1 cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

2/3 cup chopped nuts

2/3 cup raisins

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour four 6x3x2 inch baking pans

2. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, salt , cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and baking powder. Add pumpkin, oil, eggs, nuts, and raisins. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened and mixture is smooth. Pour into prepared pans.

3. Bake for about 45 minutes (I started checking at 35 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted comes out clean. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

4. Wrap in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil, and store overnight for better slicing, if desired.

* I didn’t add any nuts or raisins to my recipe. Also, this can be made into 2 regular 9x5x3 size loaves. Increase flour to 3 1/2 cups and sugar to 2 cups and  the baking time to 60 minutes.

mini Pumpkin Bread 2

Peppermint Bark (courtesy of Pampered Chef)

3 candy canes, crushed

10oz of chocolate almond bark or chocolate candy melts

10oz of vanilla almond bark or vanilla candy melts

1 tsp peppermint extract

Directions:

1. Crush candy canes in a large resealable  bag. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

2. Melt chocolate bark for 1/1/2 minutes. Stir until melted. Microwave more if necessary. Add peppermint extract. Stir well until mixed.

3. Melt vanilla bark for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir until melted. Microwave more if necessary.

4. Drop alternating scoops of chocolate and vanilla in rows onto a sheet pan about 11×7 size. Make sure the scoops are connected to each other in the pan. Using a knife, pull through across the chocolate and vanilla to create a swirl/marble effect. Sprinkle with the crushed candy canes.

4. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or until bark is set. Lift parchment and bark from pan. Break into pieces.

Peppermint Bark 3

  Enjoy!!!

Christmas Blessings to all!!!

~Lori

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