Every year when I was a kid, my mother, my sisters and I made dozens and dozens of cookies to fill our holiday tins. Now I that I live in Vermont, I'm too far away to bake with my family in the Midwest, but I still love the idea of giving homemade, edible gifts. Plus, homemade presents are an affordable gift that won't break your budget and in such a busy world I think it's comforting and thoughtful to give someone a gift you took the time to make.
This year for my friends and family, I'll be making big batches of Blueberry-Pecan Pancake Mix, crunchy Maple-Nut Granola and easy gourmet spice rubs, such as Indian Spice Rub and Spanish Spice Rub (see recipe below). In the spirit of keeping my holidays "green," I'm skipping the wrapping paper and packaging the gifts in reusable containers with a ribbon and a simple gift tag with the recipe printed on it.
I hope these ideas and recipes inspire you to start your own tradition of homemade gifts from your kitchen.
Spanish Spice Rub includes two kinds of paprika, cilantro and lemon to give Spanish flair to pork chops, tenderloin or shrimp. To make ahead, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 months.
Spanish Spice Rub
TOTAL TIME: 5 minutes
6 tablespoons smoked paprika (see Ingredient Note, below)
3 tablespoons regular paprika
3 tablespoons dried cilantro
3 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon ground dried lemon peel
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
Combine smoked paprika, regular paprika, cilantro, salt, lemon peel and pepper in a small bowl.
Makes about 1 cup.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per teaspoon: 4 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 1 g carbohydrate; 0 g protein; 0 g fiber; 211 mg sodium; 33 mg potassium.
Ingredient note: Smoked paprika is a spice made from grinding smoke-dried red peppers. It can be used in many types of savory dishes and is available in some large supermarkets with other spices and at tienda.com.
By Stacy Fraser
Stacy Fraser is Test Kitchen manager at EatingWell. With a background in ecological agriculture and many past growing seasons under her belt, Stacy began her study of food in the field, literally. Before joining the crew at EatingWell, Stacy managed the kitchen of breakfast and lunch hot spot Penny Cluse, in downtown Burlington, Vermont, where she learned how to make simple, delicious food from fresh ingredients.
Related Links from EatingWell:
Get food news, healthy recipes, health tips and more at EatingWell.com.
- Find recipes for your favorite comfort foods in EatingWell's new book, Comfort Foods Made Healthy.
- Sign up for EatingWell's free weekly newsletters and get healthy recipes, diet tips and nutrition news delivered right to your inbox.
- Get a free trial issue when you subscribe to EatingWell Magazine.