Saturday, December 21, 2019

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Last minute food gifts

There was a moment earlier in the week when the reality of how close Christmas Day would arrive became apparent.  I was watching the news (on Monday) when I heard that Monday was the last day the Postal Service would guarantee delivery before Christmas for most packages (the date was already past for some places).

Since I still had items to mail, it was a scramble to get everything ready and send them out on Tuesday and yes... it cost more to send two that needed to arrive by Christmas.  How had the deadline crept up so quickly?

I hadn't realized how much my inner Christmas Season clock was set by the timing of Thanksgiving here in the U.S.  With it being so late this year, it is not unlike when we have a three day weekend and I'm off by one day the rest of the week.

My list of things I wanted to accomplish was short this year and everything was checked off quite nicely.  A benefit of having a practical list and having to go into town more often for doctor's appointments.  I had my last post-surgery eye appointment on Monday and it went very well.

My vision has increased a lot although I still cannot read or focus clearly with my right eye.  I can live with that.  I noticed the difference a lot when baking the past couple of weeks.  I had a difficult time reading the recipe card or cookbook before the surgery and now I can read just fine from a distance (I know, strange isn't it?). 

I was relieved the day of the appointment that the wintry weather of the previous two days was far enough behind us that the roads were clear into town.  For while I love to see snow all around my home, I do not like driving on slick roads. I thanked God all the way there for dry roads.

Although we have had snow off and on, it looks like a warm up is on the way for Christmas... just when I would love a pretty winter view out the window.  However, since my son and his family will be traveling on the Interstate, I must admit I'd rather have 40 degree temperatures than ice on the roads for them.  There is time in January for snow filled days with hot beverages and books waiting to be read.

This time of year, I really enjoy seeing the photos from blog friends who live in Australia and other countries south of the Equator.  I couldn't imagine a hot Christmas day, no more than they could imagine lots of snow and cold weather.   The fun of the Internet is being able to get a peek into both sides of the world at once.

I have spent part of this morning finishing food related gifts for my husband's brother and sister.  He will be driving to a favorite restaurant near the Interstate, where they will meet for a sibling get together later in the day.  I finished small loaves of quick bread yesterday and today I am making a couple quick and easy candy recipes.

I have other food related gifts to make this weekend and on Monday but these were the last of the immediate deadlines.  Our Christmas Eve dinner will be the traditional ham and creamy cheese potatoes casserole but this year the other side dishes are going to simply be vegetables either steamed or roasted. 

I am going to make the cranberry orange cake from Hannah Queen's book Honey & Jam: Seasonal Baking from My Kitchen in the Mountains for dessert.  She has so many beautiful items to bake in her book but the cranberry orange cake is the one I have made the most.  The only difference I make is to drizzle a thick orange glaze over the top.  Much like gilding the lily but it adds even more orange flavor.

My only other "dessert" will be shortbread cookies.  I find them very good options for children... and grammies.

I will put links below to some of my favorite food related gifts that can be made easily.  I don't make as many as I once did but I still have a few people that I like to gift with baked goods.  Everyone seems to appreciate them.  ;)

Mentioned in this Blog Post (and a few food links)
  • Honey & Jam... here.
  • Fun Pretzel Candy (I was making it this morning)... here.
  • Rachel Ray's Fudge... here.
  • Candied Cranberries... here (they make a beautiful edible garnish).
  • Homemade "Mounds" style candies... here (Beverly Nye recipes, including mints).
  • Raspberry Truffle Brownies... here (these take extra time but are Christmas dessert worthy).
  • Puppy Chow (for people)... here.
  • German Chocolate Cookies... here.

My daughter makes a delicious last minute item to serve with crackers by bringing a block of cream cheese to room temperature and pouring a jar of pepper jelly over it.  I couldn't believe how good it was!  I now keep both on hand (I always have Ritz style crackers, too).

DisclosureMost links to are Associate links.


Vee said...

My Christmas clock is out of whack as well. Thing is, I knew that it was a late Thanksgiving so what is my problem? I have called in the troops to sister on Monday and my daughter on Tuesday. and just to complicate things, I invited my sister-in-law to lunch tomorrow. The Lord knows.

Off to check on these recipes... Thank you for including them.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Rachel is busy in the kitchen, right now, making cookies to give as gifts to friends. We have gifted cappuccino muffins this year and they have been well received!

I’d love to have you shortbread recipe!

Carol said...

I just feel that this holiday season has been shorter and much busier than usual. I have only made cookies once and still need to make some before Tuesday, but have Christmas to celebrate with the son tomorrow and have the grand doll the next two days. I still have a couple of gifts to buy my hubby as well. UGH! I will get it all done, but it will be a busy few days.

Rebecca said...

Never had Christmas been simpler and SO low-key for us! Absolutely NO complaint.🎄

Merry Christmas to you. (Such good news about your sight!)

Mama Squirrel said...

That's the fudge we make too. Most years I've added chopped dried cherries, but this year I left it plain.