Saturday, December 19, 2009

Last minute Christmas gifts

The Christmas tree is FINALLY up and decorated. This is one of my favorite ornaments -- a couple of love birds (perhaps turtle doves? I'm not sure I know what those look like) snuggling in the tree.
Today was nice and relaxing. Charlie came home from work in the morning (after running to Ohio and back yesterday -- hauling sugar to the cereal plant). He took a nap while I started assembling Christmas gifts with Christmas music on in the background. We scaled way back this year -- mainly because we have a house to pay for now. I needed a few things to fill a gift basket to Uncle Dave and Aunt Mary (our previous landlords) as we are going to see them this weekend. I thought I'd share what I made in case you too are looking for inexpensive last minute Christmas gifts.
These chocolate coated pretzel rods are easy to make and definitely yummy to eat! I just melted a block of "Candyquick" and cover the pretzels... then add some sprinkles before they harden up. You can find either chocolate or white chocolate flavored in the baking section in most larger grocery stores.
I had a lot left over so I decided to jazz up some caramel corn. I broke that up in to chunks once the chocolate set up and bagged it up too.

This last photo is of some spicy sweet pecans. This is my first year making these (Mom made them previously and I insisted on getting the recipe). I halved the recipe she gave me because I only had 12 oz of pecans. They made the whole house smell AMAZING and, well, Christmas-y.

Grease a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Blend 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ground pepper, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne.

In a separate large bowl, beat an egg white until slightly thickened but still a bit frothy. Add 12 oz. pecans. Stir until all the pecans are well coated. Add the sugar mix and stir well until the pecans are evenly coated. Place in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Bake 1o minutes; stir. Bake 10 more minutes; stir. Bake 5 minutes more then transfer to a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and cool completely.

They have a bit of a kick from the cayenne and the pepper, but I like it.
So, anyway, Charlie is up now and we need to go out and grab a couple gifts -- and also deliver the gift to Dave and Mary. It finally feels like the holidays are here.

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