Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Gift Baskets

Each year about this time, I approach dh to find out how many 'projects' we need to do for the special folks he works with. This year we prepared six gift baskets for his work and several extra to deliver to special people like the children's music teachers and a few special families that we are very close to.

Since I had put up copious amounts of pumpkin last month, I knew that some of it would go into a baked item in these baskets. We made mini loaves of Holiday Pumpkin Bread...simple but delicious. Here is the recipe. It makes 3 regular or 2 large loaves or 9 mini loaves of bread.

2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup applesauce
2 cups pumpkin
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Allspice
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Cloves
1 cup chopped nuts of your choice (opt. we use pecans)
1 cup raisins (opt.)

Preheat oven, grease and flour 3 loaf pans or equivalent. Mix oil, applesauce, sugar and eggs together. Mix in pumpkin and orange juice. Stir together flour, soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add to wet mixture. Stir in nuts and raisins. Divide batter in prepared pans. Bake 1 hour. Cool on racks.

We also make these cute little suckers. The children had a wonderful time working in the kitchen making these and clean up really wasn't that big of a deal. The spent an entire afternoon making these and letting them set up in between listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies and playing legos. The molds were purchased at a local kitchen supply for less than $5.00 total and the candy was purchased at Hobby Lobby, they have it 30% off this week. I had the sticks leftover from a previous project but you can also get them at Hobby Lobby. They were wrapped in a fold top sandwich bag with curling ribbon.

Here is the final result. Isn't he cute. There were candy canes, snowmen, Christmas tree and a reindeer in the same mold and we make some of each. In our baskets, we also included some of our family holiday favorites like Buckeyes and peanut butter blossoms. Also included favorites like Hershey Holiday mix of mini candy (kisses, mini peanut butter cups and mini bars) and other hard candy, too.

We all have traditions of giving during this season. I am challenging myself to continue my spirit of giving all through the year. Blessings for a wonderful holiday season, Suzie

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