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Gifts of Good Taste

Unique Food Gifts for Holidays & Special Occasions
  -- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietician
Gift-giving is one of the special joys of the holiday season. No matter which holiday you celebrate, we all face the same challenges…

“What should I buy?” 
“Does she already have it?” 
“Will they like it?” 
“Does he need it?”

However, one thing is certain—everyone likes food! And even if they already have it, they will always need more. Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting the correct size or color.

This year, give the gift of health by making someone a special, healthy treat. Nothing warms the heart and delights the taste buds (of friends, relatives, and co-workers alike) more than a delicious, beautifully-wrapped gift of homemade food. Here are some of my favorite gift ideas to get you started:

Meal Time
Satisfying Snacks
Wake Up Call
Special Interest <pagebreak>
Packaging Food Gifts

With the array of packaging materials available, anyone can package a food gift beautifully. For ideas, check out the various gift wrap, party supply, and craft stores. Scout out unique treasures at your local flea market, yard sale, or dollar-store. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

If time permits, you can customize boxes by covering them with colorful holiday paper or fabric and affixing some sparkling sequins. Before arranging food inside, line your container of choice with brightly colored papers, tinsel, foil, festive napkins, or holiday towels for a “professional” appearance.


Nine Bean Soup Mix Mix together one pound each of dried black beans, red beans, pinto beans, navy beans, great Northern beans, lentils, split peas, black-eyed peas and barley pearls. Combine all beans. Divide into ten 2-cup packages for gift giving. Include the following recipe with your gifts:

2 cups Nine Bean Soup Mix

1 onion, chopped

6 cups water

16-oz. can tomatoes, chopped

1 pound lean ham, diced 4-oz. can green chilies, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled & chopped 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt, to taste 1/4 tsp. pepper, to taste

Sort and wash bean mix. Place in a 4-quart saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 2 minutes, cover pan, remove from heat, and let soak for 1 hour. After soaking, drain off the water using a large strainer. Return beans to the large saucepan; add 6 cups water, ham, carrot, onion, tomatoes (with juice), chilies, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1-½ hours until beans are tender. Add more water if needed. Yield: 8 cups of soup.

Raspberry Wine Vinegar
Fill 3/4 of a clean, sterilized decorative bottle with red wine vinegar. Add frozen raspberries so the bottle is full. Place the cap on tightly. Store in the refrigerator.