The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


December 5, 2013

Cheryle Finley: Share a favorite family recipe for Christmas

CARTHAGE, Mo. — I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My sister, Sue, and her husband, Bill, welcomed our family into their home, and a good time was had by all. Bill purchased a new infrared fryer for the turkey and got all the goodness of a deep-fried bird without the greasy mess. Quite the invention.

I want to share some homemade gift ideas from your kitchen. One of the nicest gifts is a recipe book filled with your favorite recipes. Sharing recipes so everyone can enjoy them is much better than keeping them to yourself so only you can fix a certain dish. What if the inventor of fruitcake had decided to never share the details of producing the holiday staple? OK, that's not a good example, but you get the idea.

Today the focus is on baking. While a home-baked gift is always gladly accepted, the first thing to do is make sure the recipient doesn't have any special dietary needs. Diabetic or gluten-free friends would appreciate the extra thought, as would those with allergies. Also consider storage space if the gift requires refrigeration.

I really like the gift idea of giving a pretty baking dish along with either your favorite recipe or some of its necessary ingredients. All the ingredients for a decadent batch of cookies, along with a baking sheet and assorted cookie cutters, would be welcome, as would biscotti with a couple of mugs and cocoa mixes that are sure to warm the body and the heart.

Got a favorite family recipe you fix each year? Make a double batch and share one of them. There's no limit to what you can give. Think meatloaf, noodles, muffins, coffee cake or the fixings for green bean casserole.

The cinnamon rolls recipe is one that yields two rolls, so you can keep one and share one. Who wouldn't like one of these delivered the day before Christmas, just in time for reheating and Christmas morning enjoyment? The mini loaves make a great gift served up on a pretty plate, and they're perfect for hostess gifts. I've never considered myself a date fan, but I've recently discovered that their sweet taste and moistness really add to baked items. Both of these recipes are from "Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations 2006 Cookbook."

The recipe for the nuts comes from Marge Rogler, of Carthage, who got the recipe from a friend and shared it with my sister, Sue. My sister had a bowl of these sitting on the counter at Thanksgiving, and I have a feeling they are going to become a new family tradition. Get a jump on gift-giving by putting the pecans in a sealed container with a pretty bow -- I guarantee your family and friends will request these each year.

The focus of next week's column will be the various mixes that can be layered in a jar to make perfect homemade gifts. I'll also talk about jellies, jams and, later, cookies for Santa. Have a wonderful week and happy eating!


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Speaking of Gardens


Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is supporting an August ballot measure that would insert the right to farm into the state constitution. The governor is leaning toward opposing it. Do you support the Freedom to Farm amendment?

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