Every year, I look forward to writing my “gifts from the kitchen” column. Giving food as a present is one of my greatest joys this time of year. It is truly a gift of love.

I always make some sort of savory gift because there are a lot of diabetics in my family and I don’t want to tempt them with cookies, but I still want to craft something delicious.

This year, I came up with two variations of ranch dill nuts. They are lovely and pair well with a bloody mary. First, I made a cashew and peanut mix, and then I decided to use basically the same recipe with almonds. I took them to a brunch (which is how I know they pair well with a bloody mary), and both recipes were a hit. These nuts are so easy. All you have to do is coat them in canola oil and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Hidden Valley Ranch Harvest Dill mix on them and stir, then bake. The nuts must be completely cool before you package them, or they will get soft. They are delightful and would be great served at a party, too.

Next, I made my first batch of rum balls. The rum balls are seriously potent, so make sure the recipient likes rum. This recipe doesn’t just have a hint of rum; the flavor will slap you in the face. You can also substitute bourbon, and these will be bourbon balls. This is a no-bake recipe, so it’s another easy choice, and delicious. The balls are mix of pecans, vanilla wafers, rum, butter, powdered sugar, coconut and cocoa. Yummy.

Finally, I made chocolate coconut pecan popcorn because I love flavored popcorns, and this recipe takes fewer than 10 minutes to make. First, I made a bag of microwave kettle corn so it’s sweet and salty and then topped it with melted chocolate, coconut and chopped pecans. It’s addictive. The only downfall to this recipe is it does not keep well. This is best given as a hostess gift when you attend a party so that it can be consumed that day. It only takes a few minutes to make, so it’s something you can easily make and then rush out the door to wherever you are going.

The other gifts from my kitchen last significantly longer. The nuts will keep in an airtight container for up to three weeks. The rum balls will last for 10 to 12 days in the refrigerator.

So spread cheer and love with these recipes. I hope you enjoy them.

Ranch dill cashews and peanuts

5 ounces cashew halves

6 ounces peanuts

1 heaping tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon Hidden Valley Ranch Harvest Dill dry mix

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place cashews and peanuts in a large bowl. Add the oil and toss to coat the nuts evenly. Then sprinkle in the dill mix and toss until the nuts are thoroughly coated.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread the nuts out on the baking sheet.

Bake 12 minutes. Stir and then bake another 7 minutes.

Cool completely before packaging. These are best stored in an airtight container.

Ranch dill almonds

7 ounces (or 11/2 cups) raw almonds

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon Hidden Valley Ranch Harvest Dill dry mix

Place almonds in a large bowl. Add the oil and toss to coat the nuts evenly. Then sprinkle in the dill mix and stir until the nuts are thoroughly coated.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread the almonds out on the baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Stir and then bake another 7 minutes.

Cool completely before packaging. These are best stored in an airtight container.

Rum balls

Makes 24 balls

2 tablespoons shredded sweet coconut

1 cup pecans

2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (3-4 cups whole cookies)

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup vanilla rum (a good quality rum; you can substitute bourbon)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Coating:

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup shredded coconut

First, place pecans in food processor and process until they are crumbs. Pour into a large bowl. Next measure 3 cups of vanilla wafers and put those into the food processor. Pulse into fine crumbs. In total, you need 2 cups of vanilla wafer crumbs which will be 3-4 cups of whole cookies.

Once you have 2 cups of crumbs, pour that into the bowl. Add 2 tablespoons shredded coconut, cocoa powder, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Whisk together to thoroughly combine.

On a plate, mix together remaining powdered sugar and coconut and set aside.

Next, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and then stir together with the rum. Pour into the dry cookie mixture and stir until the mixture sticks together. Shape into 1-inch balls and roll in powdered sugar/coconut mixture. Cover and chill. These can be refrigerated for 10-12 days.

Chocolate coconut pecan popcorn

1 bag of microwave kettle corn

2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/3 cup chopped pecans

Make the kettle corn according to manufacturer’s direction. Then pour the popcorn in a bowl and use a large spoon to transfer it to another bowl leaving the unpopped corn kernels behind. You want as few unpopped corn kernels as possible to make their way into this dish because it can be painful when you bite down on one. Transferring to another bowl helps you weed out the kernels which will stick to the chocolate if you don’t remove them.

I recommend using a double boiler to melt the chocolate. You will get the best results. If you don’t have one, you can easily make your own by finding a medium pot and then a small pot that will fit securely on top (securely is key). Fill the medium pot two-thirds full with water. Place the second smaller pot on top. Bring the water to a boil and as the water boils, the steam will warm the second pot. Place chocolate and butter in the second pot and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.

Immediately use a spoon to drizzle melted chocolate over popcorn, adding coconut and pecans and stirring frequently to coat. Enjoy.

Juliana Goodwin is author of “Rotisserie Chicken Queen: 50 Fabulous Recipes That Start With Rotisserie Chicken.” If you have a question concerning a recipe, email julianalovesfood23@gmail.com. Please put “recipe” in the subject line.

Last-minute gift?

Copies of Juliana Goodwin’s cookbook “Rotisserie Chicken Queen: 50 Fabulous Recipes That Start with Rotisserie Chicken” are available for sale at The Joplin Globe.