At this point in my life, I am solidly in the camp of preferring experiences to “stuff.” Not that I don’t enjoy gifts when I receive them — Vera the Vitamix was my birthday pressie, after all — but what I want most is more time with and for the people I care about. A good dinner with my husband, or brunch with a friend, is far more tempting than any gift I could receive.
That said, my absolute favorite gifts to give and receive are food-related. I love it when someone takes the time to offer something tasty from their kitchen — it’s usually the sort of thing you wouldn’t think to make for yourself, and always delicious. Giving food gifts also makes me incredibly happy. I grow a good number of herbs in our garden, and because so much of our family is far away, I love being able to share a little bit of Oregon with them.
Here are my favorite Paleo + Life recipes for gift giving:
- Herb Infused Oils — I like to put these in beautiful bottles like these from Cost Plus World Market. Make multiple flavors, or do one jar of flavored oil and another of flavored vinegar.
- Blueberry Shiso Jam — because I don’t can, I like to make freezer jam instead. So in my kitchen, this is reserved for local gifts, which I package in plastic jam containers or mason jars.
If you use Bonne Maman preserves, their jars are especially attractive and great to recycle as well.
In any case, if you haven’t canned the jam, sure you let the recipient know that it should be used or frozen fairly quickly.
- Apple Sassy Applesauce — this can be packaged the same way as the jam above.
- Candied Pecans (part of my Figgy Pudding recipe) — this is a hard gift to part with, largely because I have to stop myself from eating them all(!). Again, Cost Plus has perfect containers.
- Peppery Spice Mix from my Spiced Summer Burger recipe — I just make up a big batch of the spice mix and put it in a jar; it works with a variety of meats, or with portobello mushrooms if you want to make it vegan. I like these fancy shaped jars.
- Cinnamon Spice Nut Butter — a trio of this, the blueberry jam, and the applesauce would make an absolutely killer present.
- Paleo No-Grain Granola — so easy to make (and eat,) big batches are a requirement. If you can stop yourself from eating it all, put together a few jars. Perhaps a trio with the original recipe and the suggested variations?
- Mango Citrus Salsa — Good citrus is available right now, and frozen mango can be found in most stores. This salsa goes really well with seafood or meat, and is full of healthy ingredients. With the New Year — and New Year’s resolutions — just around the corner, start them off right.
- Perfectly Paleo Peppers and Onions — Make this recipe as given, then put in a jar with a couple of extra garlic cloves, a sprig or two of rosemary, and enough olive oil to cover it.
It lasts a surprisingly long time in the fridge and is a great base for a meal.
- Apricot Cardamom Sauce (from my Apricot Crepe Cakes recipe) — This is a flowery, sour sauce that I love as is, but it might be too mouth-puckering for more sensitive palettes. To tamp down the tartness, increase the honey to 1/4 cup.
If you’ve got a favorite food gift, please share it in the comments!