Final Approach Weekend

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been so busy that perhaps you may have missed a few of those clever posts around with wonderful tips and ideas on making your own gifts or tasty foods for the holidays. It’s really hard to keep up, and especially the closer we get to the big festivities.

As I spend this weekend finishing off my gifts for friends and family, and attending a few parties in between, I’d like to just quickly recap some of the foods I’ve made this season for gifts and holiday entertaining. I’m hoping these might offers some inspiration when seen all together and be of help in choosing a recipe for those “what can I make?” moments ahead!

Cranberry Liqueur I’ll grant you, this takes 3 weeks to ‘brew”, but if you’re like me, I have some friends that I don’t get to see and celebrate with during the holidays, and so having an extra batch of this going into the new year doesn’t seem like a bad idea at all to me! Not to mention having a little nip myself on those cold January nights. You can also find cocktail recipes to make with this from the original post here. Soon, very soon, the cranberries will be gone, so nab some quick, freeze them even, and get your batch in the works!

Chocolate Hazelnut and Ginger Biscotti My favorite biscotti recipe and once made, it’s almost impossible to keep them from being gobbled up before they make it out of the house. I’ve made two batches of this so far, and am wondering if I’ll set a record and make another before Christmas. We’re participating in a Christmas Eve party…hmmmm.

Old Fashioned Ice Box Cookies An old-y but a good-y…so simple, so quick and so customizable with chopped dried fruits, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips and perhaps even crystallized ginger? I’ll have to try some creative toppings on my next batch. I have some dough in the freezer ready to bake for my next occasion, and I feel very secure now!

Glazed Red Pepper and Fennel Almonds Next to the biscotti, I find this to be the most welcomed gift that I make—any time of the year! It’s a perfect last minute appetizer and quite impressive, and a jar of these also makes a terrific hostess gift. This takes all of 30 minutes to make…and 22 of that is in the oven. They take about 5 seconds to be devoured, however.

Walnut Thyme Honey Another one that’s easy and so pretty as a gift, but also great to have on hand for a last minute drizzle over some cheese or even better, some cheese topped crostini for a tasty and elegant appetizer that looks like you spent time slaving over. We’ve tried it over goat cheese on water crackers and also with gorgonzola…yum!

Provençal Olives with Lemon and Oregano I know that some people don’t like olives and I get that…but I’m not one of them. Put some of these babies in front of me and don’t turn your back, or they’ll be gone-daddy. The colors of these are beautiful, they can be made quick as a wink, and are a wonderful gift or as can be served as a nosh.

The Best Chocolate Sauce Duh, why didn’t I think of this sooner? I know I’d love to have someone give me homemade hot fudge sauce as  a gift. Make it, jar it, chill it, give it! It keeps for a week!

Arty Artichoke Dip – Always a favorite and this one has a little spicy twist to it. A great thing to make for a party or to take to a party, if it’s that kind of party. But then who wouldn’t want artichoke dip at their party, I ask you?

Ham, Fontina and Spinach Bread Pudding To make this for Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning, that is the question. This is quite simply the best savory bread pudding I’ve tried thus far. You can make it the night before you want to eat it, then cook it the next day. And it reheats quite well as a leftover, making it especially nice to have on hand during the busy holiday season. The touch of nutmeg makes it taste very festive and it has spinach in it, so really, how bad can it be for you?

Apple Clafouti When you still want a dessert, but are approaching holiday sugar shock, this not-as-sweet dessert does the trick. It’s versatile in that you can use different fruits and liquor, and a bit lighter on the tummy as well. This is one to try in-between the festivities or perhaps for the New Year.

Okay, now I’m off to finish bottling my last batch of liqueur and bag some cookies. Cheers and Happy Holidays!


22 thoughts on “Final Approach Weekend

  1. Just fyi to anyone reading…these were all live links to the recipes when I posted, then I just checked and they seemed to have broken. Now they’re fixed and you can click to the recipe if you are interested…technology!


  2. I can vouch for the clafouti — I made it and my mother and sister-in-law liked it. I’m going to make the almonds this week, I swear. Cranberry liquor — perhaps in 2012 — unless there’s a big sale on cranberries this week! Thanks for all of the wonderful ideas and recipes, Betsy. It’s a pleasure reading your blog. I wish you the happiest of holidays and will “see” you in the blogosphere. — Sharyn


    • Sharyn, thank YOU for trying out some of my recipes and for the wonderful feedback and compliments. I’m so happy that the clafouti was a hit, and hope you enjoy those almonds…I think you will! It’s been my pleasure to “meet” so many great folks this year blogging, and I really enjoy your blog, too, your recipes and all of those wonderful paintings…they really make me smile! I wish you the happiest of holidays, too!


  3. Wow, what a lovely assortment of gift ideas. I get so focused on cookies, that I forget there are so many nice things to make. I hope to make the walnut thyme honey and those fennel almonds (which sound really different) over the holidays — they would be perfect to have on hand for company. Thanks for sharing!


    • Thanks so much profiteroles….I hope you do try the walnut thyme honey and the fennel almonds. They are mighty good…those almonds are a hit with everyone and so easy to make. Thank you for your compliments and I wish you very Happy Holidays!


  4. wow… you just rounded out my Christmas menu with all these great tips! I love that you did this. I’m so making that Walnut Thyme Honey! Oh and the bread pudding, the olives, the biscotti…… Happy holidays!


    • I’m so happy to have offered some useful tips and ideas, and thank you so much for the compliments and the good wishes! I hope you enjoy any and all of these that you make and most of all, I wish you very Happy Holidays!


  5. It is easy to forget how many great recipes you have given us until you see them all listed together. I’m making the bread pudding for Christmas morning. We have a Christmas Eve party to go to and then an early one on Christmas. I’ll prepare it the day before and bake it on Christmas morning. Perfect for the hectic schedule.


  6. Pingback: A Year Ago… | bits and breadcrumbs

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