For personal reasons, I wasn’t much in the Christmas spirit this year. I didn’t send out Christmas cards, didn’t really do much Christmas shopping (just for the kids) or even put up lights outside the house. I just didn’t feel like celebrating though I did keep up a few of our family traditions.
As Christmas drew closer, I started to think of different ways to celebrate the season. I usually get excited shopping for gifts and it’s usually pretty easy. I have a good memory so if you tell me in July that you started a new business or that you broke your favorite tea mug, chances are you’ll find a replacement mug under the tree or even business cards to promote yourself.
That’s why, when it came time to select gifts for my sisters-in-law this year, I thought I’d do something a little different and make them food gifts. They both meet a few times a year to enjoy dinner at Milestones Restaurant and typically have a mixed greens salad with goat cheese, strawberries and honey dijon dressing. I opted to make them food gifts this year: a jar of honey dijon dressing and toasted pecans (actually, they ended up being walnuts as the grocery store was out of pecans!).
Don’t they look yummy?
Honey Dijon Salad Dressing
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large glass mixing bowl. Whisk vigorously until emulsified (or pulse it in a Magic Bullet!). Can be stored for several weeks in an air tight container in fridge. Shake well before serving.
Candied Pecans Recipe
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup pecans
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter and sugar in frying pan on medium heat. Add pecans and heat until toasted (some of the sugar may not dissolve, that’s okay!). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract (carefully! it will fizzle and bubble when you add the liquid). Pour onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and spread out flat. Cool. Store in air tight container in the pantry for up to two weeks.