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That’s mighty neighborly — Readers offer suggestions for Christmas gifts

SHARE That’s mighty neighborly — Readers offer suggestions for Christmas gifts

They are coming to a doorstep near you: neighbor gifts.

Over the years, our Food section has run so many lists of neighbor gift ideas, one would think we had pretty much exhausted this topic. But, we asked readers for ideas, and they submitted a few more that we hadn't covered in past stories.

We've also included a few ideas for your food-loving friends and family, in various budget ranges from $1.50 on up.

New washer & dryer

Pick out a fun dishcloth and dish towel, and attach the following poem:

This holiday season

You deserve the best

A gift that is totally

Unlike all the rest

We considered a new car

Or even an exotic cruise . . .

But decided on something

You could really use.

Finally we found you

A gift to admire

We hope you enjoy

Your new washer and dryer!

Happy holidays to you and yours,

—Joyce Hicks

Doughn't you love it?

This year for Christmas, we'll be giving our neighbors a little extra dough — cookie dough, that is! The tag will say something like, "Everyone needs a little extra 'dough' during the holidays!" or "We're sharing our extra 'dough' with you!"

"When I make cookie dough, I bake just enough for our family of three. I scoop the remaining dough into balls with my cookie scoop and put them close together on a cookie sheet, then pop the tray into the freezer for an hour or two. The individual cookies can then be put into bags and frozen by the dozen. With just a little thawing, fresh, hot cookies are only a few minutes away! I hope that giving the neighbors frozen dough will give them the opportunity to use it whenever they like; for drop-in company, or after the holidays.

"I plan to use my favorite cookie recipe, with a few red and green M&M's thrown in!"

OUR FAVORITE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

2/3 cup oil

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

3 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter, oil, sugars, egg and vanilla. Add flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix well, then stir in chocolate chips. Drop from a cookie scoop onto a parchment-lined or greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 9 minutes; remove from oven just before they start to brown. If cookies are frozen, add a few minutes onto the cooking time.

—Kimberly Barzee

You can use Kimberly Barzee's cookie dough recipe, and attach this message submitted by Kari Godfrey:

We admit our lives are crazy

We've run from morn to night

But to not remember all our friends,

Just doesn't seem quite right.

We know your lives are crazy,

So we'll try with all our might,

To help make your Christmas easier,

Especially on Christmas night.

So pop these cookies in the oven

On the night of Christmas Eve,

Then arrange them on the platter

(Eat a few before you leave).

Put them by the fireplace

With a note for You-Know-Who

And if he never shows up

I guess they're meant for you!

—Karie Godfrey

Holiday decor

For each gift, you need a roll of toilet paper, about 3 feet of Christmas ribbon, and a small holiday decoration. Place the ribbon through the toilet paper center hole. Tie in a bow and add the decoration, with the poem:

"The Johnny Room is often slighted

When wreaths are hung and candles lighted.

So, hang this wreath upon the door

To mark the spot and add decor!"

— Karla Rives

On the light side

For the practical, give a package of light bulbs with the tag line, "May your holidays be Merry and Bright."

— Karla Rives

Drink and be merry

Give water; yes water. Take a bottle of water, even the small pint size. Soak the label and remove it. Attach Christmas stickers around the bottle and tie on a ribbon.

Tag line: "Spring Water from the North Pole."

"I did this last year. It was a hit with neighbors, family, especially the small kids, friends and co-workers. It was fast, fun and cheap."

— Gloria Westover

Quick dessert for one

I recently got this recipe and I think it would make a great gift for a couple or a single person.

CHOCOLATE CAKE IN A MUG

1 microwaveable mug

4 tablespoons plain flour (not self-rising)

4 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons baking cocoa

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix these three ingredients together and put in a small plastic bag and place in mug.

3 tablespoons chocolate chips

Put the chips in a small separate bag in the mug.

Give a tag with these baking instructions:

Empty dry ingredients into the mug.

Add 1 egg and mix thoroughly.

Pour in 3 tablespoons milk,

3 tablespoons oil and mix well.

Add chocolate chips and a dash of vanilla and mix again.

Put mug in the microwave and cook 2 1/2 minutes. It is fun to watch it cook because the cake rises over the top of the mug. But don't worry, it doesn't run over. Allow to cool a little.Eat from the mug or tip out on a plate and slice.

— Eileen Roylance

The inn crowd

We saw this quote at Festival of the Trees and loved it. We gave a small manger scene to our neighbors with this thought on the back:

Are you part of the Inn Crowd or One of the Stable few?

—Karie Godfrey

Let it snow

We gave little snowmen ornaments with this thought attached:

All I needed to know about life I learned from a Snowman:

Each one of us is unique.

When snowflakes pull together, they can have a ball.

You are nothing without a creator.

It might take a few extra rolls to make a good mid-section.

We are all made up of mostly water.

It's OK to be a little bottom-heavy.

Stand firm when the heat is on and you will last longer.

Don't get too much sun.

Life is short, make memories today.

There's nothing better than a foul-weather friend.

Smiles are contagious.

The difference between a smile and a frown is a few lumps.

The key to life is to be a jolly, happy soul.

Even Frosty had a few bumpy bump bumps along the road.

Wearing white is always appropriate.

Some of your best friends are "flakes".

Snowmen fall unassembled. It's how you pull yourself together that counts.

Accessorize! Accessorize! Accessorize!

Wear warm mittens.

Give thanks to those sharing their mittens, scarves and hats.

Don't be afraid to put on a hat-it just might be magic.

It's fun to hang out in the front yard.

Let the good times roll!

— Karie Godfrey

Cookie exchange

Last year, we decided to end the "What to give" thing. We decided to have a ladies-only potluck dinner and cookie exchange. Ten of us enjoyed a variety of good food, lots of laughs and then we exchanged cookies to take home as a gift for each family.

We will be doing it again this year. In years past during the first week in December, I would go to my neighbor's home with a large roll of wrapping paper, tags and a roll of ribbon. They all seemed to enjoy this gift.

— Nancy Hadlow

Something savory

I do different goodies every year. I do small baskets and platters or dishes. I wrap them up in cello paper or plastic wrap, tie them with a bow and ribbons or decorations. Here is one of my favorite holiday recipes:

SHRIMP CHEESE PUFFS

3/4 cup water

6 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup sifted flour

3 eggs

Heat water and butter to boiling. Add flour all at once. Keep stirring until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Add eggs one at a time.

Beat in each egg. Drop tablespoons on ungreased cookie sheet until puffed brown and dry. Cool. Cut in half. Fill with filling.

Filling:

1 can shrimp

8 ounce package cream cheese

1 tablespoon finely chopped celery

1/4 cup evaporated milk

Mix together. Fill in puffs. Refrigerate until served.

— Margaret Ponce

Going local

Those who want to "buy local" this year don't have to give up gourmet goodies. You can find products in every price range, from the inexpensive to the fancy-schmancy foods that usually say "imported." Here are just a few examples. To find more local companies and food products, check www.Utahsown.org and www.localfirst.org.

Lisa's Passion for Popcorn, 37 N. Main, Kaysville offers more than 80 flavors of popcorn, popped and mixed right behind the counter. Prices range from $1.50 for a 1.5-ounce bag of seasoned popcorn, to the chocolate-and-nut "Simply Passionate" line that's $6.50 per 4.5-ounce bag.

That includes popcorn covered in white chocolate, studded with cashews, and then drizzled with milk chocolate.

The colorful holiday mix is the most popular for Christmas gifts. It contains cherry, spiced apple and vanilla flavors.

For a savory gift, you can try Cajun or red pepper flavors (the latter carries a warning that it's "hot! hot! hot!"). Lisa Call's products are also at Thanksgiving Point, the Primary Children's Medical Center cafeteria, some gift shops and at passionforpopcorn.com.

Creminelli Fine Meats, Springville, has garnered acclaim since its founder, Cristiano Creminelli, moved here from Italy in 2007. His black truffle salami garnered a nomination for the 2008 Fancy Food Show's Outstanding New Product Award. Among his offerings of European-style sausages and salami, Creminelli is offering a limited supply of white truffle salami for the holiday season.

An 8-to-9-ounce piece, cased in a wooden gift box, is $59.95 at Tony Caputo's Market in Salt Lake City or at www.Creminelli.com.

Beehive Cheese, 2440 E. 6600 South, Uintah, offers a "local" gift box that includes two 7- to 8-ounce packages of Promontory Cheddar and Apple Walnut Smoked artisan cheeses, a package of RUSK whole-grain crackers that are made with spelt flour, flax, and Santaquin cherries; a jar of the company's Wild Flower honey, a six-pack of Chocolot artisan chocolates and a jar of Pepperlane jalapeno preserves made by Michelle Trover of Wanship, for $51.

It's available at the company store in Uintah or online at www.beehivecheese.com.

Nonfood food gifts

Cooking classes:Check our What's Cooking column here in the Food section for a list of local class venues and prices.

Benihana, 165 S. West Temple, offers a Be the Chef holiday gift package. Recipients are transformed into steak-flipping, knife-wielding hibachi chefs, preparing dinner for family and friends under the watchful eye of a Benihana master chef. The $140 price includes a chef hat and apron, photo, dinner for four and gratuity (322-2421).

Restaurant gift certificate: This is a double gift — you're also helping your favorite restaurants stay in business. And some give back to you as well. For instance, the Utah-based Costa Vida chain gives a $5 gift card for every $30 gift card purchased. With the Sweet Tomatoes chain, every $100 spent on gift cards qualifies for a free meal card. Check newspaper ads and restaurant Web sites to see if your favorite restaurants are offering any gift card specials.

The Healthy Habits Plate, designed by Amy Roskelley, Lehi, helps teach kids to eat right.

The colorful plate is divided into sections for fruits, vegetables, breads, meat and milk products arranged in correct portions for kids. Kids can see what they should eat, and how much, for a balanced meal.

Roskelley, a health education graduate and mom, wanted to help her "picky" kids eat better. The dishwasher-safe plate is $4.99 at www.superhealthykids.com/products.htm.

The "Emergency Food in a Nutshell" DVD offers three 40-minute food storage classes from Utahn Leslie Probert.

The classes, filmed at the Orson Gygi demonstration kitchen, tells what to store, where to store it, buying tips and shelf-life guidelines; how to cook from your supplies, and how to safely store and use the six most common fuels. There's also a bonus section on how to convert your favorite recipes into food storage meals. It's $16.95 at Deseret Book, BYU Bookstore and Grandma's Country Foods. To see a DVD clip, check www.emergencyfoodinanutshell.blogspot.com.

"The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook," by Devin Alexander (Rodale, $21.95), will help that perpetual dieter get a jump on the post-holiday pudge.

Based on the NBC reality series, this latest edition is more budget-friendly. Although contestants' quotes and tips are sprinkled throughout the book, they didn't contribute recipes.

E-mail: vphillips@desnews.com