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Make & Bake Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Santa’s on his way… and everyone’s out on the road! You’re thinking you have to run out and buy those last minute gifts… nah!  Here’s what you do… 1st put on a little music…doesn’t have to be Christmas music but it can…I’m listening to Frank… he makes a lot better, gets me in a good mood. I love my home…it’s cozy, warm and I have an awesome stereo system. I don’t want to brave it out there with everyone else. So for me my last minute gift ideas are ones that require some love and that’s it. To me those are the best kind of gifts to give and receive…

Christmas Cookies!  Good for any age, anywhere… cookies make you smile! This year I’ve been hitting everything with Maldon Sea Salt.  My chocolate chip cookies are taken to new heights, making the chocolate more chocolate-y and giving every bite a little more oommfff! (recipe below)


Struffoli!  In every Italian American home there is always a big pile of Struffoli sitting out… don’t know what it is?  It’s delicious and easy to make! They are marble-sized fried dough balls that are drizzled with honey, salted almonds and pretty sprinkles. You know who’s gonna love them?! EVERYBODY! The best part about this recipe or any one you make is that you can get your family involved and set out to make a giant batch so you can pass them out as gifts. Make this part of your Holiday traditions. (check out how easy it is to make Struffoli-watch the video below)

Tomato Sauce!  I’m a big fan of making my own. It’s so easy to do and you can make big batches of it and stick in the freezer.  You can use it for any night of the week to make a special dinner.  I love to make Spaghetti Gift Kits to give out.  Make your sauce, place it in a container, wrap up your spaghetti, buy a hunk of nice Parmigiana Cheese and Viola… instant gift!  Watch the expression when you hand this out! (check out how easy it is to make Sauce-watch the video below)

Create Unexpected Joy!  Buy a gift for a stranger, pay some one else’s check at a restaurant, add a few dollars to a Christmas card and hand it out to someone you think might need it. Too often in my life I have been the recipient of many random acts of kindness from friends and strangers. I know the feeling of receiving help even when I didn’t ask for it but needed it most. Christmas is about giving freely and with your heart to those who may not have all the comforts we do… I like to buy white socks in bulk and wrap them up individually. I add a Christmas card that simply says…

Merry Christmas… You are loved. XOXO

Everyone deserves to hear this message of love… I’m lucky I hear it often and have vowed to spread the word!

On Dec 24th before I go to bed I set out a plate of cookies and a cup of coffee with milk and sugar because I know that Santa IS on his way. I sleep peacefully and am full of gratitude for all the gifts I already have… I believe with all my heart that there is a Santa and he does bring gifts and good cheer and his message of love and gratitude lives in all of our hearts. How do I know this?  Because every morning on Dec 25th I wake up and the cookies have been eaten and the coffee is half gone, there are presents under the tree, and I can swear that during my sleep I heard a spoon quietly being stirred around and the sound of a hearty laugh… THAT’S HOW I KNOW!




1 cup soft butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar packed

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2.5 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 or 3 cups chocolate chips

(depends how much you want?!)

preheat oven to 350 degrees F

add sugars, butter, vanilla & eggs together..mix well in a standing mixer

mix together flour, baking powder & soda

slowly incorporate everything to mixer…

add chips last.

use an icecream scoop to scoop out the dough onto a baking sheet

bake for about 12-14 minutes…pull cookies out when they’re a little soft in the center

hit cookies with a nice sprinkling of Maldon Sea Salt

Let them cool!




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