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figs

Easy Homemade Edible Gifts

Homemade gifts are the one’s worth the most, especially for those you hold closest in your life. At least, that’s how it’s always been in my family. The first year my little hands could grasp a Crayola crayon, my mom put me straight to work, creating and decorating homemade cards for my dad, teachers and various family members. As I grew older, my construction-papered cards only became more elaborate, equipped with pop-ups and poems, many of which my mom still has tucked away somewhere in the basement.

In terms of gift-giving, each time a holiday or birthday celebration rolls around, it’s the homemade cards my parents look forward to the most. This explains why every holiday season I still continue to sift through all the markers at my parent’s house till I find the lone few that haven’t dried up. Once I successfully find at least two other colors than brown, I quickly get to work on crafting last minute cards for the two people I love the most. They may end up getting cards made from brown-colored paper, but if they’re lucky, I’ll have found a scented marker to save the day. Each carefully chosen word will emanate of pine needles or marshmallows, a surprise that only adds to the poetry.

While I can’t give every loved one in my life a pine-needle smelling card, I do love to give away edible gifts. As long as you abide by others’ allergies, this type of gift has a guaranteed usability.  That shirt you thought was cute but never see your friend wearing? Salvation Army. Those cookies you made her? In her tummy.We all love a good treat.

Below are few alternative homemade gift ideas, including the figs I posted yesterday, that make great accompaniments or gifts all on their own.

Chocolate Covered Figs

Chocolate Covered Candy Canes – Simply dip candy canes in whatever kind of chocolate your recipient likes best!

  • Homemade Granola – Wrap in single-serve cereal portions, or fill a glass jar and wrap it with a ribbon.
  • Spiced Nuts with Cranberries – A guaranteed winner for all your nutty lovin’ friends
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread – If you’ll be able to give your gift away within a day or two, this is a must make. It just might be my all-time favorite bread, and certainly my favorite banana bread.
  • Holiday Almond Balls – Everyone gives away cookies. But these aren’t technically a cookie, nor are they just another holiday treat. Buttery and oh so addicting, these festive, sugar-powdered holiday balls are a real treat and freeze well too if made in advance.
  • Chickpea Olive Tapenade – This one should be given away relatively soon after being made as well, but a healthy treat for after the holiday gatherings die down is always much appreciated. If nothing else, friends and family can serve your gift at their next celebration.

Chocolate Covered Figs

Homemade gifts are the most exciting to give and also the most enriching to receive. The time and thought put into a gift are what make it valuable, which is why homemade versions are particularly striking. Throw a little holiday music on, and they can be a pleasure to make as well. This is even more-so true for the edible ones that involve lots and lots of taste-testing. Sampling, of course, is a must in order to triple check that the gift turns out just right for the intended recipient. At least that’s what I like to tell myself.

If you’re not the biggest fan of getting crafty in the name of gift-giving but still want to go the homemade route, these Chocolate Covered Figs are for you. They involve just three ingredients and less than a handful of steps. Plus, they’re cute and figlicious. No gift receipt needed for this one.

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Fresh Figs

You can not believe how ecstatic I was when I found out my friend’s parents had a fig tree growing in their backyard. I knew figs grew rampantly oceans away in the Mediterranean, and maybe even just states away in California, but I had no idea the maroonish, soft spheres could be found ripening here in the East Coast.

I got even more excited once I found out my friend was taking me on a trip to this illustrious tree. Possibly more excited than the new Feist album. Have you heard it? It’s glorious. Feist and Figs obviously go hand in hand and make a phenomenal duo…(Speaking of orgasmic duos…have you seen this article about “Yogasms?” It’s slightly hilarious.)

Anyways, I’m not sure anything’s more delicious than a fresh fig. It’s something about their smooth, seedy texture that gets me. Or maybe it’s just that I probably consume little more than 5-10 figs a year. The bite-sized pieces of fruit are over $1 a piece at most stores that carry them! Luckily, poor college kids can still go home to visit their parents, and this one was eating a meal full of figs while she was there.

However, if there aren’t any fresh fig trees in your near future, buying a carton is definitely worth at least a one-time splurge. Plus, figs are loaded with fiber, calcium,  manganese and potassium. So that splurge is a healthy one. Forget cupcakes or french fries. Figs are where it’s at in the fall.