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Give carotene if you care.

As I glance about my house, I see countless reminders of Christmas past--an old-fashioned tin container here; there a beautiful basket that once held fruits and cheeses. In my cupboards are numerous glass jars of all descriptions now filled with lentils, beans, nuts and seeds, all serving a useful purpose long after they arrived filled with special gifts from friends and relatives.

Each container still reminds me of the giver. At the time I received them, each meant much more to me than had I been offered some expensive store-bought item. You can't put a price on the love, time and thoughtfulness that come with a gift of homemade food.

Over the years I have assembled an array of my own gift recipes. They aren't the traditional candies and cookies. I wouldn't want to be responsible for spreading cavities or adding extra pounds to the families of my friends and relatives.

One of my favorite gifts is marinated carrots. Everyone who has tried them knows they're worth their weight in gold--what a unique and wonderful flavor!

Unbaked Fruit and Nut Balls and Apricot-Pineapple Bread are wholesome treats you can't find the likes of in any store or bakery.

Almost everybody is eating salads these days to stay thin, but grocery-store-variety salad dressings can be high in calories.

Here is a light dressing recipe my friends really like. Packaged in an attractive cruet, it can make a unique, useful gift.

Instead of giving that bottle of whiskey this year, try making Francine Prince' Old English Mulled Punch from page 23 of this issue. Put it in a glass decanter with a bright ribbon and know that you'll be giving them a healthful toast.

Think about it a bit, and you may realize that some of your own recipes would make wonderful presents, too.

Merry Carotene (marinated carrots) (Makes 8 servings) 2 pounds carrots, cooked (do not overcook) 1 medium bell pepper, sliced or slivered raw 1 medium onion, sliced 1 can tomato soup 1-1/2 teaspoons hot Tabasco 1/4 cup oil 1/2 cup honey 3/4 cup apple-cider vinegar 1 teaspoon dry mustard (or can use prepared mustard)

Whip all marinade ingredients well. Drop onion and pepper slices into marinade. Pour marinade over drained, slightly cooked and sliced carrots. Place in refrigerator. Store and chill for 8-12 hours before serving. Will keep up to three weeks in refrigerator (if you can keep them that long). Suggestions for gift-giving: Fill pint jars with these, top with lid. Type or print gummed label for side of jar identifying these as "Merry Carotene" carrots--must be refrigerated. You could also fit the jar into a basket. Wrap, tag and give to someone who appreciates something tangy. Makes a lovely hostess gift if you are going to a party.

Apricot-Pineapple Bread (Makes 2 loaves) 1 cup dried apricots 1-3/4 cups water 2 cups oat flour 1-1/4 cups rice flour 1/4 cup soy flour 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk 3 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 3 eggs, beaten 1 cup honey 1/4 cup vegetable oil Remaining liquid from apricots 1/2 cup crushed, unsweetened pineapple with some juice Chopped apricots

Cover apricots with water in saucepan, simmer fruit until it is tender but still has body. Cool. Sift all dry ingredients into mixing bowl. Beat eggs well and add honey, oil and apricot liquid. Stir in crushed pineapple and blend well. Add this to the dry ingredients and combine until moistened. Now add the chopped apricots, folding in and distributing through the batter. Oil two 3-1/2" x 7-1/2" loaf pans and divide the batter between them. Bake in a moderate 350[deg.]F. oven for approximately 30 minutes. Watch carefully, because this bread browns quickly. If you use glass pans, reduce heat to 325[deg.]F.

Suggestions for gift-giving: A basket a little larger than the bread, lined with a large paper napkin. Wrap bread in see-through wrap. Tie with ribbon and tag. Makes two gifts.

Fruit and Nut Nibbles (Makes 8 cups) 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts 1/2 cup sliced almonds 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 cup safflower oil 1/4 cup honey 2 tablespoons water 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots 1/2 cup coarsely chopped prunes 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried apples 1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 300[deg.]F. In a large bowl combine oats, walnuts, almonds, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Add safflower oil, honey and water; stir until moistened. Pour into an oiled jelly-roll pan. Bake until golden (about 30 minutes) and stir occasionally. Set aside to cool. Stir in apricots, prunes, apples and raisins. These should be refrigerated until you give them away (if they last that long!).

Suggestions for gift-giving: Line an attractive tin with wax paper, add the nibble mix, fold the paper over to cover and put on the lid. Wrap the tin in clear cellophane paper, tie with a bow or length of narrow lace ribbon and add a thoughtful, written note on a tag. These could also be given in glass jars.

Sesame Seed Squares (Makes 1-1-1/2 dozen) 1/2 cup honey 1/2 cup peanut butter 1 cup powdered nonfat milk 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut 1 cup sesame seeds

Heat honey and peanut butter slightly over very low heat for ease of mixing. Add powdered milk, coconut and sesame seeds. Mix well and pat into oiled 9"-square pan. Place in refrigerator to set. Cut in squares (approximately 60 calories per square with 4 grams of good-quality protein per square). Absolutely delicious!

Suggestions for gift-giving: Choose a pretty plate for these tasty squares, wrap with clear cellophane paper, Saran Wrap or one of the plastic see-through wraps, tie with a bright ribbon and add nametag.

Unbaked Fruit and Nut Balls (Makes 6 servings) 1 cup pitted dates 1 cup pitted prunes 1 cup seedless golden raisins 1 cup walnuts or almonds, chopped 1 cup shredded coconut 1/2 cup honey

Grind (or chop fine) all ingredients and mix thoroughly with honey. Shape into balls. Store in refrigerator several days before giving.

Suggestions for gift-giving: Line a decorative tin with wax paper, drop balls onto paper; for second layer, add more wax paper. Cover with lid. Wrap and give to someone with a sweet tooth.

Sherry French Dressing (Makes 5 cups) 1 egg 1 teaspoon honey 1/4 teaspoon Lite salt 4 cups salad oil (half olive oil makes it still better) 1/2 cup vinegar 1/2 cup sherry 1 clove garlic

Mix egg, honey and salt together; add oil and vinegar alternately until all the oil is added, then drip the sherry in slowly. Add garlic button, just barely crushed, and store in Mason jars in refrigerator.

Suggestions for gift-giving: Type or print gummed label for side of jar or fancy cruet identifying this as Sherry French Dressing--must be refrigerated. Wrap, tag and give to a friend or relative who loves unusually tasty salad dressings.
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Hosier, Helen
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Dec 1, 1984
Previous Article:The Trapp Family Lodge: room at the inn.
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