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When it comes to sharing my love for others, I’m a gift-giver through and through. Nothing says thank-you, get-well-soon, or I-love-you more than a thoughtful gift given sincerely. If I can find an excuse to give someone a gift (birthday, special celebration, or even “just because”), I jump at the chance! When the holidays roll around, I begin my shopping weeks in advance simply because I just can’t wait to get out there and find that perfect gift for that special someone.
What can I say? It’s in my blood. I was raised by two very generous parents who would (and still will) bend over backwards to meet my every need. They’re always willing to give of their time, energy, and resources to show someone—including myself—genuine love. Their example of generosity both inspires and motivates me to give more of myself and what I have to others.
That’s probably what I love most about the holiday season. The colorful lights and decorations are lovely, the fully laden tables of food are mouthwatering, but it’s that overarching spirit of giving that makes the season so magical.
This week’s theme of A Gluten-Free Holiday Celebration is Gifts of Good Taste hosted by Alta at Tasty Eats at Home. Of all the gifts to give or receive, the edible ones are my very favorite. Because I strive to cook healthfully all year round, including through the holidays, it’s always fun for me to come up with creative and nutritious twists on holiday food gifts.
This year, I decided to cut the sugar and butter (or other added fat) from traditional spiced nuts and take them in a healthier direction with pure maple syrup. Addictively delicious, these pecans—when packaged up with some pretty ribbon and a gift tag—are the perfect gift for hostesses, teachers, coaches, neighbors, or guests.
Whatever you’re sharing this season—whether it’s appreciation, love, or just a little flicker of kindness—nothing will say it better than a handmade gift from the heart.
Spiced Maple Pecans – makes about 2 cups, but recipe can easily be doubled or tripled
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs. dark maple syrup
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. coriander
2 cups raw pecans
Fleur de sel or coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rub a rimmed baking sheet with the olive oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the syrup, cinnamon, chili powder, and coriander. Stir in pecans until evenly coated with the spiced syrup. Arrange pecans in an even layer on the oiled baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with fleur de sel or salt to taste while the nuts are still warm. Cool completely on pan before removing. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. (They may very well last longer, but I usually eat them up before I’m able to test out a longer shelf life!)
What gifts of good taste do you share with those you love through the holidays?