Appetite for life: Christmas food gifts

I can hardly believe that another holiday season is upon us. While some of my holiday gift shopping is already done, I still have a lot to do. I’ve been contemplating what to get my friends this year. None of my friends “need” anything, and I just can’t bring myself to give them yesterday another bath product basket or candle wrapped in pretty cellophane. I want to give everyone something more personal that’s from the heart.
My heart is in the kitchen. It’s where I retreat after a long day at work, it’s where I’m starting to teach my son to cook and it’s where I can recreate memories of family holidays from when I was a child. So, it makes perfect sense to me that I make gifts of food to give to my loved ones this year.
I’ve been pouring over cookbooks, magazines and websites, trying to find new and tasty treats to create and pass along. Below is a recipe I found in Dotty Griffith’s “Texas Holiday Cookbook.” This has become a resource I go to every year for new ideas and old favorites. I rarely pay much attention to the food gift section, but it’s where I’m getting inspiration this year. This Texas Trash makes a great gift that everyone loves and can enjoy for up to a month after it’s made. It’s a perfect snack to finish the football season.


Texas Trash

1 (15-oz) package round oat cereal
1 (12-oz) package crispy waffle rice cereal
1 (12-oz) package crispy waffle corn cereal
1 (9-oz) package pretzel sticks
2 cups pecan halves
1 cup cashews
2 cups peanuts
2 cups (4 sticks) butter
½ – ¾ cup Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
3 t garlic salt, or to taste
1-2 t red pepper sauce, optional

• In large bowl, toss together cereals, pretzels, and nuts.
• Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place butter in a large roasting pan with sides. Melt butter in oven. When butter melts, remove from pan and stir in Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and red pepper sauce, if desired.
• Stir cereal mixture into melted butter, tossing to coat each piece. Place in oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until cereal is golden brown and crisp.
• Store in airtight container for 30 days.
Makes 3 to 3 ½ quarts.

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