And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. Hebrews 13:16 (NL Bible)
Sharing with others is a very Biblical concept and shows our love to our community. This past week Tom and I had an occasion to see and feel this concept played out in the flesh. For the past several months Tom has been suffering with some health concerns. On Friday he went in the hospital to have a procedure, that we are very happy and blessed to say, has corrected the problem. While it was just an out-patient stay he is feeling the effects of anesthesia today.
And a very special family from church is providing us with supper. What a sweet blessing !!!
This got me thinking about ways I could be the same blessing to others. There are times when it is really nice to provide a whole meal but my focus today is on items that could be “whipped up” quickly and provide a special gift to say – Welcome to the Neighborhood, Thanks for Having us Over, Congratulations on the New Arrival, So Very Sorry for Your Loss, or just – Have a Happy Day. You get the idea !!!!
Several ideas come to mind – a loaf of fresh-baked (or from a store mix) bread. See my Best Quick Banana Bread Recipe here. I keep several varieties of boxed quick bread in the pantry for just such gifts. It is easy to use and makes a luscious gift. Wrapped in a pretty dish towel and a perky bow it says – I’m thinking about you !!! Or how about a jar of home-made salsa? Several years ago I made a batch of spicy salsa from produce that flourished in our garden. I gave almost all of it away to friends and family and I still have people ask – hey, when are you going to make salsa again? I could go on but…..
The idea is to make a list of a few things that you love to make and keep these supplies on hand for quick gifts.
I want to start your list today with a special recipe !!! We made and served the Cranberry and Cheddar cheese ball at our wedding. Tom loved it and several guests asked for the recipe.
Cheese Ball 3 Ways (adapted from Martha Stewart’s The New Classics)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 5 dashes hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Now the fun begins – choose which one you want or make all three flavors!! Add these combinations to your basic cheese ball.
CHEDDAR AND CRANBERRY:
- 8 ounces sharp orange/white cheddar cheese, finely shredded
- 2 tablespoons store-bought chutney
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
- Water crackers, for serving
ROQUEFORT AND WALNUT:
- 6 ounces Roquefort cheese
- 1 shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 teaspoons brandy (optional)
- 1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
- Vegetable chips (such as Terra Chips Sweets & Beets), for serving
GOAT CHEESE AND SCALLIONS:
- 8 ounces goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
- 1/3 cup fresh curly-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 English cucumber, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices, for serving
Put butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and pepper into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until combined. Divide equally among 3 medium bowls.
Stir cheddar cheese and chutney with base mixture in the first bowl. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Roll cheese ball in cranberries to coat before serving.
Stir blue cheese and shallot with base mixture in second bowl; add brandy, if desired. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 3 days; freeze up to 1 month. Roll in walnuts to coat before serving.
Stir goat cheese and scallions with base mixture in remaining bowl. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Roll in parsley to coat before serving.
This recipe makes a huge amount so I usually make the three different flavors of cheese ball then divide each of them in half. That gives you one ball of each flavor to freeze (it freezes well!) for gift giving. You can make your own combinations. Don’t like blue cheese and walnuts? How about pepper jack and pecans? Hate cheddar? Try Swiss cheese. Vehemently opposed to fruit and cheese combinations? Sun dried tomatoes would be just as festive as the cranberries. Serve with crackers or mixed veggies at room temperature and enjoy !!!
Stock up today on a few items to store in your Hospitality Pantry and you will be ready to be a blessing to someone else !!!!
What experiences have you had with giving or receiving food?
I know Tom and I, as recipients, can share what a blessing it is to receive such a loving and practical gift.