Easy Hostess Gifts and Gingerbread House Tips


I’m thankful I don’t have to host Thanksgiving this year, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be whipping up a gift for the hardworking host.  I think a homemade treat is the best way to return the favor for all the effort a host puts into pulling off the most famous meal of the year.  Not until I hosted my first Thanksgiving a few years ago did I know the amount of time, effort and money that goes into it!  Need an easy holiday-themed recipe for your host this year?  Try my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe below.  They’re kid, colleague and family approved!

Call me an early bird, but after making these festive cookies I can’t help but start thinking about other upcoming holiday foodie traditions. For example, we’ve noticed that the food blogging world is already buzzing about gingerbread houses, and Christmas is still a month and a half away! Or should I say, Christmas is only a month and a half away? At any rate, gingerbread houses can also be a great host/hostess gift, especially for families. One fellow Sac Foodie has a family tradition of making gingerbread houses and bags of frosting and candy for her neighbors every year – it’s the gift that keeps on giving! Below are a few gingerbread happenings/tips/tools for you to explore as those holiday-planning wheels start turning . . .

Not sure where to start? Try EHow’s Guide to Making a Gingerbread House.

Ready to give it a go but wondering where to purchase a gingerbread house mold? Try Target or The Kitchen Store.

Now that you’ve crafted the perfect gingerbread house, see how yours compares by checking out the gingerbread house display in Old Sacramento this year.

Think you are ready to enter the competition? Take the whole family to the 5th Annual Gingerbread House Building and Decorating Party on December 16th at the Antique Mall in Sacramento.

If you aren’t ready to make your own gingerbread house but think gingerbread cookies might be more your style, you might want to try class at the East Bay Restaurant Culinary Center  in Sacramento on November 29th. You will learn baking and decorating tips to make festive gingerbread cookies and more in just one hour! Call 916-440-0623 for reservations.

Have another tip or a great host/hostess gift?  Please share.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 cup pumpkin
1 cup sugar
½ cup oil
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup nuts (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine pumpkin, sugar, oil and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In small bowl, dissolve baking soda in milk. Stir into batter and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips, nuts and vanilla. With spoon, drop batter onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Makes 5 dozen cookies.

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