Man, it’s been busy around here.
I was approached a couple weeks ago by an executive at Goodwill Industries of SW Washington and Oregon and asked if I’d be interested in helping her with an upcoming project. She needed to curate items for a couple three minute TV segments about decorating for the holidays and gift giving with Goodwill merchandise for a local television channel (KPTV Fox 12, MORE Good Day Oregon).
Dale (a former newscast reporter herself) is a reader of my blog and so she knows from my all my mentions of Goodwill that I’m a huge fan of their thrift stores here. Every holiday she does various media appearances involving her company and she had a question for me.
Would I like to help out with these two aired segments?
I loved the idea, and pitched her –and the producer at the station– about doing edible gifts for the holidays and then another segment on casual entertaining. What about that?
They said yes!
So the last three weeks have been a blur of shopping trips at various Goodwill stores, picking items that would work for either of the three quick segments and getting ready for the separate photo shoots.
Shopping with a mission in mind?
I was in heaven –and I found so many good things.
Here are just a few found things that were used for my Kids Cocoa Party earlier this week.
Everything but the food was from various GW stores I’ve been to — and I found a bevy of treats for all the youngsters.
I don’t know what I liked better — all the jars for my Vanilla Sugar Jars, the red bench, or all the brand-new hats and gloves for my cocoa recipients.
Yesterday we shot the segment about gift giving for the holidays at Dale’s house. We showed a lot of interesting items we’d found for some of the people in her life.
There was so much good stuff — cookbooks, vintage bowls, leather purses, and a brand new dress and wrap from Banana Republic.
We also found a spectacular leather jacket and a Nate Berkus tray with its price tag still attached.
And then it was on to me, and I talked about some of the food gifts I’m making for the holidays — and the interesting vessels I found for them at various Goodwill stores.
One of my favorite food items to come out of this spread were the Curried Cashews — a recipe I made up this week and one I foresee being in constant rotation around here.
When it comes to holiday food gifts, I know people love to drop off sweets of all sorts, but I love giving foods that solve a problem for the receiver — like what to make for dinner?
Take a look at these drop-off, oven-ready Macaroni and Four Cheese Casseroles.
I think it’s really lovely to receive a meal during this busy time, don’t you?
Last night two lucky families got this for dinner — and these great vintage Pyrex dishes — to keep.
Wouldn’t you be so happy to come home and find this on your doorstep?
I also love food gifts that are particularly decadent.
When was the last time you bought yourself jumbo whole cashews?
So the recipe really couldn’t be easier/faster to pull together, and when giving in modest amounts, this gift is affordable, too.
Let’s get started — but it won’t take long.
Take those gorgeous hunking nuts and put them on a parchment or wax covered cookie sheet.
You could buy cashew pieces or smaller cashews, but I think it’s worth a dollar or two more per batch to use these jumbo whole beauties.
They were gorgeous.
Now, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get some spices together.
I used curry, ginger, powdered garlic, smoked paprika, sesame seeds and salt.
I tossed the cashews first with a little vegetable oil (you could also use canola or even coconut) so the spices and sesame seeds stick to the nuts during the baking process.
At the last minute, I decide to amp up the color and flavor by adding in more turmeric to the nuts.
They roasted in the oven for about 15 minutes, and I stirred them gently half way through to ensure an even crispness.
Here’s what they looked like coming out of the oven.
They were amazing— a little spicy from the smoked paprika and dried ginger with lots of curried and garlic flavor happily poking through.
They’re perfect for cocktail hour or giving a punch of both flavor and crunch to my quinoa or rice bowls. Tandoori Chicken with Curried Cashews, anyone?
I couldn’t stop eating them.
I packaged them up before I could do more damage to my waistline.
Dale and the fantastic videographer Brad got these.
Isn’t that little red gingham retro-inspired Christmas tin adorable? I have to admit– that Goodwill treasure was hard to part with, but I know it’s going to someone who will also appreciate it.
I made lots of these containers for neighbors; I found tons of these pristine Oriental Trading rounds (with clear plastic tops) at the Cedar Mills Goodwill and they are just the right size for smaller gifts.
Other GW finds were also used to package up these tasty morsels.
The vintage tea towel and Christmas card box also paired so well with my edible gift.
And then I put the rest of the cashews in various glass containers I’d found there.
Look at this beautiful vintage glass Mason Jar.
When I found ten of these jars (all with glass lids) at this Beaverton store and put them in my cart, an older woman approached me. She said that they looked exactly like the ones her Mom had used for canning in the 1950’s.
It’s wonderful when you can avoid disposable packaging and give people not just a tasty treat, but a container they can re-use later.
It’s like giving an immediate pleasure first and then a problem solver for use later.
So thanks to Goodwill for allowing me to keep my finds (and I can’t wait to show you some of those and my Soup Swap and Kids Cocoa Party next week).
And in this sad, sad time with heartbreaking headlines, here’s to a little pre-holiday cheer.
And showering loved ones with some much needed TLC.
- 2½ pounds roasted cashews
- 1-2 Tbs. neutral cooking oil (or coconut)
- 2 Tbs. curry powder
- 1 tsp. dried ginger
- 1 tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. dried garlic powder
- 2 tsp. turmeric
- 1 Tbs. sesame seeds
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place cashews on wax paper or parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss with oil -- use just enough to make nuts slick but no more.
- Assemble all spices (except sesame seeds and salt) and then blend together with spoon so properly mixed.
- Toss nuts with spice mixture to evenly coat. Spread out on cookie sheet and sprinkle with sesame seeds and salt.
- Bake for fifteen minutes, stirring until halfway through.
- Let them come to room temperature before you put them in jars or containers.