The Season of Giving

It’s the season of giving! I’m sitting at my laptop still wearing my Christmas-themed flannel pajamas and fuzzy socks, listening to Bing Crosby crooning Christmas carols, on a chilly, early December morning.

Christmas PJs

I’m thinking about Christmas and making plans. I have so many ideas dancing around in my head… just like those proverbial sugarplums!

Then I had an epiphany. I’m going to dedicate the next few weeks of blog posts to: ‘Gift giving from the heart’. I love to give and receive homemade gifts. To me, homemade gifts are the best, because they are given with love straight from the heart. Not to diminish the value of store bought gifts, they also come from the heart, and take time and money to procure, but when I have the time and resources, I prefer giving homemade gifts.

Also, I will feature ways to ‘give back’ and ‘Pay it Forward’ for the next few weeks as well, like this Reverse Advent Basket, to help make it an Altruistic Season of Giving.

Reverse Advent Basket

Finally I will be giving a few gifts to my blog followers.

I’m a Young Living Essential Oils Distributor. I’ll be sharing some gift ideas incorporating essential oils, and also giving away some free essential oils samples.

So let’s get started, here’s the first gift idea:

Spiced Pecans…


The perfect combination of sweet and spicy! What makes these pecans, besides the combination of brown sugar, butter and spices, is the toasting of the pecans in a dry cast iron skillet before adding the rest of the ingredients. The toasted flavor really comes through. These are always a big hit when I make and/or give them as a gift.

Makes 1 lb.


1 16 oz. bag Pecan halves img_9174
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4-1/2 tsp ground Cumin (I use somewhere in the middle)
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper (maybe a pinch more, if you like a little heat)
1/2 tsp dried ground Orange Peel
(Combine above in a small bowl and set aside.)
4 TBS Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
2 TBS Light Brown Sugar
2 TBS Water


Toast pecans in a large cast iron skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant, 4-5 minutes, being sure to stir frequently to keep from scorching.

Add 4 TBS unsalted butter and stir until melted.

Add the spice mixture and stir to combine.

Add 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, and 2 TBS water to the pan.

Adjust heat to low, stirring frequently until the mixture thickens – about 5-7 minutes.


Pour the nuts out onto a parchment paper and cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to a 3 weeks.

If you’re giving them as a gift, place them in a jar or box of your choice. I had a cute little jar and some bright Christmasy red yarn on hand, so that’s what I used.img_9176





*recipe adapted from Alton Brown.