Yes, I actually had to produce *another* gift this week - this time for my dad's birthday. His birthday is on Tuesday, however we had his birthday dinner today so I had to produce the gift by then! Let me admit that I did not give myself quite the amount of advance preparation time that I should have. I was still scrambling around coming up with a "wrapping/gift presentation" plan a few minutes before my dad was due to arrive (thankfully, he was a bit later than expected, so I pulled it off with time to spare).
The small, thin package on the bottom is a Vivaldi CD (one of the get-12-for-the-price-of-one deal when I recently rejoined Columbia House). My dad really enjoys classical music but doesn't own much (I think my mom-who passed away last year- overran their music collection with country selections, and I don't think she liked classical much, so it's about time my dad had some of his own stuff!) On top is a package of Candied Peanuts (which my dad LOVES). The peanuts are in a clear milk bag trimmed up nicely and tied off with some ribbon. I then lined a 28 oz tin can with (reused) tissue paper and wrapped the tissue paper over and around the outside to cover the can. I then placed the bag of peanuts inside, and wrapped the whole peanuts-and-CD shebang with clear cellophane and more ribbon. Turned out pretty well, considering as how I spent about 3 1/2 minutes coming up with a wrapping plan!
[Side note re: tissue paper - I've found that you can return really-crumpled looking paper to crisp, virtually-new looking by giving it a quick ironing (careful not to get the heat too high!)]
The Candied Peanuts are one of my tried-and-true, loved-by-everyone (except those with peanut allergies!) gifts. They are also incredibly easy and quick to make, and I always have the ingredients on hand. This one's saved my skin as a last minute gift *many* times!
The recipe I use is from a tiny self-published book called Nifty Nibbles. I don't want to post copyrighted material here, so here's one that's quite similar (from goodearthpeanuts.com) - my recipe calls for some butter and no water:
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups peanuts
1. Bring 2 tablespoons water and 1/4 cup sugar to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat.2. Add the peanuts and stir often until water evaporates. Continue stirring until the sugar begins to harden on the nuts. When the sugar on the nuts begins to turn light brown, pour them onto a plate to cool. Be careful not to cook the nuts too long or the sugar will burn.