Weekly Bits: Treats For You & Yours

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Today is the last day of Hannukah, and Christmas is just a few days away! If you're caught up in the holiday bustle, this week's list of reader comments is here to help with suggestions on parties, cookies and homemade gifts. And when you're ready for a minute to yourself, indulge in a favorite comfort food with a better-for-you spin.

"I always make spinach dip and use some type of multigrain crackers. You can make finger sandwiches with turkey and whole wheat bread. It is not difficult to make healthy party foods. A couple of not-so-healthy foods mixed in with good foods is what I do." --Dolly, via Facebook page

"Tofu Alfredo Sauce -- replace the traditional heavy cream and butter with tofu!" --Stacey (check the "Comments" section of the post to see Stacey's posted recipe.)

"I like to keep the herbs whole (rosemary and basil work well) as it looks pretty. Blanch them in hot water for 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure to pat them dry or, even better, let them hang dry overnight as any remaining moisture can grow mold in your oil. Once your herbs are dry, fill each bottle one-quarter with herbs and three-quarters oil. I use an extra virgin olive oil. If you are using dry herbs, skip the first few steps and simply fill your jar or bottle, 1/4 herbs and 3/4 oil. The dried herbs may take a few weeks to infuse the oil with flavor so give them time to rest." --Katie

"My favorite is fruit leather. Easy to make with a dehydrator and tastes great." --Rae

"My parents gave me a food processor for Christmas last year, and I've taken to making my own peanut butter. Into the food processor, drop 1 cup of peanuts, a dash of kosher salt (to start) and pulse a few times. Then process until smooth and creamy (or your desired consistency) for a few minutes. If you like it saltier, sprinkle in a little more (keep in mind they've already been salted during commercial roasting). If you like it sweeter and/or smoother, drizzle in your favorite honey, tasting as you go -- watch your consistency!" --MyMomCallsMePeanut

"I'm wondering if it's better to use freshly squeezed orange juice or a store-bought one such as Simply Orange? Would the consistency change if either were used?" --Danielle

Toby's reply: I used some 100% orange juice I had in my fridge, but you could also squeeze your own. There is such a small amount used that it should not change the consistency.

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