When you give a gift of a sweet treat or a home-cooked meal, what you're really giving is the gift of time. And, as we get older, we know there's nothing more precious.

We're giving someone a dinner without a lot of work or a quiet moment to savor a cookie.

I thought this meal would be a wonderful gift for a small family. Wouldn't it be great to show up with dinner already made so a hard-working mom (or dad) can take a break and simply enjoy some table time?

What a meal: Home-cooked spicy marinara, stuffed shells and shortbread cookies

Many of my ingredients came from the local farmers market, butcher and spice company, which keeps local dollars at home — a gift to our local entrepreneurs. And, because everything is so fresh, it enhances the flavors of these dishes. You could deliver them cooked and ready to eat, or let your recipients know they can be frozen for a later date.

I hope a little gift like this shows up at your door. Happy holidays!