Monday, November 21, 2016

Four Homemade Holiday Gifts that aren't Cookies

The cooling temperatures this past week have really amped my brain up for the holidays with a certain urgency. The warm November tricked me into thinking I had more time. However, Christmas will be here before we know it! So I spent the weekend preparing little gifts so I don't have to think about it too much in December during crunch time.

I so enjoy giving my family gifts. I think all year about what to give my kids on Christmas morning, and think about what to get my in-laws and best of friends. However, there are a lot of people on my list that I just can't spend a lot of money on or spend hours trying to find the perfect gift. Teachers, mailmen, real estate agents, piano teachers, dentists, doctors, etc. However, these people are part of our lives and I hope to show them they are appreciated.

I love making Christmas cookies....and I will be making and distributing lots this year as always! Sometimes, though, I like to have some non cookie gifts to give. One can only eat so many cookies (because most people don't have the same cookie capacity as me, as well as my lack on diminishing returns on food). These are cute, easy, inexpensive gifts that I hope anyone would like to get. I know I would!

Oh, and if you are one of the fore-mentioned people, sorry for the spoiler. This is what you're getting for Christmas.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I've done a tutorial on how easy it is to make homemade Vanilla extract in large quantities (because those little containers only give you a couple of recipes worth!). All you need are vanilla beans and vodka. Cheap vodka, at that! I've been saving tonic water bottles since summer when I was on my gin-and-tonic kick. I removed the labels and cleaned the jars.

I slit one vanilla pod (I use these Whole Madagascar Vanilla Beans from Amazon and love them) and place it int he jar. Fill the jar with Vodka. An address label with a note of love and a cute little decoration and these are good to go! Plus, look how gorgeous they look sitting on my kitchen window steeping.

This is one you have to start ahead. The extract should sit for about a month before gifting it.

Sugar Scrubs

These are pretty popular DIY gifts and for good reason. They are cheap, practical, and a nice little treat for somebody who probably doesn't buy or make this kind of stuff for themselves.

All you really need is sugar, brown or white, oil (I use coconut oil, but you can use olive, grapeseed, etc.), and any additions you want. I made one with brown sugar and coffee, and another with lavendar and vanilla (from my Vanilla pods, of course!). Put them in cute jars, add a label, a little decoration, and there's another little gift down!

Side note: Check out the dollar section at Target for cute jars and decorations for your DIY gifts. Then look at the rest of Target for everything else you need. And don't need. And will wonder why you bought later.

Unique Candle Decorations

This one is great for the kids. They can give them to grandparents, teachers, coaches, aunts and uncles, etc. I used this tutorial from Baby First Blog. All you need is white pillar candles, tissue paper, wax paper, permanent markers, and a hair dryer.

I also found these cute tags that the kids can color and sign to give as gifts. Taking personal touch to a whole new level!

Homemade Breadcrumbs/Meatball mix

This one I came up with just today. I am always saving bread ends, crusts from sandwiches, stale parts, etc. and make them into breadcrumbs every once in a while. I use breadcrumbs to make meatballs and meatloaf. I'm making a kitchen basket for my stepson and his girlfriend and I thought it'd be fun to include these homemade seasoned breadcrumbs for making meatballs.

This is my approximate recipe:

Seasoned Breadcrumbs for Meatballs or Meatloaf

Makes two jars or "recipes"

4 cups breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. oregano
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Blend together and place into jars. Freeze. Due to the cheese and the fresh breadcrumbs, this needs to be kept in the freezer. If you had dry breadcrumbs and left out the cheese, it can be shelf stable, You'll just have to add the cheese to the recipe. On the label, I wrote;

Meatball Recipe:
 - I jar breadcrumbs
 - 1 lb ground beef
 - 1 egg
 - 2 Tbsp. ketchup

350 degrees 20-30 minutes. I assume the maker will know the time to bake will depend on the size of the meatballs. If you don't think they will, be more specific in your instructions. For example, say "Make golf-ball sized meatballs and bake in the oven for  25 minutes."

Happy gift giving!!

1 comment:

  1. I love these ideas! Pinned them for later! Meatball mix? Genius.