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I like to give gifts and, as far as I know, people like to receive them. This, however, can get quite expensive. Good alternatives are homemade gifts. Many wonderful gifts can be made quickly at home. So turn to your kitchen next time you feel giving.
In just a short amount of time you can make great gifts from your kitchen that will please anyone. Food gifts, of course, are always a hit and most everyone loves nuts. Add in a bit of sugar and spice and you have a super gift. Instant cappuccino is always a favorite, too.
For women, you can't miss with perfumed bath salts. Someone gave me homemade bath salts one year for Christmas and they were great. Now I make my own instead of paying high prices at the store.
Once you make your gift, don't forget to dress up it up with pretty packaging. A decorative jar with ribbon for the bath salts is a nice touch. Even better if you match it to the recipient's bathroom décor. Depending on whom you are giving the nuts to, you can choose a fancy bag with a ribbon tie, decorative box or a nice jar. Be creative. Package the cappuccino mix in a nice mug with mixing instructions. I think you will find that it is well worth the effort. Nothing says how much you care like a homemade gift. Here are a few of recipes to get you started.
2 sticks (1/2 lb.) butter
4 c. halved pecans or walnuts
3 c. 10x sugar
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. ground cloves
2 Tbsp. freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of freshly grated
In a deep heavy skillet, melt butter. Stir in halved
pecans or walnuts. Cook the nuts over low heat, stirring
frequently for 20 minutes or until nuts are heated through and
lightly browned. Into a paper bag, sift together 10x sugar,
cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and vanilla. Remove nuts from skillet
with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add them to the
spiced sugar and toss until generously coated. Then turn them
into a colander and shake gently to remove any excess sugar.
Spread the spiced nuts on paper towels to dry.
1 cup coffee creamer -- powdered
1 cup chocolate milk mix -- powdered
2/3 cup instant coffee granules
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Combine all ingredients, mix well. Store in an airtight container.
To serve, place 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon mix in a cup. Add
1 cup boiling water, stir well.
Essential oil, any scent such as Rose, Almond or Lavender
Glass Jar or bottle
What You Do:
Place 1 cup of Epsom salts in a Ziploc bag, add 2 drops of essential oil and food coloring drops to reach the color you would like.
Pour into bottle/jar.
It is best to make the bath salts ahead of time to let the perfume really set. Essential oils can be purchased at health food stores, groceries such as Whole Foods or from online sources such as www.essentialoil.com.
Cooking Term of the Week
Zest -Outermost layer of citrus skin typically removed with citrus zester to create thin strips. Only colored portion of skin (not white pith) is considered the zest. The aromatic oils in citrus skin add considerable flavor to food.
Cool Website of the Week
This week I'd like to take you to The Culinary Café. This is a really neat site. They have lots of recipes from appetizers to vegetarian. If you can't find a recipe you can visit the bulletin board and post a request. Someone, somewhere has what you are looking for.
Now go open your spice cabinet,,, go on I'll wait. So, how many of those spices do you use? Do you even know what they are used for? If not, this site has a Spice Encyclopedia that will show you how those spices are used. Your cooking will never be the same!
The highlight of this site is the instructional videos. They show you from ingredients to presentation how to prepare several dishes. However it is helpful to have at least a 56K connection to get the full effect of the video without being jerky. Sometimes it just helps to watch someone else make the item first. And well, it is just really cool!!
Check out The Culinary Café at www.culinarycafe.com.