Mini Homestead…In A Trailer Park

Learning to Live for the Future

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Posts Tagged ‘food gifts’

Homemade Food Gifts: The Cooks’ Gift

Posted by Shannon L. Buck on December 4, 2010


baked cookies

Image by roboppy via Flickr

(This is – I think 🙂 – the last article in the Homemade Food Gifts series being posted by me on the Frugal Recipes blog. I hope that you have all enjoyed the series.)

If you have taken the time to make the homemade vinegars, oils and butters that have been featured here on the Frugal Recipes blog as of late, then you have a great base for a cooks’ holiday gift. If you have made the dried herb gifts, you will be able to add them to this. All of these items, combined with some homemade baked goods, will make a great gift.

Place the a combination of these items in a large gift bag or basket.

You can add to this gift, if you have affordable ways of obtaining certain other items. For instance, why not add some homemade knitted or crocheted dish cloths to the gift. A dollar store will net you wooden cooking spoons and rubber spatulas, or even dish towels. I once found two large metal pots at a yard sale for .50 each. They were old, but looked almost new. A thrift shop may net you a hand grater for a quarter, or a couple of whisks. If you have been lucky enough to find such deals, create gifts with them.

Tips

  • Combine in a container. No need to wrap.
  • If you choose to use a basket, they can be found affordably at thrift shops.
  • I once found four large baskets at a yard sale for $1.00 each.

 

What food gifts do you give at the holidays? Please share with us in the comments below.

Shannon

 

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Homemade Food Gifts: Homemade Baked Goods

Posted by Shannon L. Buck on December 3, 2010


Fall Quick Bread

Image by whitneyinchicago via Flickr

(I am almost done posting the Homemade Food Gifts series here and on the Frugal Recipes blog. I hope that you are all enjoying it, and coming up with ideas for your holiday gift giving.)

The most frugal way to make these food items is from scratch. Admittedly, I often use boxed items when I am able to purchase them on sale, with a coupon. They can be pretty affordable just before and during the holidays. The trick to doing this in the most frugal manner possible is by figuring out whether it is cheaper to bake from scratch or a box when all factors are added in, or deducted. :) Be sure to factor in home preserved produce for the food items that have fruit as an ingredient.

Fill baskets with one or more of the following:

  • HM (Homemade) quick breads
  • Quick breads from a box: Lemon poppy seed, apple cinnamon, pumpkin and cinnamon swirl are all tasty options.
  • Brownies
  • HM pumpkin chocolate chip cookies or bars.
  • HM sugar cookies decorated with colored sugars or icings.
  • HM apple or zucchini bars with chocolate chips.
  • HM mints

Tips

  • To save money on electricity, I bake multiple items at once.
  • To save time, I mix up multiple batches at once in large bowls.
  • To save a few more pennies, when mixing up multiple batches I delete and egg or two.
  • To save more money, I use small or medium eggs – or large depending on what is on sale. You can use any size eggs in baking, even if large eggs are specifically called for. 1 small or medium egg = 1 large egg.
  • Use mini loaf pans, if possible.
  • Use mini decorative cake pans for breads, bars and cakes.

What homemade baked goods do you make to give as holiday gifts? Please share with us in the comments below.

Shannon

Posted in Food Gifts, Winter Holidays | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Homemade Food Gifts: Herbed Butters

Posted by Shannon L. Buck on December 2, 2010


Clarified butter at room temperature

Image via Wikipedia

(This was first posted to the Frugal Recipes blog this morning. I am sharing all of the gift making ideas from that blog with all of you. I hope you enjoy the posts.)

Purchase sweet butter in large packages, preferably on sale. Generic and store brand butter is fine. Use a coupon if you have one.

Herbed butters are simple to make, and can be made up to three months before the date they will be given as gifts. Simply freeze them in 1/2 or 1 pint canning jars, or other thick jars that have been saved and cleaned for this purpose. Be sure to sterilize the jars before using them for the butter.

Two days before you wish to give the gifts, take the butters out of the freezer and place them into the refrigerator. The next day, you will want to tie a square or round of fabric over the jars’ lid with raffia or twine. Add a tag or a sticker with the name of each butter and its’ ingredients, as well as a line that reads ‘From the Kitchen of (Your Name).’

RATIO: 1/2 cup butter to 1 Tablespoon of herb or herb combination.

USE: Herbs fresh from the garden. Wash and mince them before use.

Variations:

  • Dill and mint
  • Garlic and marjoram

Experiment with different herbs and combinations of herbs.

NOTE: These jars of butter do not need processing.

What combinations of herbs do you use when making butter? Please share your experiences with us in the comments below.

Shannon

References:

Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs (1987, Rodale Press)

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Homemade Food Gifts: Herbed Oils

Posted by Shannon L. Buck on December 1, 2010


Olive oil from Imperia in Liguria, Italy.

Image via Wikipedia

(Here is another gift idea, originally posted to the Frugal Recipes blog this morning. I hope you all enjoy it.)

Herbed oils can be made easily and used in small ratios (1/2 to 2 tablespoons) on salads and in stir fries. Experimentation is allowed, in order to find other ways in which these oils can be used.

Make these when the herbs are harvested from the garden, so they are at their freshest. The oils will store for up to one year after making them.

The basic preparations work like this:

1. Place three 2-inch sprigs of herbs/leaves into each, per each cup of oil that the jar will hold.

2. Put one garlic, shallot or other ingredient into the necessary jars as well, per cup of oil that each jar will hold.

3. Heat oil over low-medium heat until warm with a good scent; about three to five minutes (longer if lots of oil). Do not boil.

4. Pour oil into jars, over the other items.

5. Let cool.

6. Cover each jar.

7. Tie a tag around each bottle, with raffia or twine, with its’ ingredient list and ‘From (Your Names’) Kitchen.’ Also note how long the oil will last (once given as gift). Mention how each oil may be used.

Variations:

* Olive oil: Garlic, oregano and thyme.

* Sunflower oil: Garlic and dill.

Tips:

* Purchase oils in bulk and/or on sale to save money. You can also use coupons to save money.

* Find other oil and herb combinations.

References:

Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs (1987, Rodale Press)

Posted in Food Gifts, Winter Holidays | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Homemade Food Gifts: Herbed Vinegars

Posted by Shannon L. Buck on November 30, 2010


Vinegar is commonly infused with spices or her...

Image via Wikipedia

(I have this series (Homemade Food Gifts) posting to the Frugal Recipes blog this week. I want to share them here on this blog as well. I feel that homesteaders may enjoy them.)

Herbed vinegars are not difficult to make, and they add flavor to salads, other recipes such as meat marinades. These are best made during the herb harvesting seasons during the summer and autumn months, when the herbs can be used fresh.

NOTE: These vinegars will last up to a year if stored in a cool, dark place.

You will need jars or bottles to pour the vinegars and other ingredients into. These can be washed and saved throughout the year, and should be sterilized just before using.

The basic preparations work like this:

  1. Place three 2-inch sprigs of herbs/leaves into each, per each cup of vinegar that the jar will hold.
  2. Put one garlic, shallot or other ingredient into the necessary jars as well, per cup of vinegar that each jar will hold.
  3. Heat vinegar; do not boil.
  4. Pour vinegar into jars, over the other items.
  5. Let cool.
  6. Cover each jar.
  7. Tie a tag around each bottle, with raffia or twine, with its’ ingredient list and ‘From (Your Names’) Kitchen.’ Also note how long the vinegar will last (once given as gift). Mention how each vinegar may be used.

Variations:

  • Rosemary, orange peel, garlic and white vinegar.
  • 1 tablespoon honey, mint, cardamom seed and white vinegar.
  • Blossom from chives, savory and cider vinegar.

Tips:

  • Keep marinade and other sauce type jars from purchased foods to save money. Or have friends and family save them for you.
  • Other cheaply purchased glass jars will work as well, including canning jars.
  • Purchase white and other vinegars in large bottles, on sale.
  • Purchase vinegars that don’t come in large bottles as cheaply as possible.
  • Purchase store or generic brands, if possible.
  • Experiment with your own variations.

What vinegar variations have you tried? Please share the results with us in the comments below.

Shannon

Reference:

Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs (1987, Rodale Press)

Posted in Food Gifts, Winter Holidays | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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