Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Handmade gifts are great for these People

  • Delivery Person - Whether you have a regular pizza delivery person, or a grocery store delivery service, you'll be able to have a gift for them.
  • Neighbors - New people moving into your neighborhood, or moving out. Do you have a neighbor that's struggling financially, they'll never know your trying to help.  I have new neighbors so I will use it to introduce myself.
  • Parents - My parents get harder to buy for every year, so I make them gifts in a jar whenever I can't think of anything else.
  • Boss and Co-Workers -How about that office party or gift exchange with co-workers, instead of giving a gift within the set price range give a gift that can be used. We do an exchange at the Garden Club and I love to give a handmade edible as a gift.
  • Child's Teacher - Christmas can be an expensive month for most of us, and when your child throws in "mom I want to give my teacher a gift", it can sure add up especially if you have more than one child.
  • Landlord - If you have good landlords then why not give them a gift at Christmas time, gifts in a jar cost hardly anything to make except your time.
  • Mail Carrier - There are people that give money or gift cards to their postman/women, why not be a little different.
  • Grandparents - With today's economy it's hard for the elderly to make ends meet, give a little help and make them a gift that they'll be able to use and benefit from.
  • Sister - Maybe you’re not as close to your sister as you'd like or maybe you have no idea what to get her. I have made gifts in a jar not only for my sister but for my husband’s brothers and sisters-in-law as well.

So now that I have given you list of recipients you have several choices. You can give them one of the Backyard Patch Items in a Jar – all of which are available here:

Stacking Jar with seasonings
Stacking Jar with single Herbs

Or you can make one of these:

Spiral Pasta Soup in a Jar

2 Tbls. dried basil
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup dried onions
4 chicken bouillon cubes
3/4 cup dried tortellini
Fill the rest of the jar with the tri-colored spiral pasta.

Cover the top of the jar with a circle of fabric held in place with a rubber band. Cover the rubber band with a twist of raffia or a ribbon and small bow. Tie on the instructions.

1 jar spiral soup mix
8 cups water
2 cups crushed or diced tomatoes

Bring water and tomatoes to a boil in a large soup pot.  Add the spiral soup mix and simmer uncovered about 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender.

Icebox pickles

4 cups sugar
4 cups vinegar
1 ½ tsp. turmeric
1 ½ tsp. celery seed
1 ½ tsp. mustard seed
1 Tbls. pickling salt

Slice cucumbers to fill a gallon jar or 4 quart jars.  Combine remaining ingredients and add to jar(s).  Keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks before eating.  Keeps in the refrigerator for 3 months.

Note: for a more interesting flare, try 2 Tbls. BackyardPatch pickling spice instead of turmeric, celery seed and mustard seed.

Spiced Lemon Tea Mix

½ cup lemon herbs (lemon thyme, lemon balm, lemon verbena)
1 Tbls. lemon peel
1 Tbls. ginger
2 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. cloves

Blend all ingredients together. Store in a sealed jar.

To use: add 1 to 2 tsp. per cup of boiling water.

Citrus Bath Salts

2 Cups Epsom Salts
1 Cup Baking Soda
 Fresh Grated Zest from 1 Orange or Lemon
20 drops of citrus essential oil (you can use all lemon or lemon verbena, but a mixture with tangerine, orange and grapefruit with the lemon is more stimulating).

Combine Epsom Salts and Baking Soda in a bowl.  Grate zest of orange or lemon and add to bowl. Stir ingredients together. Slowly add in about 20 drops of essential oil one drop at a time and stir until well incorporated.  

Spoon the citrus bath salts into a clean empty jar and seal. Let your bath salts sit for a day or two to get infused with the scent of the oil. If giving as a gift, embellish with a ribbon, tag or whatever you like.

To use: add one to two Tablespoons to the bath while running.  You can also use the salts as a body scrub in the shower, but watch for slipper floors.

Simmer Jar Gifts

Directions: Use a pint (2 cup) jar, container, or pot to combine scent waters. Add ingredients to container, cover with water, and choose from these options:
  --simmer on stove top, topping off with more water as it evaporates
  --add heated mixture to a slow cooker, fondue pot, or something similar that will keep mixture heated. Preheat waters to a boil (in microwave or on stove top). As water evaporates, always top it off with HOT water to keep the temperature as high as possible. Higher heat = more fragrance.

1. Orange, Cinnamon & Spice. 1 orange, 2 cinnamon sticks (or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon), 1/2 tablespoon whole cloves (or 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves), 1/2 tablespoon whole allspice (or 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice), 1 anise star (optional)
2. Lemon, Rosemary & Vanilla. 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, 2 lemons, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
3. Lime, Thyme, Mint & Vanilla. 3 limes, 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, 1/2 teaspoon mint extract, 1 teaspoon vanilla.
4. Orange, Ginger, & Almond. 1 orange (or peel from 2 oranges), one 4" finger of ginger, sliced (or 1 tsp ground ginger), 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.
5. Pine, Bay Leaves, & Nutmeg. Handful of pine twigs or needles, 4 bay leaves, 1 whole nutmeg, outer layer grated into mixture.

Scented waters may be refrigerated between uses. Reuse for 2-3 days, or as long as they still have a pleasant fragrance.

To give as gift, pack ingredients into 1 pint Mason jar and place a tag on them with instructions for use.  Keep them in your refrigerator until ready to gift and remind receiver to do the same.

To USE: Keep refrigerated until ready to use. Simmer in pan on stove top, or heat and add to slow cooker set on low; add more water as it evaporates.

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