(As seen in Mainstreet November 2012)
Statistics Canada says Canadians are deeper in debt than ever, and with that cheery fact we find ourselves heading quickly into the holiday season. A traditional time of year for rampant over-spending. I know I never want to receive a gift that someone I care about could barely afford to give. But it’s hard to show up empty handed, and the act of giving is a pleasure in itself. With that I find that homemade gifts, especially the edible variety, are always appreciated. Buying ingredients in bulk, and setting aside the time to prepare these gifts can become a holiday tradition in itself. And so I have searched the web to bring to you the best links to recipes that can be made, and given over the holidays.
1. Hot Chocolate Mix:
Make a large batch, and then divide up the mixture between small glass jars or clear plastic bags inserted into mugs. Use decorative ribbon and candy canes to decorate. Once you have divided up the mix try adding different spices to personalize your gifts. For example: chilli powder, ground ginger or cinnamon or a pinch of nutmeg.
2. Simple Chocolate Fudge:
For those who love to cook, but are wary of any recipe requiring a candy thermometer. It is almost impossible to botch!
3. Citrus Pound Cake:
This makes a great gift. Disposable yet decorative loaf pans can be found at arescuisine.com.
4. Chocolate Almond Popcorn:
Large decorative tins are a great way to present caramel corn.
5. Tamari Roasted Almonds:
For those who prefer savoury treats. My mother in law has been giving these out for years, and they do not last much longer than the car ride home. Try presenting these in small mason jars.
6. Whole Grain Crackers:
Try presenting crackers with a small wheel of cheese and/or apple jelly.
7. Homemade Taco Seasoning(this link needs to be cut and pasted to browser):
Tacos are simple to make and are a go to meal for families. This mix is simple and flavourful, and is missing the chemicals found in store bought mixes. I would present the mix in small spice jars.
Need packaging for your gifts?
Try Dollar stores, Winners, Omer des Serres, Michael’s, most kitchen stores (such as Ares), and cake decorating stores. Links to some of the stores mentioned: