Browsed by
Tag: Gift

Fruit Jellies

Fruit Jellies

fruit-jellies-su-xCooking-oil spray
1 1/3 cups citrus juice (pasteurized orange or pink grapefruit; or fresh blood orange, lime, or lemon), strained
3 cups granulated sugar
6 ounces liquid pectin, such as Certo (you’ll need two 3-oz. packs)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Coarse sugar (such as Hain Organic); or use granulated

Line an 8-in. square baking pan with microwave-safe plastic wrap, pressing it up sides and leaving a 1-in. overhang. Spray plastic wrap with cooking spray. Pour citrus juice and granulated sugar into a 6-qt. pot and stir to combine. Clip a candy thermometer to inside of pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly and slowly, until mixture registers 238° (just before the soft-ball stage, when it will harden), about 20 minutes. Add pectin and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and immediately pour into prepared pan. Let set until cool and firm, about 1 1/2 hours. Lift from pan using plastic wrap and cut into 1-in. squares, circles, 3/4- by 1 1/4-in. rectangles, or 3/4- by 2-in. half-moons. Dip in coarse sugar. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week, dipping again right before wrapping if necessary (particularly with the more acidic flavors like lime, lemon, and grapefruit, which tend to get a little weepy). Box it: Crystal clear boxes, from $6.2 5/25;

Beverage Mixes – Easy Gifts

Beverage Mixes – Easy Gifts

Beverage Mixes

cappuccinomixes1Beverage Mixes make wonderful gifts for teachers, family, friends or those last minute gifts for unexpected company. You can package them in Mason jars, jelly jars or any pretty container, including tins, that you have on hand. In the tins be sure to put in a plastic bag first then place in the tin. These are easy, tasty recipes that will bring rave reviews!



~Orange Cappuccino Mix~

1/2 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup instant coffee
1 tsp. dried orange peel
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Place all items in blender or food processor. Cover and blend on high or 30 seconds, stopping blender after 15 seconds to stir until well mixed. Store in tightly covered container. For each serving, place 2 teaspoons mix and 2/3 cup boiling water in mug.
~Spiced Mocha Mix~

1 cup sugar
1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1/2 cup cocoa
3 tablespoons powdered instant coffee
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
In large bowl combine all ingredients. Store in airtight container. For single serving place 3 tablespoons mix in mug and add 3/4 cup boiling water. Makes 2 1/2 cups mix.

~Peach Tea Mix~

1 cup instant tea mix
1 3 ounce box peach-flavored gelatin
2 cups granulated sugar
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; mix well. Store in an airtight container. Give with instructions to serve. For one mug use 2 tsp. tea mix with 8 ounces hot water. Makes about 3 1/2 cups tea mix.


~Sugar Free Cherry Tea Mix~

We all know people who are diabetic or simply need to cut down on their sugar intake. This is a great gift, combined with some pumpkin or zucchini bread in a nice basket!

1 package unsweetened cherry-flavored soft drink mix
1 1/4 cups sugar-free instant tea mix (artificially sweetened)
combine items in a small bowl until well blended. Store in an airtight container. To serve, stir 2 teaspoons tea mix into 8 ounces hot or cold water. Makes 1 1/4 cups tea mix.


Instant Cappuccino Mix

1 cup powdered chocolate milk mix
3/4 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1/2 cup instant coffee granules
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
In a medium bowl combine all ingredients. Store in airtight container. To serve: Place 1 heaping tablespoon mix in a cup or mug. Add 1 cup boiling water and stir.


Hot Chocolate Mix

1 8 quart box nonfat dry milk
1 6 ounce jar coffee creamer
1 16 ounce dry chocolate milk mix
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Mix all items until well blended. Store in airtight container. To serve add 1/4 cup mix to 2/3 cup hot water. Make 3 quarts. You can also create a gift basket with mini marshmallows, a nice mug, a chocolate coated spoon, and a few peppermint sticks. Place all in a nice wicker basket a6574nd wrap with colored cellophane tied with a bow. Any chocolate fan would love this!
Tips for Wrapping and Giving

Any of the above can be placed in a quart or pint canning jar. Place jar on a large piece of colored cellophane, bring up to the top, gather and tie with raffia. Attach a gift tag with instructions. *The coffees can be part of a gift basket with petite cookies, a pretty coffee mug and a sterling silver spoon, which can be easily found at any antique or thrift store. Place in a nice wicker basket and wrap with cellophane or place in a large gift bag.

Cranberry Orange Pound Cake

Cranberry Orange Pound Cake

pound3/4   cup butter, softened

3/4   cup granulated sugar

3   eggs

2   tablespoons orange juice

1   teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2   cups all-purpose flour

1   teaspoon baking powder

1/4   teaspoon salt

3/4   cup sweetened dried cranberries

1   tablespoon grated orange peel

2   tablespoons coarse or granulated sugar


Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 9×5-inch loaf pan. In large bowl, beat butter and 3/4 cup granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add orange juice and vanilla; beat 30 seconds or until well blended.  Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat on low speed 30 seconds or just until blended. With spoon, fold in cranberries and orange peel. Spoon batter into pan. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes. Remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

Marinated Roasted Peppers, Olives and Cheese

Marinated Roasted Peppers, Olives and Cheese

6 large red or green bell peppers

1 C. whole Greek or pitted ripe olives

4 oz. mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes

1/4 C. olive or vegetable oil

1/4 C. lemon juice

2 T. chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1/4 tsp. dried oregano leaves

1 tsp. chopped fresh basil leaves or 1/4 tsp. dried basil leaves

1/2 tsp. chopped fresh sage leaves or 1/8 tsp. dried sage leaves

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped


Set oven control to broil.   Broil bell peppers with tops about 5 inches from heat, turning occasionally, until skin is blistered and evenly browned. Place peppers in a plastic bag and close tightly. Let stand 20 minutes.   Remove skin, stems, seeds and membranes from peppers. Cut peppers into 1/4-inch strips. Place peppers, olives and cheese in glass bowl or jar.   Shake remaining ingredients in tightly covered container; pour over pepper mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours to blend flavors, stirring occasionally.    Store tightly covered in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.  Turn this recipe into a scrumptious gift by filling a decorative glass jar with the roasted pepper mixture and tying with a pretty ribbon. Attach a copy of the recipe with a sprig of fresh herbs.








French Market Soup Mix

French Market Soup Mix

1 pound dried black beans

1 pound dried great Northern beans

1 pound dried navy beans

1 pound dried pinto beans

1 pound dried red beans

1 pound dried black-eye peas

1 pound dried green split peas

1 pound dried yellow split peas

1 pound dried lentils

1 pound dried baby limas

1 pound dried large limas

1 pound barley pearls

Combine all ingredients into a very large bowl. Divide mixture evenly into 13 (2 cup) containers, and enclose recipe for French Market Soup. Yield: 26 cups mix

French Market Soup


1 (2 cup) package French Market Soup Mix
2 quarts water
1 large ham hock
1 (16 ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

3 T. lemon juice

1 chile pepper, coarsely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Sort and wash soup mix; place in a Dutch oven. Cover with water 2 inches above soup mix; let soak 8 hours. Drain soup mix, and return to pan; add 2 quarts water and ham hock. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Stir in tomatoes and next 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, 30 minutes. Remove ham hock; remove meat from bone. Chop meat, and return to soup. Stir in salt and pepper. Yield: 3 quarts.

Appetizer Cheese Gift Box

Appetizer Cheese Gift Box

1/2 T. butter

1/2 C. finely diced leeks (white part; reserve green part for ribbon and bow)

1 T. minced garlic

1-1/2 tsp. thyme

1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

1 log (4 oz.) goat cheese, softened

Thinly sliced medium radishes, cut in triangles


Line a 5-1/2″x 3″ loaf pan with plastic wrap so that ends extend and can be wrapped over top of pan. In skillet, cook leeks in butter 5 minutes until soft. Add garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute longer. Cool. In bowl, beat cheeses until smooth; blend in leek mixture. Spoon into prepared loaf pan; spread evenly. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill 24 hours until very firm. Uncover, invert onto serving plate; remove plastic wrap. To make bow, drop reserved green leaves into boiling water just until color brightens. Immediately remove with slotted spoon and plunge into ice water. Remove when cool and pat dry. Place one long or two medium strips lengthwise on top and down sides. Place another “ribbon” crosswise. Place large loops on loaf lengthwise to make bow loops. Place a short loop in the middle to form the knot. Place 2″ notched pieces as shown for bow ends. Press radishes randomly on package.






Dill Mustard for Gifts

Dill Mustard for Gifts

3oz. Black Mustard Seeds

1 oz. White Mustard Seeds

2 ½ C. Water

1 C. Coleman’s Mustard

¾ C. + 2 T. Cider Vinegar

1 ½ tsp. Salt

4 T. light Brown Sugar

1 tsp. ground Dill Seeds (mortar and pestle)

1 ½ tsp. Turmeric

1 C. chopped Dill Leaves


Add mustard seeds and water to a glass bowl and allow to sit overnight. The next day add powder, vinegar, salt, sugar, ground dill and turmeric. Use bowl to create double boiler with a saucepan containing water. Cook over very low heat for 4 hours. Check regularly that water has not evaporated, and do not allow the mustard mixture to come to a boil, as the seeds will become bitter. Once cooked, allow to cool completely and then stir in chopped dill leaves. Store in covered container for up to 4 weeks.










Candied Almonds

Candied Almonds

1 Egg White
2 cups whole Blanched Almonds
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
Pinch Salt
1 Tbs. Butter, melted

In a small bowl, beat the egg white until frothy. Add the almonds and stir gently to coat completely. Drain any excess egg white from almonds, and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the drained almonds, and coat completely. Prepare the grill for low to moderate heat. Place nuts in a single layer in a large foil pan. Place the pan in the center of the cooking grate. Grill for about 15 minutes, turning the nuts once halfway through the grilling time. When nuts turn a dark brown, brush with butter to coat  completely. Let cool before serving, and enjoy.


Winter Warmer

Winter Warmer

1 box powdered milk (8 qt. yield)
1 (16-oz) can Nestle Quik
1 (12-oz) jar of Coffee Mate
2 C. Sugar
6 level T. Cocoa

Put all  into a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly until completely blended. Store the mixture in a large, sealed container. When you’re ready to use, simply mix 1/3 cup of the dry mix with 2/3 cup hot water. Add your marshmallows, or whipped cream, and enjoy a cold weather warm-up.


Lemon Marmalade

Lemon Marmalade

lemon marm4 pounds lemons, scrubbed and cut into 8 wedges each

8 1/2 cups sugar (3 3/4 pounds)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Ten 1/2-pint canning jars with lids, sterilized in boiling water


On Day 1, in a large nonreactive saucepan, cover half of the lemon wedges with 2 inches of water (about 8 cups) and let stand at room temperature overnight.   One Day 2, bring the lemon wedges to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring every 30 minutes, until the lemons are very tender and the liquid is reduced by half, about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Pour the lemon wedges into a fine sieve set over a large heatproof bowl; let cool completely. Wrap the sieve and bowl with plastic and let drain overnight at room temperature; discard the lemon wedges.   Also on Day 2, seed the remaining lemon wedges and slice them very thinly crosswise. In a large nonreactive saucepan, cover the lemon slices with 2 inches of water (about 8 cups) and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the lemon slices in a fine strainer; discard the cooking liquid.   Return the lemon slices to the saucepan and cover with 1 inch of water (about 4 cups). Bring to a boil and simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the lemons are very tender and the liquid is slightly reduced, about 40 minutes; let stand at room temperature overnight.   On Day 3, add the strained lemon-wedge liquid to the slices in the saucepan. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, without stirring, until the marmalade darkens slightly, about 30 minutes; skim off any foam as necessary. Test for doneness: Spoon 1 tablespoon of the marmalade onto a chilled plate and refrigerate until it is room temperature, about 3 minutes; the marmalade is ready when it thickens like jelly and a spoon leaves a trail when dragged through it. If not, continue simmering and testing every 10 minutes until it passes the test, up to 1 hour and 30 minutes.   Spoon the marmalade into the canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top. Screw on the lids. Using canning tongs, lower the jars into a large pot of boiling water and boil for 15 minutes. Remove the jars with the tongs and let stand until the lids seal (they will look concave). Store the marmalade in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.

Make a Cooking Wreath from Herbs

Make a Cooking Wreath from Herbs


It’s pretty simple, a wreath woven together out of cooking herbs. I used to sell them in little cellophane bags with a couple of recipes attached. To use the wreath, you simply started a pot of soup or stew boiling and about 15 minutes before the end of the cooking, you simply drop the entire wreath into the pot for seasoning. The flavor is delicious!


Step 1, pick a long sprig of rosemary. New, this year’s growth is best simply because heavier wood is more likely to break than to bend. You can use any of the following to work into your wreath, all with good flavor: Rosemary, Thyme (any variety), Sage, Garlic chives, Chives (leaves and/or flowers), Oregano, Basil, Lavender (flower spikes), Hyssop, Parsley and Lemongrass (even if it’s already brown it still have flavor).


To begin your wreath, choose a nice, long sprig of hyssop or rosemary and bend it into a circle, twisting the ends around each other. Hold in place with your thumb and forefinger while you wrap another sprig of a different herb in the other direction (or tie the ends together temporarily with plain white string).

You want to weave each sprig in the opposite direction of the first so they hold each other in place. Don’t get discouraged, it gets easier as you work. (You may want to make several on your first try to get the hang of it).

Step 2, Weave each of the herbs into your wreath, using only the stems and leaves, no string. Tuck ends under and over an earlier sprig and keep adding more. You want to end up with a wreath that is about four inches across, or smaller. Use lemongrass or garlic chives as the last herb, wrapping  it around like a ribbon and tucking each end under another sprig to hold it in place.


Step 3, When your wreath is finished, trim off any extra ends that are sticking out and put the wreathes in a dark place, like a pantry, on paper and let them dry until crisp.
Attach a string and a recipe if you wish and your cooking wreath is ready to give to a friend.

To use the wreath, remove the string and drop into an already boiling pot of soup or stew. It’s best to add the wreath during the last fifteen or twenty minutes of cooking (this is true of adding any herbs, fresh or dried; add them too soon and the cooking removes the flavors, so add herbs in the last minutes of cooking for the best flavor).


Recipes to choose from for attaching to the wreath:

Autumn Herb Wreath Chicken Soup

2 1/2 quarts water
2 chicken breasts
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 cup diced onion
2 carrots, peeled, sliced
The entire cooking wreath
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Dash salt and pepper, to taste
*Optional: 1/4 cup brown rice, rinsed

Bring water to a boil and add the chicken and vegetables. Cook until the chicken is tender, about 20 minutes, remove chicken and dice, and then add back to the soup. Add the optional rice and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking 10-15 minutes. When you add the rice/pasta, also remove the ribbon from the cooking wreath and add the wreath to the pot of simmering soup. Simmer until rice is done, remove wreath and serve.

Vegetarian Herb Wreath Soup

A vegetarian friend would receive this recipe card attach to their cooking wreath:
2 1/2 quarts water or vegetable broth
Bring water to a boil and add an assortment of your favorite diced vegetables: celery, potato, carrots, a turnip, some cabbage, onion, garlic, 1 slice ginger, etc. about 3 cups total.
*Optional 1/4 cup brown rice, rinsed

Simmer vegetables and rice until tender, about 15-18 minutes. Add the cooking wreath (with the ribbon removed) after 10 minutes of cooking, and continue cooking until rice is tender. Remove the wreath and serve.


Soy & Ginger Roasted Pecans

Soy & Ginger Roasted Pecans

Soy & Ginger Roasted Pecans

2 C. Pecan Halves

2 T. Soy Sauce

1 tsp. toasted Sesame Oil

½ tsp. ground Ginger

Pinch Cayenne Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with foil and set aside. Combine all ingredients in a bowl; toss to coat nuts with oil and spices. Pour onto baking pan and spread out in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring once. Cool completely; store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


Serving Size: 2 T.

Calories: 97

Fat: 10g

Fiber: 1g



Citrus Salt

Citrus Salt

This is a delicate salt, good for seasoning roasted fish or a classic seafood stew. I also sprinkle it on roasted asparagus and artichokes. Beyond that? Try just a few flakes on top of bittersweet chocolate gelato.

1/2 C. (125 g) coarse sea salt
1 T. finely grated orange zest
1 T. finely grated lemon zest

Combine the salt and zests in a bowl and rub them together with your fingers to distribute the citrus throughout the salt crystals. line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the salt out on it. Let air-dry at room temperature until the fine shavings of citrus are completely dry and crumble when you roll them between your fingers, 2 to 3 hours or up to overnight. You can leave the salt coarse, if you like. Or, for a finer grind, pulse it in a food processor a few times to break down the salt crystals into smaller grains. Store at room temperature in a tightly lidded jar. It will keep indefinitely, though the citrus will lose its aroma over time.

Cardamom Carrot Marmalade

Cardamom Carrot Marmalade

Handmade gifts are better, but handmade food gifts are the best. Inspired by carrot jam from Afghanistan, this marmalade puts carrots and cardamom to good use and easy enough to make in an afternoon. Because candied grated carrots play the role of citrus peel in this naturally neon orange marmalade, the result is sweet rather than bitter.

2 C. water
1 tsp. green cardamom pods
1 Meyer lemon, zest and juice
1 orange, zest and juice
2 C. grated carrots (about 6 medium or 3 large carrots)
2 C. organic cane sugar
1 tsp. cardamom seeds, ground

In a saucepan, combine the water, cardamom pods, and lemon and orange juices and zests. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Take out and discard cardamom pods. Add carrots, sugar and ground cardamom, and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring constantly, until the carrots absorb most of the liquid and only a small amount of sugar syrup pools when you pull your spoon across the bottom. Remove from heat. Spoon into sterile glass jars with airtight lids and cover. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes (will keep unopened for up to one year), or cool completely and store in the refrigerator (will keep for several weeks). Makes 2 C. (or 2 half-pint jars)

Cranberry Liqueur with Persian Mint Syrup (Sekanjabin)

Cranberry Liqueur with Persian Mint Syrup (Sekanjabin)

Cranberry Liqueur with Persian Mint Syrup (Sekanjabin)


2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

½ cup white wine vinegar

1 cup fresh mint, loosely packed

12 oz cranberries, fresh

1 L vodka

1 large lemon


In a small pot over medium-high heat whisk together sugar and water until dissolved. Let syrup boil together for 10 minutes, then add white wine vinegar. Reduce heat to medium and cook until syrup thickens, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in mint leaves. Remove mint when syrup has cooled to room temperature. Pour mint syrup in a blender with cranberries and vodka. Pulse mixture until most of the cranberries have been coarsely chopped. You DO NOT want to purée the mix. Transfer cranberry mixture into a large jar or wide-mouth bottle. Using a potato peeler, remove the skin with minimal pith (white part) from the lemon. Add lemon skin pieces to cranberry mixture and stir. Seal jar and place in a cool dark place to infuse a minimum of 1 week and up to 3 weeks. Pour cranberry mix into a large bowl through a fine mesh colander to strain out solids. Press the solids through the mesh colander to remove the remaining liquid. Divide cranberry liqueur into smaller bottles or store in a large bottle

Rosemary Citrus Syrup & Rosemary Lemon Drop

Rosemary Citrus Syrup & Rosemary Lemon Drop

Rosemary Citrus Syrup


2 C. water

2 C. granulated sugar

6 sprigs fresh rosemary

Peeled zest of 1 lemon (be sure the peel has no white pith)


Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stir in sugar to dissolve, remove from heat, add rosemary and lemon zest and let rest for 1 hour. Fine strain, discard solids and funnel into a clean bottle or Mason jar. Label, date and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.



Rosie’s Lemon Drop


2 ounces vodka

1 ounce Rosemary Citrus Syrup (see below recipe)

1 ounce fresh-pressed lemon juice

Fresh rosemary for garnish


Sugar the rim of a cocktail glass and set aside. Combine vodka, syrup and lemon juice in a bar tin, add ice, shake vigorously for 10 seconds, strain into cocktail glass and garnish with fresh rosemary. Makes 1 cocktail.

Cranberry Giddy-Up Syrup & Giddy-Up Spritz

Cranberry Giddy-Up Syrup & Giddy-Up Spritz

Cranberry Giddy-Up Syrup


2 C. fresh cranberries

2 C. granulated sugar

2 C. water

1 T. mulling spices

2 cinnamon sticks

1 orange, sliced into wheels

Fresh rosemary sprigs and string or ribbon for decoration


Rinse and sort cranberries; add to a medium saucepan with sugar, water, spices and cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Lower heat, add orange wheels and cook for 15 minutes, or until cranberries begin to burst. Remove from heat, let rest 1 hour, fine strain, discard solids and funnel into clean bottles or Mason jars. Label, date and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.



Giddy-Up Spritz

1 ounce Cranberry Giddy-Up

3 ounces sparkling wine (or sparkling water)

Sugared cranberries for garnish*


Pour Cranberry Giddy-Up into cocktail coupe glass, top with prosecco and garnish with sugared cranberries.


*Sugared cranberries: Coat 3 cranberries in lemon or lime juice, roll in sugar and spear with a cocktail pick. Dust with more sugar as needed.