Saturday, December 12, 2009
Hand Made And Heart Felt......!
Over the last couple of years, I've gone back to making a lot of the gifts I give to friends and family.
Hand made gifts are usually very well received, because folks realize that you put a lot of time and thought into them. They can be much more personal than a "store bought" gift, and they are certainly easier on the pocket book.
During the past, many of the gifts were home made...sometimes out of necessity, sometimes just out of love. The challenge becomes how to come up with new ideas for the gifts. Food is always a good idea...and is often the most appreciated.
I want to share a couple of new hand made gift ideas with you that I picked up over at the Farmer's Almanac. These folks are always a good source of food gifts, and gift ideas from the past. I'm making these myself this year, and I think they will go over big!
To make easy, all-purpose sweet and colorful pickles, drain the contents of the following, reserving the juices, which you can combine in one container: 1 small jar each of mixed sweet pickles, kumquats in syrup, red maraschino cherries, and sweet gherkins, and 1 can of pineapple chunks. Mix the solids thoroughly, and spoon into clean decorative jars. Add enough of the mixed juices to cover the contents of each jar, and seal. Although they can safely be left unrefrigerated for several hours or even overnight, attach a colorful label advising that these pickles be stored in the refrigerator.
In a glass container, combine 1/4 cup of crushed raspberries with 1 quart of white distilled vinegar. Let sit overnight at room temperature. Strain through a fine sieve into a decorative bottle, and add several perfect whole raspberries. (Packaged frozen raspberries work fine and usually have plenty of whole as well as crushed berries.) Add a colorful tag recommending it to be used alone or combined with olive oil as a salad dressing.
Fiery Pepper Vinegar
Lace brightly colored hot peppers into decorative bottles. (If you have some that are too large to fit, quarter them lengthwise or cut them into strips.) To each bottle, add a few black peppercorns, a peeled garlic clove, and a small slice of fresh ginger root. Fill to the top with white vinegar. Seal the bottles, and store for at least a week in a dark place.
You know, in this day of big time consumerism, the act of making your gifts by hand and giving them with love...should be more important than ever!
During this holiday season, we remind ourselves that it is the giver who makes the gift precious.
“Not what we give, but what we share,
for the gift without the giver is bare.”
James Russell Lowell, 1819–91
C'mon, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee. We can sit outside until the rain starts, OK?