Say ‘I Love You’ with Gifts of Food
Nothing says ‘Loving’ more than homemade gifts of food. Food gifts can be simple or elaborate, depending on the inclination, the time constraints and abilities of the giver. Some very simple gifts that can be prepared at home are bundles of dried herbs tied with green ribbon, lavender sachets, and drop or bar cookies, or quick and easy homemade fudge. More elaborate gifts such as homemade jellies or jams, fruitcake, muffins, chili sauce or chutneys arranged in an attractive basket are nice to give if you have the time and equipment to make them.
Let’s start with the herbs. If you have an herb garden you can dry your herbs right on the stem and then tie them together in bunches with narrow ribbon or raffia which can be purchased in craft stores. You can also make herbal teas and sachets. Lavender or rose petals make wonderfully scented sachets. To make a simple sachet cut large squares of netting (10 – 12 inches), and place some dried flower petals in the middle. Bring up all four corners and tie tightly with narrow ribbon in a color that matches the netting. An artificial flower can be tied in with the ribbon for a decorative effect.
Jellies can be made from herbs such as Sage or Mint and lavender and they are wonderful served with meat dishes. Apples which are abundant this time of year can also be used to make jellies and or syrup.
Cookies are gifts that children can help make and the cookies can be packaged in any variety of ways. Some suggestions are Cookie Tins or Jars, decorative Chinese Food take-out style containers which can be purchased in stores such as Party City or Jo Ann’s. Clear cellophane bags which are printed with holiday designs can also be used. Flavorful and hearty Oatmeal Cookies can easily be made and packaged as well as Chocolate Chip. For a holiday effect, red and green Chocolate Chips can usually be purchased as well as blue and white M & M’s. Party City usually carries a large supply of special colored M & M’s.
Fruit Muffins which are moist and keep well are easy to prepare and make very tasty gifts. The same recipe can also be made in a Bundt pan (Nordic Ware) and wrapped in colored cellophane. Fruits which lend themselves well to muffins and breads are bananas, apples, persimmons and or peaches. The recipe below will yield 24 regular sized muffins or 12 Texas size or 1 large Bundt. Try some of these things and see how well your friends will appreciate your efforts.