Saturday, December 18, 2010

Days of Play--Gifts in a Jar

I really like to give close neighbors and friends some holiday cheer that's cheap homemade.  I take cookies, breads, and drink mixes but some of my favorite gifts are gifts in a jar.

You've seen them--bread, soup, cookie and hot drink mixes in fun mason jars with raffia--now make some. 

Measuring is a great "math connection" for kiddos and what can be better than making gifts for others, together?

Here are some great "gift in a jar" recipes that I've tried and loved (oh, and here's one Miss Frontier Kitchen made that looks amazing!  I heart orange cranberry bread!).
Hot Snow (for more drink mix ideas, click here)

10 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk
4 cup confectioner's sugar
2 8 ounce jars of French vanilla flavored nondairy powdered creamer
3 1/2 cups Nestle's Quick
2 3/4 cup nondairy powdered creamer
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 pint size gift jars
Combine all ingredients. Scoop into jars.
Print out the following instructions on card stock to attach to the jars with a ribbon and peppermint stick.
Stir 3 heaping tablespoons of cocoa mix into hot water or milk.


Layer the following in a 1-quart jar:

3 cups vanilla wafers (Nilla) finely crushed
1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa

Attach the following gift tag to the jar with a ribbon and a mini-bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream.

Combine contents of jar in a bowl.
Mix in 1/2 cup Bailey's Irish Cream and 3 tablespoons light corn syrup and mix with a wooden spoon until well blended.
Allow to stand 5 minutes.
Shape mixture into 1-inch balls.
Roll balls in confectioners sugar and allow to dry on wire rack 1 hour.

Store leftovers in air-tight container between layers of wax paper.

 Dirty Snow Soup
A hearty rice and mushroom soup to help you warm up after a day of play in the snow.

1 (2.75 ounce) package country gravy mix
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
2 teaspoons dried celery flakes
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 cup uncooked wild rice
1 cup uncooked white rice
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped dried mushrooms
Pour gravy mix into wide-mouth pint jar. In small bowl, stir together bouillon granules, onion, celery and parsley. Pour into jar to make second layer. Add layers of wild rice, white rice and mushrooms. Seal with lid. Attach gift tag with a ribbon and wooden spoon.

Dirty Snow Soup
Empty contents of jar into a large saucepan. Add 7 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until rice is tender.  Stirr occasionally. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Candy Cane Bath Salts
12 (12 oz) canning jars with lids
2 cartons (4 pounds) of Epsom salts
4 pounds of kosher salt
1 tsp glycerin, divided
12 drops peppermint essential oil
red food coloring

Empty one carton Epsom Salts into large mixing bowl.
Add 3 cups sea salt, stir well.
Stir in 1/4 teaspoon glycerin and 6 to 8 drops essential oil and mix well.
In second large mixing bowl, empty one carton Epsom Salts, and add 3 cups sea salt. Stir well.
Add 1/4 teaspoon glycerin, 6 to 8 drops essential oil, and red food color.
Stir until completely blended and color is even.
Hold canning jars at an angle, layer salts in jars, alternating white and colored mixtures. (**If you want, you could divide into three--and have white, red, and green salts to layer).
Add instructions to jar with ribbon and a candy cane.

Add 2-3 tablespoons to hot water for an invigorating bath


Consider themes
Christmas Cookies
Make a jar of Gingerbread cookie mix, attach a cookie cutter to the jar and put in a basket with a The Gingerbread Man book.

Winter Fun
Get a saucer sled.  In the concave part of the sled, put a jar of soup mix, some hot cocoa, some inexpensive gloves/mittens, and a fire starter log.

Snowman Hat
Get a black hat.  Put in a jar of Hot Snow.  Add a large plastic carrot, two big black buttons, two sticks, and a red scarf.

Family Night
Get a basket.  Add a jar of pizza dough mix, cookie mix, a family game (such as Sorry or Uno) and an inexpensive holiday movie.

Final Thoughts
  • If you don't want to use jars, use holiday themed gladware, fabric bags, or brown paper sacks decorated by your children (put ingredients in Ziploc bags before putting them into fabric/paper sacks).
  • Make sure to wash jars and lids before you use them.
  • If you make soups mixes with beans, make sure to rinse and inspect beans first.

1 comment:

  1. How fun! I'm bookmarking these for future use!


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