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maggiethecat

"Artisanal" Holiday Presents

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While not very original, when my neighbors came back from AZ last spring with a trunkload of oranges and grapefruit (yes, I got more than we could eat), I made some citrus marmelade with habernero. Jars have been canned, and I will wrap them in embroidered dishtowels. Oh, and I'm busy knitting potholders again.

My three closest friends are getting CD's with my favorite family recipes.

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I am debating whether to give homemade apple pies (which we did last year) again or go with a different baked treat this time.

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While not very original, when my neighbors came back from AZ last spring with a trunkload of oranges and grapefruit (yes, I got more than we could eat), I made some citrus marmelade with habernero.  Jars have been canned, and I will wrap them in embroidered dishtowels.  Oh, and I'm busy knitting potholders again.

My three closest friends are getting CD's with my favorite family recipes.

Not original???? Are you nuts? Citrus habanero marmelade wrapped in embroidered tea towels -- that's just fabulous.

And DG: Homemade apple pies -- what a delicious, holiday-feeling personal present. Festive, I tell you.

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I'm planning on bagging up different flavors of marshmallows...

Traditional flavors to add to tea or chocolate:

- peppermint swirl

- lemon ginger

- cinnamon

And then a wildcard flavor:

- strawberry?

- saffron?

- banana?

- orange-cranberry?

I did the fudge thing a couple years ago (and am cured as well :biggrin: ) except I made all the batches with white chocolate and then went crazy on the flavoring and coloring: lime, orange, raspberry. The consistency and colors were quite fabulous- like play-doh!

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Let me start by saying, golly, I wish there was an edit function for those late night posts. There should be a way to remove that apostrophe that very clearly doesn't belong in the middle of the word "needs" :blush: May not need a Prince Charming, but I obviously need an advanced spell check. :raz:

Domestic Goddess: I love the apple pie idea! It would be perfect for my neighbor. Are you thinking of making another flavor of pie, or a different kind of item altogether?

McAuliflower: I made peppermint marshmallows last year. Well, ok, not originally. I goofed and got mint instead of peppermint. The blend of mints they used for it meant my marshmallows tasted like toothpaste :hmmm: Yeah, won't be making that mistake again. I love your flavor combinations, what do use to create them?

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Gekkani - I was thinking of another flavor altogether. Any ideas? If if I go for a completely different item, any suggestions what to make?

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my marshmallows tasted like toothpaste :hmmm: Yeah, won't be making that mistake again. I love your flavor combinations, what do use to create them?

yuck on the toothpaste thing!

As for the flavors, I use the Scotsman recipe already referenced in the thread (in recipe Gullet, and use the actual ingredients for the flavors (lemon for lemon, banana for banana, etc): except for the cinnamon I use ground up red hot candies as part of the sugar.

Domestic Goddess: as to different flavors of pies, we have a booth in our farmers market that makes half and half pies- two different types of pie in the one pie tin. Nice to have the variety, though not as elegant a presentation... What flavors do you like? I think pecan or berry would be swell, but that's me :biggrin:

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McAuliflower - Half and half pies? That's a great idea! I would have to go with the berry one though to pair with the apple. Pecans are not that accessible in my part of Korea. I do get a lot of almonds and walnuts at the local street market.

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It might not be the most original idea but I will be making some jams/jellies. I have recently bought 'Mes confitures: the jams and jellies of Christine Ferber'.The book is divided into seasons and there are some lovely recipes for this time of year. I am actually very new to jam making so jams as a present from me will be completely unexpected.

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I want to try to steal an idea from a snack mix that we tried at Costco. It was glazed pecan halves, dried cranberries, candied orange peel and black pepper :wub::wub: ! It was so incredibly good! I need to go to get one of those peel thingies that strips off large strips of citrus peel. I was also thinking of a box of assorted candied peels. But then what do I do with all the fruit I don't use for the candies??? Any ideas?

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I just had a flashback to a gift I made in the past and had completely forgotten about....

Stud oranges with cloves and decoratively wrap with gorgeous velvet and satin ribbon for hanging. I remember sitting with a toothpick in hand for hours, studding those oranges and then going crazy with the hot-glue gun and miniature pinecones and whatnot for decorating the tops of the oranges. Quite Victorian-looking and always appreciated as a hostess gift (unusual, too!)

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Kim: Buy some inexpensive vodka, place in a widemouth jar,squeeze the juice into said vodka, allow to steep for a few weeks. Strain through cheesecloth, add some sugar syrup if you need to. Bottle!

Carolyn: The orange/clove pomanders! I made those in my early teens, and man, they were work. But as you say, with the lovely bow, they were gorgeous and Christmassy.

Rachellindsay: You're right: Homemade jam is an artisanal classic.

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My nephew is a(n) "The Office" (UK) freak. For his 18th birthday, which is right near Halloween, I gave him a calculator suspended in orange Jell-O. For Christmas, it will be an iTunes gift card ... in red and green layered Jell-O.

:wink:

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My nephew is a(n) "The Office" (UK) freak.  For his 18th birthday, which is right near Halloween, I gave him a calculator suspended in orange Jell-O.  For Christmas, it will be an iTunes gift card ... in red and green layered Jell-O.

:wink:

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

I'm so stealing this for my brother! Awesome!

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My nephew is a(n) "The Office" (UK) freak.  For his 18th birthday, which is right near Halloween, I gave him a calculator suspended in orange Jell-O.  For Christmas, it will be an iTunes gift card ... in red and green layered Jell-O.

:wink:

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

I'm so stealing this for my brother! Awesome!

I am now THE most popular Auntie among a group of North Carolina teenagers! (In my day, the popular Aunties were the ones who bought the kids beer. :hmmm: )

The recipe, more or less, for a medium deep, quart mold:

Soften 7 envelopes of Knox gelatin and one of Jello (I used Orange, sugar-free) in 2 cups very hot water; let it dissolve. Stir in 2 cups of cool water. Pour a layer of gelatin into the container you're using, and let it set (about 30 seconds, LOL). Add the calculator/stapler, and press it in gently. In the meantime, soften the remaining gelatin in the microwave or over hot water, just until it's pourable, and top the item with the mixture. Refrigerate until presentation time.

If you have to ship this to someone, it's best to line the container in plastic wrap, and to use a container with a tight-fitting lid.

:wink:

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The date does creep up on one.

Today I was trying to think of something the kids could make.

The idea of rag-wreaths came to mind, with the added touch of little cellophane-wrapped bags of homemade cookies or candies.

The wreaths are easy to make - just get styrofoam wreaths then cut colorful fabric strips into rectangular pieces that can be pushed (with a pencil point or even a lobster pick :biggrin: ) in the middle into the foam, leaving the two ends sticking out. Use an assortment of fabric, and push the pieces in closely so that none of the base shows.

If I was really smart, I'd cut up some of these tons of boxes of outgrown kid's clothes into strips for the fabric. But probably they will make their way to the Salvation Army as usual.

The prettily wrapped packages of cookies or candies could be then tied onto to the finished wreath with ribbon or gold elastic cord.

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If you take three or four candy canes and hot glue them <Jl> to a taper candle kinda like that <Jl> the curvey parts of the canes sit on the table and form a stand for the candle to stand upright--then decorate it with ribbons & stuff or whatever.

Also, I did a pictorial on apple strudel aka Magic Dough. Fun fun fun (to make and to eat) artisanal gift. The link starts you on a captivating captioned slideshow. :raz:

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It's not food but since I can't afford too much this Christmas I am gathering up family recipes for my sister in law. She and my brother have not been married a year yet ( and there is a baby on the way, a boy!) and she wants to learn to cook so I am doing a sort of scrapbook for her of recipes. I have to start out with recipes that are not too hard, I don't want to frustrate her but I have a pretty good start on it.

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It's not food but since I can't afford too much this Christmas I am gathering up family recipes for my sister in law. She and my brother have not been married a year yet ( and there is a baby on the way, a boy!) and she wants to learn to cook so I am doing a sort of scrapbook for her of recipes. I have to start out with recipes that are not too hard, I don't want to frustrate her but I have a pretty good start on it.

Kristin, what a wonderful, thoughtful gift! Having the scrapbook can help her feel more confident in the kitchen and welcome, especially if you're including family recipes. You have to make sure your nephew is fed well, right? :biggrin:

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It's not food but since I can't afford too much this Christmas I am gathering up family recipes for my sister in law. She and my brother have not been married a year yet ( and there is a baby on the way, a boy!) and she wants to learn to cook so I am doing a sort of scrapbook for her of recipes. I have to start out with recipes that are not too hard, I don't want to frustrate her but I have a pretty good start on it.

Kristin, what a wonderful, thoughtful gift! Having the scrapbook can help her feel more confident in the kitchen and welcome, especially if you're including family recipes. You have to make sure your nephew is fed well, right? :biggrin:

I agree, it is a wonderful idea, and far, far, better a present than any you could buy for her.

Make sure you add some blank pages at the end to encourage her to add her own as she gets more confident!

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I made truffles for everybody in 2003 because we were really, really broke and I could get the couverture at cost through my work. Guess what I *have* to make, every year, now? Ungh.

This year I think I'll conscript the daughter (13-year-old pastrychef in the making) and add some cookies to the mix. There's more to life than chocolate, after all...

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I've done a few searches, and since this thread gets so much traffic, it seems like a good place to post these hysterical food-related (not sure if they're artisanal) ideas for gifts. ENJOY!

Why give a boring wallet when you can give this one?!?

And these are also sure to please... :laugh:

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Here is one of my standard offerings. Whatever else I make, I always make some of these Apricots in Amaretto. They are great for those last-minute gifts.

You can use brandy, but the Amaretto is fantastic - dont be afraid to use more than the basic recipe says. They are great drained and used in cakes etc, or with ice-cream, or you can drain them well, pat them dry, and dip them in melted chocolate to have with coffee.

APRICOTS IN AMARETTO.

500 gm dried apricots

90 gm caster sugar

juice of one orange, strained

150 ml Amaretto.

Combine the apricots, juice, sugar and 1 litre water in a pan and stir over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain off the juice and boil about 15 minutes to reduce to a syrup.

Pack the apricots in warm sterile jars, divide up the Amaretto and pour over (use more if you need to) then pour the syrup over. Seal.

Better if left for a few weeks before using. Will keep “indefinitely”.

Here is an idea for any ice-cream lovers in your gift-giving circle. One year for my brother-in-law (who loves ice-cream), I got up a basket and filled it with ice-cream related stuff - home-made butterscotch and chocolate sauces, cones, wafers, long spoons, other topping goodies and I forget what else. It was a big success.

I've also done breakfast-in-bed trays (nice tray, napkin, mini-champagne, nice jams, fresh fruit, and some baked goodies).

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"Artisanal" sounds soooo much better than "home made, doesn't it? :smile:

Unemployment provides me with (much)less money....(no trips to Tiffany this year!) but abundant time to satisfy my always-lurking artisanal instincts.  So far:

1) "Retro" aprons for the ladyfolk.  Think kinda a cross between Ethel Mertz and Carmen Miranda.  I hope not to touch rickrack or seam binding for a good while.  But, they are fetching, if I do say so myself!

2)Soap.  Used all my adorable little tin tart/baba moulds as per Martha'a advice in December's "Living."  The most restful and fun afternoon in awhile.

3)Small recipe book compiling all the recipes I use at Christmas that are written on twenty-year old smudged bits of paper. (Simple concertina binding, if there are any other bookbinders out there.)

To come:

Husband's famous ass't nut brittles.  Said to be a favourite of brothers-in-law.

Homemade pannetone.

Anyone else going artisanal this year?  If so, what are your specialties?

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