Thursday, December 1, 2011

Neighbor Gift Ideas for Christmas!

Neighbor Gift Ideas

You know what they are...the small ones that can kill your budget! We've got some great ideas to help stretch your cash and make the most adorable personal gifts!  Here is a collection of some of my favorite recipes this season!

Wise Woman Spiced Hot Lemonade 

  • 1 cup Lemonade Powder
  • 1 tsp Chef Tess Wise Woman of the East Spice Blend Or
  • ½ tsp pumpkin spice plus ½ tsp cinnamon
Mix ingredients and place ingredients in a treat bag or half-pint jar tied with ribbon or raffia and a card with directions:
To make hot spiced lemonade combine 1/3 cup of mix 1 quarts hot water. Serve warm on a cold night.

This one "upcycled" from an old Crystal Light container!

Tis the Seasoning to be Jolly!
Jar of Chef Tess Spice Savory spice blend (Italian, Fajita or All Purpose) with a tag and ribbon. This will work for almost any seasoning we. This is also fun to give with a baggie of popcorn and say, “I just popped over to sing Tis the Seasoning to be Jolly!”

Mint Cocoa Cones or jars: 1/2 cup cocoa mix at the bottom of a plastic pastry bag. 1T crushed peppermint candy or 2T chocolate chunks. Dry small marshmallows on a sheet pan for 24 to 48 hours open air. Place ¼ cup marshmallows at the top of the bag, leaving enough room to tie the bag. Tie with a twist tie and a bow. If you use jars, use the half-pint jars and the same directions:

To prepare combine contents with 16 ounces boiling water. Serve hot.

Here's how mine turned out. I just love using basic colors. The felt accents are pre-made scrap book stickers.
 The white ruffle on top is a coffee filter.

Here's the tag. Just black and white so it's easy to use paper that you have on hand that may not necessarily be one you thought of using for holiday decorations.

 They started out looking like this:

Warmest Wishes” this Holiday Season:
Tag with “warmest wishes this holiday season from: _______” and ribbon or raffia (or decorative dried peppers)...
Attached to :
salsa or salsa mixes
Chef Tess fajita seasoning,
jalapeno jelly,
spicy sauces (bbq, etc.)

Brownie Mix or Fudge Mix with a bow:
Tag: “Oh Fudge!...but I didn't say fudge...or buy you a weird leg lamp.” Happy Holidays to you!

 I think it's cute putting some prepared fudge in a wrap of scrapbook paper and a cute tag. Very simple and personal.

Smore' Love This Christmas or Buddy's Christmas Grams:
Baggie with 6 graham crackers, 6 large marshmallows and a chocolate bar.

I used a simple goodie bag, some polka-dot napkins and a felt dollar-store bucket. Total cost per gift, right around 2$. Plus...I just love Elf. Dang cute movie. 

 The bow is a polka-dot napkin!

Chef Tess Bakeresse Candied Nuts

This method for coating nuts has been by and far my favorite. It's easy to do and doesn't require any
special equipment or candy making skills. I think you'll like it. Here are a few that we love here.
I also have to give a giant thanks to the folks at Lucero Olive Oil for the Crushed Meyer Lemon and Chocolate infused Olive oil. Both are amazing for nuts! 

Mindy, the owner of Mix-a-meal, contacted me a while back asking me what I do with her company's powdered flavorings. I had used them a few times and adored them for making outstanding flavorful mixes without having to add liquid. The flavors don't cook out or loose their power. Those who know how fond I am of mixes will not be surprised to see the powdered flavors here. Subsequently...Mindy asked if I would like to try more of the flavors as her gift. I accepted a full box and I'm so thankful! I've had fun playing with them. At any rate, I'm sharing some of my favorite recipes here using them. Thank you Mindy!  Word is that she is including these recipes in her company newsletter in December. I'm flattered! 

Salted Caramel Christmas Almonds
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 tbsp butter or any flavor of Lucero Olive Oil
1 cup Almonds (Pecans or Walnuts work as well)
Melt butter over low heat with brown sugar (olive oil need not be heated) Add nuts and coat. Remove from heat.
In a separate bowl, combine:
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon  Butterscotch Powdered Flavoring (I use this when I make mixes very often)
1/2 teaspoon  Vanilla Powdered Flavoring  (You can use extract, but the powder is good for mixes)
Toss butter coated nuts in the spiced sugar to coat.
Candied Nut Flavor Variations:
Holiday Spiced Nuts- Use 1 tsp Chef Tess Wise Woman of the East Spice and Floral blend

Use 1/2 tsp  Strawberry Powdered Flavoring  in with the sugar mixture along with the vanilla and butterscotch.
Christmas in Paradise: Use Macadamia Nuts instead of almonds and use 1/2 tsp Coconut Powdered Flavoring  in place of the vanilla. Add 1/2 tsp pineapple flavor.
Spiced Maple Pecans: Use Pecans. Use 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice. Use Maple Powdered Flavoring  instead of the butterscotch.

These next ones are made with peanuts. I call them Elvis Peanuts because of the use of banana flavor. One taste and my Elvis lovin' husband Ace, went crazy! 
I embellished the top of this jar with paper flowers, and rolled up silver cupcake liners. So cute!

Elvis Christmas Peanuts: Use Peanuts instead of other nuts. Use 2 tsp Banana Powdered Flavoring , 1 tsp vanilla powder and stir with a little “wah-huh”. Thank you very much. I line the gift jar of these with freeze dried bananas or banana chips work as well.

Sweet and Hot Lemon Garlic Pecans (or Almonds)
1 tsp light brown sugar
1T butter
1 cup Pecans.
Directions: Melt butter over low heat with brown sugar. Add nuts and coat. Remove from heat.
In a separate bowl combine:
1T sugar
1/8 tsp each: salt, cracked black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika and cayanne pepper
Toss butter coated nuts in the seasoning blend.

Popcorn and Seasoning packets! 
A wonderful idea for stretching the dollars!  I use either scrap book paper or popcorn bags as the "wrapping".

Flavored Snow:
Sweet Popcorn sprinkles to go over hot buttered popcorn.
These will also work for a wonderful flavor to sprinkle on hot cereals and buttered toast!
Butterscotch popcorn sprinkles: 1/2 cup powdered butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1T Butterscotch powder, 1tsp salt.
Strawberry dipped chocolate cream sprinkles: 1/2 cup sour cream powder, 1/2 cup sugar, 1T chocolate powder 1 tsp Strawberry Powdered Flavoring 
Orange Creme-sickle Sprinkles: 1/2 cup sour cream powder, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp orange powder, 1 tsp vanilla powder
Chocolate Coconut bar Sprinkles: 1/2 cup powdered butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1TChocolate Cream Powdered Flavoring , 1 tsp coconut powder

More Tis' the Seasoning:

Savory Sprinkles recipe for popcorn and potatoes (powdered butter,sour cream, cheese, and tomato can be found in bulk at  Honeyville)

"Tis the Seasoning to be Jolly!" or "Just Popping over to wish you a wonderful Christmas Seasoning" (tag on the popcorn and seasoning).

Ranch Popcorn Sprinkles: 1/2 cup Powdered buttermilk, 1/4 cup powdered butter , 2T onion granules, 2T garlic salt, 2T parsley flakes, 1 tsp pepper
Sour Cream and Onion Sprinkles: 1/2 cup Sour Cream Powder, 1/4 cup  powdered butter, 2T onion powder, 1tsp garlic powder, 2T dehydrated green onion,  1/2 tsp pepper
Salsa Popcorn: 1/2 cup sour cream powder, 1/4 cup  powdered butter, 2 T tomato powder, 2T Chef Tess Southwest Fajita Seasoning, 1 tsp lemon powder
Pizza Popcorn: 1/2 cup cheese powder, 1/4 cup powdered butter , 2T tomato powder, 2T Chef Tess Romantic Italian Seasoning blend.

There you go!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

1 comment:

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