When my son was little I had NO extra money for Christmas gifts, so I began the tradition of making gifts for friends and family for Christmas.
Every year we decided what we were going to make, scrounged what we could and bought the rest of what we needed to make the gifts, and spent a few days creating the gifts together.
One year we made rolled beeswax candles; another year we made homemade soaps; other years we made Christmas tree decorations.
It was such a wonderful time spent together making these gifts that were truly from the heart.
As the years went by and there was a little more disposable income I began to buy some gifts, but most of the gifts I give now are still are homemade.
This year (2021) I decided to make a variety of edible gifts for Christmas presents:
- Spice Mixes
- Chili Seasoning
- Taco Seasoning
- Ranch Seasoning
- Seasoning Salt
- Spicy Black Bean Soup in a Jar
- Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookie Mix
- Gingerbread Pancake Mix
- Cranberry Orange Biscotti
- Hot Chocolate Bombs
I also made some other non-edible, but still homemade, gifts from the kitchen including:
It was a whirlwind weekend making it all, but after one weekend it was done, packaged, and ready to gift.
Here’s my whirlwind weekend, all wrapped up in one tidy, edited video. 😊 Scroll down for the recipes and instructions.
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SPICY BLACK BEAN SOUP IN A JAR
This delicious southwestern flavour soup is one of my favourites – so I’m gifting it to my loves this Christmas!
- 1.75 cups dried black beans (turtle beans)
- 1 Tbsp dried minced onion
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp celery seed
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- 1 dried chili pepper OR 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- Layer ingredients, in the order above, in mason jar or clear foodsafe bag.
- Put in cute little transparent bag with hand written instructions and some ribbon. You can get my printable gift tags here.
- Remove wrapper from bouillon cube.
- Add bouillon cube to saucepan with 7 cups of water and contents of jar.
- Bring to a simmer on medium high heat. Cook on simmer (reducing heat as necessary) until the beans are tender and the soup is thick, about 90 minutes. Add more water as necessary.
- Remove and discard the chile pepper and bay leaves.
- Optional – add a splash of lime juice to the soup, sprinkle some cilantro and/or grated cheddar cheese on top before serving.
GINGERBREAD PANCAKE MIX
What’s better than waking up on a winter Sunday morning than homemade pancakes? Gingerbread pancakes! I used The Stay Home Chef’s just-add-water pancake recipe as a start, then added:
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
They turned out delicious! Just add water and cook on a griddle or in a frying pan. You can get my printable gift tag with instructions for recipient here.
HOT CHOCOLATE BOMBS
Hot Chocolate Bombs are hollow chocolate balls filled with hot chocolate and marshmallows. The Bombs are meant to be placed in a mug and then covered with steaming hot milk which melts the chocolate Bomb and released the hot chocolate and marshmallows inside!
- Silicon sphere molds
- Dark or milk chocolate callets*
- Dark or milk chocolate chips
- Powdered hot chocolate
- Mini marshmallows
- White chocolate to decorate (optional)
- Wipe out your molds with a paper towel.
- Boil water in a kettle.
- Pour water into a glass bowl or pot. Place another glass bowl on top of that bowl.
- Melt chocolate chips in the bowl, stirring to help them melt.
- Once they’re just melted, add in the chocolate callets (5-10% of the total amount of chocolate chips).
- Stir till melted.
- Drop a spoonful of the chocolate into the first silicon mold. Paint the chocolate up the sides. Move onto the next mold.
- Once the entire mold has the first layer of chocolate, pop in the fridge for 5 minutes. While that mold is chilling, repeat with the other molds.
- After 5 minutes, pull the molds from the fridge and repeat the process so that all molds have 2 layers of chocolate.
- Heat a frying pan on low on the stove.
- Turn chocolate half spheres out of molds.
- Fill one side of the sphere with mini marshmallows and hot chocolate.
- Turn the other half of the sphere upside down and quickly heat the edge in the frying pan.
- Press the two halves together and hold until they set.
- Optional – heat some white chocolate and drizzle over the hot chocolate bombs.
- Let cool completely. Put in cute little transparent bag with a hand written gift tag and some ribbon.
*According to The Food Network, “Sold in squares, bars or large chips called “callets,” baking chocolate is also called couverture chocolate. It is made to be chopped and melted to be used in baking. It is important to weigh your baking chocolate for recipes, and not measure it by volume. When melted, baking chocolate is smooth and glossy, making it easy to stir into your recipes. Chocolate sold in bars labelled as “chocolate” can be used in baking, but if the bar is labelled as a “candy bar”, then that is eating chocolate, not baking chocolate.”
SIMMER POT MIX
Certain smells can flood our brains with memories of an event or location, and evoke emotions. Transport your friends and family to the memories of Christmas past with this Simmer Pot Kit (aka Stovetop Potpourri).
You can add a variety of ingredients to a simmer pot kit, and all the recipient needs to do is add some to a pot on the stove and let it simmer away – bringing the smells of Christmas past into Christmas present.
For my simmer pots I used:
- cinnamon sticks
- whole star anise
- whole allspice
- whole cloves
- dehydrated orange peels
but the best part of Simmer Pot Mixes is that you can get creative! Other ingredients you can add are:
- cardamom pods
- pine sprigs (dried)
- dried ginger
- chai spice (or the contents of a chai tea bag)
- rosemary sprigs (dried)
- sage sprigs (dried)
Add all ingredients to a cute little jar or transparent bag, add the gift tag, and tie on a Christmas ribbon.
HOMEMADE DOG BISCUITS
Our little Petey is allergic to almost all poultry and poultry products. Finding healthy dog treats without eggs, chicken or turkey is tough!
I started with Okonomi Kitchen’s recipe for Vegan Pumkin Dog Treats base recipe and added:
- 2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses (loaded with manganese – an antioxidant that helps build healthy bones)
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil (anti-microbial and anti-fungal)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric (anti-inflammatory)
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger (anti-inflmmatory and antioxidant)
- an additional 2 Tbsp of oat flour (due to adding molasses and coconut oil)
With just a few ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen, these are super easy to make – and gift.
I used these bone shaped cookie cutters to make homemade dog biscuits for all the fur parents in my life.