Monday, December 16, 2013

Neighbor Gifts

Continuing on with the baking theme, Desiree for The 36th Avenue has an amazing round up of 25 edible Christmas gifts. They all look so good. Any of these would make a great gift for a neighbor or for anyone with a sweet tooth!

My personal favorite from Desiree's round-up is Nikki's Homemade Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix. Nikki is amazing and even provides printables at the bottom of her page to go along with her mix!

Follow Nikki's recipe, write a note, and you have a gift (or gifts) that is ready to give!

Mason Jar Pound Cake

Who doesn't love homemade baked goods during the holidays? For this homemade gift I made pound cake but instead of using a loaf pan, I used mason jars instead for a fun twist!

Mason Jar Pound Cake

1 c. butter, softened         1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. sugar                   1/2 t. almond extract
3 eggs                              2 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. milk

Cream butter until smooth. Slowly add sugar; beat until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each.
Add flour alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour.
Mix in vanilla and almond extracts.
Spray mason jars with non-stick spray with flour; pour batter into jars, filling each halfway.
Wipe rims clean and place jars on a cookie sheet.
Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
Place jars on a wire rack to cool.

This recipe makes 8 very full jelly jars of pound cake as you can tell from the picture! After the jars have cooled add your lids, and maybe even some red and green bakers twine around the jars. Write a note and you have a gift or even gifts that are ready to give! This would make a great gift for the ancillary staff at your child's school, for last minute drop-in guests, or you could just add some whip cream and chocolate syrup and gift it to yourself, like I did tonight...

For The Dogs

I've gotten a little behind on posting for this blog series, but don't worry (I'm sure you're really not;-) I will get caught up! Today's post, along with several other posts that I will be sharing today (remember getting caught up) revolve around baking.

This homemade gift is for the dogs, literally! Homemade dog biscuits are special treat for your favorite canine. We made peanut butter dog biscuits which is the recipe I will share with you today.

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits
adapted from

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted peanut butter
1 cup skim milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Stir together the flour and baking powder; set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the peanut butter and milk. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll out to desired thickness and cut into shapes using cookie cutters. Place 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Our dog biscuits ready to give!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Crayon Rolls

With younger artists in mind for this homemade gift, crayon rolls are nice gift to give. Children love them (plus they are easy to make). Now I do not consider myself to be a seamstress, but putting together a crayon roll is a great project for even a novice at the sewing machine.

I need to stop taking pictures at night!

Also moms love crayon rolls too! They are great because you can throw them into a diaper bag or purse and it keeps all your child's crayons in one place. There are lots of free tutorials online. Personally, I really like Kelly's versions at Skip to My Lou

After completing your crayon roll, fill it up crayons, add a sketch pad or coloring book and a note, and you have a gift that any young artist will love!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Star Wars Art Pack

This is another simple homemade gift idea for those of you who consider yourself to be "craft challenged." I made a doodle book and coloring box to go along with the book "Art2-D2's Guide to Folding and Doodling." The Origami Yoda series is a fun read for young (and maybe old) Jedi's in training! The Art2-D2 book really encourages you to doodle and to create your own origami figures.

Putting the doodle book together is very easy. I took a black composition notebook and added Star Wars stickers and tape. For the coloring box, I used a Huggies travel wipe case and added stickers and tape to that as well.

For those of you who may not be Star Wars fans... this idea can easily be recreated with different characters to accompany that characters book. Whatever character you choose, whoever receives your gift will definitely enjoy it!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Washi Tape Journals

I love using washi tape. Not only can you find it in just about any color and design; washi tape is an extremely versatile product. I used washi tape to add a little something extra to these journals. This is a simple but still creative way (for those of you who might be afraid to craft) to create a homemade gift!

 Tie a little ribbon or twine, add a little note, and you have a gift that is ready to give!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Everything Spice

Where has October November gone??? Now that it is December (still in shock about that), it is my goal to share with you 25 easy gifts that you can make and give this holiday season.

And starting off my collection of homemade gifts is... Everything Spice

Everything Spice goes great on top of bread, bagels, rolls, soft pretzels, and popcorn!

Everything Spice:

2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons dried minced garlic
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

I used a wide mouth half pint mason jar to hold my Everything Spice mix. I found that if you purchase the 2 ounce size bottles of poppy, sesame seeds, etc... it will give you 4 half pint mason jars full of your Everything Spice mixture.

Tie a little bakers twine around the lid, add a note, and you have a gift that it ready to give!