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Shopping, Crafts, and Recipes on a Budget


Category: Gifts in a Jar – Miscellaneous

Chocolate Spoons

For the chocoholic a nice gift is homemade fudge, truffles or a fudge sauce to be used for ice cream packed with a basket of gourmet hot cocoa mixes and a pretty mug.

~Chocolate Spoons~

20 heavy duty plastic spoons
4 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate baking bar, chopped
2 Tbsp whipping cream
1 Tbsp favorite liqueur
4-6 ounces vanilla flavored candy coating, melted (optional).

Combine the chocolate baking bar, whipping cream and liqueur in a 1 cup glass measuring cup. Microwave on medium 50% power for 1 minute stirring at 30 seconds until melted and desired consistency. Dip spoons in the melted chocolate so that the bowl of the spoon is completely covered. Allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper; chill for at least 15 minutes in the freezer to allow the chocolate to set. Drizzle the spoons with the melted white chocolate if desiresd to decorate. Wrap in plastic wrap and tie each with a bow. To use, place the spoon into coffee until chocolate is melted. Makes 20 spoons.

Tarragon Vinegar

Tarragon stocks

Strip the tarragon from the large stalks. Put into small stone jar or wide necked jar, and in doing this, twist some of the branches so as to bruise the leaves and tear them apart. Pour in enough very pale vinegar so as to cover the top. Allow to infuse for about 2 months or more. Strain into small bottles and cork

Rose Petal Vinegar

Basically, if you like it as an herb, put a good sized sprig of it in some white vinegar and wait a couple of months and try it. This works with sage (don’t leave it too long), oregano, tarragon, thyme (may have to leave it longer) and chives that I can think of.
1 c rose petals
3 whole cloves
2 c white wine vinegar

Trim away white part of rose petals. Wash and drain thoroughly. Slightly bruise petals and place with cloves in a wide mouth canning jar. Place vinegar in a medium saucepan bring to a boil. Pour vinegar over petals, cover at once with metal lids, and screw bands tight. Let stand at room temp for 1 week. Strain vinegar into decorative jars, discarding rose petals. Seal jars with a cork or other airtight lid. Makes 2 cups

Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemons
Makes 2 pint jars
8 to 9 small Meyer lemons, or 5 to 7 small regular lemons, plus a few
additional for juice.
About 1/2 cup kosher salt
2 bay leaves
2 2-inch-long cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves

Scrub the lemons. If they are not organic, immerse them in boiling water for 30 seconds to remove any pesticides and wax. Cool them in a  bowl of ice water. Make two deep vertical incisions in each lemon to divide it into quarters, but don’t cut it all the way through. You will have a lemon “flower.” If the lemons are large, you may just want to quarter them and arrange them nicely in the jar after salting.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the salt in the bottom of each sterilized jar. Sprinkle the inside of each lemon “flower” with a rounded tablespoon of salt and pack into the jars. Press down as you pack the lemons to release some juice and to fit as many as you can into each jar. Wedge a bay leaf and cinnamon stick between the lemons and the side of the jars. Add the cloves. If needed, add additional lemon juice to cover the lemons. Seal the jars.

Let stand for one week at room temperature, inverting the jars occasionally to distribute the salt and juice. Then store the jars in the refrigerator for up to six months. When the rinds soften (about two weeks), the lemons are ready. To use, rinse lemon, scrape away the pulp, and dice the rind. If white crystals appear, the lemons may still be used. Just rinse them first.

To complete the gift, add a cookbook on Mediterranean or Moroccan cooking. Or add a tag to suggest using these lemons to flavor sauces, braised dishes, vegetable stews, roast chicken, fish, rice or even tuna salad.

Nasturtium Vinegar

1 quart Nasturtium flowers
1 chopped shallot
1 small piece garlic
1 piece red pepper
1 tsp. salt
Loosely fill a quart jar with clean nasturtium flowers. Add a finely chopped shallot, a very small piece of garlic, and a piece of red pepper. Fill the jar with cold vinegar, and let stand 2 months. Add 1 t of salt, strain through several thicknesses of cheesecloth and store in sterilized jars closely sealed.

Moonshine Cake

Day 1-The day you get your starter. Pour starter into a gallon glass container. (Keep covered lightly and at room temperature.) Add to starter a 16-oz can of sliced peaches & the juice from the peaches, & 1 1/2 cups sugar. Stir daily for 9 days.

Day 10-Add 2 cups sugar, 1 16-oz can chunk pineapple and juice. Stir daily for 9 days.

Day 20- add 2 cups sugar, 16-0z can fruit cocktail & its juice, 1 ten oz jar Maraschino cherries and its juice. Stir daily for 9 days.

Day 30- Strain fruit, divide into 3 equal parts. Divide starter liquid into 5 parts, give to 4 friends, keeping one part for yourself to start a new batch.
Fruit makes three cakes. For each cake: Grease and flour a 10″ Bundt pan, or 2 9x5x2″ loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 box yellow cake mix
2/3 cup oil
4 eggs
1 box vanilla instant pudding
1 cup chopped nuts
1/3 the strained fruit

In large bowl, mix together the oil and the eggs with electric mixer, on high speed. Add the cake mix and the pudding mix. Beat well. Fold in 1/3 of the strained fruit, and the nuts.

Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cakes may be frozen for up to 1 year.

If you don’t have a friend to give you the starter, you can use this recipe, beginning with the ingredients used on the first day, and add an 6 oz can of apricot nectar, and 1/4 cup of any good liquor.

Marinated Olives

8 cloves of garlic, squashed in their skins (or peeled and finely chopped
if you love garlic)
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons of finely chopped thyme leaves
4 tablespoons extra virgin oil
one teaspoon of crushed dried chilies
500g black olives

Put the garlic, vinegar, thyme, olive oil and chilies in a clean, dry jar. Add the olives and shake the jar, then seal. Leave for at least 48 hours, though three weeks will be even better.

Lavender Honey

Provided by JaCyn Lavender Farm

8oz Light Honey (such as clover honey)
4 tablespoons of Dried Lavender buds

Heat honey in double boiler till fully heated add lavender and stir Continue over heat for 30 minutes . Remove from heat and allow to partially cool Place in sun for 3 hours (optional) Strain out lavender Put honey in jar.

Comments: Different varieties of lavender will cause variations in flavor. Varying the amount of lavender will change the intensity of flavor. Heating for too long can release a more acrid oil into the honey in some lavender varieties.

Homemade Christmas Spice Bundles

4 cinnamon sticks
2 tsp. ground allspice
2 tsp. ground ginger
20 whole cloves
2 Tbsp pickling spice
dried orange and or lemon peel is also a nice addition if you have them on hand

Place all in a decorative jar. Attach a card that reads: “Pour the spices into a kettle or pan, add a quart of water and cook until hot. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for a while. Makes the house smell wonderful.”

Or tie the spices into bundles to be used for mulling cider.

Garlic Jam

4 Garlic head, whole (~14 oz)
1 T Olive oil, extra-virgin
1 md Onion; unpeeled & halved lengthwise
Salt (opt)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Using a large sharp knife, cut off 1/2-inch from the top of each head of garlic to expose some of the flesh.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil over the bottom of a gratin or glass pie dish. Place the garlic and the onion halves cut sides down in the dish, cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes, until very soft to the touch. Uncover and let cool for 20 minutes. Peel the onion halves and finely chop them. Place in a medium bowl.
Squeeze the garlic pulp from the skins into the bowl; discard the skins. Using a fork, stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and mash with the onion and garlic until thoroughly incorporated. Season with salt if desired.

(The garlic jam will keep refrigerated in a glass jar for up to 2 weeks.)

Makes 1-1/3 cups.

Use this condiment with roasted meats or as a spread for toasted croutons or cold meat sandwiches, or try a spoonful of it mixed into homemade salad dressings and sauces.

Dried Orange and Lemon Peel


Preheat oven 150:. Peel oranges and lemons, using only the outermost peeling. Cut into strips (3×1/2″). Place on baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 2 hours or until slices are crisp and dry.

These can be used in cooking.

These are pretty as gifts placed into glass jars-to decorate the jars cut circles of fabric 1 inch larger than the jar top. Use a gold cord or raffia to tie the fabric to the jar top. These peels can be added to hot cider along with cinnamon and cloves or used as part of a potpourri

Cranberry Mustard

1/2 cup finely chopped sweetened dried cranberries
2 tablespoons honey
1 jar (8 ounces) Dijon mustard

In small, microwave-safe bowl, combine cranberries, honey and 1 tablespoon of the mustard; mix well.

Microwave on high 45 to 60 seconds or until hot. Cool 2 minutes.

Stir in remaining mustard. Divide mixture evenly into 3 (4-ounce) decorative jars; cover. Store in refrigerator.

30-Day Friendship Starter Cake

If you can obtain the “starter” juice from a friend who has made this recipe, do so. If not, you substitute a mixture of 6 ounces apricot or peach brandy, and 6 ounces of heavy syrup from canned peaches, apricots or fruit cocktail. Do not use any other type of fruit syrup. Day 1: In a glass gallon jar, put the 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) of starter juice or the brandy-syrup mixture. Add 2 1/2 cups of sugar and a large can of diced peaches, juice and all. Stir well. Place lid on jar and refrigerate. Day 2 through 9: Stir well once a day. Day 10: Add a 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple, juice and all, and 2 1/2 cups of sugar to peach mixture. Stir well. Day 11 through 19: Stir well once a day. Day 20: Drain liquid from at least 20 ounces of maraschino cherries. Sliced cherries are preferable but whole ones (minus pits) may be used. Discard liquid. Add cherries and 2 1/2 cups sugar to peach-pineapple mixture. Stir well. Day 21 through 29: Stir well once a day. Day 30: time to bake the cake! Place peach-pineapple-cherry mixture in a large strainer and drain off as much liquid as possible. It will take a while because mixture is quite thick. Save the liquid in 12 ounce lots (pint jars work nicely) and refrigerate or freeze. Will keep 30 days in refrigerator and longer, frozen. Keep this liquid as the starter for your future cakes or share with friends to start theirs.

1/2 c. EACH raisins, chopped dates,
chopped walnuts and chopped pecans
1/3 of the drained fruit mixture
1 box yellow cake mix
1 box vanilla instant pudding
4 eggs
1/2 c. Wesson oil
1 1/2 c. EACH raisins, chopped dates,
chopped walnuts and chopped pecans
All of the drained fruit mixture
3 boxes yellow cake mix
3 boxes vanilla pudding
12 eggs
1 1/2 c. Wesson oil

Use ingredients shown above to make either 2 loaves or 6 loaves at a time. If you have a very large mixing bowl, use second set of ingredients and make all 6 loaves at once. If not, use the first set of ingredients and make 2 loaves at a time. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the loaf pans. Mix ingredients and pour into loaf pans. Batter will be stiff. Bake 50 to 60 minutes. Do not overbake. If your oven temperature isn’t accurate and seems too hot, use a lower temperature (325 degrees). This cake is delicious, moist and rich. Serve for special occasions or give as gifts.