Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Gifts In A Jar-Create your own...

Gifts In A Jar-Create your own...

These neat gifts that come in a jar are so simple to make, and make great gifts, for birthdays, Christmas, Valentines day, or just about any holiday that you can think of!

Everything from a layer of soup fixings, to beverage mixes.
Top the lid of the jar on the outside with a bright fabric, add a gift tag, and you have a wonderful gift. Use your immagination!

This is a great way to make around 24 Bean Soup jar gifts:

Combine the following in a bowl large enough to hold:

1 pound dried red lentils
1 pound dried green lentils
1 pound dried brown lentils
1 pound dried black beans
1 pound dried red beans
1 pound dried kidney beans
1 pound dried navy beans
1 pound dried great northern beans
1 pound dried baby lima beans
1 pound dried large lima beans
1 pound dried pinto beans
1 pound dried green split peas
1 pound dried yellow split peas
1 pound dried black eyed peas
1 pound dried cranberry beans

Then put 2 cups of this bean mixture into a pint-sized canning jar.
Next, secure the lid, and attach a colorful fabric to the top of the lid.
Next, make a label for the jar, and use this recipe on the label:

Bean Soup Mix

2 cups 15 bean soup mix
1 smoked ham hock
2 cans 14.5 ounces stewed tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
6 cups water
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Cover bean mix with water and soak overnight.

Drain beans and place in a stockpot. Add ham hock, tomatoes, onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat; reduce to medium low, cover and simmer 1 hour.

Add remaining ingredients; continue to simmer 1 hour or until beans are tender. Remove bay leaf before serving. Serve warm.

Now, not only do you have a really pretty gift, you have also given a recipe that they can use with the ingredients.

As I said, use your immagination. Think of recipes that you know, add dry ingredients in layers, seal it all up with the jar lid, attach colorful fabric, add the label with the recipe, and you have a wonderful unique gift!

Just have fun with it!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sugarplums

Sugarplums Recipe

1 1/2 cups (6-ounce package) mixed chopped dried fruits
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons brandy or bourbon, or orange juice
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

In a food processor, finely chop the fruits and almonds together. Add the liquor or orange juice and nutmeg.

Process just until the mixture is finely ground and sticks together, 10 to 15 seconds.

Place the sugar on a small plate. Line a tray with waxed paper. Dip your fingers in the sugar, then pinch off and form 34- to 1-inch balls of the fruit-nut mixture.

Roll each in the sugar to coat, then set on the prepared tray to dry for at least 10 minutes and serve.

(The sugarplums can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 week or frozen for 1 month.)

This recipe for Sugarplums makes about 20.

What is a sugarplum? Usually a small sized candy that is sugary and containing nuts and fruits, made partly by boiling sugar.

Creme De Menthe Balls

Creme De Menthe Balls Recipe

1 cup vanilla wafers; crumbs
2 tbsp light corn syrup
3/4 cup pecans; finely chopped
1/2 cup white or green creme de menthe
1 cup confectioners sugar

Combine vanilla wafers, pecans and sugar. Add syrup and creme de menthe blending with fork to make stiff dough. Form and roll in confectioners sugar. Chill overnight. Store in an airtight container.

What is Creme De Menthe? Creme De Menthe is a sweet peppermint or spearmint flavored liqueur. It is available in white or green colors. You can use either one in recipes, as they taste very similar, unless the recipe calls for the green color of course. It can be used in cocktails, but also is used in making food recipes, such as mint chocolate.

Saltwater Taffy

Saltwater Taffy Recipe

2 C. sugar
1 C. light corn syrup
2 T. butter or margarine
1/4 t. oil of peppermint (or other flavoring)
7 drops of food coloring (optional coloring to match flavoring)
1 C. water
1 1/2 t. salt

Butter the sides of a 2-quart saucepan and add sugar, corn syrup, 1-cup water and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking to 275° F, without stirring. The mixture should boil gently.

Remove from heat and stir in butter or margarine. Add flavoring and food coloring. Pour into a buttered cake pan and cool about 30 minutes, until you can handle it easily. Butter hands and pull candy until it becomes difficult to pull.

Cut into four pieces and pull each piece into a long strand about 1/2 inch thick. With buttered scissors, snip bite-sized pieces and wrap with candy wrapping.

Recipe makes about 1 1/2 pounds of candy.

Salt water taffy was produced beginning in the late 19th century. Salt water taffy is unusual because it uses both salt and water in the making. Joseph Fralinger's company made this candy popular and began selling it in Atlantic City as a souvenir.

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