Usually when I try a homemade gift like this, I make one and start fantasizing about how this will be my new business and how great it is to do this project… would I sell online or have a storefront? How much would I charge? AND then by the production of the third item, I want to quit/throw all of the parts in the trash and bail. Homemade doily valentines come immediately to mind.
The November 2012 issue of Food & Wine magazine was a great inspiration for homemade holiday gifts. The homemade packets of mulling spices especially grabbed my attention. (Full recipe here: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/mulling-spices) But I still proceeded with caution…
I knew I had to buy and produce in bulk – OR it would be all together better to buy at the store pre-made. I had to make sure all of the time and effort to put these together would be worth it so I committed early on to make 20+ gifts. (vs. one $40 pouch of mulling spices). RULE: JUMP IN WITH BOTH FEET AND MAKE A LOT OF YOUR ITEM. It’s got to be worth the time/energy/effort. (or maybe it’s just me. I’m sure Martha Stewart’s minions can make just one amazing item at a time).
I hit up esty.com for the packaging materials and after about 5 minutes of quick shopping, the chevron bags and twine purchases were made. I knew they would arrive just about the time I was ready to put it all together. RULE: GATHER THE PARTS AS QUICKLY AND INEXPENSIVELY AS POSSIBLE.
I borrowed my mom’s mama jamma food dehydrator and got to work. The guide said the oranges would take 6 hours (more like 24, I started to feel like a crazy person checking on it every hour) and the ginger would be less (that part was right).
Once the oranges and ginger were good to go, I set out all of my small bowls on the dining room table so I could portion out and knock it out, mini-factory style. RULE: WORK AHEAD & BREAK DOWN THE PROJECT INTO SMALLER INCREMENTS IF YOU CAN.
I portioned out all of the ingredients into individual gift sizes and put into plastic ziplock bags. I originally thought I would just place directly in the paper bags, but then started to like the idea of a plastic bag liner. RULE: BE NIMBLE.
And I ended up with super cute gifts that I was actually happy to give and share with friends. Overall, I enjoyed my project this time and will be on the lookout for my next fun one. I’m also keeping track of great food gifts I’ve been receiving, so stay tuned for an update on what I’ve been receiving this season.
AND just to be “taking it back to the old school, ‘cause I’m an old fool who’s so cool…” I’m firing the time machine back – waaaay back to the Martha Washington cookbook. Check out the similar drink (Hippocras) our first President used to enjoy. I think it’s interesting that the recipe hasn’t changed all that much over the last 200+ years. Hey, if it’s not broke…