You’re headed out the door to a dinner party and forgot to buy a hostess gift…your child reminds you that the class holiday party is tomorrow and you forgot to buy a teacher’s gift…you want to give a homemade gift to a friend but don’t have the time to bake anything. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. One solution that works for all of these sticky situations is Gift in a Jar.
I recently made up three of my favourites, though the options for Gifts in a Jar are endless. A quick web search will provide countless sites dedicated to these same types of gifts.
Some basic supplies that are helpful for each of these gifts are, canning jars and lids of different sizes, a canning funnel (it has a much wider base than a regular funnel), some fabric scraps and other decorating items for creating a quick and easy gift basket with your creations.
The first gift is a simple M&M Cookie Mix in a Jar. The jarred mix is made up of the following:
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups M&M candies
2 cups flour mixed with ½ teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon baking soda
Layer these items in a 1-quart wide mouth canning jar, packing each layer down as you go…this mix is a tight squeeze.
Attach these instructions to the jar:
Makes 2 ½ dozen cookies
Empty jar of cookie mix into large mixing bowl. Thoroughly mix and add ½ cup butter or margarine, softened, 1 egg, slightly beaten, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional).
Mix until completely blended. Shape into Tablespoon sized balls. Place 2-inches apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375-degrees F for 12 to 14 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned.
The next gift in a jar is a delicious hot cocoa mix. The following recipe makes enough for several pint jars that are topped off with mini marshmallows.
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa
2 ½ cups powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
To make jars, mix all of the ingredients together and add to jar, topping off with mini marshmallows. Add a tag to each jar, instructing the user to add enough mix to fill half their mug, and to it, add hot water or warm milk. This mix claims to last forever if stored in an airtight container, though I don’t think it will last long enough!
To make a pretty gift basket, add jars of each mix, a few mugs, and some cinnamon sticks and pinecones to a basket, and voila, you have a quick and easy gift. If you wanted to get real fancy, you could also add wooden spoons, a batter bowl, aprons…you name it!
Finally, here is an option that can be used as a holiday gift, or for that person in your life who catches the inevitable winter sniffles…chicken soup in a jar.
To make this mix, layer the following in a pint-sized jar:
1 cup uncooked fine egg noodles
1 ½ Tablespoon chicken-flavoured bouillon
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried whole thyme
1/8 teaspoon celery seeds
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
Attach the following recipe to the jar:
8 cups water
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
¼ cup minced onion
3 cups cooked diced chicken
Add the entire jar of soup mix and the water into a large stockpot. Add carrots, celery and onion, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf and stir in chicken. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until heated through.
This mix makes for a great gift basket when added with a fun soup mug or some crackers in a small jar. I tend to keep a few jars of mix in my pantry for those cold winter nights when soup is the perfect dinner.
These mixes are a great thing to have on hand for emergency situations. They are also fun to make with your child…my three year old loved seeing the layers appear!
Sharon is a New England girl who never imagined that she’d find herself living in Canada. She has a wonderful husband and together they created a Diva Monster. Follow her on her crazy journeys at Nanas Button Jar!!