Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas

If you find you need a hostess gift or have a tight budget, take a look at this list as there are some great homemade gift ideas.  You can have your children involved in helping you make these; it can be a special tradition to make your gifts at the holidays.

A homemade gift is a perfect solution for those people on your list that you want to give a little something to and you want it to be special instead of just a gift card.  Gifts likes these are perfect for a teacher, your hair stylist, a hostess gift, or even a little party favor for your own holiday party.

We think homemade gifts like these are easy projects to do with kids, they can help with measuring and pouring, tie ribbons or even decorate the tags.

Chai Tea Mix- Portion it into a jar with a holiday ribbon and a printed tag with mixing instructions.

Hot Cocoa Mix- Like the tea, you can put it in a glass jar with a ribbon, or even use a zipper bag that you then wrap with colored cellophane tied with a ribbon and the mixing instructions.  Stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are carrying artisan marshmallows, you can split up a package of those between your baggies for a little something extra.

Truffle Hot Chocolate Balls- Just another option for giving hot chocolate, these rich truffles are mixed with hot milk.  Wrap a few, place in a mug with marshmallows and a candy cane and then wrap the mug with cellophane and a ribbon.

Cinnamon Pancake Mix- We love this idea.  You can create a cute printed label to go with it with the cooking instructions for their Christmas morning breakfast.  Tie a spatula to it with a ribbon to make it a little more special.

5 Grain Pancake Mix- This link has a little instruction card to print and give with the mix and shows a cute way to present it in a jar.  The recipe for the pancake mix yields a lot; you could probably make up 8 jars to give that would provide 2 batches of the pancakes in each one.

Candied Lemon Peel- These look so pretty in a jar or wrapped in food-safe cellophane bag.  If you have a lemon tree bearing fruit right now this is a great way to use them.  You could also makes these to add to your cookie and candy platter as a pretty and edible garnish.

Soup Mix in a Jar- Something different instead of sweets.  The ingredients can easily be purchased in bulk and be very inexpensive.  There are great suggestions for modifications from the reviewers of this recipe.  The recipe is for 1 jar, but when it’s made into soup it yields 12 servings.  You just have to use the calculator to get the amount of ingredients for however many jars you want to make.

Cajun Spice Seasoning Mix in a Jar-  Large quantities of the spices for this mix can be purchased at a warehouse store, or a supermarket with a bulk spice section to make it economical.  It makes quite a bit and you can stretch it even more if you portion it into small containers.  Include a tag with ideas for using the mix.

Hot Fudge Topping-  Rich and delicious, portion into a jar, tie a ribbon and attach an ice cream scoop.  Or use it in a movie gift basket with a package of microwave popcorn, other ice cream toppings and a DVD or movie rental certificate.

Homemade Caramel Sauce- Do the same with the fudge topping or create a gift basket with a jar of each.

Cranberry Orange Marmalade- Very inexpensive to make, can yield 4, 8 oz jars.  Two flavors that go so well together and are perfect in the winter season.

Lemon Salt Scrub- Not edible, but made with sea salt, olive oil and lemon juice.  Buy those in bulk for an inexpensive gift.

Here are several easy to make candies that yield quite of bit which is ideal when you need quite a few gifts.

Chocolate Cookie Bark- White chocolate, dark chocolate, a little peanut butter and crushed Oreo cookies.  Plus, the basic recipe is adaptable to change up the flavors, such as using peppermint flavored Oreos and omitting the peanut butter.

Mint Thins- Buttery round crackers, dipped in peppermint flavored chocolate.  Sounds crazy, but it’s a great combination.  A unique and tasty treat.

Peppermint Bark- Creamy and crunchy, super easy to make.  It looks pretty too!

Peppermint Patties- You will be a hit when you bring these to a party!

If you want any help or recommendations for holiday candy and cookie recipes, please add a comment and I'll be happy to help!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Pies and Cheesecakes

Updated 10/6/14
If you are local to me, (Greater Sacramento Area or the Bay Area) you can enjoy a homemade holiday pie, or creamy and delicious cheesecake made with love by me.  Everything will be made from scratch and fresh just before you need it.  Most items can be frozen in advance to save for when you need it.  Apple pie can be delivered frozen and unbaked or baked and ready to serve.   

Available Items
  • 9 inch Georgia Pecan Pie, $25- A slightly sweet shortbread crust and rich molasses and pecan filling. (baked and ready to serve)
  • 9 inch Apple Pie, $20- A tender, buttery crust with sweet apples, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Your choice of top crust or brown sugar oatmeal crunch topping. (unbaked and frozen to bake at home)
  • 9 inch Pumpkin Molasses Pie (baked and ready to serve), $15- A little bit different than your usual pumpkin pie, sweetened with honey and molasses.
  • 9 inch Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake, $25- A spicy graham cracker crust and the most delicious, creamy, pumpkin cheesecake you've ever had
  • 9 inch NY Style Cheesecake, $20-  Delicious traditional recipe with a whipped chocolate ganache topping.
  • 9 inch White Chocolate Christmas Cheesecake- $30- A cookie crust with a creamy white chocolate cheesecake and a white chocolate glaze on top.  Add a jar of raspberry or strawberry sauce for $5
  • 9 inch Chocolate Peppermint Cream Pie- $20- Chocolate cookie crust, creamy peppermint-infused chocolate custard, topped with real whipped cream and crushed candy canes.  This pie needs to be made fresh and delivered no longer than one day in advance of serving.


Order by November 22nd for delivery by November 26th (Thanksgiving is Nov 27)
Order by December 17th for delivery by December 23rd

Orders needed earlier for holiday parties can be arranged.

Contact erika@e-mealplanning.com to place your order today.  $10 per pie/cheesecake deposit required when placing order.

Visa/MasterCard/Amex/Discover Accepted through PayPal

NY Style Cheesecake (pictured with whipped chocolate ganache)

Apple Pie with Crunch Topping

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with brown sugar whipped cream

Georgia Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Molasses Pie

White Chocolate Christmas Cheesecake
Chocolate Peppermint Cream Pie

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Moving in Several Different Ways

A very quick post as an update.  I'm sitting on the floor of an empty house where I still have wireless Internet with my laptop actually on my lap.  My back is killing me and my feet are falling asleep.  But I will push on...
I've been in the thick of moving the e-mealplanning World Wide Headquarters.  Moving is hell on Earth.  It might be the one thing in life that is simultaneously so great and so horrible.  Oh, maybe childbirth too.  That runs a close second.  I get to do both in the span of about 5 months.  Go me!

Anyway, new house, great.  Packing, moving stuff and cleaning old house, not great.  Doing it while pregnant and technically unable to lift heavy items, really crappy.

But in my head I've got all kinds of upcoming blog posts brewing.  When I'll write them, I don't know.  I've got the holidays on my mind too and I'm going to be sure and get that information shared with you soon.

Oh and I've got to do a technical move too.  My actual business website, www.e-mealplanning.com is going to shift and all that content will be located here in my blog, and so the address will move too.  Haven't even begun that move yet.  But I will over the next two weeks.

In the mean time, I wanted to recycle some previous newsletters from last year at this time.

Here is a list of recipes- a few I have shared recently, but several good ones that I don't think I've shared since last year.  They're all good for this time of year and also great for providing leftovers to have again in your lunch or on a busy night.
Recipe List

Also- before I move this page, check out my list of great food-related homemade gifts.  I plan to update it and will share the new link when the page moves, so check it out now and start planning!

Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas

I hope you're having a great holiday season.  Please drop me a line at info@e-mealplanning.com if you want any cooking or baking advice or need help.