I love homemade gifts so much! I like taking the time to make them and I like seeing someone’s face when they realize that I put effort into my gift for them. On the flip side, I also love receiving handmade gifts. There’s nothing in this world quite like knowing that someone cares enough to take the time to make something for you.
It’s long been a theme with my family to give handmade gifts (or to pretend like we give handmade gifts :) and so when I heard about the 6th Annual Handmade Holidays blog hop I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. Who wouldn’t want to get involved with some of the most amazing and talented bloggers on the internet and join them to show how to make gifts with love?
Oh, and guess what? There’s even a giveaway happening up in here. There are ELEVEN prizes with ELEVEN chances to win! Huzzah!
Look at all of that good stuff! Be sure to enter the giveaway below and check out our fab sponsors for this hop!
But for now how about if I share for you my homemade holidays idea? My Rob has really, really gotten into cooking. As we speak he’s slaving away in the kitchen making curry, his current kick. We’ve had fajita kicks and simple chicken dish kicks and right now it’s all curry all day. Unless I cook and then it is decidedly NOT a curry dish :) I’ll just leave that to the resident master!
Because Rob is a big fan of flavor to the point that we have umpteen hundred spices in our pantry I thought another way to add a bit of flavor would be very much welcomed. So I took to the kitchen to cook up some flavored cooking oils that, I have to tell you, are absolutely fabulous. For real. They smell amazing and the flavor they add to meats and veggies is amazing. Saute up some chicken with a little bit of salt and pepper and BAM! That’s all the more you’ve got to do for some awesome flavor. Package them up with cute little labels and bows and DOUBLE BAM! You’ve got a great gift for the beginner home chef or a seasoned foodie!
Orange, Rosemary & Clove Flavored Cooking Oil
- 1 quart of cooking oil
- 3-4 large oranges
- 3 T. whole cloves
- 4-5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
When purchasing oranges select the pretty ones that have blemish-free skin. Wash your oranges well and dry. Grate the orange peel from all of your oranges. You want only the orange zest, not the white pith. Reserve the rest of the fruit for later use (or as in my case immediate consumption!)
In a small to medium sized sauce pan place your orange zest, rosemary and 2 tablespoons of cloves. Pour cooking oil over the ingredients. Place the oil and contents on a burner on medium high heat until it begins to bubble. Turn down and allow the oil to simmer 30 minutes to an hour (the longer the stronger the flavor, it seems).
Remove the oil from heat and allow to completely cool. Pour the mixture into a large measuring cup covered in cheesecloth to separate the solids out. You can squeeze the cheesecloth to add more flavor but it will make the finished results more cloudy.
On the left the cheesecloth was squeezed but on the right it was not making a big difference in transparency even after settling for a few days. It should be said that there will be some cloudiness immediately after pouring but it will clear up some as it has time to settle.
To make the presentation prettier you can place rosemary sprigs, whole cloves and strips of orange peel (be sure to remove the pith!) in the bottle but this is optional.
Feel free to mix the herbs and spices up!
Because Rob does like to cook with a Latin flair now and again I made a second flavored oil with cilantro, lime and garlic. When working with soft herbs like cilantro it doesn’t hurt to blanch it first. To blanch, dip the cleaned cilantro in boiling water 10-20 seconds followed by a quick bath in icy water. When working with citrus be sure to use the zest and not the bitter pith. Minced garlic adds tons of flavor and goes with so many herbs and spices.
Pretty the bottles up!
- Glass food safe bottles
- Adhesive gift tags
- Paint marker
- Hot glue gun
To embellish my bottles of flavored cooking oils I found some cute mini ornaments for mini Christmas trees, and pulled out self adhesive tags and pretty ribbons from my craft stash.
You don’t have to go out and break the bank to decorate your bottles, simple is in!
Alrighty then! You’ve got the foodies and home cooks on your Christmas list taken care of but what about everyone else?
Luckily I’ve got a whole mess of bloggers with some amazing gift projects that have your back!
Handmade Holidays Blog Hop 2016
And we should definitely say thanks to the awesome sponsors who put this amazing giveaway together!!! Thanks!
Check out their respective pages here! Clearsnap • Hydrangea Hippo etsy shop • Hepp’s Salt Co. (food) • The Twinery • Scrapbook Adhesives by 3L • Stencil1 • Buttons Galore & More • DecoArt, Inc. • Walnut Hollow • Graphic 45 • Iron Orchid Designs