July 13, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  No, I haven't lost my mind.  Yes, I know it's still summer.  I've been getting ready for a church activity this month and Christmas in July is the theme.  It's never too early to start planning for the holidays!  Here are a few gift ideas with food that I will share.  These ideas are each very easy, inexpensive and would make great gifts for neighbors and friends.

Cookies for Santa in a Jar
Use a Quart size canning jar (wide mouth is easier to add ingredients).  Use a wide mouth canning funnel if you have one to pour ingredients into jar. 

Ingredients (printable recipe)
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup & leveled
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooking oats
3/4 cup m&ms
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional--I couldn’t get any to fit!)
Layer the ingredients in like this:
First: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt

Second: oats

Third: m&ms

Fourth: chocolate chips

Fifth: brown sugar

Sixth: white sugar

Seventh: chopped pecans

Pack each level down really tightly. I mean it. Pack it in. Or else it won’t all fit. Also, add the chopped pecans last, because if the ingredients were too much or not enough, then I could add more or less pecans to adjust. I’d rather sacrifice nuts than chocolate, you know. The ingredients should be flush to the top of the lid when you seal it up. One batch makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
To decorate the top: Cut fabric into 6 inch squares and ribbon into 25 inch pieces. Place the fabric on top and tie ribbon around the lid to hold it in place.  (A rubber band is helpful to hold the fabric in place, then tie the ribbon around the rubber band, covering it up.)

Labels for jars can be found here: make-it-do
There is a link just before the last paragraph of this blog post (it says "click here.")  The link will give you the file for the labels.  Print them out on white or colored cardstock/scrapbook paper and adhere to jar with double stick tape.

Sources bakerella and make-it-do

Melted Mints Serving Tray
Make larger trays for giving away cookies or for appetizers at your holiday parties.
Make smaller trays for candy dishes
You’ll need: (printable recipe)
Starlight Mints, red and green
a cookie sheet
parchment or wax paper {either will work, but parchment paper works better!}
your oven
How To:

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Place parchment or wax paper on cookie sheet

3. Arrange mints in any design you wish on top of parchment or wax paper on a cookie sheet {allowing extra room on the sides}
4. Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes

5. Take out and allow to cool on cookie sheet {cools in approximately 5 minutes}

6. Remove paper from bottom {be careful, tray is fragile and breaks easily}
Voila!  A beautiful serving tray!

Cookie Cutter Fudge
Nice tray, right :)
wrap the foil around the outside of the cookie cutters
Package them up and give away!
Ingredients (printable recipe)
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
Betty Crocker® white or red decorator icing (in 4.25-ounce tube), if desired
Candies, if desired 
1. Place each of six 3x1/2-inch mitten-shaped cookie cutters, or other cookie cutters in a simple shape, on 5-inch square of foil. Seal foil tightly around outside of each cookie cutter. Place on cookie sheet. Lightly spray cookie cutters with cooking spray.

2. In 4-cup microwavable measuring cup, mix chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, milk and butter. Microwave uncovered on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until chips are almost melted. Stir in vanilla.

3. Pour mixture into cookie cutter molds, filling to tops of molds. Refrigerate uncovered about 2 hours or until firm. Decorate with icing and candies.

4. Carefully remove foil. {If these are gifts, package them up now and store in the fridge until you're ready to give them away.}  Otherwise, Gently press fudge out of molds and enjoy!

This post is featured over at Mix it up Mondays-Christmas in July on Flour Me with Love.  Go check out more great Christmas ideas to get a head start on the holidays this year!

This post is also featured at The Weekend Potluck

And it is featured at Foodie Friday @ Rattlebridge Farm

I also share recipes at these linky parties.