Peppermint Coconut Cream

Here is another coconut cream recipe that is quick and easy to make, and can be catered to your own tastes. Some of you will like more peppermint flavoring than others, so experiment to see what works for you.

The creams I am making, such as this one and the vanilla coconut cream, are far healthier for me than dairy-based creams. I’m thankful to have them for topping my fruit and desserts. They also goes well with the chocolate sauce I like.

This peppermint recipe is particularly good for the holidays.

Ingredients

1/2 of a 13.66 +/- can of organic coconut cream

10 to 12 drops of pure peppermint extract

  1. Put half the can of coconut cream into a small bowl.
  2. Place the rest of the cream into a container, cover, and place in the refrigerator until needed.
  3. Put 10 to 12 drops (give or take, depending on your preferences) of pure peppermint extract on the cream.
  4. Mix the cream and peppermint together until well combined.
  5. Pour into a canning jar and cover.
  6. Label the jar and place in the refrigerator to chill.

Photograph copyright 2017 by Shannon L. Buck. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

 

Tips

  • Try other flavorings, such as lemon or almond.
  • Try to find coupons or wait for sales to save money.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve over a Paleo brownie.

Enjoy!

Shannon

Yule Napkin Rings

Part of kitchen wizardry is decorating the table, especially at holidays and sabbats. Napkin rings allow you to add a little extra flair to the table. Different types of greenery and spices make decorating for Yule a simple, fragrant task. You can make these with real greenery to use once, or make them to last with fake greenery. For a non-wasteful sabbat, use fake greenery and store the napkin rings carefully after the sabbat is over. If you celebrate Christmas as well, as we do in our home, you can use these twice each year.

You will need:

(Materials for each napkin ring.)

2 cinnamon sticks

holly with berries

glue sticks

glue gun

  1. Glue the holly leaves into a ring with a diameter between 1 and 1/2 inches. Be sure there are some berries on each ring.
  2. Glue 2 cinnamon sticks together under the greenery, so they form two straight sticks together or an X.
  3. OR place them over the greenery and glue the red berries to the center.

Tips

  • Try different types of greenery.
  • Tie a ribbon around the cinnamon sticks.
  • Let older children, who can handle a glue gun, help with this project.

Shannon

 

Homemade Food Gifts: Baked Goods

The most frugal way to make these foods is from scratch. Admittedly, I often use boxed items when I’m able to purchase them on sale, with a coupon. They can be pretty affordable just before and during the holidays. The trick to doing this in the most frugal manner possible is by figuring out whether it is cheaper to bake from scratch or a box when all factors are added in, or deducted 🙂 Be sure to factor in home preserved produce for the food items that have fruit as an ingredient.
Just a note: These are not healthy baked-goods. But most people on my gift list won’t likely eat healthy versions. They like what they are used to. So yes, I give sweets at the holidays. Also, I don’t think it is necessarily bad to treat yourself once-in-a-while. You just don’t want to make a habit of it.

Fill baskets with one or more of the following:

  • HM (Homemade) quick breads
  • Quick breads from a box: Lemon poppy seed, apple cinnamon, pumpkin and cinnamon swirl are all tasty options.
  • Brownies
  • HM pumpkin chocolate chip cookies or bars.
  • HM sugar cookies decorated with colored sugars or icings.
  • HM apple or zucchini bars with chocolate chips.
  • HM mints

Tips

  • To save money on electricity, I bake multiple items at once.
  • To save time, I mix up multiple batches at once in large bowls.
  • To save a few more pennies, when mixing up multiple batches I delete and egg or two.
  • To save more money, I use small or medium eggs – or large depending on what is on sale. You can use any size eggs in baking, even if large eggs are specifically called for. 1 small or medium egg = 1 large egg.
  • Use mini loaf pans, if possible.
  • Use mini decorative cake pans for breads, bars and cakes.

What homemade baked goods do you make to give as holiday gifts? Please share with us in the comments below.

Shannon

 

Mantle Decorations

Decorating the mantle at Yule is a big thing. It is at Christmas as well. Food and greenery can be used for this. I like to use reusable items as much as possible for sabbat and holiday decorating, but I also enjoy the scent of fruits, and spices like cinnamon. It’s possible to combine fake and real items when decorating, and the combination will make a beautiful mantle area. Try using fake greenery and fresh (dried) food items.

The Garland

Garland in the length you need (can be real or fake, but greenery is the proper choice) (Tipping is illegal in some areas.)

Hot glue gun

Glue sticks

String of holiday lights, white or colored

Cinnamon sticks tied into bunches

Red berries

1 or 2 lemons

1 or 2 limes

1 or 2 oranges

1 or 2 apples

Sharp knife

Thread or thin string

Sewing needle

  1. Before putting together the garland, you will have to dry the fruits. The drying process may take a few days. Begin by slicing the fruits. String these with a needle and string of choice, and hang from the ceiling or along a wall to dry. Spread them out so that the fruits are not touching each other. I would string them from their centers. Be careful not to let the string cut through the slices of fruit.
  2. Wrap the lights around the greenery, positioning the garland along the back of the mantle so the plug is near an outlet. Putting the garland in place now lets you see where you want to glue the fruit and other items to the garland.
  3. Glue the fruit, in bunches of 1 slice of each type, here and there along the garland, without getting glue on the lights or cord. Do not pile the fruit slices, but overlap them some in groups.
  4. Glue cinnamon sticks to the garland.
  5. Glue red berries to the garland.

Candles

Greenery, thinner than that used for the garland, to use as a wreath to go around the bottom of the candle sticks

Glue gun

Glue sticks

Red berries

Candle stick holders

Taper candles

  1. Place the candle sticks to the center of the mantle.
  2. Make a wreath that will wrap around the bottom of the candle stick, using the greenery and berries.
  3. Place taper candles in the candle sticks.

Fruit Baskets or Bowls

2 matching baskets with handles that will fit on the space available on the mantle

An assortment of fresh citrus fruits

Fabric wide enough to hang out over the sides of the baskets some, to use as a liner

Thin greenery strips

Red berries

Glue gun

Glue sticks

Cinnamon sticks

  1. Glue the greenery strips around the handle of each basket.
  2. Glue berries here and there along the greenery.
  3. Glue cinnamon sticks where the handles meet the baskets.
  4. Place the fabric liners in the baskets, so that the edges hang out over the baskets.
  5. Put the fruits in the baskets, and place one basket at either end of the mantle.

Potpourri

2 decorative plates or bowls, small to medium in size depending on how much space you have between the candles and the fruit baskets on the mantle.

Cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces

Whole cloves

Whole allspice

Dried lemon peel

Dried lime peel

Dried orange peel

  1. Place the bowls on the mantle, centered between the fruit baskets and the candle sticks on either side.
  2. Place the potpourri ingredients in the bowls.

How do you decorate your mantle using food items? Let us know in the comments for this post.

Shannon

Kitchen Craft: Herb and Fruit Slice Garland

Garlands are a great addition to autumn and winter decor, for the sabbats and holidays of the seasons. These garlands smell so good during the preparation stage, as well as for a while after they are created. Note that these fruits are not edible, but the herbs and cinnamon sticks can be removed later and used when cooking.

This craft takes about four days to complete.

Items Needed (amounts depend on size and number of garlands):

apples

oranges

lemons

limes

wax paper

cinnamon sticks

fresh herbs, or dried

garland

twine

craft wire

scissors

glue gun and sticks

Hammer and nails, or tacks

  1. Slice the fruit, do not peel first.
  2. Place the fruit slices on wax paper to dry for a few days before continuing.
  3. Turn each fruit slice twice a day.
  4. On the fourth day, or when the fruits are dried, prepare to decorate the garland.
  5. Lay the garland out.
  6. Tie two or three cinnamon sticks with twine to make bundles.
  7. Tie bundles of fresh herbs together with the twine. Feel free to mix and match types.
  8. Tie the cinnamon and herb bundles where desired  on the garland using craft wire.
  9. Glue the fruit slices where desired onto the garland, being sure not to get glue on the herbs and cinnamon sticks.
  10. Hang the garland where desired.

Variations:

  • Add small bells.
  • Add bows.
  • Make wreaths to match.
  • Make swags instead.

You could also:

  • Add herb/cinnamon bundles to your holiday tree.
  • Add fruit slice garland to the holiday tree.
  • Use the dried herbs in recipes when you take your decorations down.

Shannon

Kitchen Craft: Holiday Herb Garland or Swag

The scent of fresh herbs will be evident for a while once these are put together, adding a homey feel to any room in the house. These are easy to make, and will not take too much time. These make great decorations for autumn the autumn and winter sabbats and holidays.

Items Needed:

Grapevine or pine imitation garland or swag.

Twine

Scissors

Craft wire

Fresh herbs

Holiday bows

Nails and hammer or tacks

  1. Tie the fresh herbs together in bundles with twine.
  2. Attach the herb bundles to the garland or swag using craft wire, in whatever arrangement you would like.
  3. Attach a couple of holiday bows with the craft wire.
  4. Hang the garland or swag and enjoy the aroma while the herbs are drying.

Here are some tips:

  • Hang and allow to dry to give as gifts.
  • When giving as gifts, find boxes that these will fit nicely into.
  • The herbs can later be removed from the swag or garland and crumbled into canning jars to use when cooking.

Shannon

Gifts Made With Love

Last year the bestest, Missy, and I started a new tradition. As long as we live close enough to do so, we will have a baking day for the holidays. This year we had our day on the 13th, in the midst of a busy season, busy times at work, and her moving. Carving out time to hang out is not always easy, but we have seen each other often as of late, to pack up her place.

We discussed how, next year, we would have more work space available for us to use at her new place. Lots more counter space! We also discussed the possibility of me moving away to be near my daughter and her family at some point in the future, and I told her we’d get her set up with a laptop beforehand so we could have a baking day, and do a video chat the whole time so we could still talk and enjoy each others company.

Technology continues to amaze me.

I know these are not healthy treats, but I do believe it is okay to have sweets once in a while – especially at the holidays, as long as we do not go overboard. As a matter-of-fact, I didn’t do near as much testing of the treats this year as I would have a few years back. Pretty proud of myself 🙂

This year, the bestest and I made six items:

  • I helped her with chocolate dipped pretzels, and some dipped in butterscotch.
  • She made homemade banana breads and butterscotch noodle cookies. (Yum!)
  • I made chocolate no-bakes, Reese’s bars, and chocolate chip brownies.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015Now, it takes time to do all of this, but it’s worth it. I planned an entire day at her place for this get-together. We did our grocery shopping first, and for lunch she made us rice and chicken. I also had apple slices. Dinner was bought on the run, at McD’s on the way home. Bad, I know! But quick.

Both of us contribute to the container choices, and this year I brought along a few bags and boxes to throwPhotograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015 into the bunch. These items, for my part anyway, are usually purchased at discount prices or at thrift stores. Any way I can get them frugally! I don’t have much extra money at the holidays, so I look throughout the year for items that will help to make presents more fun to put together and give.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015The bestest and I do make quite the mess when baking, lol. Who doesn’t, right? And we maybe didn’t have all that we needed for utensils and such on this baking day because we had packed much of her kitchen stuff away in preparation for her move. We did have to improvise just a little, but it all worked out well.

We like to package our homemade treat gifts nicely for the people on our lists. I was putting together a gift Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015for the people I work with, plus gifts for each of three friends. I set up all four of the gift boxes I was going to need when I was ready to start filling them. The bestest did the same for her recipients. Plus, we both did gift boxes for friends we share.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015We had a great deal of fun during our baking day, listening to Pandora and chatting about all manner of things, including our blessings. And, toward the end of our day, we began packing all those delightful treats into their chosen boxes, bags, and tins.

The next day I brought the treat box I had made up for work, and a gallon size baggie filled with the leftover no-bakes, to work for the Christmas party. I did not attend the party, as I was working, but I did go down and grab a plate of food for my lunch 🙂 The people at work love treats!

Yesterday, my friend Jose stopped in and I gave him his box filled with treats, and a card. It didn’t take him long after he got home to eat those Reese’s bars! I wonder if he even waited until he got home. My friend Bob will be stopping in for his treat box and card as well.

And today I put together treat gifts for a few other people. Much of the packaging was left over from earlier years, so they didn’t cost me anything this time around. I did buy a set of plastic snowman cups for a dollar, a set of felt holiday bags for about $5.50 and a set of burlap bags for about $6.50, including shipping costs. $2.00 was spent on mini Reese’s bars, and $2.00 on Hershey’s Kisses because they are favorites. I paid $2.00 for 2 packages of gold coins because they reminded me of childhood, and about $2.00 for all the rest of the candy. Plus $8.00 for hot cocoa simply because it was something different. I also spent .25 each on three packages of holiday pins and .49 on 1 package of pencils. $29.24 plus tax, and I have a lot of packaging items left over for another year. Many of these items were bought during my November trip up north to visit my daughter Skye.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015The hot cocoa did set me over my limit, but what a cute idea! There were eight boxes in the package, at $1.00 each. I couldn’t resist. Everyone likes a hot cocoa on a cold winter evening, and children enjoy some after hours of building snowmen and snow forts. Well worth the cost, in my opinion.

The chocolate bar packs came with little coloring cards of Frosty and Santa. Young Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015children will enjoy coloring them on a stormy day, when school is cancelled and they cannot be outside.

Holiday bowls filled with these cards and some goodies make a nice little gift, as do mini stockings filled with treats and a pencil sporting a snowman eraser.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015

Fill the bottom of a burlap bag with small candies, and top it off with a pencil, a chocolate bar, chocolate marshmallow treats, and some gold coins.

Add a little flair by attaching a couple of pins to the bag.

A bit larger felt bag can be filled with a hot cocoa box, adding a pencil and some chocolate marshmallowPhotograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015 treats, coloring cards, and a treat bag filled with small candies.

See the cellophane bag to the side? It is filled with the same little candies as the bag placed in the larger felt bag, and tied with a red ribbon so the candies do not fall out.

I love that the felt bags have handles, by the way. Makes for easier carrying when you have multiple gifts to deliver.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015

This picture shows the same treat-filled cellophane bag placed inside a plastic snowman cup. A quick and easy last minute gift, when needed. There is always something that you are invited to last minute, or someone who decided to bring an extra child along to an event.

It’s also a nice touch to give gifts in food boxes or tins. They can be packed full with any number of treats,Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015 and are large enough to also hold one of the cocoa boxes and a pencil.

They’re good for store-bought treats, or even homemade goodies. Whatever you decide to put together. A good hostess gift would be one filled with homemade cookies, brownies, or fudge, or a combination of the three.

There are so many ways to package food gifts, and many ways to save money doing so.

Challenge: Beginning with the after Christmas sales, begin collecting different types of food containers, wraps, bags, ribbons, bows, tags, and other packaging needs. Also, look for small items you can add to food gifts for the children on your list. Keep receipts, and note the regular price of each item. Also, learn now how to research regular prices for items, so you can also utilize thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets, and items you find for free. When you are ready to package your food gift next year, look for deals on food items and figure out how much it costs to make homemade items vs. how much to buy them. Then let us know how much money you saved on these items and gifts. For your own needs, you can see more easily where you can cut corners on food gifts from now on.

If you already have this information due to the fact that this is all normal for you to do each year, please give us some figures and let us know about your experiences in the comments. You may have information that someone with not enough money this year can use. Tips are always welcome. Or feel free to email me at shannonlbuck@gmail.com. I respond to all emails and comments.

P.S. See the bestests’ soup recipe, completely ready for customization: Making Soup with the Bestest, Missy’s Vegetable Soup

P.S.S. See my posts from last year: Food Gifts for Yule and Christmas, Candy-Filled Ornaments or Gift Tags, and Festive Hot Cocoa.

Happy Yule! Merry Christmas! Happy new Year! ❤

Shannon

Food Gifts for Yule and Christmas

I know. I know. This is the second unhealthy food post I’m making today. Let’s face it, though. Sometimes we are going to treat ourselves (Or I am, anyway!). And my people do enjoy receiving candies and other treats at the holidays. So, until I learn to make the best-tasting healthy alternatives, this is what it is going to be.

Not worrying about the occasional unhealthy food experience is something I am working on, as long as I can keep it healthy most of the time. I am trying to not be to obsessive, which would be unhealthy in other ways.

Once all the candies have been collected, and the baked goods made, these treats need to be packaged festively to be given as gifts. These ideas will guide you along this path, but be as creative as you like. Switch things up. And share what you come up with in the comments below, or in a personal email to me at shannonlbuck@gmail.com. Pictures are welcome!

There are a number of ideas below, so keep scrolling until you reach something you would like to try.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.1. The directions for these ornaments are here. They are easy enough for children to make, and are a quick project when there is not a lot of time to spare.

For something a little different, add some curly ribbon to the inside of the bulb, along with the candy or gum.

Each ornament will cost about $2.00, but the price will go down the next year if the ornaments are reused.

2. These stockings are small ones. Filled minimally, they could be hung from branches on the tree. They Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.might  be tacked to a wall or mantle when filled with heavier treats.

Simply place the candies into the stockings, and you are done. To get a little more decorative, write recipients names on the white, or attach a tag to the loop, and add some curly ribbon.

Stockings come in different colors, and some have felt shapes attached, such as bells, bulbs, or trees. It may be possible to find a different stocking for each child.

Look for stockings at a price of about .25 each, and fill with candies that do not cost a lot. To make 4 of these, it will cost around $3.00. What isn’t visible is the little chocolate balls that fill the toes of each stocking. That is .75 per gift.

These are the stockings I put together for 3 of my nieces, and 1 of my great-nephews. (He is not quite 1 yet, so only gets soft treats that he will not choke on.) Notice the gold coins, a throwback to my childhood. There are small candies and suckers in the stockings for my nieces. These go along with another gift I put together for each of them.Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.3. Mugs can be filled with candy and other items. Use an over-size mug for this, that can later be used for a big cup of hot cocoa or some tasty soup.

The article Easy Ways to Package Food Gifts on Bangor Easy Meals explains how to creatively wrap food gifts. Suggestion number 3 explains how to package candy bars, like in the photograph below.

Fill the mugs with candies for children or adults. The filled mug to the left was less than $4.00 to put together. The penguin was $1.00, the mug $2.50, and the tissue paper was reused from a gift received last year.

The one to the right cost just under $6.00. It is for an adult, and the candy bars are good quality chocolate and costPhotograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014. $3.00 for 3 bars. The tissue paper was not reused, but the gold bow came off the actual plastic package the bars came in. The curly ribbon came as a set of three for .99.

A couple of hot cocoa packets, some mini marshmallows, and chocolate dipped spoons would also make a great gift.

What would you fill mugs with for gift-giving? Tell us about it in the comments!

Photographs by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.4. Holiday tins filled with goodies are always a nice treat, whether the treats are homemade or not. Here are mini cupcakes, a good size chocolate Santa, a candy cane, truffles, and other small candies.

The tin was $3.50, but can be reused for years to come. The tissue paper was reused from a gift last year, and the ribbon and bow came already attached. The treats inside wouldn’t cost more than $3.00 if the cupcakes and frosting were homemade.

I put together one of these tins for a nephew. It cost about $8.00http://www.examiner.com/article/easy-food-gift-ideas-candy-jars to put together, but only because I bought him a box of quality peanut butter cups to go inside. He is older than the little ones, an adult, but he still likes the candies.

This is the most expensive gift I put together. I hope he likes everything!

How to Fill Tins for the Holidays, and What to Fill Them With is another article on Bangor Easy Meals that you will find interesting. It gives more ideas for filling tins, and not all of them have to do with sweets.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 20145. Small holiday bowls can also be filled with goodies. Again, the tissue paper used in this example was reused from a previous years’ gift. The bowls were on clearance after Christmas last year, a 4-pack for .99. And the estimated total cost to make all four of these gifts is $3.00. That is .75 per gift.

Simply place tissue paper in each bowl, and fill with an assortment of candies. Simple.

6. And these little boxes are also easy to fill with different goodies. I made 3, but the package actually had 5Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014. boxes for $2.50. The curly ribbon bunches came 3 to a package for .99. The total cost for the 3 presents was only about $3.00, because of the cost of the truffles. That is just $1.00 per gift.

The design on each box is simple and able to be used for either Yule or Christmas, a plus for gift-giving in my family.

What I actually made for my older nieces and nephews was slightly different, and are meant to go along with another gift they will each receive. So the cost about equaled out to what I spent to fill the tin for my other nephew. They cost about the same per gift as the example ones to make, and look nice.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.7.  I fell in love with this box when I saw it at K-Mart, so I picked it up despite the $1.99 gift tag. It is adorable, and I will use it each year in my decorating efforts, so the cost is actually minimal.

Simply place a wad of tissue paper in the bottom of the box, and top with small candies. Cover, and add some curly ribbon. That is it!

Look for cute little boxes on clearance, and these could be thrown together for less than $2.00 per box.

8. This glass tree-shaped container was given to me for Christmas one year, filled with candies. The curly Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.ribbon cost .33, and the candies cost only a few dollars. So this was created for a little more than $3.00.

Fill the container with candies and cover, then stick a bundle of curly ribbon to the back, bringing a few strands to the front to tie loosely.

Butter mints or peppermints would work well in one of these jars, as would truffles.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.I am not giving away my tree container though. I like the container, and it goes nicely on my holiday shelf. Filled with simple candies, it sits on my shelf – and I give most of the candy away. The ribbon is not added.

Next year I might put hard butterscotch candies in it, or maybe other old-fashioned candies.

What homemade goodies might be placed in this or another differently shaped glass container?

9. Small gift bags, filled partially with reused tissue paper, are easily filled with candies or homemade Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.cookies, and given as gifts. The bag used in this example cost about .50, and the candies about $1.50. So, for $2.00 this gift bag holds a good size chocolate Santa, 2 candy canes, 2  suckers, two chocolate marshmallow snowmen, and a few little candies. Add curly ribbon for about .33, and a tag.

Not bad for the price, but it will likely cost less if the treats are homemade.

You may also enjoy:

Candy-Filled Ornaments and Tags

I hope these ideas are enough for you, and help you to make the holidays a little more special. There may not be more posts before the new year, though you never know. It depends how busy things get. So, just in case:

Blessed Yule, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

And heartfelt blessing for any other holiday or sabbat you may celebrate.

I wish you all

Warm and safe holidays, and safe travels.

*Shannon*

Candy-Filled Ornaments or Gift Tags

Whether celebrating Yule or Christmas, these ornaments will make good gifts hung from branches on the tree on Christmas Eve, as well as a nice decoration. They might also be added to a wrapped gift. The candy can be eaten once the sabbat or holiday has passed, and the ornaments refilled the next year.

I know candy is not healthy, and that we really shouldn’t be eating it, but I have family members who don’t limit such things. So yes, I give sweets at the holidays. Also, I don’t think it is necessarily bad to treat yourself once-in-a-while. You just don’t want to make a habit of it.

The ornaments are so easy to create that children can make them.

Materials

Clear plastic ornaments

Ribbon

Candies – small enough to fit through the neck of the ornaments

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

  1. Wash the ornaments in warm, soapy water and rinse well. Allow to dry completely.
  2. Take the tops off the ornaments carefully, so as not to bend them out of shape.
  3. Fill each ornament about 1/8 to 1/4 of the way. You don’t want them ornaments to be too heavy to hang from branches on the tree. (Note: Smaller ornaments may need to be filled all the way.)
  4. Tie ribbons to the ornament tops for hanging.
  5. Put the tops back on the ornaments.
  6. The ornaments are ready.

This simple craft will take little time to complete, and will make little ones very happy when they find them on the tree.

Tips

  • Reuse ornaments year-after-year to save money.
  • Buy dollar candies for filling.
  • Write recipients names on the ornaments in green or red permanent marker, and use them as tags on gifts. Attach them to the gifts with curly ribbon.
  • Fill with small pieces of gum for something different.
  • Use gold ribbon to use these as place markers for your New Years Eve celebration.

You may also enjoy:

Food Gifts for Christmas and Yule

Share your simple food crafts in the comments below, or email me at shannonlbuck@gmail.com.

Happy Holidays!

Shannon

Tasty Beef Soup

Don’t know about you, but I love soups. Each winter I try to come up with one or two new variations. This is what I came up with a couple weeks back. Let me know what you think, and try some of your own recipes.

Ingredients

2 pounds beef stew meat

4 russet potatoes, rinsed and chopped into bite size pieces

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite size pieces

2 carrots, rinsed with tops cut off

1 can diced tomatoes, with juices

1 can vegetable or beef broth

2 tablespoons basil

water, if necessary

  1. Place the root vegetables in the crock of a slow cooker.
  2. Put the meat on top, then pour the can of tomatoes over everything.
  3. Add the can of broth, then use water to fill the crock about 2/3 full.
  4. Cook on low 4-5 hours, or on high about 3 hours.
  5. About 20 minutes before you are done cooking, add the basil and give the soup a good stirring.

Tips

  • Try different vegetables, such as turnip or parsnip.
  • Grow what you can in your garden to save money.
  • Grow herbs on a windowsill year round.
  • Save money by using the potato skins and carrot tops for something else.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with a salad of greens and cucumbers.
  • Use the carrot tops in smoothies, salads, or like an herb to flavor other dishes.
  • Use the potato skins to make sour cream and chive topped potato skins. (I don;t eat sour cream often, but do consider it a treat once in a while.)

Shannon