The holiday season is officially upon us! To celebrate we are kicking off our Holiday Gift Guide Series with a little DIY. And what better way to give a gift to those we love than with food. Every year I spend a day in the kitchen making up various food gifts for my family. I’ve got you covered below with a full list of some of my go-to favorites!
This is by far one of my first go to DIY food items. It’s easy to make and you can do large batches to make gifts for multiple people. Now, let’s talk time. Typically extracts can take up to 3 months to truly develop strong flavor. However, if you’re short on time this same recipe can work as flavored vodka. Instead of waiting 4-8 weeks for the extract, shake daily and strain any flavorings after 1 week and you’ve got yourself flavored vodka!
4 vanilla beans (split beans in half, lengthwise)
8 oz. vodka
Add vanilla beans and vodka to a large sealable jar or container. Tightly close lid and shake a few times. Keep in a dark, cool place and shake every few days. Let sit 8 weeks before using.
Zest peels from 1 orange
8 oz. vodka
Add zest peels and vodka to a large sealable jar or container. Tightly close lid and shake a few times. Keep in a dark, cool place and shake every few days. The peels eventually brown, remove them after the extract is ready.
1 oz. mint leaves
8 oz. vodka
Add mint leaves and vodka to a large sealable jar or container. Tightly close lid and shake a few times. Keep in a dark, cool place and shake every few days. Remove leaves after 2 weeks, as they will brown, than let sit an additional 4 weeks before using.
Infused Olive Oil
A cooking go-to, this is perfect for all of the foodies in your life. You can infuse the olive oil with any flavor that you like; garlic, rosemary, & chili are three of my favorite olive oils to use. For an added bonus to these oils, make a cute little card letting them a fun way they can use their new oils. I have some ideas listed below the recipe!
Garlic Olive Oil
10 garlic cloves
1 cup olive oil
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil with garlic cloves until heated and let barely simmer 5 minutes. Remove garlic cloves with slotted spoon and set aside, carefully pour warm oil into sealable glass bottle. Add reserved garlic cloves to bottle, cork and store up to 3 months.
Perfect for drizzling over toasted crostini, tossed with fresh cooked pasta and parmesan or sautéing your favorite veggies!
Chili Olive Oil
6 dried chili’s, pierced
1/2 cup olive oil
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil with dried chili’s until heated and let barely simmer 5 minutes. Remove chili’s with slotted spoon and set aside, carefully pour warm oil into sealable glass bottle. Add reserved chili’s to bottle, cork and store up to 3 months.
Perfect for drizzling over flatbreads, marinated cheeses & olives, or drizzled over salads for an extra kick!
Rosemary Olive Oil
4 sprigs rosemary, plus 2 sprigs for jar
1/2 cup olive oil
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil with rosemary sprigs until heated and let barely simmer 5 minutes. While oil is simmer, take 2 sprigs and put in sealable glass bottle. When down simmering, using a slotted spoon, remove rosemary and carefully pour warm oil into the bottle. Cork and store up to 3 months.
Perfect for drizzling over bread, tossing over roasted fingerling potatoes, or hearty salads.
Christmas Movie Popcorn Set
Christmas movies are one of my favorite pastimes during the Holiday season. I love nothing more than to curl up with a cozy blanket and a bowl of popcorn and settle in for How the Grinch Stole Christmas or a classic favorite like Christmas Vacation. Make your holiday movie watching even more special by gifting this fun holiday popcorn set with two of your favorite holiday flavors: hot chocolate and gingerbread. Package the set in a container with your favorite Christmas movie and popcorn bags and you’ve got a complete gift!
6 tbsp. cocoa powder
¾ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 tbsp. ground ginger
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. freshly ground nutmeg
2 tsp. kosher salt
Mix each spice mix together in a small bowl and transfer to it’s own small container and label.
Be sure to include the following direction with your popcorn set on a cute little tag or card.
Pop ½ cup popcorn kernels and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter. Whisk in 4 tablespoons maple syrup and 2 tablespoons of your desired seasoning. Pour mixture over popcorn and toss to coat.
By now, you might be picking up that I like to make flavored drinks as gifts. They are so easy to make and you can truly tailor the flavors to each person. This is one of my go-to’s but don’t hesitate to play around with your add-ins. Say Cherry Vanilla? Try it with other spirits as well. Your ratios are about the same, so let the experimenting begin!
Apple Cinnamon Whiskey
5 Granny Smith Apples, thinly sliced
4 cinnamon sticks
3 3/4 cup whiskey
1/4 cup simple syrup (equal parts water & granulated sugar, cooked on the stove until sugar dissolves)
Fill a 32 ounce sealable container (mason jars work well for this) with apple slices and cinnamon sticks.
Pour in the whiskey and fill to the brim. Seal the jar and shake gently. Store in the refrigerator for 5 days, shake the jar daily.
Remove from fridge and pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove apples and cinnamon sticks. Return to jar and pour in simple syrup.
Seal tightly and store 2 to 3 weeks before using.
If you have any great DIY Food Gifts that you love giving to friends and family for ANY occasion, be sure to drop us a line about it in the comments below!