Sunday, September 25, 2022

Thinking Ahead to Holiday Gift Giving!

Instead of purchasing something for the local people we give gifts to during the holiday season, I've decided to do something different this year.                    
(pictured:  carrot cake and 16 layer chocolate cake)

This year our gifts will come from the kitchen and I'm going to get a head start beginning this week on preparing them!

My first choice for gift giving this year will be freezer meals.  In fact, my plans are to start preparing and adding them to the freezer as early as this week (We do our gift giving from right after Thanksgiving up to and through December 25th.) so it's not too early to get started.

Cakes also make great gifts!  Another idea is to make 2 -3 different cakes, slice them, individually wrap them and give one slice as a gift or several depending on the size of the family you're gifting.  These can also be baked ahead of time, the layers frozen and then thawed and iced before the gift is given.  Don't forget when thinking about presentation and how you're going to wrap your gift that thrift store dishes or even pretty paper ones could turn a slice of cake or several slices of cake into a really pretty gift. 

You can also make sweet breads ahead of time, freeze and then thaw them before gifting.

Make cookie dough ahead of time, freeze it and then thaw, shape and bake the cookies when you're ready to gift them.  You could really 'pretty up' a bakery bag filled with a yummy home-baked cookie or two, this is a good gift for local non-family kids in your life.

Tell me what your favorite make ahead food gifts are, I'd love to hear!

Don't forget that you can check on the progress of my ‘September Goals’ by clicking HERE

Until next time, 

patsi      ... 42 years' experience of frugal living and pantry building (if you include my frugal childhood, well that would add a few more years to my experience!)

A Working Pantry

My second blog:  From This Heart of Mine 

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27 

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My pantry is intentional, purposeful, simple, practical, frugal and what works for my family.  It’s the food items and household supplies that keep my household running smoothly ready and available when they are needed.  It’s my contribution to our family’s economy and my work-from-home ‘job.' 

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  1. I don't have a lot of freezer space, so have difficulty working too far in advance. But do give baked goods as gifts. I'll pick a week to focus on my baking, and prepare cookie dough that requires chilling one day, bake breads the next day or two, and then my daughter and I will have our annual baking day, where we spend the entire day together, cranking out 6-8 different kinds of cookies for us to share. The next day, I'll package things up and get them into the mail. I'll gift mini loaves of my favorite breads (family recipes for zucchini nut and raisin nut, sometimes a cranberry orange loaf) and wrap them well in either bags or plastic wrap and bundle up an assortment of Christmas cookies to be shipped to family that I will not see during the holidays or gifted to other friends and family members. Other times, I've gifted an assortment of jams (such as 3 4-oz jars, stacked and wrapped, maybe strawberry, peach, and raspberry), relishes (sweet pickle relish, cowboy candy, dilly beans), or other spreads (for example, a pepper relish or peach habanero jam to mix with cream cheese, a BBQ sauce, or marinade), with a side of homemade bread or box of gourmet crackers, and the recipients have always loved them. My chef friend and now canning buddy recently commented that it's the favorite kind of gift he and his wife enjoy receiving, because it truly comes from the heart.

    1. Lori, I love how you and your daughter have a 'bake' day. If that were an option for me and my daughters, I would gladly do the same! You shared some really great tips for those who don't have freezer space! Great comment!

  2. I have given apple-cinnamon bread and banana-chocolate chip bread as gifts before. This year my sister requested a blueberry cake as her birthday present. Chocolate-peanut butter balls are always a big hit as are sausage balls. My mother-in-law makes a chex-mix that everyone loves and she sends it to family that lives far away. Fudge is also a good food present. I have made mint jelly for presents before also.

    1. MamaHen, we also make a chex-mix for family members. The apple-cinnamon bread sounds delicious!

  3. Replies
    1. Lana, I understand! I have to 'plan' to have freezer space, if that makes sense!

    2. Air-tight containers, for cookies, and they'll last weeks! The old-time metal tins work wonders for me.

  4. I really like the idea of freezer meals as a gift. Could you share some of the ones you'll be making? Years ago when my children's friends were going to sales the day after Thanksgiving, that is when I began the family tradition of starting our Christmas baking with them. On that Friday we would prepare any cookie doughs that had to be refrigerated and also did some baking and sampling of the goodies. No Black Friday sales for us. We were busy. Soon word spread to their friends and some asked if they could come bake with us. We baked every weekend up until Christmas, cookies, tea breads, cinnamon buns, yeast breads. We made candy, fudge, mints, buckeyes. I never knew how much this tradition meant to my daughters friends until years later one of them, while coming home from overseas for a visit, she asked my daughter if we still baked and could she come and bake with us as it was one of the best memories of her teen years. Of course the answer was yes. I also have gifted jams, meals in jars, dried herbs from our garden. Blessings, Cookie

  5. My kitchen is not organized enough right now to do this but I would LOVE to receive gifts like these! I have enough "stuff" (except for books, can never have too many good books) but gifts of snacks and individual freezer meals would be such a blessing since I live alone and rarely feel like cooking a meal just for myself.
    Maybe by next year I can have my kitchen sorted out enough and have enough freezer space to do this for others.


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