Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Prep gifts from The Kitchen

     At the last minute before a holiday, many craft magazines and the major women's magazines recommend a food gift.  That's great if you are putting together a gift basket as a house warming gift or to take to a large family dinner.  A basket of baked goods is a great addition to the meal. 

     Sure, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of work and prepping for holiday fun and a last minute basket of baked bread can be a remedy after the shops are closed.  But a prepper Prepares.  Being prepared means looking ahead and making provisions for what will come.  A prepper's gift basket was prepared ages ago!

     The way you get those great prep gifts from the kitchen at holiday time is to set aside items as you make or acquire them and keep them for the holidays.   When you preserve a basket of apples, or make apple butter, take ten percent of your yield and mark it, "Do Not Open 'Till December 25th".  As you go through the summer and fall, continue to set aside products for the holiday season and when the time rolls around that you are ready to make baskets of preserved goods, just add some festive holiday stickers and a ribbon, then decide who gets which!  

$13.79        Don't forget to consider the container a gift as well!  You can purchase a case of Mason jar drinking glasses.  Then go to your pantry or larder, get out the cocoa, sugar and dehydrated milk and a bag of marshmallows.  Here's a recipe that works.  Mix ingredients, divide into four glasses and pack the marshmallows on the top.  Screw on the lid, add a tag with instructions to add hot water and enjoy!  If you really like the person, divide the mix into zippered storage bags and give all four in a BIG jar!  You can make this gift and vacuum seal the dry goods, storing them until needed during the winter.  
  • 2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup powdered nondairy creamer
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

      Sometimes when I buy bulk, I like to break down a large container into smaller packages and vacuum seal them.  If I am putting together a five gallon bucket of baking staples, I break down a ten pound bag of flour into four two pound bags and mark them with a sharpie.  Three go in to the bucket with packages of sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and other items that are the bones of many breads or meals.  The left overs go into the kitchen canisters to be used.  It is at this time you can make your gift mixes.  The vacuum sealer is out on the counter, you have broken into a large bag of flour, now is the time to go from making a little mess to making a big success!  

     You can make and seal several bread mixes or cookie mixes when you make a batch for home use.  For example, make a double batch of sugar cookies, part out half and seal it with a 3"x 5" card inside with : just add eggs and butter (and write the amount).  You can dress up the packaging later one cold night before the holidays.  Just don't pass up the chance to mark everything!  

     Gifts from the kitchen don't have to be baked or require the recipient to do any cooking.  You can give kitchen gifts.  As an avid yard sale-er, I have an assortment of blue enamel roasting pans.  I have two favorites and two sets with lids that I never use.  I know someone who has NONE!  Perish the thought!  The trick to giving a used or vintage gift is in the packaging!!  If you take the lid and place it along the back of the pan making a nice back drop for a presentation you can tape it in place.  Then fill the pan with shredded news print, left over paper Easter grass, or raffia up to the level of the roaster.  Place some pot holders, oven mitts, an apron, tea towels, a cook book even some spices on the bed of straw.  Place it all in a large gift bag and tie it shut with a ribbon.

     If someone on your list has just moved into a home, the gift of a kitchen in a basket can be a real money saving blessing for them! You can go themed with just the measuring cups and spoons in a small basket or a quart size mason jar with ladles, spoons and spatulas.  Oh, if you made the wooden spoons and spatulas, you could be my new best friend!  

     Prepper's are able to do last minute, on the move, improvisational adapting to surroundings and are prepared to do it to live, but if you are still here come the holidays, why didn't you prep for it?  


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