Homemade Food Gifts

'Tis the season, right? To be jolly, filled with glee and love, and.....cake. And pie. And, ooh!, ice cream! And eggnog. Can't forget eggnog.

I like the holidays.

And this year, because I recently started my business, Cherryvale Farms (which you've heard of, I'm sure! Right?) the holidays are extra special. Because they are extra filled with joy and good wishes from friends, family and our fans.

Oh, and the holidays are also filled with expensive gift giving. But you knew that. And, knowing that I just started a business, you probably sense that now is definitely not the time for me to be doing expensive gift giving. Businesses are expensive, sheesh!

So, I invite you to take a peak at my homemade holiday gifts for this year. Cost? Mere dollars! Look? Total awesomeness! And most of the ingredients I already had in my pantry.

And you thought I'd be dolling out the foie gras and truffles this year?! Ha! ....I'm saving that for next year  :)

Check out my homemade gift recipes after the jump:

  • Coffee, Spice & Everything Nice Body Scrub
  • Ancho Citrus Salt
  • Porcini Salt

And on the agenda later? Homemade quince paste! It's in season and a great (if demanding) weekend project!

Coffee, Spice & Everything Nice Body Scrub

Makes about one pint glass mason jar and you can totally play with the amounts slightly to best fit the container you'll be putting it in.

  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup ground coffee (see note below)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup raw cane sugar (see note below)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (the spice is great for the smell, and your skin!)
  • 1/4 cup quick cooking oats, or old fashioned oats pulsed in a coffee grinder for 10-20 seconds

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and then pour into your gift vessel. A mason jar works just fine. Mix will be very speckled...and pretty!

COFFEE: use new coffee grounds, use the cheapest you can find, and use a regular grind, not the fine espresso grind.

SUGAR: raw cane sugar has larger crystals and therefore provides better exfoliation, so I recommend it over typical white granulated sugar. But, in a pinch, the regular stuff is fine.

INSTRUCTIONS: Instruct gift recipients to combine about a palm full of mix with a tablespoon or two of bath oil, or even olive oil, to make a paste. You can do this simply in your palm and rub together, or in a plastic bowl suitable for the shower or bath. For those that prefer not to use oil on their skin, a nice liquid soap will suds up and make this exfoliant work well. Not recommended to use with just water, as the sugar simply melts and doesn't provide any of the wonderful exfoliation.

---

Ancho Citrus Salt

Makes about 4 half pint mason jars.

  • 1 1/2 cups sea salt
  • 1/4 cup dried orange peel or whole orange slices
  • 2 tablespoons dried ancho chilies
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Using a coffee / spice grinder, pulse dried orange peels or whole orange slices to a pretty fine powder (some small pieces are ok, just nothing that you wouldn't want to eat). Do the same for dried ancho chilies (seeds and all!) until they too are ground fine. If you prefer another pepper, go for it! Use what you have and what you like!

Mix together the ground orange, chilies, salt and oregano in a bowl and then pour into your desired containers.

This is a great mix for grilled fish or chicken or with any Mexican-inspired dish. Make sure to use sparingly as the main ingredient is salt, so it's not intended to be used like a spice rub. Also great as a finishing salt and would be fabulous in a Southwest style vinaigrette dressing.

---

Porcini Salt

Make based on what you have, this recipe is flexible. (Sorry, no picture)

  • 1 part sea salt
  • 1 part dried porcini mushrooms, ground to a fine powder

This salt provides the most incredible UMAMI flavor you can imagine! It doesn't come out at first, but once you've tasted it, the flavor hits the back of your pallet and is amazing! Great on fish dishes, anything with Asian flavors, or grilled vegetables. Best to use a little of this before cooking, and more of it to finish a dish, as high heat can kill a little of the subtle porcini flavor.