Start Stockpiling Now: Four Cheap Christmas Gifts to Make
Look out! Here come the holidays. Here are four of my favorite recipes that make welcomed gifts, but won’t bust your budget.
Aunt Joyce’s Five-Minute Fudge
Start stockpiling: chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, nuts, and sweetened, condensed milk. The beauty of this recipe is that it really only takes five minutes to set up. I make a few batches when I get close to Christmas so that I have it on hand, ready to go. It looks extra-sporty packed in layers inside a Chinese food take-out box, available at craft stores.
- 1 12-oz package chocolate chips
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 1 14-oz can sweetened, condensed milk
- 1 T. vanilla
- 1 cup chopped nuts
Stir and melt chips, milk, and vanilla in a heavy pan. When melted, add the nuts. Lightly spray an 8 x 8 pan with spray oil. Pour the fudge mixture into pan and place in refrigerator to set. Cut into squares when it has set up. Keep refrigerated.
Mom’s "Russian Tea"
Stockpile: instant tea, Tang, sugar, and small jars. I have no idea about the origin of the name of this stuff and yes, I doubt its Russian authenticity. It looks sporty in a small jar with the directions on a label.
- 1 two-ounce jar instant tea powder
- 1 nine-ounce jar of Tang
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. cloves
- 1 tsp. allspice
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
Add two teaspoons of mix to boiling water and stir.
Uncle Bill’s Kahlua
This is another gift that gets people pretty excited. Start stockpiling: sugar, instant coffee, brandy and bottles.
- 3 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, diced
- 2 oz. instant coffee
- 1 Fifth of Brandy
- 3 cups boiling water
Put vanilla bean in sterile bottle. Boil water, stir in coffee and sugar. Let cool and add brandy. Pour into bottle and cap tightly. Let set for thirty days. Strain and re-bottle in sterile bottle.
I have never met a person who dislikes Chex Mix. It was something my mother made all the time in the 70s. A girlfriend once remarked that you could always find Chex Mix and Jell-o Squares at my house. Start stockpiling: Chex cereal, pretzels, and cans of mixed nuts. There are dozens of variations on the original, but I’m a traditionalist. The recipe for the real McCoy (as well as variations sent in by other Chex lovers) is found at Chex.
Make sure you pack the cooled, finished product in airtight packages for maximum freshness. And remember, the secret to not blowing your budget here is to get whatever you can on sale — not only the ingredients, but the jars, bottles, boxes, etc.
Readers, any family-tested inexpensive food gifts to share?