Cooking With Liz: What to Give Mom For Christmas

Cooking+With+Liz%3A+What+to+Give+Mom+For+Christmas

Liz Berndt, Staff Writer

Clear, simple, yet classic. Perfect for easy holiday gifts, and exactly what every high school student needs to discover during the holiday season: the Mason jar.

Every year I struggle deciding what I am going to get my many miscellaneous family members, that one “friend” who is obviously expecting a gift, and the hardest of them all: mom.

They say moms will love anything you make her; this is still true for my 8 year old brother, but unfortunately if I sit down and draw my mom a picture she would try to smile. However, my picture would most likely end up in either a pile of junk going to the basement or worse: the trash.

The high school version of “the drawing” is the Mason jar. The most important aspect of these jars are that they’re economical; they cost about $1.50-$2.00 each. Baffling, I know. What I didn’t realize is how much you can do with a two dollar glass container.

I have just recently begun to explore this wonderful “tool.” Using a variety of blogs, I was able to find different recipes perfect for the beloved Jar.

First, I tried Chai tea mix, perfect for the holidays and truly delicious. All you have to do is combine eight ingredients and blend them together in a food processor or blender to make powder. Easy.

Chai Tea Mix

1 cup dry powdered milk

1 cup non-dairy powdered coffee creamer

1 cup French Vanilla flavored non-dairy powdered coffee creamer

2 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups unsweetened instant tea

2 tsps. Cinnamon

2 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. cardamom or nutmeg

(Taken from: http://nadinesnook.blogspot.com/2011/11/chai-tea-mix.html)

Inspired by the Chai, I decided I would tackle homemade hot chocolate mix (however, if you’re feeling particularly lazy, you can buy hot chocolate mix from the store and add marshmallows, peppermints and pieces of chocolate to the Mason jar. This will make it fancier and more “mom appropriate”). Again, all you have to do is mix ingredients together and pulse in a blender or food processor. Add 1/3 cup of mix to 1 cup water (or steamed milk for greater richness).

Hot chocolate Mix

3 cups nonfat dry milk powder

2 cups powdered sugar

1½ cups cocoa powder (Dutch-processed preferred, but regular okay)

1½ cups white chocolate chips (or chopped white chocolate)

¼ teaspoon salt

(Taken from: http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/12/09/homemade-hot-cocoa-mix/)

The possibilities are truly endless. There are hundreds of cookie, cornbread, and brownie recipes created for the Mason jar. There are many options beyond cooking; you could fill a jar ½ with sand and place a candle in, or fill it with pieces of paper on which you write your favorite things about the person or favorite memories you have with them, or you could make bath salts and even shower gels. You can do something as simple as filling the jar with the person’s favorite candy or tea bag.

The key to the Mason jar gift is the presentation. Put a bow around the top and make a quick label with sticky paper. It doesn’t have to take hours, but if you aren’t spending a fortune, spend a little extra time to make your gift beautiful.

For more Ideas visit these web sites:
http://christmas.organizedhome.com/crafts/gifts-in-a-jar/recipe-index
http://www.tipjunkie.com/homemade-gifts/gifts-in-a-jar/
http://eatathomecooks.com/2011/11/the-no-bake-no-cook-no-time-gift-solution-4-snack-mix-recipes-in-a-jar.html