because what is life without good food?

Gift ideas

Cranberry Raspberry Vinegar

Make your own Cranberry Raspberry Vinegar

This is almost not even a recipe it’s so simple, but it makes such a beautiful color and flavor of vinegar that you would probably have to pay ginormous amounts of money for it … if you could even ever find such a beautiful vinegar at a store.

Making it is so so so much simpler and so much more impressive. You can use this same method to make almost any fruit or herb-flavored vinegar that you want.

Take some fresh cranberries. Cut them in half. Put them in a quart jar. Add some fresh or frozen raspberries (whatever you have). I used more cranberries and just a few raspberries, but if you want more raspberry flavor, use more raspberries. Fill the jar most of the way (like 90% full) with the berries.

Pour in plain white vinegar so that it completely covers the fruit. Let sit in a dark place for a week or so, shaking gently every couple days to mix up the flavors.

After the resting period, strain the fruit out by pouring into a cheesecloth covered strainer over a bowl and squeezing all the juices out of the fruit.

If you are giving it as a gift, package it up in a pretty bottle and add a ribbon. Or make a fantastic vinaigrette salad dressing. The gourmet cranberry raspberry salad dressing makes a great gift too … recipe coming very soon to a blog near you … ;)

Make your own Cranberry Raspberry Vinegar

This recipe was shared at Midnight Maniac Meatless MondaysTuesday Talent Show, and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Munch

Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Munch

One of our favorite treats at Christmas is to dip pretzels. I like mine with white chocolate and peppermint. My daughter likes just white chocolate, or sometimes we will drizzle the white chocolate pretzels with milk chocolate or sprinkles.

I meant to make lots of treats to bring on my trip for my friends at the office, but I was running out of time. So I had to simplify.

This is so much faster than dipping all the pretzels individually. You just spread them in a pan, drizzle them with melted white almond bark, and then sprinkle with crushed candy canes. I threw in some chocolate graham cracker pieces. Result: the same sweet and salty, chocolate minty taste, but without all the work–and it’s a great way to use up broken graham crackers and pretzels.

Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Munch

Peppermint Pretzel Munch

  • Chocolate Graham Crackers, broken into pieces
  • Pretzels
  • Almond Bark (I used 6 squares for my batch)
  • Peppermint Candy Canes, crushed

Directions:

  1. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and lay out broken chocolate graham crackers randomly across the pan.
  2. Add the pretzels, interspersing amongst the crackers to create a blanket of crackers and pretzels.
  3. Melt the almond bark or white chocolate chips. I used a plastic spoon to stir them so I could make a peppermint spoon.
  4. Drizzle across the cracker/pretzel blanket.
  5. Immediately sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
  6. Allow the mixture to cool, then break into pieces.
  7. Dip the spoon you used to stir the almond bark into the crushed candy canes and allow to sit until the chocolate has hardened. The spoon is great to include in a gift basket with some hot chocolate mix or coffee and a nice mug. I think it would be REALLY cool to do this with some funky antique real spoons.

White Chocolate Peppermint Spoon

This recipe was shared on Favorite Holiday RecipesTotally Tasty Tuesdays, Wonka WednesdaysHoliday Treats Week, Katherine Martinelli’s Mint Blog Hop and EveryDay Mom’s Meals.


Chile Lime Spiced Popcorn

Chile Lime Spiced Popcorn

I often put green chile powder and granulated garlic in the butter for my popcorn, but today I wanted a little more flavor, something extra special you could even give as a gift to your chile-head friends. Baking it in the oven takes out the juiciness from the lime, but leaves in the lime flavor and makes the popcorn extra-crunchy.

If you want a flavorful popcorn with less heat, just leave out the jalapeno.

I am a bit of a popcorn fanatic, so for me to say I could eat a big bowl of this for dinner is not all that unusual, but this popcorn has such a great crunch, kick and flavor, I did eat the whole bowl for a mid-afternoon snack. All by myself. And I am really wishing it wasn’t all gone … Sorry friends! I’m gonna have to make a new batch for you … good thing it’s so easy!

Chile Lime Spiced Popcorn

Chile Lime Spiced Popcorn

For a fun holiday gift, package this spicy popcorn in a Mason jar or decorated tin, along with a few good Mexican beers (or favorite non-alcoholic drinks) nestled in a colorful basket or bowl.

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Robin seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lime
  • 10 – 12 cups of popped popcorn (I used an air popper for popping my popcorn)

Directions:

  1. Put all the ingredients except for the lime juice and popcorn in a small microwaveable cup or bowl. I usually cover the butter to prevent it from splattering all over the place. Microwave the butter-spice mix on medium for about 2 minutes or until the butter is fully melted.
  2. Add the lime juice to the spiced butter and stir well.
  3. Prepare a bowl of popcorn (I use an air popper to make mine), and spread the popcorn in a large flat pan at least  1 inch deep. With a spoon, drizzle the chile lime butter all over the popcorn, then stir lightly. Sprinkle lightly with Red Robin Seasoning or salt.
  4. Bake at 300 degrees F. for about 5 to 7 minutes or longer … until the popcorn is good and crispy! Sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt to taste.
  5. Serve warm!–or store in an airtight container or mason jar to give to your popcorn-loving friends. If you give it as a gift, you can tell your friends if they want the popcorn hot to warm it in the oven at 300 for 3 – 5 minutes before eating.

Chile Lime Spiced Popcorn

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Blog Recipe Linky, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, TasteTastic ThursdaysThis Chick Cooks, and Katherine Martinelli’s Mexican Blog Hop.


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