How to get kids cracking making Cheese Crackers and Wheat Thins

Homemade edible gifts for my children’s teachers are a sure thing to leave my kitchen come school’s end. I feel like it is the least I can do after the educators have poured their energy into my children all year.

The goodies are our way of expressing our thanks and vary from year to year from chai spiced granola to honey whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. Now before you read on, please understand that I am playing to my strengths here. I’m not trying to make myself out to be some kind of perfectly pinteresting supermom. Making and assembling edible gifts is easy and fun for me, so I run with it whenever the opportunity arises. I couldn’t be crafty like my friend Amy if I tried and I don’t enjoy shopping, so I head to the kitchen and dream up something delicious.

It’s important to me to have the boys get involved in making the gifts to teach them to give back and to show appreciation in a tangible way. This year I had thought about canning something, perhaps strawberry rhubarb jam or strawberry caramel sauce, but I tend to do most of my canning on my own, without three kids ‘helping’. They are pretty proactive in the kitchen, but that vat of boiling water still makes me nervous.

White Pepper & Parmesan Crackers :: Simple Bites #recipe #snack #crackers

We settled on homemade crackers, a project I expected to be loads of work but well worth the effort. It turns out I was half right. Many hands made light work and we flew through the task, ending up with about 20 dozen absolutely delicious crackers. I even had time to snap a few photos as I knew I had to share both recipes here with you.

If you’re into homemade pantry staples, then read on for two recipes: Everyday Wheat Thins and White Pepper Parmesan Coins. [Read more…]

How to make simple herb-infused honey for edible gifts

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. I’ve never been one to make a big deal of the holiday from a romantic standpoint, instead, I use it as a time to show love to my friends and family.

Since food is how I most often show my affection, it should come as no surprise that I like to give my friends homemade treats for Valentine’s Day. Edible gifts are my favorite gifts to give because I can almost always guarantee that they’ll get used. Since there is plenty of chocolate available this time of year, I thought it would be fun to branch out with a different kind of sweet to share.

Infusing honey is something that I’ve wanted to try for a while, and Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect excuse to do it. It’s still bitterly cold here, and chocolate isn’t the best thing to enjoy while sitting in front of the fireplace, you know? A mug of hot tea, though, is great for sipping in front of the fire. Even better when it’s made with a touch of this infused honey.

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Pomander Spiced Orange Jam

When I was growing up, one of my very favorite holiday-time projects was making pomander balls.

My mom would put out a bowl of oranges and give both my sister and me small dishes filled with cloves. We’d use toothpicks to pre-prick the oranges with patterns and then would poke cloves into those spots. When they were all done, we’d roll them in a mix of ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and then set them around the house in small saucers.

10 oranges in a bowl

They were time consuming, but I loved making them. Nothing smells quite so much like the Christmas season to me than the combination of orange and spice.

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Whole-wheat double chocolate mint cookies (food processor)

Last weekend we hung lights on the house, wrapped our twig tree in twinkly lights, and put on a big pot of spiced hot apple cider to welcome a dozen friends for my annual cookie swap.

It’s the event that kicks of the holidays every year, held early enough in December to give us ample time for baking before the Christmas parties and other calendar duties take over our days and nights. The snowstorm held off for us and an afternoon flew by, sweetened by over one thousand home baked cookies. [Read more…]

Herb Salt

Flavored Salts for Gift Giving (Recipe: Sage Rosemary Salt)

I try to not get overwhelmed with gift giving during the holidays, but I have to admit it’s hard to avoid picking out something special for my friends.

Luckily, almost all of my friends are as interested in food and cooking as I am, so I know gifts from my kitchen are loved. The other perk? They are incredibly easy to put together, and it only takes a few extra minutes to make enough for all your friends.

This year one of the gifts I’m giving is flavored salts. Aimée wrote about Meyer lemon salts earlier this year, and making other flavors is just as easy. With the help of a food processor and a quick stint in the oven, you can infuse salts with herbs, flowers, citrus, and more.

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