Give Handmade Holiday Gifts Of Warmth And Comfort With Baking And Soup Mixes
By Kate Walling
In today's world, where families are spread across the globe and family dinners are becoming more of a special occasion than a daily occurrence, it's important to share and cultivate family traditions, recipes, and stories. ??One way to encourage your friends and loved ones to try some of your favorite recipes is to make it so easy for them that they can't say no! Making your own baking mixes and soup mixes is a simple way to give your friends and family a few new flavors to add to their meals.??The most important part of making your own baking mix is choosing the right recipes. You want to choose a recipe whose ingredients are primarily either dry or wet. Recipes with things like canned fruit, jam, canned tomatoes, meats, and other ingredients that your friends and family might not keep at hand, and that are impossible to pack and ship, are recipes to be avoided.??Baking Mixes?Baking mixes are simple and fun to assemble, not to mention pretty!?
Choose a container that you know will fit all the ingredients you need to use. I love using beautiful, antique canning jars.??Once you've chosen your container, look at your recipe. Write down all the dry ingredients in one list, and all the wet ingredients in a separate list. Ideally you should have just a few wet ingredients; eggs, milk, butter, vanilla, etc.??Using your list of dry ingredients, carefully measure and pour those ingredients into your container in layers, patting each layer smooth with your fingers. Once you're finished, cap the container, and your mix is done!??Be sure to include instructions for use that tell the recipient what they need to add to the dry ingredients (all the wet ingredients), how to prepare the mix, what to bake it in, at what temperature and how long. Decorate your container with a lovely satin ribbon, or a square of cloth screwed into the lid, and give a gift that will warm someone's heart and kitchen!??Soup Mixes?Soup mixes are a wonderful seasonal gift, and especially good as we enter the colder months. To make a soup mix, first choose your recipe. You want to choose a recipe without a lot of prep work (for example, a meatball soup like Italian Wedding Soup would not work well), and with a lot of dried ingredients. Bean soups and stews and soups with pasta work great.??Choose a container or bag, and begin pouring in the dry ingredients in layers. Be sure to pour the fine ingredients, like herbs or cornmeal, first, and the big ingredients, like beans or pasta, last.?This way, the layers will stay crisp; if you reverse the order, the fine ingredients sift down through the spaces in between the larger ingredients, and your layers get jumbled.??Again, be sure to include all the instructions the chef would need to complete the
recipe, and finish your packaging with a pretty detail.??Holidays aren’t the only time of year to give the gift of baking and soup mixes. Making mixes is also a perfect way to create economical, personal wedding favors! Make a mix that is relevant to the location of the marriage, or make a mix of the groom's favorite food! Wedding guests will be surprised and pleased to be given a favor full of the flavors of the area! You can include your gift in the “welcome package” many families provide to out-of-town guests who traveled a significant distance for the wedding.
Baking and soup mixes make perfect wedding gift extras, too. While it is becoming more and more customary to give the bride and groom a gift of money, including an antique jar filled with the makings of a favorite soup or baked good instantly personalizes an otherwise appreciated, yet somewhat impersonal, gesture.
Fall brides about to move into their new homes and kitchens will love being able to turn to a baking or soup mix for those cozy, newlywed dinners once the temperatures start to drop. The meal may last just one evening, but the recipe can carry on forever.
This holiday season, break out your recipe box and select a few you can turn into mixes. Then unleash your creativity and put your heart into creating some wonderful gifts for the people you value in your life – family, friends, co-workers, etc. Your mixes are sure to be well-received; after all, there is nothing better than warm soup on a chilly night and who doesn’t love brownies!? Happy mixing!
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Kate Walling is founder of Secret Ingredients (www.TheSecretIngredients.com). She so cherished the traditions passed down in her family that she came up with a way to help other families do the same by creating personalized heirloom cookbooks. Visit www.thesecretingredients.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.