I am trying to give as many precious homemade gifts that I can this year. Anything that I am unable to whip up myself, I plan to supplement with shopping on Etsy to fulfill my crafting skill downfalls.
First, I just want to say that I don’t think you necessarily have to be crafty to offer up beautiful handmade gifts for your friends and family…you just need to be a little resourceful. Resourcefulness might be looking to craftier bloggers for inspiration, checking out magazines or books at the library, or just stealing awesome ideas off of a good friend.
I am going to showcase my homemade gifts over these next few weeks, in hopes to breathe some life into your gift-giving. My crafting skills are limited, but my resourcefulness…I would say that is one of my strongest attributes.
Today we are going to discuss making hot drink mixes for yourself and to share with your friends. This is one of my favorite gifts to give in jars or tins for the holidays. I love to tuck jars of these in with a few holiday treats for the gift-giving season. The best part is that making a drink mix only requires the necessary ingredients and a blender or food processor. It also requires zero crafty skills. Hurray!
Let’s begin with my favorite cocoa recipe in the whole world. For this recipe, you only need a mixing bowl, a wooden spoon, and the necessary ingredients. If you don’t want the cocoa powder to look coarse, pop it in your blender or food processor and blend until it is the powdered consistency of the store-bought packets. I usually skip this step though because, frankly, this lasts about half a second in our house and I am on to making the next batch. For gift-giving though, processing is a nice touch!
Hot Cocoa Mix
4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup non-dairy coffee creamer
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (4 ounce) package instant chocolate fudge pudding
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. If a finer consistency is desired, you can pour the mix into a blender or food processor and run it through that. Store in an airtight container. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup (depending on your cocoa preference) of the mix to an 8 ounce mug of boiling water.
The next drink mix has been made every year for the past five years in my house. It is my favorite drink in the colder weather and is always an impressive gift to give or to receive.
After you are done making your cocoa mix, use that same exact bowl to mix up the Vanilla Chai Tea. I have experimented with what needs a whirl in the food processor and what doesn’t this year. I discovered that if you give just the tea and spices together a whirl, that you don’t need to add the rest of the ingredients in the food processor. Since I have a small food processor, this cuts down on the time to make this and the clean-up after I dump it all over the countertops.
Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix
1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1 cup French vanilla powdered non-dairy creamer
2 ½ cups white sugar
1 ½ cups unsweetened instant tea
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
¼ tsp white pepper
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it is a fine powder (If you have a small food processor, you can combine just the instant tea and spices in the food processor & then combine everything together in a bowl). Add two-three tablespoons of mix to 8 ounces of hot water or milk.
Packaging of your drink mixes can be done in jars tied with raffia or holiday ribbon or you can package them up in a green and lovely way… in those old Crystal Light containers. Use some holiday gift wrap to cover them and tie a gift tag with some raffia around the drink mix containers. These are ideal, particularly for teacher gifts, because I don’t have to worry that my son will break the jar in route to school. Waterproof and airtight, it keeps the drink mix nice and safe. With a handmade or store-bought scarf, it makes a perfectly cozy gift to give.